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Question:  In Hosea 13:12-13 it states: "The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid.  The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children". My question is, where is the place of the breaking forth of children that he speaks of?  I would appreciate you shedding light on this for me.

Answer:    First, you should to go to Chapter 1 and read the page titled: "Different Bible Version."  This will help you understand why different versions sometimes used different words.  

Second, you must distinguish or recognize "euphemism" or "figure of speech" in the Bible. In English, we don't interpret literally when someone says:  "Don't hold your breath" (actually means 'don't wait, it won't happen soon') or "Somebody cut the cheese" (you know what this means) and "restroom" (this is not a bedroom but a toilet/shower room)

Thirdly, Prophetic oracles are poetics and emotional, it uses many figures of speech, and many of these are no longer being used in our times even by modern Jews.  Even scholars are having difficulties in recognizing and interpreting such 'figures of speech.' 

Lastly, even if we have no clue about the meaning of a phrase, by simply reading the passage in different versions of the Bible, it should be able to give us some ideas on its meaning. Versions such as the NIV, NLT tries to interpret the right meaning rather than the right wording, like KJV or NASB. Don't forget that reading in context will also help us understand the meaning. 

By simply reading Hosea 13:12-13 from different versions, it will help us to find the right meaning of the phrase "the place of the breaking forth of children." 

King James Version "The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid. The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children."

New International Version "The guilt of Ephraim is stored up, his sins are kept on record.  Pains as of a woman in childbirth come to him, but he is a child without wisdom; when the time arrives, he does not come to the opening of the womb".

New American Standard Bible  "The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; His sin is stored up. The pains of childbirth come upon him; He is not a wise son, For it is not the time that he should delay at the opening of the womb".

New Living Translation  "The sins of Ephraim have been collected and stored away for punishment.  The people have been offered new birth, but they are like a child who resists being born. How stubborn they are! How foolish!"

As you can see, the message is simple. "Breaking forth of children" means the birth canal or the part of the woman's body where a baby would come out. 

This is a representation of Ephraim/Israel (the northern kingdom of Israel) in her sin as a foolish, stubborn baby who refuses to be born on her birthday. This also shows the unnatural behavior of Israel and the blame is on her for she is like a baby refusing a natural, normal birth.

 

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