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Hosea 11 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

God’s Love for His People

11 When Israel was a child,
I loved him,
and I called
    my son out of Egypt.
But as the saying goes,
“The more they were called,
    the more they rebelled.”[a]
They never stopped offering
incense and sacrifices
    to the idols of Baal.

I took Israel by the arm
    and taught them to walk.
But they would not admit
that I was the one
    who had healed them.
I led them with kindness
and with love,
    not with ropes.
I held them close to me;[b]
    I bent down to feed them.

But they trusted Egypt
instead of returning to me;
    now Assyria will rule them.
War will visit their cities,
    and their plans will fail.[c]
My people are determined
    to reject me for a god
they think is stronger,
    but he can’t help.[d]

Israel, I can’t let you go.
    I can’t give you up.
How could I possibly destroy you
as I did the towns of Admah
    and Zeboiim?[e]
I just can’t do it.
My feelings for you
    are much too strong.
Israel, I won’t lose my temper
    and destroy you again.
I am the Holy God—
not merely some human,
    and I won’t stay angry.

10 I, the Lord, will roar like a lion,
and my children will return,
from the west.
11 They will come back,
fluttering like birds from Egypt
    or like doves from Assyria.
Then I will bring them
back to their homes.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!

Israel and Judah Compared

12 Israel is deceitful to me,
    their loyal and holy God;
they surround me with lies,
and Judah worships
    other gods.[f]


  1. 11.2 But. . . rebelled: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 11.4 I held. . . to me: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. 11.6 fail: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 6.
  4. 11.7 help: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 7.
  5. 11.8 Admah and Zeboiim: When the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, he also destroyed these two towns (see Deuteronomy 29.23).
  6. 11.12 and Judah worships other gods: Or “but Judah remains faithful.”

Hosea 11 New International Version (NIV)

God’s Love for Israel

11 “When Israel was a child, I loved him,
    and out of Egypt I called my son.
But the more they were called,
    the more they went away from me.[a]
They sacrificed to the Baals
    and they burned incense to images.
It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
    taking them by the arms;
but they did not realize
    it was I who healed them.
I 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.

“Will they not return to Egypt
    and will not Assyria rule over them
    because they refuse to repent?
A sword will flash in their cities;
    it will devour their false prophets
    and put an end to their plans.
My people are determined to turn from me.
    Even though they call me God Most High,
    I will by no means exalt them.

“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.
I 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.
10 They will follow the Lord;
    he will roar like a lion.
When he roars,
    his children will come trembling from the west.
11 They 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

12 Ephraim has surrounded me with lies,
    Israel with deceit.
And Judah is unruly against God,
    even against the faithful Holy One.[b]


  1. Hosea 11:2 Septuagint; Hebrew them
  2. Hosea 11:12 In Hebrew texts this verse (11:12) is numbered 12:1.
New International Version (NIV)

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