Israel Has Forgotten the Lord
1 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.
3 “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.
5 “The Israelites will not go back to Egypt. The king of Assyria will become their king, because they refused to turn back to God. 6 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
8 “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.
9 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.*