God’s love for Israel
1‘When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
2But the more they were called,
the more they went away from me.
They sacrificed to the Baals
and they burned incense to images.
3It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
taking them by the arms;
but they did not realise
it was I who healed them.
4I led them with cords of human kindness,
with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
a little child to the cheek,
and I bent down to feed them.
5‘Will they not return to Egypt
and will not Assyria rule over them
because they refuse to repent?
6A sword will flash in their cities;
it will devour their false prophets
and put an end to their plans.
7My people are determined to turn from me.
Even though they call me God Most High,
I will by no means exalt them.
8‘How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I treat you like Admah?
How can I make you like Zeboyim?
My heart is changed within me;
all my compassion is aroused.
9I will not carry out my fierce anger,
nor will I devastate Ephraim again.
For I am God, and not a man –
the Holy One among you.
I will not come against their cities.
10They will follow the Lord;
he will roar like a lion.
When he roars,
his children will come trembling from the west.
11They will come from Egypt,
trembling like sparrows,
from Assyria, fluttering like doves.
I will settle them in their homes,’
declares the Lord.
12Ephraim has surrounded me with lies,
Israel with deceit.
And Judah is unruly against God,
even against the faithful Holy One.