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.
Israel’s sin
12Ephraim has surrounded me with lies,
Israel with deceit.
And Judah is unruly against God,
even against the faithful Holy One.#
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