|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:21-25 Sin is turning aside to crooked ways. And forgetting the Lord our God is at the bottom of all sin. By sin we bring ourselves into trouble. The promise to those that return is, God will heal their backslidings, by his pardoning mercy, his quieting peace, and his renewing grace. They come devoting themselves to God. They come disclaiming all expectations of relief and succour from any but the Lord. Therefore they come depending upon him only. He is the Lord, and he only can save. It points out the great salvation from sin Jesus Christ wrought out for us. They come justifying God in their troubles, and judging themselves for their sins. True penitents learn to call sin shame, even the sin they have been most pleased with. True penitents learn to call sin death and ruin, and to charge upon it all they suffer. While men harden themselves in sin, contempt and misery are their portion: for he that covereth his sins shall not prosper, but he that confesseth and forsaketh them, shall find mercy.
Verse 21. - Another of those rapid transitions so common in emotional writing like Jeremiah's. The prophet cannot bear to dwell upon the backsliding of his people. He knows the elements of good which still survive, and by faith sees them developed, through the teaching of God's good providence, into a fruitful repentance. How graphic is the description! On the very high places (or rather, bare, treeless heights or downs, as ver. 2) where a licentious idolatry used to be practiced, a sound is heard (render so, not was heard) - the sound of the loud and audible weeping of an impulsive Eastern people (comp. Jeremiah 7:29). For they have; this evidently gives the reason of the bitter lamentation; render, because they have.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
A voice was heard upon the high places,.... And so might be heard afar off; it shows that the repentance and confession of the Jews, when convinced and converted, will be very public, and made upon those places where they have committed their sins; see Jeremiah 2:20, for this and the following verses declare the humiliation, repentance, and conversion of the Jews, and the manner in which they shall be brought to it, and be openly put among the children:
weeping and supplications of the children of Israel; not so much lamenting their calamities, as mourning over their sins, supplicating the pardon of them, and freely and ingenuously confessing them:
for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the Lord their God; or, "because they have" (k), &c. this they shall be sensible of, that they have perverted the right ways of the Lord by their traditions, and have forgotten the worship of the Lord, as the Targum paraphrases it; yea, the Lord himself, their covenant God and kind benefactor, and lightly esteemed of the true Messiah, the Rock of their salvation. The consideration of which will cause them to weep and mourn; which they will do when the Spirit of grace and supplication is poured out upon them; and they shall look upon him whom they have pierced, Zechariah 12:10. Some interpret this as the cause of their calamities, and not as the subject matter of their mourning; but the latter seems best to agree with what follows, which shows by what means they were brought to repentance, and were converted.
(k) "quia perverterunt viam suam", Munster, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius; "eo quod", Piscator; "quod pravam viam inierunt", Cocceius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
21. In harmony with the preceding promises of God, the penitential confessions of Israel are heard.
high places—The scene of their idolatries is the scene of their confessions. Compare Jer 3:23, in which they cast aside their trust in these idolatrous high places. The publicity of their penitence is also implied (compare Jer 7:29; 48:38).
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