The Lord's Love for Israel
1When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
2The more they were called,
the more they went away;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals
and burning offerings to idols.
3Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk;
I took them up by their arms,
but they did not know that I healed them.
4I led them with cords of kindness,1
with the bands of love,
and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws,
and I bent down to them and fed them.
5They shall not2 return to the land of Egypt,
but Assyria shall be their king,
because they have refused to return to me.
6The sword shall rage against their cities,
consume the bars of their gates,
and devour them because of their own counsels.
7My people are bent on turning away from me,
and though they call out to the Most High,
he shall not raise them up at all.
8How can I give you up, O Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, O Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
My heart recoils within me;
my compassion grows warm and tender.
9I will not execute my burning anger;
I will not again destroy Ephraim;
for I am God and not a man,
the Holy One in your midst,
and I will not come in wrath.3
10They shall go after the Lord;
he will roar like a lion;
when he roars,
his children shall come trembling from the west;
11they shall come trembling like birds from Egypt,
and like doves from the land of Assyria,
and I will return them to their homes, declares the Lord.
124 Ephraim has surrounded me with lies,
and the house of Israel with deceit,
but Judah still walks with God
and is faithful to the Holy One.
Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.