|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.
Verse 4. Wilt thou not, etc.? rather, Truly from this time thou callest unto me (literally, Dost thou not, etc.? a common way of giving an energetic assurance). The prophet admits the apparent revival of faith in Jehovah which attended the compulsory reformation under Josiah, but denies that it was more than apparent (comp, ver. 10). The guide of my youth; rather, the companion (the familiar associate); so in Proverbs 2:17. Comp. Jeremiah 2:2, and especially Isaiah 54:6, "and a wife of youth" (i.e. married in youth), "that she should be rejected [how incredible a thing!]"
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me,.... These words are either a confirmation and proof of that impudence with which these people are charged; for had they not been impudent, or had not a forehead like a whorish woman; or were they truly ashamed, they would have cried to the Lord henceforward; called upon him; claimed their relation to him; and owned his favours in time past: or, if they had not been impudent, they would not have dared from this time to have called God their Father and their guide, when they had so wickedly sinned against him; so that this is a charge of hypocrisy and deceit, calling God their Father and guide, when they were at the same time worshipping idols: or rather they are expressive of the wondrous grace and goodness of God towards this people, that had so highly offended him, yet he expostulates with them, puts words into their mouths to return unto him with, saying:
my father; I have sinned against thee, and am not worthy of the relation, yet receive me as a returning prodigal:
thou art the guide of my youth; or, "hast been": I acknowledge the favours I have received in time past, which is an aggravation of my sin; reject me not, but receive me graciously into thy favour; see Hosea 14:2, so the Targum interprets the words as a prayer,
"wilt thou not from this time pray before me, saying, thou art my Lord, my Redeemer, which art of old?''
or else they point to them their duty, what they ought to do from henceforward; that seeing the Lord had withheld from them the former and latter rain for their idolatry, it became them to return to him by repentance; and to call upon him, who had been their Father and their guide in time past, to have mercy on them, and avert his judgments from them.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. from this time—not referring, as Michaelis thinks, to the reformation begun the year before, that is, the twelfth of Josiah; it means—now at once, now at last.
me—contrasted with the "stock" whom they had heretofore called on as "father" (Jer 2:27; Lu 15:18).
thou art—rather, "thou wast."
guide of … youth—that is, husband (Jer 2:2; Pr 2:17; Ho 2:7, 15). Husband and father are the two most endearing of ties.
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