Hosea 11: God’s continuing Love for Israel.

God’s regard for Israel; their ingratitude. (1-7)
When Israel were weak and helpless as children, foolish and Stubbornly disobedient as children, then God loved them; he bore them as the nurse does the sucking child, nourished them, and suffered their manners. All who are grown up, ought often to reflect upon the goodness of God to them in their childhood. He took care of them, took pains with them, not only as a father, or a tutor, but as a mother, or nurse. When they were in the wilderness, God showed them the way in which they should go, and bore them up, taking them by the arms. He taught them the way of his commandments by the ceremonial law given by Moses. He took them by the arms, to guide them, that they might not stray, and to hold them up, that they might not stumble and fall. God’s spiritual Israel are all thus supported. – Matthew Henry Concise Commentary.
Hosea is using five metaphors to describe Israel. 1. Wayward wife, 2. Grape in the wilderness (Ch. 9), 3. A luxuriant vine (Ch.10), and a Toddler (Ch. 11). God uses these comparisons to stress repeatedly 1. His past care for them, 2. Their reckless ingratitude and 3. Unavoidable consequences.
V.1…child…called My son……
Here is one of the most endearing passages in Hosea. The prophet uses another family metaphor, portraying the Lord not only as a husband but also as a father (cf. Luke 15:11–32, prodigal son). This metaphor was not original to Hosea (cf. Ex. 4:22–23). Matthew 2:15 uses the line “out of Egypt I called my son” to show that Jesus is the “Son of God,” i.e., the heir of David who embodies Israel’s relationship to God (cf. 2 Sam. 7:14; Ps. 89:26–27). – ESV Study Bible.
Prophecy on the impending judgement of God about the total destruction of Israel (Chapter 10) will not continue without the message of mercies of God pointing toward God’s special care and concern in the past which is available now and later. Repentance will activate the mercies and tender care of God.
V.2…sacrificed…burnt incense…… God is referring to their sins of early days which he put up with them as a father would do to the young child.God never stopped loving them. Ps. 25:7, Ezk. 16:43.
V.3…I taught them to walk…… Through the history of Israel since their emancipation from Egypt, God not only never stopped loving them but He taught them the life skills also.
V.4…drew them with gentle cords…bands of love….I stooped and fed them… This verse talks about the Love and care of God towards Israel.
Vs.5-7…shall not return to…Egypt; but Assyrian… Hosea returns to the inevitable result of Israel’s sin, if they persist in turning from God. God says that hope of finding deliverance from Egypt will fail. We usually seek to go to the old way, or old pattern, or old sin to resolve our issues. It is not going to be a easy slavery with all comforts. When Israelites went to Egypt, it was a comfortable one. But now it is going to be total dispersion where they will be scattered all over. They will have a very tyrant Pharaoh for Assyria.
The Divine mercy yet in store (8-12):
God is slow to anger, and is loth to abandon a people to utter ruin, who have been called by His Name. When God was to give a sacrifice for sin, and a Saviour for sinners, he spared not his own Son, that he might spare us. This is the language of the day of his patience; but when men sin that away, then the great day of his wrath comes. … God knows how to pardon poor sinners. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and therein declares his righteousness, now Christ has purchased the pardon, and he has promised it. Holy trembling at the word of Christ will draw us to Him, not drive us from Him, the children tremble, and flee to Him. And all that come at the gospel call, shall have a place and a name in the gospel church. The religious services of Israel were mere hypocrisy…. Let us be faithful: those who thus honour God, he will honour, but such us despise Him shall be lightly esteemed. – Matthew Henry Concise Commentary.
Vs.8 & 9… How can I give you up? …How can I make you like… In a highly human usage of words, God is pouring out his uncontainable love. Read Isaiah 49:15 & Jeremiah 31:20 which express the same feeling of God. The compassion of God is stronger than the Israel’s sin of ingratitude. …How can I make you like Admah…Zeboiim… This is a reference to Sodom and Gomorrah, the cities were utterly destroyed Genesis 14:2,8, Dt. 29:23. In the midst of severe judgment, God is referring to a REMNANT Romans 11:5.
Vs.10 & 11…His sons shall come trembling from the west…God refers to the return of a remnant of His People from exile.
V.12…Ephraim has encircled Me with lies…Judah still walks with God… Both Judah and Israel (Ephraim) lapsed in their faithfulness to God. But Judah had some good kings and a heart to return to God often. When Assyria overtook Israel, Hezekiah, the king of Judah had victory over Assyrians which happened 20 years after the fall of Israel.