Hos 11.1-12 tells us of how Yehovah loved Israel and of all the blessings they had. Then it discusses their ungratefulness and not listening to the prophets, but turning to idols. As a result, they are threatened with captivity in Assyria.
v 1…When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son (in the Exodus-from the time Israel was in Egypt Yehovah called him his son. Yehovah is always said to have “led” or “brought out” Israel from Egypt. Prophetically, this verse is applied to Yeshua as he returns from Egypt in Matt 2.15).
v 2…The more they (Israel’s prophets) called them, the more they went from them (went away from repentance and deliverance); they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning incense to idols.
v 3…Yet it is I who taught Ephraim to walk (in the Torah, he took them in is arms (to carry and lead them); but they did not know that I healed them (Exo 15.26).
v 4…I led them with cords of a man, with bonds of love (to control them, not to injure them, humane), and I became to them as one who lifts the yoke from their jaws (as one is kind to his animal so it can eat); and I bent down and I fed them (a picture of bringing food to their mouths, like the manna, a type of the Torah and the word).
v 5…They will not return to the land of Egypt (to be captive); but Assyria-he will be their king (new land of captivity) because they refused to return (to me).
v 6…And the sword will whirl against their cities (they have rejected God’s gentle leading in love, they will now have a cruel enemy enslave them), and will demolish their gate bars (of their cities) and consume (them) because of their counsels (wisdom, false prophets).
v 7…So my people are bent on turning from me. Though they call them to the Most High, none at all exalts him.
v 8…How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I surrender you, O Israel (love surpassing all understanding)? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboim (two cities totally destroyed with Sodom and Gomorrah; Yehovah speaks in human terms. This seeming “change” is in accordance with his secret purposes-Num 23.19)? My heart is turned over with me (upon me), all my compassions are kindled.
v 9…I will not execute my fierce anger (to destroy them as they deserve); I will not destroy Ephraim again (he will confine his judgment to that generation). For I am God and not man, the Holy (has a kedusha) One in your midst (he is absolutely righteous in what he does), and I will not come in wrath (to destroy them all).
v 10…They will walk after the Lord (after he extends mercy they will follow him and his Torah), he will roar like a lion (announcing his coming); indeed he will roar, and his sons will come trembling from the west (from the sea and distant lands).
v 11…They will come trembling like birds from Egypt (the south), and like doves from the land of Assyria (the east); and I will settle them in their houses, declares the Lord (birds are used here to show speed and how fast they will return to their dove cotes and shelters).
v 12…Ephraim surrounds me with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit (in their worship and the Baalim), but Judah yet rules with God (they had not yet fallen into the same sinful state), and is faithful with the holy ones (the priests, Levites, and true prophets).