Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away
Here begins an enumeration of the sins of the Jews, which were the cause of their ruin; and here is first a general charge of apostasy from the statutes and ordinances of the law, which they made void by the traditions of the fathers; and therefore this word is used as referring to this evil, as well as to express their early, long, and continued departure from the ways of God; which as it was an aggravation of their sin, that they should have so long ago forsook the ordinances of God,
and have not kept [them],
but transgressed them by observing the traditions of men, ( Matthew 15:3 ) so it is an instance of the patience and forbearance of God, that they were not as yet consumed; and of his grace and goodness, that he should address them as follows:
Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord
this message was carried to them by John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, and by Christ himself, who both preached the doctrine of repentance to this people, ( Matthew 3:2 ) ( 4:17 ) . The Targum is,
``return to my worship, and I will look in my word to do well unto you, saith the Lord of hosts;''and such who returned, and believed in Christ, and submitted to his ordinances, it was well with them.
But ye said, Wherein shall we return?
what have we to turn from, or repent of? what evils have we done, or can be charged on us? what need have we of repentance or conversion, or of such an exhortation to it? do not we keep the law, and all the rituals of it? this is the true language of the Pharisees in Christ's time, who, touching the righteousness of the law, were blameless in their own esteem, and were the ninety and nine just persons that needed not repentance, ( Luke 15:7 ) .