He had taught Ephraim to walk (v3). He drew them with love, took the yoke off them, delivered them, fed them (v4). Note the sacraments prefigured, of baptism and the eucharist (1 Corinthians 10:1–4). But the people continually backslid (v7). They ignored the prophets; sacrificed to false gods (v2); refused to return to the Lord. So Ephraim (ie. ISRAEL) would fall to the Assyrians (v5), their cities be destroyed by the sword (v6), the people deported. JUDAH would be spared (v12, 1:7) until 604 BC, when Jerusalem would fall to the Babylonians. They remained loyal to the House of David (2 Chronicles 13) through whom would come Messiah. They had several good kings; Israel had none.
A holy nation “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?” (v8; Deuteronomy 29:22–23 cf Genesis 19:25). For He had said: “If ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people ... a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” (Exodus 19:5–6). And so they would be (1 Peter 2:9)! But first they must go into exile, lose their identity, forget who they were, but find a new home where they would embrace the faith of Messiah, receive His Spirit, come under the New Covenant, have His law written on their hearts, and be remarried to the Lord. They would become the new Israel and nucleus of His Church, into which all may enter by faith in Jesus the Messiah.
“They shall walk after the LORD [believe on Christ]: He shall roar like a lion: when He shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west” (v10). In the appointed place of their exile (2 Samuel 7:10) “the lost sheep of the House of Israel” (Matthew 15:24) would be among the first to hear the Gospel. They would tremble at the Word and fly like a dove, direct to the Lord (v11), Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Rev 5:5).
Israel in the isles “Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?” (Isaiah 60:8). “Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west” (Isaiah 49:12). “So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west” (Isaiah 59:19). “Surely the isles [ íéÌ¸à¸ iyyim = islands, coastlands] shall wait for Me” (Isaiah 60:9). “Sing unto the LORD a new song ... the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. ... Let them give glory unto the LORD, and declare His praise in the islands” (Isaiah 42:10, 12). “Listen, O isles, unto Me; and hearken, ye people from far” (Isaiah 49:1). “Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him” (Jeremiah 31:10–11).