The Lord’s Love for Israel
1 “When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and I called my son out of Egypt.
2 But the more I[a] called to him,
the farther he moved from me,
offering sacrifices to the images of Baal
and burning incense to idols.
3 I myself taught Israel[b] how to walk,
leading him along by the hand.
But he doesn’t know or even care
that it was I who took care of him.
4 I led Israel along
with my ropes of kindness and love.
I lifted the yoke from his neck,
and I myself stooped to feed him. 5 “But since my people refuse to return to me,
they will return to Egypt
and will be forced to serve Assyria.
6 War will swirl through their cities;
their enemies will crash through their gates.
They will destroy them,
trapping them in their own evil plans.
7 For my people are determined to desert me.
They call me the Most High,
but they don’t truly honor me.
8 “Oh, how can I give you up, Israel?
How can I let you go?
How can I destroy you like Admah
or demolish you like Zeboiim?
My heart is torn within me,
and my compassion overflows.
9 No, I will not unleash my fierce anger.
I will not completely destroy Israel,
for I am God and not a mere mortal.
I am the Holy One living among you,
and I will not come to destroy.
10 For someday the people will follow me.
Father, thank-you that You are not a mere mortal, for the mercy I need is far greater than any human could give. Come and change me without destroying me. Forgive me and change me. Help me to follow You. Give me wisdom and strength. Teach me and rebuild me. Rescue me for I am drowning . Help Father!
I, the Lord, will roar like a lion.
And when I roar,
my people will return trembling from the west.
11 Like a flock of birds, they will come from Egypt.
Trembling like doves, they will return from Assyria.
And I will bring them home again,”
says the Lord.
Father, thank-you for roaring. Thank-you for the promise of bringing me home. Thank-you that my true home is with You. I am homesick.
Charges against Israel and Judah
12 [c]Israel surrounds me with lies and deceit,
but Judah still obeys God
and is faithful to the Holy One.[d]
- Hosea 11:2 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads they.
- Hosea 11:3 Hebrew Ephraim, referring to the northern kingdom of Israel; also in 11:8, 9, 12.
- Hosea 11:12 Verse 11:12 is numbered 12:1 in Hebrew text.
- Hosea 11:12 Or and Judah is unruly against God, the faithful Holy One. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.