Go and proclaim these words towards the north
With his face thitherwards, towards Babylon, which lay north of Judea, and was the metropolis of Assyria, where the ten tribes were carried captive; and though they were dispersed in the cities of Media and Persia, which lay eastward, yet Babylon being the head of the empire, respect is had to that; not that the prophet was to go thither to them, or to prophesy in the land of the north, as the Targum paraphrases the words: for the word "go", as Jarchi observes, is only expressive of a command on the part of God; and of readiness, as Kimchi says, on the part of the prophet to obey, but not of local motion; he was to read these words, as the latter of these suggests, in Jerusalem, before the elders of Judah, with a respect to Israel, as if they were before him; and the design of this was to show that the Lord was gracious and merciful, and ready to receive backsliders; and to stimulate Judah to repentance, and to turn unto the Lord: and say, return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord
not return from the land of their captivity, though that they shall return in the last day Kimchi thinks is here intimated; and Jarchi says some of them did return, in the eighteenth year of Josiah; but return from their idols to the living God: and for their encouragement it is added, and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you;
or, "my face" F4; by frowning upon them, expressing displicency with them, and anger towards them; the meaning is, that he would not continue his resentments, or cause his anger to fall upon them any more, or at least not for ever, as Kimchi interprets it; he had caused his anger to fall upon them like a mighty storm of rain, by carrying them captive; but now he intimates, should they repent and return, he would remove his anger from them, and not cause it to return any more: for I am merciful, saith the Lord;
so he proclaimed himself before Moses, ( Exodus 34:6 ) and of this they had had often instances and proofs: and I will not keep anger for ever;
or, "thy sins", as the Targum; I will not mark and observe them, or reserve them for punishment, but will mercifully forgive them; (See Gill on Jeremiah 3:5).