The Meaning of Hosea 13:2 Explained

Hosea 13:2

KJV: And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves.

YLT: And now do they add to sin, And make to them a molten image of their silver, By their own understanding -- idols, A work of artisans -- all of it, Of them they say, who are sacrificers among men, 'The calves let them kiss.'

Darby: And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves.

ASV: And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, even idols according to their own understanding, all of them the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves.

What does Hosea 13:2 Mean?

Verse Meaning

The Ephraimites, and the other Israelites, had continued to sin more and more by making molten images and carved idols of silver (cf. Exodus 20:4-5; Exodus 34:17; Deuteronomy 5:8-9). They took great pains to make beautiful idols by employing skilled craftsmen for their construction. They also required that those who made sacrifices to them profess their devotion and homage by kissing the images. The NIV translation "they offer human sacrifice" is literally "sacrificers of men kiss calves." Human sacrifice is not in view here. There is no other indication that the Israelites practiced human sacrifice at Bethel or Dan. The idea is that those among the people (men) who sacrificed to idols kissed the images. How doubly ironical it was that they should worship things that they had created and that they should kiss images of animals!

Context Summary

Hosea 13:1-14 - To Oppose God Is Destruction
Again, a very tender chapter. The lips that speak with trembling betray the heart that God can exalt. But when we turn to Baal, the emblem of self-confidence, we pass as the morning cloud the dew, the chaff, and the smoke.
In Hosea 13:4 we again get the sweet strain of early memory. God had not changed and was waiting to save. They had refused His help and had destroyed themselves, and He who would have done His best for them had been constrained to act as though He were a lion, a leopard, or a bear. In the wilderness we are thankful enough for His help, but when we reach the land of the vine and olive, we follow the devices and desires of our own hearts.
What a magnificent outburst is that which declares the divine intention to ransom even from death and the grave! We all know the New Testament setting of these words. Our Savior by His death destroyed him that had the power of death. He is death's plague and the grave's destruction. The sting of death is sin, but Jesus has borne sin away. The strength of sin is a violated law, but He has fulfilled the law. He is more than conqueror, and the soul that is one with Him shall share His triumph. [source]

Chapter Summary: Hosea 13

1  Ephraim's glory vanishes
4  God's anger
9  God's mercy
15  The judgment of Samaria

What do the individual words in Hosea 13:2 mean?

Now they more and more sin and have made for themselves molded images of their silver according to their skill Idols the work of craftsmen All of it [is] of them they say who sacrifice the men the calves let kiss
וְעַתָּ֣ה ׀ יוֹסִ֣פוּ לַחֲטֹ֗א וַיַּעְשׂ֣וּ לָהֶם֩ מַסֵּכָ֨ה מִכַּסְפָּ֤ם כִּתְבוּנָם֙ עֲצַבִּ֔ים מַעֲשֵׂ֥ה חָרָשִׁ֖ים כֻּלֹּ֑ה לָהֶם֙ הֵ֣ם אֹמְרִ֔ים זֹבְחֵ֣י אָדָ֔ם עֲגָלִ֖ים יִשָּׁקֽוּן

וְעַתָּ֣ה ׀  Now 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Adverb
Root: עַתָּה  
Sense: now.
יוֹסִ֣פוּ  they  more  and  more 
Parse: Verb, Hifil, Imperfect, third person masculine plural
Root: יָסַף 
Sense: to add, increase, do again.
לַחֲטֹ֗א  sin 
Parse: Preposition-l, Verb, Qal, Infinitive construct
Root: חָטָא 
Sense: to sin, miss, miss the way, go wrong, incur guilt, forfeit, purify from uncleanness.
וַיַּעְשׂ֣וּ  and  have  made 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Consecutive imperfect, third person masculine plural
Root: עָשָׂה 
Sense: to do, fashion, accomplish, make.
לָהֶם֩  for  themselves 
Parse: Preposition, third person masculine plural
מַסֵּכָ֨ה  molded  images 
Parse: Noun, feminine singular
Root: מַסֵּכָה 
Sense: a pouring, libation, molten metal, cast image, drink offering.
מִכַּסְפָּ֤ם  of  their  silver 
Parse: Preposition-m, Noun, masculine singular construct, third person masculine plural
Root: כֶּסֶף  
Sense: silver, money.
כִּתְבוּנָם֙  according  to  their  skill 
Parse: Preposition-k, Noun, feminine singular construct, third person masculine plural
Root: תְּבוּנָה 
Sense: understanding, intelligence.
עֲצַבִּ֔ים  Idols 
Parse: Noun, masculine plural
Root: עָצָב  
Sense: idol, image.
מַעֲשֵׂ֥ה  the  work 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular construct
Root: מַעֲשֶׂה  
Sense: deed, work.
חָרָשִׁ֖ים  of  craftsmen 
Parse: Noun, masculine plural
Root: חֶרֶשׁ 
Sense: craftsman, artisan, engraver, graver, artificer.
כֻּלֹּ֑ה  All  of  it  [is] 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular construct, third person masculine singular
Root: כֹּל  
Sense: all, the whole.
לָהֶם֙  of  them 
Parse: Preposition, third person masculine plural
אֹמְרִ֔ים  say 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Participle, masculine plural
Root: אָמַר 
Sense: to say, speak, utter.
זֹבְחֵ֣י  who  sacrifice 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Participle, masculine plural construct
Root: זָבַח  
Sense: to slaughter, kill, sacrifice, slaughter for sacrifice.
אָדָ֔ם  the  men 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: אָדָם 
Sense: man, mankind.
עֲגָלִ֖ים  the  calves 
Parse: Noun, masculine plural
Root: עֵגֶל  
Sense: calf, bull-calf.
יִשָּׁקֽוּן  let  kiss 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect, third person masculine plural, Paragogic nun
Root: נָשַׁק 
Sense: to put together, kiss.