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They say = [It is a common] saying. Reference to Pentateuch (Deuteronomy 24:1-4 ).
yet return again to Me = yet [thinkest thou to] return, &c. It was contrary to the law of Deuteronomy 24:1-4 . It will be the new Israel of Matthew 21:43 of a yet future day. God never mends what man has marred. This is the lesson of the potter's house. See Jeremiah 18:1-4 .
to Me. See Jeremiah 3:7 ; Jeremiah 4:1 .
showers . . . withholden. Reference to Pentateuch (Leviticus 26:19 . Deuteronomy 11:17 ; Deuteronomy 28:23 ). App-92 .
forehead. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Adjunct), for impudence.
Guide = Friend.
reserve. Hebrew. natar. Occurs in Jer. only here and in Jeremiah 3:12 ("keep").
His anger. Figure of speech Ellipsis (Absolute). App-6 .
evil things = the evil things. Hebrew. ra'a', as in Jeremiah 3:2 .
as thou couldest: or, hast had thy way.
Jeremiah 3:6-25 ; Jeremiah 4:1-4 is Jeremiah's Fifth prophecy. (see Book comments for Jeremiah).
in the days of Josiah. This must be noted to understand the context.
Israel. Here refers to the Northern Kingdom. In Jeremiah it usually refers to the whole nation.
mountain . . . tree. Compare Jeremiah 2:20 , and Hosea 4:13 .
played the harlot. The whole of this refers to idolatry, chiefly because of the uncleanness connected with the phallic worship of the Canaanitish nations.
Turn thou unto Me: or, "Unto Me she will return".
And I saw. In transcribing from the ancient characters, Aleph (= a) was perhaps taken for Tau (= t), the two letters differing only in one minute stroke (=) and (=). This shows that the primitive reading was = "Though she saw". The Vulg, has preserved the ancient reading, which the Revised Version has put in the margin.
given her a bill, &c. Reference to Pentateuch (Deuteronomy 24:1 ). Compare Isaiah 50:1 .Mark 10:4 .
stones . . . stocks. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Cause), App-6 , for the idols made from them.
feignedly = in falsehood. The reformation was Josiah's. The People's heart was not changed.
justified herself. Compare Ezekiel 16:51 , Ezekiel 16:52 .
toward the north = toward the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
cause Mine anger to fall upon you. Hebrew cause My face, or countenance, to fall. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Effect), for the anger manifested by it. Reference to Pentateuch (Genesis 4:5 , Genesis 4:6 ).
merciful = gracious, favourable.
keep. See note on "reserve", Jeremiah 3:5 .
Only acknowledge, &c. This from the first was, and still is, the one condition of national blessing for Israel. Reference to Pentateuch (Leviticus 26:40 , Leviticus 26:42 ).
transgressed = rebelled.
scattered thy ways = gone hither and thither.
strangers = foreigners.
every green tree. Referring to the worship of the Asherah ( App-42 ).
Turn = Return, as in verses: Jeremiah 3:12 , Jeremiah 3:22 .
married = am become your husband. This will be the result of the Restoration here promised.
family. Probably a family, or group of cities.
pastors. Literally shepherds; but used in Jeremiah of kings, priests, and prophets, who were the guides of the people. See Jeremiah 2:8 ; Jeremiah 3:15 ; Jeremiah 10:21 ; Jeremiah 23:1 , Jeremiah 23:2 , Jeremiah 23:4 ; Jeremiah 25:34 ; Jer 35:36 .
in those days: i.e. the days of the Restoration spoken of in verses: Jeremiah 3:14 , Jeremiah 3:15 . Compare Jeremiah 31:38-40 ; Jeremiah 33:13 .
they: i.e. those who return.
shall say no more, 'The ark', &c. The ark was still in the land in the days of this prophecy (2 Chronicles 35:3 ); but it was to disappear with the broken covenant, of which it was the symbol.
The ark of the covenant of the LORD. Reference to Pentateuch, (see notes on Exodus 25:22 ). Compare note on 1 Chronicles 13:3 ).
visit it. This is conclusive of the fact that it was burnt together with the Temple (as it is not included in the excepted things, in 2 Kings 25:9 , 2 Kings 25:13-15 ), notwithstanding the Jewish tradition recorded in 2 Macc. 2:4-8, and the impossible stories of its being taken over to North Africa, Constantinople, or Ireland.
neither shall that be done, &c. = neither shall it be made any more. It disappeared together with the covenant, of which it was the symbol (Jeremiah 8:19 ; Jeremiah 12:7 . Psalms 132:13 , Psalms 132:14 ). The reason follows in Jeremiah 3:17 . Jehovah's throne will be substituted for it: the reality will take the place of the symbol. Jehovah Himself will take the place of the Shekinah.
At that time. Referring to the future Restoration.
call Jerusalem, &c. Compare Psalms 87:2-7 . Isaiah 60:1 ; Isaiah 65:18 ; Isaiah 66:7-13 , Isaiah 66:20 .
throne. Compare Jeremiah 14:21 . 1 Samuel 2:8 . Psalms 47:8 with Matthew 25:31 and Zephaniah 3:8 .
all the nations. This shows that the prophecy refers to the yet future Restoration. Compare Jeremiah 1:5 , Jeremiah 1:10 .
the name, &c. See note on Psalms 20:1 .
imagination = stubbornness. The word is used eight times by Jeremiah, but is found nowhere else outside the Pentateuch, except in Psalms 81:12 . Compare Jeremiah 7:24 . The reference to Pent, is in Deuteronomy 29:19 .
In those days. Still referring to the future Restoration.
the house of Judah. This expression occurs eleven times in this book: here; Jeremiah 5:11 ; Jeremiah 11:10 , Jeremiah 11:17 ; Jeremiah 12:14 ; Jeremiah 13:11 ; Jeremiah 22:6 ; Jeremiah 31:27 , Jeremiah 31:31 ; Jeremiah 33:14 ; Jeremiah 36:3 .
walk with = go unto.
the house of Israel. See note on Jeremiah 2:4 .
and they shall = that they may.
come = enter.
together: or, at the same time.
children = sons.
a pleasant land. Hebrew a land of desire: i.e. to be desired.
husband = guide, or friend, as in Jeremiah 3:4 .
the high places = the places where they had sinned. Compare Jeremiah 3:2 .
for = because.
Behold. Figure of speech Asterismos , to mark the confession that will be made "in those days".
Truly = Thus continuing her confession.
in vain, &c. = as certainly as the hills [have proved] false, and the noisy throng on the mountains fan empty sound], so truly is the salvation of Israel with our God. The "hills" and "mountains" are put by the Figure of speech Metonymy (of Subject), for the idolatry practiced on them. Compare Ezekiel 18:6 , Ezekiel 18:11 , Ezekiel 18:15 .
shame = the shameful thing, "shame" being put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Effect), for the Asherah which put them to shame (Jeremiah 3:25 ). See App-42 .
labour. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Cause), for all that had been produced by labour.
their sons. Some codices, with two early printed editions, Aramaean, Septuagint, and Syriac, read "and their", thus completing the Figure of speech Polysyndeton, to emphasize the completeness of the Restoration.
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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Jeremiah 3". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29