Jeremiah 3:1
Parallel Verses
New International Version
"If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and marries another man, should he return to her again? Would not the land be completely defiled? But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers-- would you now return to me?" declares the LORD.

New Living Translation
"If a man divorces a woman and she goes and marries someone else, he will not take her back again, for that would surely corrupt the land. But you have prostituted yourself with many lovers, so why are you trying to come back to me?" says the LORD.

English Standard Version
“If a man divorces his wife and she goes from him and becomes another man’s wife, will he return to her? Would not that land be greatly polluted? You have played the whore with many lovers; and would you return to me? declares the LORD.

New American Standard Bible
God says, "If a husband divorces his wife And she goes from him And belongs to another man, Will he still return to her? Will not that land be completely polluted? But you are a harlot with many lovers; Yet you turn to Me," declares the LORD.

King James Bible
They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him to marry another, can he ever return to her? Wouldn't such a land become totally defiled? But you! You have played the prostitute with many partners-- can you return to Me? This is the LORD's declaration.

International Standard Version
"When a man divorces his wife, she leaves him and becomes another man's wife, will the first husband return to her again? The land would be deeply polluted, would it not? Since you have committed fornication with many lovers, would you now return to me?" declares the LORD.

NET Bible
"If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and becomes another man's wife, he may not take her back again. Doing that would utterly defile the land. But you, Israel, have given yourself as a prostitute to many gods. So what makes you think you can return to me?" says the LORD.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
A saying: If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and marries another man, her first husband shouldn't go back to her again. The land would become thoroughly polluted. "You have acted like a prostitute who has many lovers. And now you want to come back to me!" declares the LORD.

Jubilee Bible 2000
They say, If a man puts away his wife and she goes from him and becomes another man's, shall he return unto her again? Is she not a land that is now completely polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, said the LORD.

King James 2000 Bible
They say, If a man puts away his wife, and she goes from him, and becomes another man's, may he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but you have played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, says the LORD.

American King James Version
They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return to her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but you have played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, said the LORD.

American Standard Version
They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, will he return unto her again? will not that land be greatly polluted? But thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith Jehovah.

Douay-Rheims Bible
It is commonly said: If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and marry another man, shall he return to her any more? shall not that woman be polluted, and defiled? but thou hast prostituted thyself to many lovers: nevertheless return to me, saith the Lord, and I will receive thee.

Darby Bible Translation
They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? Would not that land be utterly polluted? But thou hast committed fornication with many lovers; yet return to me, saith Jehovah.

English Revised Version
They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? But thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD.

Webster's Bible Translation
They say, If a man shall put away his wife, and she shall go from him, and become another man's, shall he return to her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD.

World English Bible
"They say, 'If a man puts away his wife, and she goes from him, and become another man's, will he return to her again?' Wouldn't that land be greatly polluted? But you have played the prostitute with many lovers; yet return again to me," says Yahweh.

Young's Literal Translation
Saying, 'Lo, one sendeth away his wife, And she hath gone from him, And she hath been to another man, Doth he turn back unto her again? Greatly defiled is not that land? And thou hast committed whoredom with many lovers, And turn again to Me, an affirmation of Jehovah.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

3:1-5 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.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 1. - They say, etc.; as the margin of Authorized Version correctly states, the Hebrew simply has "saying." Various ingenious attempts have been made to explain this. Hitzig, for instance, followed by Dr. Payne Smith, thinks that "saying" may be an unusual equivalent for "that is to say," "for example," or the like; while the Vulgate and Rashi, followed by De Wette and Rosenmüller, assume an ellipsis, and render, "It is commonly said," or "I might say." But far the most natural way is to suppose that "saying" is a fragment of the superscription of the prophecy, the remainder of which has been accidentally placed in ver. 6, and that we should read, "And the word of the Lord came unto me in the days of Josiah the king, saying." So J. D. Michaelis, Ewald, Graf, Naegelsbach. If a man put away his wife. The argument is founded on the law of Deuteronomy 24:1-4, which forbade an Israelite who had divorced his wife to take her again, if in the interval she had been married to another. The Jews had broken a still more sacred tie, not once only, but repeatedly; they worshipped "gods many and lords many;" so that they had no longer any claim on Jehovah in virtue of his "covenant" with his people. Shall he return, etc.? rather, Ought he to return? The force of the term is potential (comp. Authorized Version of Genesis 34:7, "which thing ought not to be done"). Shall not in the next clause is rather would not. Yet return again to me. So Peshito, Targum, Vulgate, and the view may seem to be confirmed by the invitations in vers. 12, 14, 22. But as it is obviously inconsistent with the argument of the verse, and as the verb may equally well be the infinitive or the imperative, most recent commentators render, "And thinkest thou to return to me?" (literally, and returning to me! implying that the very idea is inconceivable). Probably Jeremiah was aware that many of the Jews were dissatisfied with the religious condition of the nation (comp. ver. 4).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

They say, if a man put away his wife,.... Or, "saying" (w); wherefore some connect those words with the last verse of the preceding chapter, as if they were a continuation of what the Lord had been there saying, that he would reject their confidences; so Kimchi; but they seem rather to begin a new section, or a paragraph, with what were commonly said among men, or in the law, and as the sense of that; that if a man divorced his wife upon any occasion,

and she go from him; departs from his house, and is separated from bed and board with him:

and become another man's, be married to another, as she might according to the law:

shall he return unto her again? take her to be his wife again; her latter husband not liking her, or being dead? no, he will not; he might not according to the law in Deuteronomy 24:4 and if there was no law respecting this, it can hardly be thought that he would, it being so contrary to nature, and to the order of civil society:

shall not that land be greatly polluted? either Judea, or any other, where such usages should obtain; for this, according to the law, was causing the land to sin, filling it with it, and making it liable to punishment for it; this being an abomination before the Lord. The Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions, render it, "shall not that woman be defiled?" she is so by the latter husband; and that is a reason why she is not to be received by the former again, Deuteronomy 24:4,

but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; or served many idols; the number of their gods having been according to the number of their cities, Jeremiah 2:28,

yet return again to me, saith the Lord; by repentance, and doing their first works, worshipping and serving him as formerly; so the Targum,

"return now from this time to my worship, saith the Lord.''

The Vulgate Latin version adds, "and I will receive thee"; this is an instance of great grace in the Lord, and which is not to be found among men.

(w) "dicendo", Montanus, Vatablus, Janius & Tremellius.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

CHAPTER 3

Jer 3:1-25. God's Mercy notwithstanding Judah's Vileness.

Contrary to all precedent in the case of adultery, Jehovah offers a return to Judah, the spiritual adulteress (Jer 3:1-5). A new portion of the book, ending with the sixth chapter. Judah worse than Israel; yet both shall be restored in the last days (Jer 3:6-25).

1. They say—rather, as Hebrew, "saying," in agreement with "the Lord"; Jer 2:37 of last chapter [Maurer]. Or, it is equivalent to, "Suppose this case." Some copyist may have omitted, "The word of the Lord came to me," saying.

shall he return unto her—will he take her back? It was unlawful to do so (De 24:1-4).

shall not—Should not the land be polluted if this were done?

yet return—(Jer 3:22; Jer 4:1; Zec 1:3; compare Eze 16:51, 58, 60). "Nevertheless," &c. (see on [895]Isa 50:1).

Jeremiah 3:1 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Polluted Land
1God says, "If a husband divorces his wife And she goes from him And belongs to another man, Will he still return to her? Will not that land be completely polluted? But you are a harlot with many lovers; Yet you turn to Me," declares the LORD. 2"Lift up your eyes to the bare heights and see; Where have you not been violated? By the roads you have sat for them Like an Arab in the desert, And you have polluted a land With your harlotry and with your wickedness.…
Cross References
Matthew 5:31
"It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.'

Deuteronomy 24:1
If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house,

Deuteronomy 24:4
then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the LORD. Do not bring sin upon the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.

Psalm 106:38
They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood.

Jeremiah 2:20
"Long ago you broke off your yoke and tore off your bonds; you said, 'I will not serve you!' Indeed, on every high hill and under every spreading tree you lay down as a prostitute.

Jeremiah 4:1
"If you, Israel, will return, then return to me," declares the LORD. "If you put your detestable idols out of my sight and no longer go astray,

Jeremiah 22:20
"Go up to Lebanon and cry out, let your voice be heard in Bashan, cry out from Abarim, for all your allies are crushed.

Lamentations 1:2
Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are on her cheeks. Among all her lovers there is no one to comfort her. All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies.

Ezekiel 16:26
You engaged in prostitution with the Egyptians, your neighbors with large genitals, and aroused my anger with your increasing promiscuity.

Ezekiel 16:28
You engaged in prostitution with the Assyrians too, because you were insatiable; and even after that, you still were not satisfied.

Hosea 1:2
When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, "Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the LORD."

Hosea 2:2
"Rebuke your mother, rebuke her, for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband. Let her remove the adulterous look from her face and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts.

Hosea 2:5
Their mother has been unfaithful and has conceived them in disgrace. She said, 'I will go after my lovers, who give me my food and my water, my wool and my linen, my olive oil and my drink.'

Hosea 2:7
She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, 'I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.'

Zechariah 1:3
Therefore tell the people: This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Return to me,' declares the LORD Almighty, 'and I will return to you,' says the LORD Almighty.
Treasury of Scripture

They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return to her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but you have played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, said the LORD.

they say. Heb. saying. If a man

Deuteronomy 24:1-4 When a man has taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass …

shall not that

Jeremiah 3:9 And it came to pass through the lightness of her prostitution, that …

Jeremiah 2:7 And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof …

Leviticus 18:24-28 Defile not you yourselves in any of these things: for in all these …

Isaiah 24:5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because …

Micah 2:10 Arise you, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, …

but thou hast

Jeremiah 2:20,23 For of old time I have broken your yoke, and burst your bands; and …

Deuteronomy 22:21 Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's …

Judges 19:2 And his concubine played the whore against him, and went away from …

Ezekiel 16:26,28,29 You have also committed fornication with the Egyptians your neighbors, …

Ezekiel 23:4 And the names of them were Aholah the elder, and Aholibah her sister: …

Hosea 1:2 The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said …

Hosea 2:5-7 For their mother has played the harlot: she that conceived them has …

yet return

Jeremiah 3:12-14,22 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, you …

Jeremiah 4:1,14 If you will return, O Israel, said the LORD, return to me: and if …

Jeremiah 8:4-6 Moreover you shall say to them, Thus said the LORD; Shall they fall, …

Deuteronomy 4:29-31 But if from there you shall seek the LORD your God, you shall find …

Isaiah 55:6-9 Seek you the LORD while he may be found, call you on him while he is near…

Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them, As I live, said the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in …

Hosea 14:1-4 O Israel, return to the LORD your God; for you have fallen by your iniquity…

Zechariah 1:3 Therefore say you to them, Thus said the LORD of hosts; Turn you …

Luke 15:16-24 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine …

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