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Chapter 11

The Disappointment of a Parent

[a]When Israel was a child I loved him,(A)
    out of Egypt[b] I called my son.(B)
The more I called them,
    the farther they went from me,
Sacrificing to the Baals
    and burning incense to idols.
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
    who took them in my arms;(C)
    but they did not know that I cared for them.
I drew them with human cords,
    with bands of love;[c]
I fostered them like those
    who raise an infant to their cheeks;
    I bent down to feed them.(D)

He shall return to the land of Egypt,(E)
    Assyria shall be his king,
    because they have refused to repent.
The sword shall rage in his cities:
    it shall destroy his diviners,
    and devour them because of their schemings.
My people have their mind set on apostasy;
    though they call on God in unison,
    he shall not raise them up.

But Love Is Stronger and Restores

How could I give you up, Ephraim,
    or deliver you up, Israel?
How could I treat you as Admah,
    or make you like Zeboiim?[d](F)
My heart is overwhelmed,
    my pity is stirred.
I will not give vent to my blazing anger,
    I will not destroy Ephraim again;
For I am God and not a man,(G)
    the Holy One present among you;
    I will not come in wrath.
10 They shall follow the Lord,
    who roars like a lion;(H)
When he roars,
    his children shall come frightened from the west,
11 Out of Egypt they shall come trembling, like birds,
    like doves, from the land of Assyria;
And I will resettle them in their homes,
    oracle of the Lord.


  1. 11:1–3 After the image of husband-wife (chaps. 1–3), Hosea uses the image of parent-child (Ex 4:22; Is 1:2; Jer 3:19).
  2. 11:1 Out of Egypt: Hosea dates the real beginning of Israel from the time of the exodus. Mt 2:15 applies this text to the return of Jesus from Egypt.
  3. 11:4 I drew them…with bands of love: perhaps a reversal of the yoke imagery of the previous chapter, i.e., not forcing them like draft animals, but drawing them with kindness and affection.
  4. 11:8 Admah…Zeboiim: cities in the vicinity of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gn 14:2, 8) and destroyed with them (Gn 19:24–25; Dt 29:22).

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.