Hosea 6:4
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
"What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears.

New Living Translation
"O Israel and Judah, what should I do with you?" asks the LORD. "For your love vanishes like the morning mist and disappears like dew in the sunlight.

English Standard Version
What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah? Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away.

New American Standard Bible
What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah? For your loyalty is like a morning cloud And like the dew which goes away early.

King James Bible
O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
What am I going to do with you, Ephraim? What am I going to do with you, Judah? Your loyalty is like the morning mist and like the early dew that vanishes.

International Standard Version
"What am I to do with you, Ephraim? What am I to do with you, Judah? Your love is like a morning rain cloud— it passes away like the morning dew.

NET Bible
What am I going to do with you, O Ephraim? What am I going to do with you, O Judah? For your faithfulness is as fleeting as the morning mist; it disappears as quickly as dawn's dew!

New Heart English Bible
"Ephraim, what shall I do to you? Judah, what shall I do to you? For your love is like a morning cloud, and like the dew that disappears early.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"What should I do with you, Ephraim? What should I do with you, Judah? Your love is like fog in the morning. It disappears as quickly as the morning dew.

JPS Tanakh 1917
O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? For your goodness is as a morning cloud, And as the dew that early passeth away.

New American Standard 1977
What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?
            What shall I do with you, O Judah?
            For your loyalty is like a morning cloud,
            And like the dew which goes away early.

Jubilee Bible 2000
O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? Your mercy is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goes away.

King James 2000 Bible
O Ephraim, what shall I do unto you? O Judah, what shall I do unto you? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goes away.

American King James Version
O Ephraim, what shall I do to you? O Judah, what shall I do to you? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goes away.

American Standard Version
O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the dew that goeth early away.

Douay-Rheims Bible
What shall I do to thee, O Ephraim? what shall I do to thee, O Juda? your mercy is as a morning cloud, and as the dew that goeth away in the morning.

Darby Bible Translation
What shall I do unto thee, Ephraim? What shall I do unto thee, Judah? For your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the dew that early passeth away.

English Revised Version
O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the dew that goeth early away.

Webster's Bible Translation
O Ephraim, what shall I do to thee? O Judah, what shall I do to thee? for your goodness is as the morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.

World English Bible
"Ephraim, what shall I do to you? Judah, what shall I do to you? For your love is like a morning cloud, and like the dew that disappears early.

Young's Literal Translation
What do I do to thee, O Ephraim? What do I do to thee, O Judah? Your goodness is as a cloud of the morning, And as dew rising early -- going.
Study Bible
Israel and Judah are Unrepentant
3"So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth." 4What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah? For your loyalty is like a morning cloud And like the dew which goes away early. 5Therefore I have hewn them in pieces by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of My mouth; And the judgments on you are like the light that goes forth.…
Cross References
Psalm 78:34
When He killed them, then they sought Him, And returned and searched diligently for God;

Hosea 7:1
When I would heal Israel, The iniquity of Ephraim is uncovered, And the evil deeds of Samaria, For they deal falsely; The thief enters in, Bandits raid outside,

Hosea 11:8
How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I surrender you, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart is turned over within Me, All My compassions are kindled.

Hosea 13:3
Therefore they will be like the morning cloud And like dew which soon disappears, Like chaff which is blown away from the threshing floor And like smoke from a chimney.
Treasury of Scripture

O Ephraim, what shall I do to you? O Judah, what shall I do to you? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goes away.

what.

Hosea 11:8 How shall I give you up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver you, Israel? …

Isaiah 5:3,4 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray …

Jeremiah 3:19 But I said, How shall I put you among the children, and give you …

Jeremiah 5:7,9,23 How shall I pardon you for this? your children have forsaken me, …

Jeremiah 9:7 Therefore thus said the LORD of hosts, Behold, I will melt them, …

Luke 13:7-9 Then said he to the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three …

Luke 19:41,42 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it…

for.

Judges 2:18,19 And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge…

Psalm 78:34-37 When he slew them, then they sought him: and they returned and inquired …

Psalm 106:12,13 Then believed they his words; they sang his praise…

Jeremiah 3:10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned …

Jeremiah 34:15 And you were now turned, and had done right in my sight, in proclaiming …

Matthew 13:21 Yet has he not root in himself, but endures for a while: for when …

2 Peter 2:20-22 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through …

goodness. or, mercy, or, kindness. as a.

Hosea 13:3 Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud and as the early dew …

(4) Here ends the supposed language of the penitents. If it were genuine, and accompanied by a deep sense of sin, it would not be in vain. But the prophet utters the heartrending response and expostulation of Jehovah, who bewails the transitory nature of their repentance.

Your goodness . . .--Better rendered, Your love (to me) is like the morning cloud (which promises rain, and does not give it; like the dew (or, "morning mist;" see Note, Hosea 14:5), which early goeth away, vanishing in the blaze of summer day--your tears leaving you parched and dried as before.

Verse 4. - For your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away. A new section here commences. God, having tried various expedients and many ways to restore Israel to faithfulness, finds all those methods unavailing; and now he asks what further means of reclamation he can resort to; what further punishment he is to inflict. Thus in Isaiah 1:5, "Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more!" or what additional privileges can be vouchsafed? Thus in Isaiah 5:4, "What could have been done more to my vineyard, than I have not done in it?" The reason is then assigned for such questioning; it was the brief duration of Israel's piety. It was evanescent as the early cloud which floats across a summer's sky and which the sun soon scatters for ever, or which pro-raises a refreshing shower, but which is exhaled by the sun's heat; it was transient as the dew which lies in pearly drops of beauty upon the grass, but which the foot of the passing traveler brushes away in a moment. The prophet had, in the opening verses, referred to real repentance; but now, turning to Israel, he reminds them of their repentance by way of con-trust, showing them that it was neither of the consistency nor permanent character required. Proofs of their deficiency lay on the pages of their national history. Hezekiah had done "that which was right in the sight of the Lord;" but his son and successor, Manasseh, "wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to auger." Josiah, again, was eminent for piety, so that "like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might;" but his successors degenerated, for it is added, "neither after him arose there any like him." The connection and meaning are well given by Kimchi: "How shall I heal you, and how shall I bind you up, as your repentance is by no means perfect? For if the kings of Israel did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, so have they soon turned to do evil, like Jehu. And likewise the kings of Judah, who in the days of Josiah did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, turned again to do evil in the days of his son and son's son." Thus he reproves them for the superficial and fleeting character of their goodness. The participles mashkim and holek are either co-ordinated asynde-tously, thus: "coming in the morning, going away;" or the latter is subordinated to the former: "in the morning passing away." Kimchi takes the former word as a noun after the form of makbir, equivalent to "abundance" (Job 36:31); the right rendering is, "as the dew early going away." A somewhat different rendering is proposed by Wunsche, viz. "Your goodness goeth away like a morning cloud, and like the dew in the morning;" "goodness" being the subject, "goeth away" the predicate, "like morning cloud and dew" nearer definitions. O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee?.... Or, "for thee" (x)? The Lord having observed the effect and consequence of his going and returning to his place, of his leaving his people for a long time under afflictions and in distress; namely, their thorough conversion to him in the latter day, and the blessings attending it; returns to the then present times again, and to the state and condition in which Ephraim and Judah, the ten and two tribes, were; and speaks as one at a loss, and under difficulties, to know what to do with them and for them; how as it were to give them up to ruin and destruction; and yet, having tried all ways with them, and in vain, asks what further was to be done, or could be done, to bring them to a sense of their sins, to reform them, and cause them to return to him;

for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth way; meaning not the goodness of God bestowed upon them, and the mercy he showed to them; but the goodness that appeared in them, and all the good things done by them, their repentance, reformation, holiness, and righteousness; these, which were only in show, did not last long, came to nothing, and disappeared; like a light cloud in the morning, which vanishes away when the sun rises; or like the dew that falls in the night, which is quickly dried up and gone, after the sun has been up a small time. Thus it was with Ephraim, or the ten tribes, in the time of Jehu; there was a show of zeal for religion, and a reformation from idolatry; but it did not go on, nor last long; and with the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin in the times of Hezekiah and Josiah, who did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord; but then the Jews, in the times of their successors, returned to their former evil ways. And so the best works, holiness and righteousness of men, can no more stand before the justice of God, and the strict examination of it, than a thin light morning cloud, or the small drops of dew, before the light, force, and heat of the sun; nor do formal and carnal professors continue in these things; they may run well for a while, and then drop their profession and religion, and turn from the holy commandment. And this being the case, what can they expect from the Lord?

(x) "in tuum commodum", Schmidt. 4. what shall I do unto thee—to bring thee back to piety. What more could be done that I have not done, both in mercies and chastenings (Isa 5:4)? At this verse a new discourse begins, resuming the threats (Ho 5:14). See [1120]opening remarks on this chapter.

goodness—godliness.

morning cloud—soon dispersed by the sun (Ho 13:3). There is a tacit contrast here to the promise of God's grace to Israel hereafter, in Ho 6:3. His going forth is "as the morning," shining more and more unto the perfect day; your goodness is "as a morning cloud," soon vanishing. His coming to His people is "as the (fertilizing) latter and former rains"; your coming to Him "as the early dew goeth away."6:4-11 Sometimes Israel and Judah seemed disposed to repent under their sufferings, but their goodness vanished like the empty morning cloud, and the early dew, and they were as vile as ever. Therefore the Lord sent awful messages by the prophets. The word of God will be the death either of the sin or of the sinner. God desired mercy rather than sacrifice, and that knowledge of him which produces holy fear and love. This exposes the folly of those who trust in outward observances, to make up for their want of love to God and man. As Adam broke the covenant of God in paradise, so Israel had broken his national covenant, notwithstanding all the favours they received. Judah also was ripe for Divine judgments. May the Lord put his fear into our hearts, and set up his kingdom within us, and never leave us to ourselves, nor suffer us to be overcome by temptation.
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