Hosea 6:2
“After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.”

I have frequently mentioned that the Hebrew word for “day” – yom – can only mean a 24-hour day if it is accompanied by a number, as we find in Genesis 1. But I received an email claiming that this was not so, and they quoted Hosea 6:2 to support their case.

After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up.

This is similar to this English usage: “He will stay for two or three days”.

The passage in Hosea is similar to many other Old Testament passages. Amos, in chapter 1, refers to “three transgressions of Damascus, and for four”. Psalm 90 says: “The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty.”

The phrase 70 or 80 is inexact. But could 70 or 80 mean the same as two or three? Of course not. In other words, it is the whole phrase that is inexact, not the individual use of the word day or year. Two days means two exact 24-hour periods. Three days means three exact 24-hour periods. So Hosea 6 has not broken the number rule; it is only by putting two days or three days together that we get an inexact amount, and even then it is not completely inexact because we all recognize that two or three days means less than 70 or 80 years. It is still not possible to stretch the phrase to mean a very long, indeterminate period of time.

Prayer: Father, thank You that Your word always proves to be true, and everything happened exactly as You said. Amen.

Author: Paul F. Taylor

Ref: Taylor, P.F. (2020), About Genesis – Volume I (Castle Rock, WA: J6D Publications), pp. 46-48. Image: Shutterstock image, licensed to author.

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