1 [^1] Return, Israel, to the LORD your God. ¶ Your sins have been your downfall!
2 Take words with you and return to the LORD. ¶ Say to him: ¶ "Forgive all our sins ¶ and receive us graciously, ¶ that we may offer the fruit of our lips. [^2]
3 Assyria cannot save us; we will not mount warhorses. ¶ We will never again say 'Our gods' ¶ to what our own hands have made, ¶ for in you the fatherless find compassion."
4 "I will heal their waywardness ¶ and love them freely, ¶ for my anger has turned away from them.
5 I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like a lily. ¶ Like a cedar of Lebanon ¶ he will send down his roots;
6 his young shoots will grow. ¶ His splendor will be like an olive tree, ¶ his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon.
7 People will dwell again in his shade; they will flourish like the grain, ¶ they will blossom like the vine — ¶ Israel's fame will be like the wine of Lebanon.
8 Ephraim, what more have I [^3] to do with idols? I will answer him and care for him. ¶ I am like a flourishing juniper; ¶ your fruitfulness comes from me."
9 Who is wise? Let them realize these things. ¶ Who is discerning? Let them understand. ¶ The ways of the LORD are right; ¶ the righteous walk in them, ¶ but the rebellious stumble in them.