Divine love

1 When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.
2 The more I called them, the further they went from me; they kept sacrificing to the Baals, and they burned incense to idols.
3 Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up in my arms, but they did not know that I healed them.
4 I led them with bands of human kindness, with cords of love. I treated them like those who lift infants to their cheeks; I bent down to them and fed them.

Divine frustration

5 They will return to the land of Egypt, and Assyria will be their king, because they have refused to return to me.
6 The sword will strike wildly in their cities; it will consume the bars of their gates and will take everything because of their schemes.
7 My people are bent on turning away from me; and though they cry out to the Most High, he will not raise them up.

Divine compassion

8 How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart winces within me; my compassion grows warm and tender.

Israel’s and Judah’s responses

9 I won't act on the heat of my anger; I won't return to destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not a human being, the holy one in your midst; I won't come in harsh judgment.
10 They will walk after the LORD, who roars like a lion. When he roars, his children will come trembling from the west.
11 They will come trembling like a bird, and like a dove from the land of Assyria; and I will return them to their homes, says the LORD.
12 Ephraim has surrounded me with lies, the house of Israel with faithless acts; but Judah still walks with God, and is faithful to the holy one.