The Bible – Old Testament
1 When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son.
The more I called them, the farther they went from me, Sacrificing to the Baals and burning incense to idols.
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took them in my arms;
2 I drew them with human cords, with bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks; Yet, though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer.
He shall return to the land of Egypt, and Assyria shall be his king;
The sword shall begin with his cities and end by consuming his solitudes. Because they refused to repent, their own counsels shall devour them.
His people are in suspense about returning to him; and God, though in unison they cry out to him, shall not raise them up.
3 How could I give you up, O Ephraim, or deliver you up, O Israel? How could I treat you as Admah, or make you like Zeboiim? My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred.
I will not give vent to my blazing anger, I will not destroy Ephraim again; For I am God and not man, the Holy One present among you; I will not let the flames consume you.
They shall follow the LORD, who roars like a lion; When he roars, his sons shall come frightened from the west,
Out of Egypt they shall come trembling, like sparrows, from the land of Assyria, like doves; And I will resettle them in their homes, says the LORD.
1  Out of Egypt: Hosea, like most of the prophets, dates the real beginning of Israel from the time of Moses and the Exodus. ⇒ Matthew 2:15 applies this text to the return of the Christ Child from Egypt.
2  I drew them . . . with bands of love: not forcing them like draft animals, but drawing them with kindness and affection.
3  Admah . . . Zeboiim: cities destroyed with Sodom and Gomorrah (⇒ Deut 29:22).