Hosea 9:14

14 Give them, LORD— what will you give them? Give them wombs that miscarry and breasts that are dry.

Read Hosea 9:14 Using Other Translations

Give them, O LORD: what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.
Give them, O LORD-- what will you give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.
O LORD, what should I request for your people? I will ask for wombs that don’t give birth and breasts that give no milk.

What does Hosea 9:14 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Hosea 9:14

Give them, O Lord: what wilt thou give them?
&c.] The prophet foreseeing the butchery and destruction of their children, his heart ached for them; and, to show his tender affection for this people, was desirous of putting up a supplication for them; but was at a loss what to ask, their sins were so many, and so aggravated, and the decree gone forth for their destruction: or, "give them what thou wilt give them" {l}; so Jarchi, Kimchi, and Abarbinel, what thou hast threatened before to give them, ( Hosea 9:11 ) ; do not give them to be butchered and murdered before the eyes of their parents by their enemies; but rather let them die in the womb, or as soon as born; so it follows: give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts;
the latter being a sign of the former, as physicians observe; or the words may be rendered disjunctively, give them one, or the other; that is, to the wives of the people of Israel, if they conceive, let them miscarry, prove abortive, rather than bring forth children to be destroyed in such a cruel manner by murderers; or if they bear them to the birth, and bring them forth, let their breasts be dried up, and afford no milk for their nourishment; and so die for lack of it, rather than fall into the hands of their merciless enemies: thus, of two evils, the prophet chooses and prays for the least. Some interpret this as a prediction of what would be, or an imprecation of it; but it rather seems a pathetic wish, flowing from the tender affection of the prophet, judging such a case to be preferable to the former; see ( Luke 23:29 ) ; though the other sense seems best to agree with what follows, and which is favoured by the Targum,

``give thou, O Lord, the recompence of their works; give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.''

FOOTNOTES:

F12 (Ntt hm Mhl Nt) "da eis quod daturus es", Junius & Tremellius, Vatablus, Grotius; "da illis id quod dabis", Schmidt.
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