Jeremiah 3:1-25 . GOD'S MERCY NOTWITHSTANDING JUDAH'S VILENESS.
13. Only acknowledge--( Deuteronomy 30:1 Deuteronomy 30:3 , Proverbs 28:13 ).
scattered thy ways, &c.--( Jeremiah 2:25 ). Not merely the calves at Beth-el, but the idols in every direction, were the objects of their worship ( Ezekiel 16:15 Ezekiel 16:24 Ezekiel 16:25 ).
14. I am married--literally, "I am Lord," that is, husband to you (so Jeremiah 31:32 ; compare Hosea 2:19 Hosea 2:20 , Isaiah 54:5 ). GESENIUS, following the Septuagint version of Jeremiah 31:32 , and Paul's quotation of it ( Hebrews 8:9 ), 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].
take you one of a city--Though but one or two Israelites were in a (foreign) city, they shall not be forgotten; all shall be restored ( Amos 9:9 ). So, in the spiritual Israel, God gathers one convert here, another there, into His Church; not the least one is lost ( Matthew 18:14 , Romans 11:5 ; compare Jeremiah 24:5-7 ).
family--a clan or tribe.
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at the Babylonian captivity, and was not restored to the second temple, implying that the symbolical "glory" was to be superseded by a "greater glory" ( Haggai 2:9 ).
neither . . . visit it--rather, "neither shall it be missed" (so in Jeremiah 23:4 ).
done--rather, "neither shall it (the ark) be made (that is, be restored) any more" [MAURER].
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 ( Isaiah 2:2-4 , Zechariah 2:10 Zechariah 2:11 , 14:16-21 ).
throne of . . . Lord--The Shekinah, the symbol of God's peculiar nearness to Israel ( Deuteronomy 4:7 ) shall be surpassed by the antitype, God's own throne in Jerusalem ( Psalms 2:6 Psalms 2:8 , Ezekiel 34:23 Ezekiel 34:24 , Zechariah 2:5 ).
imagination--rather, as Margin, "the obstinacy" or stubbornness.
18. Judah . . . Israel . . . together--Two distinct apostasies, that of Israel and that of Judah, were foretold ( Jeremiah 3:8 Jeremiah 3:10 ). The two have never been united since the Babylonish captivity; therefore their joint restoration must be still future ( Isaiah 11:12 Isaiah 11:13 , Ezekiel 37:16-22 , Hosea 1:11 ).
north--( Jeremiah 3:12 ).
land . . . given . . . inheritance--( Amos 9:15 ).
19. The good land covenanted to Abraham is to be restored to his seed. But the question arises, How shall this be done?
put . . . among . . . children--the Greek for adoption means, literally, "putting among the sons."
the children--that is, My children. "How shall I receive thee back into My family, after thou hast so long forsaken Me for idols?" The answer is, they would acknowledge Him as "Father," and no longer turn away from Him. God assumes the language of one wondering how so desperate apostates could be restored to His family and its privileges (compare Ezekiel 37:3 ; CALVIN makes it, How the race of Abraham can be propagated again, being as it were dead); yet as His purpose has decreed it so, He shows how it shall be effected, namely, they shall receive from Him the spirit of adoption to cry, "My Father" ( John 1:12 , Galatians 4:6 ). The elect are "children" already in God's purpose; this is the ground of the subsequent realization of this relationship ( Ephesians 1:5 , Hebrews 2:13 ).
pleasant land--( Jeremiah 11:5 , Ezekiel 20:6 , Daniel 11:16 , Margin).
heritage of . . . hosts--a heritage the most goodly of all nations [MAURER]; or a "heritage possessed by powerful hosts" ( Deuteronomy 4:38 , Amos 2:9 ). The rendering "splendors," instead of "hosts," is opposed by the fact that the Hebrew for "splendor" is not found in the plural.
20. Surely--rather, "But."
21. In harmony with the preceding promises of God, the penitential confessions of Israel are heard.
high places--The scene of their idolatries is the scene of their confessions. Compare Jeremiah 3:23 , in which they cast aside their trust in these idolatrous high places. The publicity of their penitence is also implied (compare Jeremiah 7:29 , 48:38 ).
22. Jehovah's renewed invitation ( Jeremiah 3:12 Jeremiah 3:14 ) and their immediate response.
heal--forgive ( 2 Chronicles 30:18 2 Chronicles 30:20 , Hosea 14:4 ).
unto thee--rather, "in obedience to thee"; literally, "for thee" [ROSENMULLER].
24. shame--that is, the idols, whose worship only covers us with shame ( Jeremiah 11:13 , Hosea 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. ( Ezra 9:7 ).