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God's Love for His Rebellious People

11 (A)The Lord says,

“When Israel was a child, I loved him
    and called him out of Egypt as my son.[a]
But the more I[b] called to him,
    the more he turned away from me.[c]
My people sacrificed to Baal;
    they burned incense to idols.
Yet I was the one who taught Israel to walk.
I took my people up in my arms,[d]
    but they did not acknowledge that I took care of them.
I drew them to me with affection and love.
    I picked them up and held them to my cheek;
    I bent down to them and fed them.[e]

“They refuse to return to me, and so they must return to Egypt, and Assyria will rule them. War will sweep through their cities and break down the city gates. It will destroy my people because they do what they themselves think best. They insist on turning away from me. They will cry out because of the yoke that is on them, but no one will lift it from them.[f]

(B)“How can I give you up, Israel?
    How can I abandon you?
Could I ever destroy you as I did Admah,
    or treat you as I did Zeboiim?
My heart will not let me do it!
    My love for you is too strong.
I will not punish you in my anger;
    I will not destroy Israel again.
For I am God and not a mere human being.
    I, the Holy One, am with you.
I will not come to you in anger.

10 “My people will follow me when I roar like a lion at their enemies. They will hurry to me from the west. 11 They will come from Egypt, as swiftly as birds, and from Assyria, like doves. I will bring them to their homes again. I, the Lord, have spoken.”

Israel and Judah Are Condemned

12 The Lord says, “The people of Israel have surrounded me with lies and deceit, and the people of Judah are still rebelling against me, the faithful and holy God.


  1. Hosea 11:1 him, and called him … son; or him; from the time he left Egypt I have called him my son.
  2. Hosea 11:2 One ancient translation I; Hebrew they.
  3. Hosea 11:2 One ancient translation me; Hebrew them.
  4. Hosea 11:3 One ancient translation I … my arms; Hebrew He … his arms.
  5. Hosea 11:4 Verse 4 in Hebrew is unclear.
  6. Hosea 11:7 Verse 7 in Hebrew is unclear.

God’s Love for Israel

11 “When Israel was a child,(A) I loved(B) him,
    and out of Egypt I called my son.(C)
But the more they were called,
    the more they went away from me.[a](D)
They sacrificed to the Baals(E)
    and they burned incense to images.(F)
It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
    taking them by the arms;(G)
but they did not realize
    it was I who healed(H) them.
I led them with cords of human kindness,
    with ties of love.(I)
To them I was like one who lifts
    a little child to the cheek,
    and I bent down to feed(J) them.(K)

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

“How can I give you up,(S) Ephraim?(T)
    How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I treat you like Admah?
    How can I make you like Zeboyim?(U)
My heart is changed within me;
    all my compassion(V) is aroused.(W)
I will not carry out my fierce anger,(X)
    nor will I devastate(Y) Ephraim again.
For I am God, and not a man(Z)
    the Holy One(AA) among you.
    I will not come against their cities.
10 They will follow the Lord;
    he will roar(AB) like a lion.(AC)
When he roars,
    his children will come trembling(AD) from the west.(AE)
11 They will come from Egypt,
    trembling like sparrows,
    from Assyria,(AF) fluttering like doves.(AG)
I will settle them in their homes,”(AH)
    declares the Lord.

Israel’s Sin

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


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

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