God's Love for His People
1 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.”
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;
I bent down to feed them.

5 But they rejected me,
and so must return to Egypt;
now Assyria will rule them.
6 War will visit their cities,
and their plans will fail.
7 My people are determined
to reject me for a god
they think is stronger,
but he can't help.

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?
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.