*11:2 Sometimes this is translated: “The more I called them, the more they went from me,” but this requires significant changes to the original text. What the Hebrew text appears to be saying, in the context of the Exodus from Egypt, is that as they (Israel) called them (Egypt) was the way in which they (Israel) went from them (Egypt). In other words even at the Exodus Israel was hankering after the things of Egypt and only left under pressure. Many would have preferred to stay, and Hosea traces the apostasy he is dealing with to a reluctant and rebellious spirit of some even at the time of the Exodus. This is confirmed by the second part of the verse.
†11:3 Literally, “arm.”
§11:4 The image shifts to care for a farm animal. The Hebrew literally says, “I became like those who lift up a yoke that was in their jaws.” The burden is not removed altogether, but is made easier to bear.
*11:5 Even though they are not taken into captivity to Egypt, they are still led away in bondage—this time to Assyria.
†11:6 Literally, “the sword.”
‡11:7 Israel called their idol “El Al,” or “god on high,” but this was a deliberately confusing title that merged together the worship of Yahweh and Baal.
*11:9 Meaning God would not totally annihilate them as he did with the cities mentioned above.
†11:12 It seems that Judah was merging ideas from pagan worship with that of the true God, and using the term “el” which was the name of the highest Canaanite god but could also be applied to Yahweh. So what is being said here seems to be that Judah too is wavering in its allegiance to the true God.