1 When Israel was a young man, I loved him like a son, and I summoned my son out of Egypt. 2 But the more I summoned them, the farther they departed from me. They sacrificed to the Baal idols and burned incense to images. 3 Yet it was I who led Ephraim, I took them by the arm; but they did not acknowledge that I had healed them. 4 I led them with leather cords, with leather ropes; I lifted the yoke from their neck, and gently fed them. 5 They will return to Egypt! Assyria will rule over them because they refuse to repent! 6 A sword will flash in their cities, it will destroy the bars of their city gates, and will devour them in their fortresses. 7 My people are obsessed with turning away from me; they call to Baal, but he will never exalt them!
8 How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I surrender you, O Israel? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboiim? I have had a change of heart! All my tender compassions are aroused! 9 I cannot carry out my fierce anger! I cannot totally destroy Ephraim! Because I am God, and not man -- the Holy One among you -- I will not come in wrath! 10 He will roar like a lion, and they will follow the Lord; when he roars, his children will come trembling from the west. 11 They will return in fear and trembling like birds from Egypt, like doves from Assyria, and I will settle them in their homes," declares the Lord.