New English Translation
Reversal of the Exodus: Return to Egypt and Exile in Assyria
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!
The Divine Dilemma: Judgment or Mercy?
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!
God Will Restore the Exiles to Israel
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.
God's Lawsuit against Israel: Breach of Covenant
12 (12:1) Ephraim has surrounded me with lies; the house of Israel has surrounded me with deceit. But Judah still roams about with God; he remains faithful to the Holy One.
King James Version
1 When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.
2 As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images.
3 I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them.
4 I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.
5 ¶ He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return.
6 And the sword shall abide on his cities, and shall consume his branches, and devour them, because of their own counsels.
7 And my people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt him.
8 How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together.
9 I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city.
10 They shall walk after the LORD: he shall roar like a lion: when he shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west.
11 They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria: and I will place them in their houses, saith the LORD.
12 Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints.