Could anyone explain to me what HaShem meant in Hosea 14:9 (particularly, the last sentence of the verse)? My JPS Tanakh translates this as ‘Ephraim [shall say]: “What more have I to do with idols? When I respond and look to Him, I become like a verdant cypress.” Your fruit is provided by me.’

It sounds very much to me like HaShem is saying that the quality and quantity of a man’s deeds, works and speech are determined by his turning-to and faithfully responding to G-d. But then it seems to me that this same ‘fruitfulness’ is COMMANDED by G-d (Gen. 1:28). So is ‘fruitfulness’ Man’s responsibility or HaShem’s?

I am a British Noachide and I can’t read Hebrew, so explanations in English would be helpful. Many thanks, TW


True that we humans are commanded to (make an effort to) be fruitful and multiply, as in the verse from Genesis you quoted. But after all, it's in G-d's hands whether such efforts will bear fruit, and in fact the same prophet Hosea earlier (9:12,16) speaks of G-d preventing the sinners' children from growing up.

Rashi on 14:9 explains:

Ephraim: will say, “What more do I need to follow the images?” And they will turn away from idolatry.

I will answer him: I will answer him from his trouble.

and I will look upon him: I will look upon his affliction.

I am like a leafy cypress tree: I will bend down for him to hold his hand on Me as the leafy cypress which is bent down to the ground, which a man holds by its branches; i.e., I will be accessible to him.

from Me your fruit is found: Am I not He? For all your good emanates from Me.

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