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Tuesday, September 26th, 2023
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 3

Gaebelein's Annotated BibleGaebelein's Annotated

Verses 1-5

CHAPTERS 2:1-3:5

Expostulation and Impeachment

1. His love and kindness to Jerusalem (Jeremiah 2:1-3 )

2. The unfaithful people (Jeremiah 2:4-11 )

3. The two evils and the results (Jeremiah 2:12-18 )

4. Impeachment (Jeremiah 2:19-30 )

5. Expostulation (Jeremiah 2:31-37 )

6. Jehovah waiting to show mercy (Jeremiah 3:1-5 )

Jeremiah 2:1-3 . The first message Jeremiah received begins with reminding Jerusalem of the kindness Jehovah bestowed upon the nation in her youth, and how she went after Him in the wilderness. He had separated Israel to belong to Him, to be a holy nation, the first fruits of His increase, which probably means that other nations should through Israel be called to know Him. He was their protector and those who tried to devour them would be held guilty.

Jeremiah 2:4-11 . After Jehovah had called to the remembrance of the people the days of her youth, He reproves them for their unfaithfulness. This is the opening chapter of the roll which Jehudi read in the presence of Jehoiakim, which he threw into the fire after he had mutilated it with his penknife (Jeremiah 36:23 ). The remonstrance starts with a pathetic question: “What iniquity have your fathers found in Me, that they are gone far from Me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?” Was there anything unrighteous in Him: had He dealt in a treacherous way? Was the fault in Jehovah that they had left Him? They had not thought on His faithfulness as He had led them out of Egypt, through the desert and the shadows of death. It was forgotten by them, and when Jehovah brought them to the land of promise they had defiled the land. Priests, pastors and prophets had apostatized. Thus Jehovah states His case to plead with them and their children. Their folly and ingratitude were worse than that of heathen nations. Such was the failure of the favored nation. The failure of Christendom is even greater when we think of the greater manifestation of God’s love in the gift of His Son, and the greater blessing and deliverance.

Jeremiah 2:12-18 . The two evils are, forsaking Jehovah, the fountain of living waters, and the hewing for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water. Jehovah was the storehouse of the living waters, put at the disposal of His people without money and without price. But instead of confessing, “All my springs are in Thee,” they had left Him, the source of life and comfort; and turned to broken cisterns of their own invention, as well as to the idols and worshipped them. It is so among the professing people of God in this dispensation; the two evils are present with us also. The result for Israel was enslavement. The young lions came (the Assyrian invasion) and made the land waste. Noph (Memphis) and Tahpanhes (Daphnae), that is, Egypt, did the same. It came as the fruit of having forsaken the fountain of living water.

Jeremiah 2:19-30 . The impeachment begins with the solemn statement: “Know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken Jehovah Thy God, and that my fear is not in Thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.” They had broken the covenant and played the harlot. The noble vine He had planted had degenerated. Their iniquity was marked before the Lord, and nothing that they did could remove the stain (Jeremiah 2:22 ). Yet they denied their guilt of going after idols. And when the Lord tells them, “withhold thy foot from being unshod,” that is, running so much after strange gods, so that the feet become unshod, by wearing out the sandals, they boldly declared, “There is no hope; no, for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go.” Their backs and their faces were turned from Jehovah. But when the time of trouble comes, they will say, “Arise, save us.” But could or would the false gods they had made respond and save them? Some day a remnant of that nation will turn to the Lord and cry, “Arise, save us,” and He will answer.

Jeremiah 2:31-37 . Israel’s conduct was incomprehensible. Once more it is the “Why” of Jehovah. What had He done that they should turn away from Him? Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet His people had forgotten Him, who had loved and adorned them, days without number. He will plead with them because they said, I have not sinned.

Jeremiah 3:1-5 . Here is the first time the gracious invitation is given, “Return again to Me, saith the LORD.” And how many times after, the Lord pleads in the riches of His mercy for His people to return unto Him and offers them forgiveness.

Verses 6-25

The Call to Repentance and judgment Announced (3:6-6:30)


1. The contrast between backslidden Israel and treacherous Judah (Jeremiah 3:6-11 )

2. The call to return and the promised glory (Jeremiah 3:12-18 )

3. The future true repentance predicted and anticipated (Jeremiah 3:19-25 )

Jeremiah 3:6-11 . The message which begins with the sixth verse was given to Jeremiah during the reign of Josiah. There is then, first of all, a contrast between Israel (the ten tribes) and her sister Judah. (Compare with Ezekiel 23:1-49 . ) The house of Israel, the northern kingdom was judged first by the Lord. She played the harlot; after she had done so, the Lord said, “Turn thou to Me.” She refused, and her treacherous sister the house of Judah saw it. And when the Lord dealt with the house of Israel in judgment and they were carried away, Judah did not fear but played the harlot. The tenth verse proves conclusively that the reformation under Josiah was not a true spiritual revival: “And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not returned unto Me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the LORD.”

Jeremiah 3:12-18 . Here is a message to be proclaimed toward the north, calling on backsliding Israel to return. He promises mercy to them. One hundred years before, the house of Israel had gone northward as captives. The Lord knew where they dwelt and sent them this message of mercy. He knows today where the house of Israel is, the ten tribes, and at some future time the gracious offer given here will be consummated in their return. These verses are prophetic. They speak of the time when the chosen people will return. Then Jerusalem will be called “the throne of the LORD.” Israel will be converted. All the nations will be gathered unto the Name of Jehovah; the house of Judah with the house of Israel will be reunited. That will be when the King our ever blessed Lord comes back.

Jeremiah 3:19-25 . What the future true repentance of the people will be is here predicted and anticipated. There will be weeping and supplications. They will acknowledge that true salvation is in the Lord. They will confess their sins and their disobedience.

Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Jeremiah 3". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/jeremiah-3.html. 1913-1922.
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