1 “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and I called my son out of Egypt. 2 But the more I called to him, the farther he moved from me, offering sacrifices to the images of Baal and burning incense to idols. 3 I myself taught Israel how to walk, leading him along by the hand. But he doesn’t know or even care that it was I who took care of him. 4 I led Israel along with my ropes of kindness and love. I lifted the yoke from his neck, and I myself stooped to feed him. 5 “But since my people refuse to return to me, they will return to Egypt and will be forced to serve Assyria. 6 War will swirl through their cities; their enemies will crash through their gates. They will destroy them, trapping them in their own evil plans. 7 For my people are determined to desert me. They call me the Most High, but they don’t truly honor me. 8 “Oh, how can I give you up, Israel? How can I let you go? How can I destroy you like Admah or demolish you like Zeboiim? My heart is torn within me, and my compassion overflows. 9 No, I will not unleash my fierce anger. I will not completely destroy Israel, for I am God and not a mere mortal. I am the Holy One living among you, and I will not come to destroy.