Israel Has Forgotten the Lord
The Lord said, “I loved Israel when he was a child,
and I called my son out of Egypt.
But the more I* called the Israelites,
the more they left me.
The Israelites gave sacrifices to the false gods
and burned incense to the idols.
But I was the one who taught Ephraim to walk.
I took the Israelites in my arms.
I healed them,
but they don’t know that.
I led them with ropes,
but they were ropes of love.
I was like a person who set them free.§
I bent down and fed them.
The Israelites will not go back to Egypt. The king of Assyria will become their king, because they refused to turn back to God. The sword will swing against their cities and kill their strong men. It will destroy their leaders.
My people expect me to come back. They will call to God above, but he will not help them.”*
The Lord Will Not Destroy Israel
Ephraim, I don’t want to give you up.
Israel, I want to protect you.
I don’t want to make you like Admah.
I don’t want to make you like Zeboiim.
I am changing my mind.
My love for you is too strong.
I will not let my terrible anger win.
I will not destroy Ephraim again.
I am God and not a human.
I am the Holy One.
I am with you.
I will not show my anger.
10 I, the LORD, will roar like a lion,
and my children will come and follow me.
They will come from the west,
shaking with fear.
11 They will come from Egypt,
shaking like birds.
They will come shaking like doves from the land of Assyria,
and I will take them back home.”
This is what the LORD said.
12 “Ephraim surrounded me with false gods.
The people of Israel turned against me.
But Judah still walks with God§
and is true to the Holy One.*
* 11:2 I This is from the ancient Greek version. The standard Hebrew text has “they.” 11:2 false gods Literally, “Baals.” 11:4 ropes The Hebrew says, “ropes of a man.” § 11:4 set them free Literally, “lifted the yoke from their jaws.” * 11:7 Or “My people are hanging on poles around my dwelling place. They called up to him, but he didn’t lift them up.” 11:8 Admah, Zeboiim Two cities that were destroyed when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. See Genesis 19; Deuteronomy 29:23. 11:12 Ephraim … me Or “Ephraim surrounded me with lies. The house of Israel surrounded me with deception.” § 11:12 God Literally, “El.” This might be one of the names of God, or it might be El, the most important god of the Canaanites. It is not clear if this means Judah was being faithful to God or if Judah was worshiping the false gods. * 11:12 Holy One This is a plural form in the Hebrew text and may refer to God or to Canaanite false gods.