9:3 They will not remain in the Lord’s land.
Ephraim will return to Egypt;
they will eat ritually unclean food in Assyria.
Assyria will rule over them 2
because they refuse to repent! 3
1 tc Or “Will they not return to Egypt?” (so NIV). Following the LXX and BHS, the MT לֹא (lo’, “not”) should probably be read as לוֹ (lo, “to him”) and connected to the end of 11:4 rather than the beginning of 11:5. The textual confusion between לֹא and לוֹ probably reflects an unintentional scribal error due to a mistake in hearing (cf., e.g., Kethib/Qere in Ps 100:3).
2 tn Heb “Assyria, he will be his [Israel’s] king” (NASB similar).
3 tn Heb “return” (so KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV). The root שׁוּב (shuv, “to turn, return”) appears at the beginning and ending of this verse, creating an inclusio. This repetition produces an ironic wordplay: because Israel refuses to “return” to God or “turn” from its sin, it will “return” to Egypt. The punishment fits the crime.