1Israel, return to the LORD your God. Your sins have destroyed you!2Tell the LORD you are turning away from your sins. Return to him. Say to him, ‘Forgive us for all our sins. Please be kind to us. Welcome us back to you. Then our lips will offer you our praise.3Assyria can’t save us. We won’t trust in our war horses. Our own hands have made statues of gods. But we will never call them our gods again. We are like children whose fathers have died. But you show us your tender love.’4Then the LORD will answer, ‘My people always wander away from me. But I will put an end to that. My anger has turned away from them. Now I will love them freely.5I will be like the dew to Israel. They will bloom like a lily. They will send their roots down deep like a cedar tree in Lebanon.6They will spread out like new branches. They will be as beautiful as an olive tree. They will smell as sweet as the cedar trees in Lebanon.7Once again my people will live in the safety of my shade. They will grow like corn. They will bloom like vines. And Israel will be as famous as wine from Lebanon.8Ephraim will have nothing more to do with other gods. I will answer the prayers of my people. I will take good care of them. I will be like a healthy juniper tree to them. All the fruit they bear will come from me.’9If someone is wise, they will realise that what I’ve said is true. If they have understanding, they will know what it means. The ways of the LORD are right. People who are right with God live the way he wants them to. But those who refuse to obey him trip and fall.
English Standard Version
A Plea to Return to the Lord
1Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity. (Ho 3:5; Ho 6:1; Ho 12:6; Ho 13:9)2Take with you words and return to the Lord; say to him, “Take away all iniquity; accept what is good, and we will pay with bulls the vows of our lips. (Ps 50:13; Ps 69:30; Ho 5:15; Heb 13:15)3Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride on horses; and we will say no more, ‘Our God,’ to the work of our hands. In you the orphan finds mercy.” (Ps 10:14; Isa 30:16; Isa 31:1; Ho 5:13; Ho 14:8)4I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them. (Jer 3:22; Ho 6:1; Ho 11:1)5I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily; he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon; (Ps 92:12; Isa 27:6; Isa 35:2; Ho 6:3)6his shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive, and his fragrance like Lebanon. (Ps 52:8)7They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow; they shall flourish like the grain; they shall blossom like the vine; their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon. (Ps 91:1)8O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you. I am like an evergreen cypress; from me comes your fruit. (Isa 30:22; Ho 2:8; Ho 2:23; Ho 14:3; Joh 15:4)9Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them. (Ps 107:43; Pr 10:29; Jer 9:12; Da 12:10; Lu 2:34; Joh 8:47; Joh 18:37; 2Co 2:16)