The Disappointment of a Parent
2The more I called them,
the farther they went from me,
Sacrificing to the Baals
and burning incense to idols.
3Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
who took them in my arms;c
but they did not know that I cared for them.
4I drew them with human cords,
with bands of love;*
I fostered them like those
who raise an infant to their cheeks;
I bent down to feed them.d
5He shall return to the land of Egypt,e
Assyria shall be his king,
because they have refused to repent.
6The sword shall rage in his cities:
it shall destroy his diviners,
and devour them because of their schemings.
7My people have their mind set on apostasy;
though they call on God in unison,
he shall not raise them up.
But Love Is Stronger and Restores
8How could I give you up, Ephraim,
or deliver you up, Israel?
How could I treat you as Admah,
My heart is overwhelmed,
my pity is stirred.
9I will not give vent to my blazing anger,
I will not destroy Ephraim again;
For I am God and not a man,g
the Holy One present among you;
I will not come in wrath.
10They shall follow the LORD,
who roars like a lion;h
When he roars,
his children shall come frightened from the west,
11Out of Egypt they shall come trembling, like birds,
like doves, from the land of Assyria;
And I will resettle them in their homes,
oracle of the LORD.
* [11:4] I drew them…with bands of love: perhaps a reversal of the yoke imagery of the previous chapter, i.e., not forcing them like draft animals, but drawing them with kindness and affection.