When Israel was a young man, I loved him like a son,
and I summoned my son out of Egypt.
But the more I summoned them,
the farther they departed from me.
They sacrificed to the Baal idols
and burned incense to images.
Yet it was I who led Ephraim,
I took them by the arm;
but they did not acknowledge
that I had healed them.
I led them with leather cords,
with leather ropes;
I lifted the yoke from their neck,
and gently fed them.
They will return to Egypt!
Assyria will rule over them
because they refuse to repent!
A sword will flash in their cities,
it will destroy the bars of their city gates,
and will devour them in their fortresses.
My people are obsessed with turning away from me;
they call to Baal, but he will never exalt them!
The Divine Dilemma: Judgment or Mercy?
How can I give you up, O Ephraim?
How can I surrender you, O Israel?
How can I treat you like Admah?
How can I make you like Zeboiim?
I have had a change of heart!
All my tender compassions are aroused!
I cannot carry out my fierce anger!
I cannot totally destroy Ephraim!
Because I am God, and not man – the Holy One among you –
I will not come in wrath!
God Will Restore the Exiles to Israel
10  He will roar like a lion,
and they will follow the Lord;
when he roars,
his children will come trembling from the west.
11  They will return in fear and trembling
like birds from Egypt,
like doves from Assyria,
and I will settle them in their homes,” declares the Lord.
God’s Lawsuit against Israel: Breach of Covenant
12  Ephraim has surrounded me with lies;
the house of Israel has surrounded me with deceit.
But Judah still roams about with God;
he remains faithful to the Holy One.