God’s Love for Israel
1“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and I called my son out of Egypt.
2But when I called the people of Israel,
they went away from me.
They offered sacrifices to the Baals
and burned incense to the idols.
3It was I who taught Israel to walk,
and I took them by the arms,
but they did not understand
that I had healed them.
4I led them with cords of human kindness,
with ropes of love.
I lifted the yoke from their neck
and bent down and fed them.
5“The Israelites will become captives again, as they were in Egypt,
and Assyria will become their king,
because they refuse to turn back to God.
6War will sweep through their cities
and will destroy them
and kill them because of their wicked plans.
7My people have made up their minds
to turn away from me.
The prophets call them to turn to me,
but none of them honors me at all.
8“Israel, how can I give you up?
How can I give you away, Israel?
I don’t want to make you like Admah
or treat you like Zeboiim.
My heart beats for you,
and my love for you stirs up my pity.
9I won’t punish you in my anger,
and I won’t destroy Israel again.
I am God and not a human;
I am the Holy One, and I am among you.
I will not come against you in anger.
10They will go after the Lord,
and he will roar like a lion.
When he roars,
his children will hurry to him from the west.
11They will come swiftly
like birds from Egypt
and like doves from Assyria.
I will settle them again in their homes,”
says the Lord.
The Lord Is Against Israel
12Israel has surrounded me with lies;
the people have made evil plans.
And Judah turns against God,
the faithful Holy One.