As has long been recognized, Hosea uses the verb to describe YHWH pardoning Israel. This article argues that Hosea expands the meaning of Hebrew from “to heal” to “remitting a punishment.” The Akkadian verb bulluu, like Hebrew , means “heal.” The words were therefore perceived as being equivalent, and part of the wider semantic range of Akkadian bulluu, namely, remitting the punishment of a disloyal subject, was applied to Hebrew . In Hos 5:13; 6:1; 7:1; 11:3 and 14:5, this expansion of the meaning of Hebrew aims to contrast submission to YHWH with subservience to Assyria. The article suggests that in these and other passages, Hosea deliberately subverts Assyrian imperial rhetoric. It also explores similar usages in Isa 6:10 and in Jer 3:22.
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