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11 “When Israel was a child, I loved him as a son and brought him out of Egypt. But the more I called to him, the more he rebelled, sacrificing to Baal and burning incense to idols. I trained him from infancy, I taught him to walk, I held him in my arms. But he doesn’t know or even care that it was I who raised him.

“As a man would lead his favorite ox,[a] so I led Israel with my ropes of love. I loosened his muzzle so he could eat. I myself have stooped and fed him. But my people shall return to Egypt and Assyria because they won’t return to me.

“War will swirl through their cities; their enemies will crash through their gates and trap them in their own fortresses. For my people are determined to desert me. And so I have sentenced them to slavery, and no one shall set them free.

“Oh, how can I give you up, my Ephraim? How can I let you go? How can I forsake you like Admah and Zeboiim?[b] My heart cries out within me; how I long to help you! No, I will not punish you as much as my fierce anger tells me to. This is the last time I will destroy Ephraim. For I am God and not man; I am the Holy One living among you, and I did not come to destroy.

10 “For the people shall walk after the Lord. I shall roar as a lion at their enemies and my people shall return trembling from the west. 11 Like a flock of birds, they will come from Egypt—like doves flying from Assyria. And I will bring them home again; it is a promise from the Lord.”

12 Israel surrounds me with lies and deceit, but Judah still trusts in God and is faithful to the Holy One.

Footnotes

  1. Hosea 11:4 As a man would lead his favorite ox, implied.
  2. Hosea 11:8 Admah and Zeboiim, cities of the plain that perished with Sodom and Gomorrah; see Deuteronomy 29:23.

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