III God's forbearance with the idolatry of Judah, who is worse than Israel, ver. 1-11. Both called to repent, with gospel promises, ver. 12-19. Misery by sin; salvation only of God, ver. 20-25.
Verse 1. Shall be - He cannot take her again according to the law, Deut. xxiv, 1-4. Yet I am ready to be reconciled to you. Polluted - Would not so great a sin greatly pollute a nation? Many - Not with one only, but many idols.
Verse 2. Lien with - Where there are not the footsteps of thy idolaters. Sat - To assure passengers. As the Arabian - An allusion to the custom of that people, who were wont to pitch their tents by the way-sides, that they might meet with their customers to trade, as they passed along. Wickedness - Not only thy idolatries, but other wicked courses.
Verse 3. A whore's forehead - For all this, thou didst still remain obstinate, as ashamed of nothing.
Verse 4. My father - Wilt thou not as a child call upon me, whom thou hast thus greatly provoked. The guide - I have been brought up by thee.
Verse 6. Israel - The ten tribes who fell off from Judah.
Verse 8. Given a bill - Delivered her up into the hands of the Assyrian, where God took from her the title of being his church, 2 Kings xvii, 5, 6.
Verse 10. And yet - Though God saw what she did, and though she saw the shameful idolatry of Israel, and what she had suffered.
Verse 12. The north - To Assyria and Media, that lay northward from Judea, whither the ten tribes were carried by Tiglath-pileser, and Salmanezer.
Verse 13. Strangers - To other gods, or to idols, running here and there up and down.
Verse 14. I am married - I am in covenant with you, and this covenant notwithstanding all your unfaithfulness, I am ready to renew with you. Family - This word is taken frequently for a country or nation, and this may partly respect the fewness of those that will return. But chiefly it respects God's exact care of them, that being now married to them, there shall not be one in a city, or two in a country or tribe, but he will find them out. Zion - The ten tribes did never return into their own land, therefore this must be understood of a spiritual going up to Zion, when all Israel shall be saved, Rom. xi, 26.
Verse 16. Multiplied - After the growth of the church under the Messiah. The ark - That whole worship with all the rites and ceremonies belonging to it shall cease, Christ being come, who was the substance of what the ark, and all other rites shadowed. Covenant - Called also the ark of the testimony, because the two tables of the law, which were the testimony, or witness of the covenant were in it. Any more - It shall be no more in use; neither shall men trouble their thoughts about it, or mention it.
Verse 17. The throne - Instead of the ark, the church typified by Jerusalem, shall be the place of God's residence, where by his spirit he will rule and act in his word and ordinances. Jerusalem - Dwelling in Jerusalem, or where the Lord placed his name, of old in Jerusalem, but now in the church. Neither - Both Jews and Gentiles shall now conform themselves to the will of God.
Verse 18. Judah - The two kingdoms shall become one. Shall come - Of their captivity, a promise of their enjoying again their ancient possession at their last conversion.
Verse 19. Put - Esteem thee as my child, 'till thou give some proof, of thy repentance. Give thee - How shall I put thee into possession of that pleasant land. Of nations - Great hosts and multitudes of nations, or Gentiles, that shall be joined to them in the gospel church. Thou shalt - On this condition, that thou wilt own me, and not return any more to idols.
Verse 21. A voice - Here the prophet seems to express Israel's repentance. Forgotten - This expresses, rather the matter or their prayer, than the cause of it.
Verse 23. The hills - From idols which were worshipped upon hills. Mountains - The multitude of sacrifices, which they offer in the mountains.
Verse 24. Shame - Sin, which causes shame, for that brought shame first into the world. Devoured - This hath been the fruit of our labour.
Verse 25. Lie down - An expression to set forth the greatness of their repentance and sorrow in great perplexity, not knowing what to do, throws himself down upon his couch or bed.