Gaebelein's Annotated 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.
The LORD said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot.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.