Jeremiah 3:12-14

12 Go, proclaim this message toward the north: “ ‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the LORD, ‘I will frown on you no longer, for I am faithful,’ declares the LORD, ‘I will not be angry forever.
13 Only acknowledge your guilt— you have rebelled against the LORD your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,’ ” declares the LORD.
14 “Return, faithless people,” declares the LORD, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion.

Jeremiah 3:12-14 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO JEREMIAH 3

In this chapter the sins of the people of Israel and Judah are exposed; particularly their idolatry, signified by playing the harlot; which is aggravated by the number of lovers or idols they had worshipped; by the many places where they had committed it; by their impudence in doing it; and by the bad consequence of it, showers of rain being withheld from them on that account, Jer 3:1-3 and the grace of God towards them is abundantly declared by frequent calls unto them to repent and turn to him, and this after putting them away, which is not usual, Jer 3:1,8, the Lord expostulates with them, and puts words into their mouths, what they should say to him, even after they had spoken and done as evil things as they could, Jer 3:4,5 the sin of Judah is particularly aggravated, by having seen what Israel, or the ten tribes, had done; their impenitence, notwithstanding the divine call; their going into captivity for their sin; and yet all this had no effect on Judah, to restrain them from the like sins, and to engage them to repentance; so that, of the two, the men of Judah were most to blame, Jer 3:6-11, wherefore the prophet is bid to go towards the north, where Babylon lay, and Israel were carried captive, and call upon them to return to the Lord, and proclaim his grace and mercy to them, only insisting upon an acknowledgment of their sins, their idolatry and disobedience, Jer 3:12,13 and next the call to them to return is repeated; to which they are encouraged by observing the relations, they stood in to him, which continued, by promising to bring a remnant of them to Zion, and give them pastors approved of by him, and profitable to them, Jer 3:14,15 which respect Gospel times, and the latter day, when the ceremonial law would be abrogated, Jer 3:16, the Gentiles called, Jer 3:17 and an entire agreement between Judah and Israel, Jer 3:18 and yet the Lord expresses a concern how he should reckon them as his children, and treat them as such, who had behaved so ill towards him; but his grace gets over the difficulties; finds out a way, by putting it into their mouths to call him their Father, and not turn away from him, Jer 3:19 and this, notwithstanding their great treachery to him, perversion of their ways, and forgetfulness of the Lord, Jer 3:20,21, and they are again exhorted to repent and turn, with a promise of healing their backslidings, which has such an effect upon them, as to engage them to come to him, Jer 3:22 acknowledging their salvation is only in him, and not in their idols; and that sin was the cause of all their calamities; and that shame and confusion of face belonged unto them on that account, Jer 3:23-25.

Jeremiah 3:12-14 In-Context

10 In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense,” declares the LORD.
11 The LORD said to me, “Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah.
12 Go, proclaim this message toward the north: “ ‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the LORD, ‘I will frown on you no longer, for I am faithful,’ declares the LORD, ‘I will not be angry forever.
13 Only acknowledge your guilt— you have rebelled against the LORD your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,’ ” declares the LORD.
14 “Return, faithless people,” declares the LORD, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion.
15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.
16 In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land,” declares the LORD, “people will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made.

Cross References 11

  • 1. 2 Kings 17:3-6
  • 2. ver 14; S Deuteronomy 4:30; Jeremiah 31:21,22; Ezekiel 14:6; Ezekiel 33:11; Hosea 14:1
  • 3. S ver 6
  • 4. S 1 Kings 3:26; S Psalms 6:2
  • 5. S Psalms 103:9; S Isaiah 54:9; Psalms 86:15
  • 6. Deuteronomy 30:1-3; Jeremiah 14:20; 1 John 1:9
  • 7. S Jeremiah 2:25
  • 8. S Deuteronomy 12:2
  • 9. ver 25; Jeremiah 22:21
  • 10. S ver 12; S Job 22:23; Jeremiah 4:1; Hosea 2:19
  • 11. S Isaiah 54:5