And they put away the strange gods from among them
Which was an evidence of the truth of their repentance, and showed their confessions and humiliations to be genuine:
and served the Lord;
and him only, both in private and public; in the observance of duties, both moral and ceremonial; in an attendance on the service of the sanctuary, and by offering sacrifices to God there, according to his will:
and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel;
which is to be understood after the manner of men; for grief properly does not belong to God, there being no passion in him; but it denotes a carriage or behaviour of his, which shows what looks like sympathy in men; a love and affection for Israel, notwithstanding their ill behaviour to him, and a change of his dispensations Providence towards them, according to his unchangeable will; so Maimonides F2 understands it of the good will and pleasure of God, to cease from afflicting the people of Israel; but Abarbinel is of opinion that this refers to the soul of Israel, which was shortened and contracted, as the word signifies, because of the labour of servitude, the affliction and distress they were in.
F2 Moreh Nevochim, par. 1. c. 41.