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11. Then Yahveh said to me: The apostate one, Israel, is better able to justify her soul than the faithless one, Judah. 12. Go and cry these words to the north, and say: Turn again, thou apostate one, Israel, is Yahveh's oracle; I will not look angrily on you, for I am merciful, is Yahveh's oracle^ I will not bear anger for ever. 13. Only know thy transgression, for thou hast sinned against Yahveh, thy God, and made thy ways wander after strangers under every green tree; but to my voice you have not hearkened, is Yahveh's oracle. 14. Turn again, ye apostate sons, for I am weary of you; yet I will take you, one from a city and two from a tribe, and bring you to Zion, 15. and will give you shepherds after my own heart, so that they shall feed you with knowledge and wisdom. 16. And it shall come to pass, when you multiply and become fruitful in the land in those days, is Yahveh's oracle, they shall no more say "the ark of the covenant of Yahveh" and it shall no more come to mind, and they shall no more remember
she betrayed God and herself, alludes again to the change under Josiah. Ver. 11. iDK'l links on to the same word in ver. 6. Has justified herself = appears justified before me. Ver. 12. Directed to the north, because there Israel is in exile (ver. 18); thus Assyria figures as a northern empire. ^Bn D^B, properly, to let the eyes fall in confusion or anger; cf. Kal, Gen. iv. 5 f.—iiBK, cf. ver. 5; there it was mere words, here it is an utterance of God. Ver. 13. Thou " scatterest" thy ways; makest them diverge right and left (cf. ii. 23 f., 36); here in reference to religious and moral apostasy. Ver. 14. vb]12, I am your lawful lord and owner, is unsuitable here and xxxi. 32; better after the Arabic: I am weary of you; see Gesen. Thesaurus, p. 223. Then the next verb is in opposition. I had rejected you (therefore you could not return to me), but hereafter I will, etc. The inhabitants of the northern kingdom are addressed, whose lot certainly the Judamns were to share, ver. 18. The Lord will indeed only bring a sparse remnant to Zion, which again becomes the centre of the new kingdom, but there it will rapidly multiply. Ver. 16. The ancient blessing of creation (Gen. i. 28) renews the nation's youth, and the temple arises anew in undreamt-of divine glory, so that the covenant-ark is no longer necessary. That the ark no longer existed in Jeremiah's days, can no more be inferred from the way in which it is spoken of than from 2 Chron. xxxiii. 16 it, nor miss it, nor prepare it again. 17. At that time they shall call Jerusalem "Yahveh's throne," and all heathen nations shall assemble to the name of Yahveh at Jerusalem, and shall no more walk after the hardness of their evil heart.
18. In those days the house of Judah shall go to the house of Israel, and they shall come together from the north land to the land which I gave your fathers for an inheritance. 19. And indeed I had said: How shall I put thee in the children's place and give thee a charming land, a royal inheritance among the royalties of the nations? And I had said: You shall call me "My Father," and not depart from following me. 20. But, as a wife is faithless to her husband, you were faithless to me, O house of Israel, is Yahveh's oracle. 21. Hearken to what is heard on the bare heights: suppliant weeping of the children of Israel, because they have perverted their way, forgotten Yahveh, their God. 22. Turn again, ye apostate sons, I will heal your wanderings !" Behold, we come to thee, for
(Movers, Ew. et al.); see, on the contrary, 2 Chron. xxxv. 3. That it will disappear along with the present temple certainly follows from the present passage, and the judgment on Judah presupposed in ver. 18 is thereby suggested. Cf. end of ch. xxvii. Ver. 17. If the ark was hitherto God's throne, the seat of the Shekinah (Ex. xxv. 22 ; Num. vii. 89; Ps. lxxx. 1, xcix. 1), then the whole of Jerusalem shall be so. The nations throng to the name, i.e. to the revelation of Yahveh peculiar to Jerusalem. Ver. 18. Judah also the prophet sees in exile, and that likewise in the north, but not in the same place as Israel. Ver. 19. TnDK OJKi states the precise circumstances of the VWiJn. God's gracious purpose to the following effect had indeed been crossed, ver. 20, but according to ver. 18 and the preceding verses it still awaits a glorious fulfilment- 'ji inTK applies not to the possessions of children (Hitzig), but to filial relation to God. Certainly Israel is not one son among others; but he belongs to the category of sons, and the individual Israelites are sons; cf. iKipn (Keri fern. sing. inaptly).—niK3V, here clearly plur. of '3V. Ver. 20. pK, affirmative then adversative: however, but.—jn companion, here = husband (not in malam partem, as in ver. 1). Ver. 21. Properly, a voice is heard on the bare hills; see on ver. 2. They mourn for their guilt where they have sinned. Ver. 22a. God addresses the penitent in loving tones, as in ver. 14; 22b begins their thou art Yahveh, our God! 23. Certainly the hills are deceitful, the multitude of the mountains; certainly in Yahveh, our God, is the salvation of Israel. 24. But the infamous god has swallowed up the inheritance of our fathers from our childhood, their sheep and their cattle, and their sons and their daughters. 25. We will lie down in our shame, and our disgrace shall cover us; for against Yahveh, our God, we have sinned, we and our fathers, from our childhood and until this day, and have not listened to the voice of Yahveh, our God."
IV. 1. If thou turnest, O Israel, is Yahveh's oracle, thou shalt return to me! And if thou puttest away thy abominations from my sight, thou shalt not remain a fugitive! 2. And thou shalt swear: "As truly as Yahveh lives" in sincerity, justly and uprightly, and the heathen shall bless
confession. nBiK like n"^; K is wanting in unK, Ges. § 75. a. 22; Eng. § 74. Ver. 23 continues the confession. The first half of the verse seems corrupt; best translated with Jerome, as above. In this case nijna and [iDn should stand; nijOJD (of course without dagesh) elsewhere: priests' turbans; may certainly here mean heights. Ver. 24. Idolatry, they continue, instead of bringing blessing, has, on the contrary, swallowed up the fruit of wearisome toil. nBon, the infamous god, referring often to Baal especially, Hos. ix. 10.—From our, i.e. the nation's, youth. Even in the wilderness, and especially in the time of the Judges, it was so. Ver. 25. Expression of deepest contrition. Penitents used sometimes to lie down* in sackcloth and ashes (Job xlii. 6); in their penitence they would make their own shame their bed, and cover themselves with their own disgrace. The discourse cannot end with such extreme self-humiliation. The answer follows in iv. 1 f.
Ver. 1. Modern expositors make the apodosis begin in ver. 2b: If thou turnest, returnest to me . . . and wanderest not, and swearest, they shall bless themselves. But the double "fic is to be taken as in xv. 19, xxxi. 18, and the sentence alludes to iii. 1. 1» means "to be homeless," but evidently not "to wander from God" (LXX), like Tn, ii. 31. Ver. 2. Continues describing the state after repentance, the first clause describing an ethical fruit of it and a condition of the blessing, the second the abundance of the blessing. With the perf. themselves by him and glory in him. 3. For thus says Yahveh to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem: Break up for yourselves a fallow field, and sow not among thorns. 4. Circumcise yourselves to Yahveh, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, lest my fury go forth like fire and burn, when none can quench, because of the wickedness of your misdeeds.
cf. vii. 23, Dn3^m. The swearing is an act of confession, since we swear by God whom we place highest. Israel swore by strange gods (v. 7, xii. 16), and even if it swore by Yahveh, did so dishonourably and falsely (v. 2); disposition and conduct did not correspond to the confession. The second clause recalls the patriarchal promises, but is not a literal citation; hence i3 is better applied to God than to Israel. Israel will be so blessed, that the nations will long for the blessing of this God, and glory in Him. Ver. 3 f. Practical, hortatory application to the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem. In order to escape the judgment fallen on Israel, they must thoroughly reform. This is expressed in a figure borrowed from agriculture, after Hos. x. 12: the soil must first be cleared of rank thorns and briers, and made arable again, before one can sow with success. Ver. 4. The purifying repentance, which it needs, is next set forth as a circumcising of the heart; yet outward circumcision, in itself of no value, as the prophet reminds us, is meant to symbolize the removing of the impure, God-offending state of nature, cf. vi. 10, ix. 24; Herzog, ii. 345. With the threat, cf. Amos v. 6.
Contents of iii. 6-iv. 4. Call to turn and repent: 1. The Apostate Sisters, iii. 6-10. 2. Invitation to return, iii. 11-17. 3. Pardon upon repentance, iii. 18-25. 4. Prosperous future, iv. 1-4.
The prophet follows up the sharp rebuke (iii. 1-5) by a discourse belonging also to Josiah's days, and summed up in the call: Turn again! Of course, in order to the possibility of true repentance, the heinousness of backsliding must first be understood. Therefore the sin of Judah, the " faithless one," is compared with that of northern Israel, " the apostate one,"
and found greater. Although Judah had not broken with Yahveh so long and so openly as Israel, she was in secret the more faithless and outwardly the more hypocritical. And yet she had not only received more gracious divine manifestations than Israel, but should have been deterred by the terrible doom which had overtaken the sister nation from the same bad way, instead of imitating her. But after this severe accusation of Judah, instead of sentence of condemnation being passed on it, repentance and return are preached even to Israel (ver. 12) that has outwardly gone even farther from God, nay, is completely severed from Him, if it will only acknowledge its sin. A few, yet enough to represent the whole nation, shall return to rebuild the kingdom around Zion, and under God's blessing and a government acceptable to Him shall multiply beyond measure. At the same time the prophet sees God's dwelling-place wondrously glorified by His presence. The ark of the covenant, the most sacred and glorious palladium of the ancient temple, shall no longer be remembered, when instead of it all Jerusalem is the abode of God's glory, which is now hidden and veiled no more. Here the seer advances beyond the limits of the old covenant, and foretells for that time of grace a far richer revelation, a more direct indwelling of the Lord in His Church (Orelli, 0. T. Prophecy, p. 332). So overpowering will be this revelation, that the heathen will abandon their stolid indifference and crowd together to this Church. Then God's original purpose respecting Israel will find its fulfilment (ver. 19), according to which it was to receive not merely the most glorious earthly inheritance, but divine adoption. This prospect attracting the apostate ones, the prophet hears already (ver. 21 ff.) how in deepest contrition they pour out their penitence and confession to the Lord. The Lord's answer, iv. 1-4, passes from Israel to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, because it receives practical application at their hands. Only by complete change of mind (jurdvoia) can peace with God be restored and the