When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.
Was a child — In the infancy of Israel.
I loved him — Manifested my tender and paternal affection to him.
Called my son — Adopted him to be my son, and as my son, provided for him, and brought him out of servitude.
Out of Egypt — But Israel, the first adopted son was a type of Christ the first-born. And the history of Israel's coming out was a type of Christ's future coming out of Egypt.
 As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images.
They — Moses and Aaron, and other prophets.
Called — Persuaded, intreated, and urged by exhortations, the whole house of Israel.
From them — From the prophets counsel and commands.
Baalim — In the desert they began this apostacy, and held on with obstinacy in it.
 I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them.
I taught — As a mother or nurse helps the child.
Taking them — Supporting and bearing them up.
They knew not — They would not see nor acknowledge me in it.
 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.
Cords of man — With such kindness as best fits and most prevails with a man.
I was to them — As a careful husband-man in due season takes the yoke from his labouring oxen, and takes off the muzzle with which they were kept from eating, when at work.
I laid meat unto them — Brought them provision in their wants.
 He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return.
He — Ephraim.
Shall be king — Shall rule them with rigour and cruelty.
They refused — The reason of all is, their obstinacy in idolatry.
 And the sword shall abide on his cities, and shall consume his branches, and devour them, because of their own counsels.
His branches — The lesser towns and villages.
Their own counsels — Which they have followed in opposition to all the good counsels the prophets gave them from time to time.
 And my people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt him.
They — The prophets.
None at all — Scarce any one would hearken and obey.
 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.
Give thee up — To utter destruction. Admah and Zeboim were two of the four cities which were destroyed with fire from heaven.
My repentings — Not that God is ever fluctuating or unresolved; but these are expressions after the manner of men, to shew what severity Israel had deserved, and yet how divine grace would be glorified in sparing them.
 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.
Return — Conquerors that plunder the conquered city, carry away the wealth of it, and after some time return to burn it; God will not do so.
Not man — Therefore my compassions fail not.
The holy One — A holy God, and in covenant, though not with all, yet with many among you.
Enter into the city — Utterly to destroy thee, as I did Sodom.
 They shall walk after the LORD: he shall roar like a lion: when he shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west.
They — The remnant shall hear and obey the Lord.
Like a lion — The word of the Lord, so saith the Chaldee, shall roar as a lion. Christ is called, The lion of the tribe of Judah: and when he cried with a loud voice, it was as when a lion roared. The voice of the gospel was heard far, as the roaring of a lion; and it was a mighty voice.
Tremble — The spirit by its power awakening them to a sight of sin, shall make them fear and tremble.
From the west — From the ends of the earth.
 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.
They shall tremble — At their return into their own land, some shall hasten, yet with solicitude, out of Egypt, whither they fled for shelter; others like doves shall hasten out of Assyria, but with fear and trembling.
I will place them — A seasonable and comfortable promise.
 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.
Ephraim — Most of the people of Israel.
With lies — Play the hypocrite with me still.
Judah — The two tribes.
Yet ruleth — While idolaters are slaves to the devil, the true worshippers of God, like princes, rule with God.
Faithful — Retains purity, at least truth of worship, and comparatively is faithful. Judah adheres to God's holy prophets, priests, and other saints of God.