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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Jeremiah 3

Verses 1-5

JEREMIAH - CHAPTER 3

A CALL FOR REPENTANCE

1. Verse 1 should be read with Deuteronomy 4:1-4. a. From this it appears that reconciliation and reunion between Judah and her God is legally impossible!

b. What right, then, has Judah (who has "gone a whoring" after false gods) to return to Jehovah as if His covenant has not been violated? (Jeremiah 2:20; Ezekiel 16:26-29).

2. The language of verse 2 suggests Judah’s participation in the immoral rites of the fertility cults, (contr. Deuteronomy 12:2-4); so passionate is her lust for idol-lovers, that she waits for them as a band of Arab robbers waits to plunder a passing caravan, (Ezekiel 16:25) - polluting the land by her wicked whoredoms, (Jeremiah 2:7).

3. The withholding of showers (both the Fall and Spring rains -essential to the fruitfulness of their crops, Jeremiah 14:3-6; Leviticus 26:19) was divinely related to Judah’s SIN; but, like a whore with a seared conscience, she did not even blush at being confronted with her sin, and the necessary consequences thereof, (vs. 3; Jeremiah 6:15; Jeremiah 8:12; comp. Ezekiel 3:7-8).

4. Instead, she self-righteously and boldly petitioned the Lord, whose holy name she had polluted by her fornication - addressing Him as "My Father," and "the Guide" (companion, or friend) "of my youth"; she chided Him against nursing a grudge and retaining His anger as "My Father," and "the Guide" (companion, or friend) "of my youth"; she chided Him against nursing a grudge and retaining His anger forever!(vs. 4-5a; comp. vs. 12; Psalms 103:9; Isaiah 57:16).

5. The unfaithful wife is grossly presumptuous to expect instant relief from one upon whom she has practiced all the evil that her perverted heart and mind could devise! (vs. 5).

Verses 6-10

Vs. 6-10 A COMPARISON OF TWO ADULTEROUS WOMEN

1. This section is specifically dated "in the days of Josiah the king," (vs. 6a).

2. God calls the attention of Jeremiah to Israel (the northern kingdom) as the very personification of apostasy, (comp. vs. 8, 11-12; Jeremiah 7:24).

a. He characterizes her idolatry as "playing the harlot," (vs. 6b; comp. Jeremiah 17:2; Ezekiel 23:1-10).

b. In spite of this, the Lord pleaded with her to return to Him with her whole heart; but she did not choose to obey, (vs. 7a).

c. Because of her persistent apostasy (her adulterous actions), God is said to have put her away and given her a bill of divorcement - in the sense that He delivered her up to the discipline of captivity in Assyria, (vs. 8; Deuteronomy 24:1).

1) It should be understood, however, that this was NOT God’s desire; it was the fruit of her own doing (vs. 20), and only a temporary arrangement.

2) A blessed reconciliation will yet be realized! 3. Judah, on the other hand, is the very personification ’of FAITHLESSNESS (treachery) - exhibiting the disobedience of inexcusable unbelief, (vs. 7). , 4. Though she saw what judgment God brought upon her sister

(Israel), Judah did not so take it to heart as to reverence Jehovah.

a. It is true that she did PRETEND to turn to the Lord - under the reforms of both Hezekiah and Josiah; but it was sheer hypocrisy, (vs. 10b; comp. Jeremiah 12:2; Hosea 7:14).

b. In reality, she "played the harlot" - bestowing her love upon gods of wood and stone with such light-hearted abandon as polluted the whole land! (vs. 9; comp. Jeremiah 2:7 b).

Verses 11-20

Va. 11-20 AN OFFER OF FORGIVENESS

1. Despicable as was the apostatizing of the northern kingdom, she has shown herself more righteous than faithless Judah, (vs. 11); in spite of her multiplied advantages (a succession of Davidic kings, the temple with its priesthood, and the warning example of Israel’s fall) she has plunged headlong into ever-deepening rebellion!

2. Thus, Jeremiah is to herald toward the north (Assyria, where Israel is now in captivity) the divine invitation for Israel to return unto Jehovah her God, (vs. 12-13).

a. Because Jehovah is merciful (Jeremiah 12:15; Jeremiah 31:20), His anger is not forever set against her, (Psalms 103:9-11; Isaiah 57:16-18).

b. But, there is still a necessary CONDITION for her acceptance; she must acknowledge the wretchedness of her sin in: giving her affections to strange gods, transgressing against Jehovah, and refusing to obey His voice, (comp. Deuteronomy 30:1-3).

3. Though apostatizing Israel has run after Baal, Jehovah is her true "Ba’al"-maker, husband, or lord, (vs. 14-15; Jeremiah 31:32; Hosea 2:19).

a. As such, He is ready to restore .her (on the condition of her repentance) to the place from whence she has fallen - even to Zion, (Jeremiah 31:6; Jeremiah 31:12, etc.).

b. He will give her shepherds whose hearts are one with His own, and who will rule wisely and well, (Jeremiah 23:4; Jeremiah 31:10; Jeremiah 50:19; Ezekiel 34:1­24; comp. Jeremiah 50:6).

4. Restored to prosperity in the land, they will not need, desire, or even remember the ark of the covenant (symbolizing God’s presence among them); they will then be gloriously conscious of the REALITY of God’s presence, (vs. 16; comp. Isaiah 65:17).

5. That this looks forward to a millennial restoration is evident from verses 17-18.

a. The throne and authority of Jehovah will then be established in Jerusalem, (vs. 17; Ezekiel 43:7).

1) All nations will recognize and respect the right of the divine king to rule universally, (Jeremiah 4:2; Jeremiah 12:15-16; Jeremiah 16:19).

2) Nor will they walk any longer after the stubbornness of their own evil hearts.

b. Israel and Judah will then be re-united as ONE NATION - in the land divinely given to their fathers as an everlasting inheritance! (vs. 18; Jeremiah 50:4-5; Hosea 1:11; Isaiah 11:12-13).

6. How gloriously and honorably did God desire to deal with Israel -giving her the most pleasant land and beautiful heritage of all nations -if she would but walk honorably before Him! (vs. 19-20).

a. She must not only CALL Him "Father"-which she did, (vs. 4; comp. Isaiah 1:2; Isaiah 63:16; Isaiah 64:8).

b. She must also act in accordance with her words -submitting herself to His Fatherhood-which she had not been willing to do, (vs. 5b, 20).

Verses 21-25

Vs. 21-25 REPENTANCE, AT LAST

1. Upon the high places Jeremiah hears the voice of Israel in weeping and supplication; they have perverted their way through their forgetfulness of Jehovah, their God, (vs 21; comp. Jeremiah 7:29; Judges 3:7).

2. Again the Lord pleads: "Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings!" (vs. 22a; Jeremiah 30:17; Jeremiah 33:6; Hosea 6:1; Hosea 14:4).

3. The offer of pardon is finally accepted; they acknowledge Jehovah as "the LORD our God"! (vs. 22b; comp. Jeremiah 31:6; Jeremiah 50:4-5).

4. And they acknowledge the wretchedness of their age-­long rebellion against Him, (vs. 23-25).

a. The orgies (of Baal) practiced on the high places are a delusion!

b. The salvation of Israel is IN JEHOVAH ALONE! (Jeremiah 17:14; Jeremiah 31:7; Psalms 3:8; Jonah 2:9).

c. The nation has been consumed by shame (through Baal, the god of disgrace, Jeremiah 11:13; Hosea 9:10), and covered with confusion, because of its sin against the Lord -refusing to obey His voice, (vs. 24-25; Jeremiah 14:20; Jeremiah 22:21; Ezra 9:5­7; comp. 2 Samuel 12:16; 2 Samuel 13:31; 1 Kings 21:4).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Jeremiah 3". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/jeremiah-3.html. 1985.