11 When Israel was a child, I loved him, and I called my son out of Egypt. 2 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.
3 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. 4 I led them with kindness and with love, not with ropes. I held them close to me;[b] I bent down to feed them.
5 But they trusted Egypt instead of returning to me; now Assyria will rule them. 6 War will visit their cities, and their plans will fail.[c] 7 My people are determined to reject me for a god they think is stronger, but he can’t help.[d]
8 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. 9 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, trembling 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]
11.2But. . . rebelled: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
11.4I held. . . to me: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
11.6fail: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 6.
11.7help: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 7.
11.8Admah and Zeboiim: When the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, he also destroyed these two towns (see Deuteronomy 29.23).
11.12and Judah worships other gods: Or “but Judah remains faithful.”
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