December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 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.
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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).
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