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Jer 3:1-25. GOD'S MERCY NOTWITHSTANDING JUDAH'S VILENESS.
Contrary to all precedent in the case of adultery, Jehovah offers a return to Judah, the spiritual adulteress (Jer 3:1-5). A new portion of the book, ending with the sixth chapter. Judah worse than Israel; yet both shall be restored in the last days (Jer 3:6-25).
1. They say--rather, as Hebrew, "saying," in agreement with
of last chapter [MAURER]. Or, it is equivalent to,
"Suppose this case." Some copyist may have omitted, "The word of the
Lord came to me," saying.
2. high places--the scene of idolatries which were spiritual
4. from this time--not referring, as
MICHAELIS thinks, to the
reformation begun the year before, that is, the twelfth of Josiah; it
means--now at once, now at last.
5. he--"thou," the second person, had preceded. The change to
the third person implies a putting away of God to a greater
distance from them; instead of repenting and forsaking their idols,
they merely deprecate the continuance of their punishment.
and Ps 103:9,
answer their question in the event of their penitence.
is a new discourse, delivered in Josiah's reign. It consists of two
parts, the former extending to
in which he warns Judah from the example of Israel's doom, and yet
promises Israel final restoration; the latter a threat of Babylonian
invasion; as Nabopolassar founded the Babylonian empire, 625 B.C., the seventeenth of Josiah, this prophecy is
perhaps not earlier than that date
&c.; Jer 5:14, &c.;
Jer 6:1, &c.;
and probably not later than the second thorough reformation in the
eighteenth year of the same reign.
8. I saw that, though (whereas) it was for this very reason (namely),
because backsliding (apostate) Israel had committed adultery I had put
(2Ki 17:6, 18),
and given her a bill of divorce, yet Judah, &c.
9. it--Some take this verse of Judah, to whom the end of
puts Judah in contrast to Israel in this verse. "Yet for
all this," referring to the sad example of Israel; if
referred to Judah, "she" would have been written in
not "Judah." Translate, "It (the putting away of Israel) had come to
pass through . . . whoredom; and (that is, for) she (Israel)
had defiled the land" &c. [MAURER]. English
Version, however, may be explained to refer to
10. yet--notwithstanding the lesson given in Israel's case of the
fatal results of apostasy.
11. justified herself--has been made to appear almost just (that is,
comparatively innocent) by the surpassing guilt of Judah, who adds
hypocrisy and treachery to her sin; and who had the example of Israel to
warn her, but in vain (compare
Eze 16:51; 23:11).
12. Go--not actually; but turn and proclaim towards the north (Media
and Assyria, where the ten tribes were located by Tiglath-pileser and
2Ki 15:29; 17:6; 18:9, 11).
13. Only acknowledge--
(De 30:1, 3;
14. I am married--literally, "I am Lord," that is, husband to you
Ho 2:19, 20;
GESENIUS, following the Septuagint version
and Paul's quotation of it
translates, "I have rejected you"; so the corresponding
Arabic, and the idea of lordship, may pass into that of
looking down upon, and so rejecting. But the
Septuagint in this passage translates, "I will be Lord
over you." And the "for" has much more force in English Version
than in that of GESENIUS. The Hebrew
hardly admits the rendering though [HENGSTENBERG].
16. they shall say no more--The Jews shall no longer glory in the
possession of the ark; it shall not be missed, so great shall be the
blessings of the new dispensation. The throne of the Lord,
present Himself, shall eclipse and put out of mind the ark of the
covenant and the mercy seat between the cherubim, God's former throne.
The ark, containing the two tables of the law, disappeared at the
Babylonian captivity, and was not restored to the second temple,
implying that the symbolical "glory" was to be superseded by a "greater
17. Jerusalem--the whole city, not merely the temple. As it has
been the center of the Hebrew theocracy, so it shall be the point of
attraction to the whole earth
Zec 2:10, 11; 14:16-21).
18. Judah . . . Israel . . . together--Two distinct apostasies, that
of Israel and that of Judah, were foretold
(Jer 3:8, 10).
The two have never been united since the Babylonish captivity;
therefore their joint restoration must be still future
(Isa 11:12, 13;
19. The good land covenanted to Abraham is to be restored to his seed.
But the question arises, How shall this be done?
20. Surely--rather, "But."
21. In harmony with the preceding promises of God, the penitential
confessions of Israel are heard.
22. Jehovah's renewed invitation
(Jer 3:12, 14)
and their immediate response.
23. multitude of mountains--that is, the multitude of gods worshipped on them (compare Ps 121:1, 2, Margin).
24. shame--that is, the idols, whose worship only covers us with shame (Jer 11:13; Ho 9:10). So far from bringing us "salvation," they have cost us our cattle and even our children, whom we have sacrificed to them.
25. (Ezr 9:7).