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1 They say; If a man put away his wife, and she goe from him, and become another mans, shall hee returne vnto her againe? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many louers; yet returne againe to me, saith the Lord.

2 Lift vp thine eyes vnto the high places, and see where thou hast not bene lien with: in the wayes hast thou sate for them, as the Arabian in the wildernesse, and thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredomes, and with thy wickednes.

3 Therefore the showres haue bin withholden, and there hath bene no latter raine, and thou haddest a whores forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed.

4 Wilt thou not from this time cry vnto me; My father, thou art the guide of my youth?

5 Will he reserue his anger for euer? wil he keepe it to the end? Behold, thou hast spoken and done euill things as thou couldest.

6 The Lord said also vnto me, in the daies of Iosiah the king, Hast thou seene that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone vp vpon euery high mountaine, and vnder euery greene tree, and there hath plaied the harlot.

7 And I said after she had done all these things; Turne thou vnto me: but shee returned not, and her treacherous sister Iudah saw it.

8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adulterie, I had put her away and giuen her a bill of diuorce: yet her treacherous sister Iudah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.

9 And it came to passe thorow the lightnes of her whoredome, that shee defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stockes.

10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Iudah hath not turned vnto mee with her whole heart, but fainedly, saith the Lord.

11 And the Lord said vnto mee, The backesliding Israel hath iustified her selfe more then treacherous Iudah.

12 Go and proclaime these words toward the North, and say, Returne thou backesliding Israel, sayeth the Lord, and I will not cause mine anger to fall vpon you: for I am mercifull, saith the Lord, and I will not keepe anger for euer.

13 Only acknowledge thine iniquity that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God, and hast scattered thy wayes to the strangers vnder euery greene tree, and ye haue not obeyed my voice, saith the Lord.

14 Turne, O backesliding children, saith the Lord, for I am maried vnto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I wil bring you to Zion.

15 And I will giue you Pastours according to mine heart, which shall feede you with knowledge and vnderstanding.

16 And it shall come to passe when yee bee multiplied and increased in the land; in those dayes, saith the Lord, they shal say no more; The Arke of the Couenant of the Lord: neither shal it come to minde, neither shall they remember it, neither shall they visit it, neither shall that be done any more.

17 At that time they shall call Ierusalem the Throne of the Lord, and all the nations shalbe gathered vnto it, to the Name of the Lord, to Ierusalem: neither shall they walke any more after the imagination of their euill heart.

18 In those dayes the house of Iudah shall walke with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the North to the land that I haue giuen for an inheritance vnto your fathers.

19 But I said; How shall I put thee among the children, and giue thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hostes of nations? and I said, Thou shalt call me; My father, and shalt not turne away from me.

20 Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband: so haue you dealt treacherously with mee, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.

21 A voice was heard vpon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they haue peruerted their way, and they haue forgotten the Lord their God.

22 Returne ye backsliding children, and I wil heale your backslidings: Beholde, wee come vnto thee, for thou art the Lord our God.

23 Truely in vaine is saluation hoped for from the hilles, and from the multitude of mountaines: truely in the Lord our God is the saluation of Israel.

24 For shame hath deuoured the labour of our fathers from our youth: their flockes and their heards, their sonnes and their daughters.

25 We lie downe in our shame, and our confusion couereth vs: for we haue sinned against the Lord our God, wee and our fathers from our youth euen vnto this day, and haue not obeied the voice of the Lord our God.

Viewing the original 1611 KJV with archaic English spelling
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Commentary for Jeremiah 3

Exhortations to repentance. (1-5) Judah more guilty than Israel. (6-11) But pardon is promised. (12-20) The children of Israel express their sorrow and repentance. (21-25)1-5 In repentance, it is good to think upon the sins of which we have been guilty, and the places and companies where they have been committed. How gently the Lord had corrected them! In receiving penitents, he is God, and not man. Whatever thou hast said or done hitherto, wilt thou not from this time apply to me? Will not this grace of God overcome thee? Now pardon is proclaimed, wilt thou not take the benefit? They will hope to find in him the tender compassions of a Father towards a returning prodigal. They will come to him as the Guide of their youth: youth needs a guide. Repenting sinners may encourage themselves that God will not keep his anger to the end. All God's mercies, in every age, suggest encouragement; and what can be so desirable for the young, as to have the Lord for their Father, and the Guide of their youth? Let parents daily direct their children earnestly to seek this blessing.

6-11 If we mark the crimes of those who break off from a religious profession, and the consequences, we see abundant reason to shun evil ways. It is dreadful to be proved more criminal than those who have actually perished in their sins; yet it will be small comfort in everlasting punishment, for them to know that others were viler than they.

12-20 See God's readiness to pardon sin, and the blessings reserved for gospel times. These words were proclaimed toward the north; to Israel, the ten tribes, captive in Assyria. They are directed how to return. If we confess our sins, the Lord is faithful and just to forgive them. These promises are fully to come to pass in the bringing back the Jews in after-ages. God will graciously receive those that return to him; and by his grace, he takes them out from among the rest. The ark of the covenant was not found after the captivity. The whole of that dispensation was to be done away, which took place after the multitude of believers had been greatly increased by the conversion of the Gentiles, and of the Israelites scattered among them. A happy state of the church is foretold. He can teach all to call him Father; but without thorough change of heart and life, no man can be a child of God, and we have no security for not departing from Him.

21-25 Sin is turning aside to crooked ways. And forgetting the Lord our God is at the bottom of all sin. By sin we bring ourselves into trouble. The promise to those that return is, God will heal their backslidings, by his pardoning mercy, his quieting peace, and his renewing grace. They come devoting themselves to God. They come disclaiming all expectations of relief and succour from any but the Lord. Therefore they come depending upon him only. He is the Lord, and he only can save. It points out the great salvation from sin Jesus Christ wrought out for us. They come justifying God in their troubles, and judging themselves for their sins. True penitents learn to call sin shame, even the sin they have been most pleased with. True penitents learn to call sin death and ruin, and to charge upon it all they suffer. While men harden themselves in sin, contempt and misery are their portion: for he that covereth his sins shall not prosper, but he that confesseth and forsaketh them, shall find mercy.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

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