Jeremiah 3:13
Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the LORD your God, and have scattered your ways to the strangers under every green tree, and you have not obeyed my voice, said the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) Only acknowledge . . .—This was the one sufficient, indispensable condition of pardon—the confession that kept nothing back, and made no vain excuses.

Hast scattered thy ways.—The phrase is a strong one, thou hast left traces of thy way everywhere, i.e., hast gone this way and that in search of new and alien forms of worship. The “green tree” as before (Jeremiah 2:20) was the familiar scene of the hateful worship.

3:12-20 See God's readiness to pardon sin, and the blessings reserved for gospel times. These words were proclaimed toward the north; to Israel, the ten tribes, captive in Assyria. They are directed how to return. If we confess our sins, the Lord is faithful and just to forgive them. These promises are fully to come to pass in the bringing back the Jews in after-ages. God will graciously receive those that return to him; and by his grace, he takes them out from among the rest. The ark of the covenant was not found after the captivity. The whole of that dispensation was to be done away, which took place after the multitude of believers had been greatly increased by the conversion of the Gentiles, and of the Israelites scattered among them. A happy state of the church is foretold. He can teach all to call him Father; but without thorough change of heart and life, no man can be a child of God, and we have no security for not departing from Him.Acknowledge - literally, "know thy iniquity;" know that thy doings are iniquitous.

Scattered thy ways - Wandered in search of those idolatries which foreign nations practice.

13. Only acknowledge—(De 30:1, 3; Pr 28:13).

scattered thy ways, &c.—(Jer 2:25). Not merely the calves at Beth-el, but the idols in every direction, were the objects of their worship (Eze 16:15, 24, 25).

Only acknowledge thine iniquity; which will be the evidence of thy repentance, without which thou canst not lay claim to any pardon, Proverbs 28:13 Isaiah 55:7. This is spoken by way of limitation, lest the Israelites should fancy a too easy pardon from God’s merciful nature. Exhortations to repentance should always accompany the exhibition of promises.

Hast scattered thy ways to the strangers, viz. to other nations, or rather to other gods, or to idols, running here and there, up and down, like a light, impudent harlot. sometimes to one, sometimes to another, thus sucking in divers superstitions, called

scattering thy ways, Jeremiah 3:6 2 Kings 17:4,9,10 Jer 2:23,25. Feet, whereby we go on in ways; a metaphorical metonymy. Ye have not obeyed my voice; so that your sin is not a sin of ignorance, but of obstinacy, shutting your ears against my counsels, which I sent you by my prophets for your reclaiming, 2 Kings 17:13, &c. Only acknowledge thine iniquity,.... Or, "know" (e) it; unless a man knows his sin, and is convicted of it, he will never repent of it, or turn from it; and when he is made sensible of it, and sorry for it, he ought to acknowledge and confess it before God, against whom he has sinned; this is what is insisted upon, and all that is insisted upon; and it is the least that can be done, and is what every sensible sinner will do, who upon it may expect the discovery of pardoning grace and mercy, Psalm 32:5,

that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God; against his law, his declared mind and will, and notwithstanding he is the Lord thy God; against a God of love, grace, and mercy, who had loaded them with his benefits, and followed them with his goodness; all which aggravates the sin they had been guilty of:

and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree; a phrase expressive of whoredom; it is an euphemism, the same with , as Jarchi observes, "the opening of the feet", to everyone that passes by, to be lain with, Ezekiel 16:25 and is to be understood of the multiplied idolatries of Israel; and that as harlots run about here and there, and prostitute themselves to whomsoever they meet with, so they worshipped the strange gods of the Heathens everywhere, in all their cities, upon every mountain and hill, and under every green tree; see Jeremiah 2:20 so the Targum,

"and thou hast corrupted thy way, thou hast joined thyself to the people that worship idols under every green tree:''

and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the Lord: the voice of his command in the law, which forbids idolatry; and his voice by his prophets, which reproved them for it, and exhorted them to repentance; but they regarded neither.

(e) "scito", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus.

Only acknowledge thy iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast {p} scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD.

(p) There was no way which you did not hunt to seek after the idols, and to go on a pilgrimage.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. hast scattered thy ways] hast wandered hither and thither. Cp. Jeremiah 2:23.

strangers] foreign gods. Cp. Jeremiah 2:25.Verse 13. - This condition of restoration to favor. Israel is to acknowledge, or perceive, notice, recognize, her guilt. And hast scattered thy ways; alluding to that "gadding about" in quest of foreign alliances, reproved in the preceding chapter (Jeremiah 2:36). Comp. "interlacing her ways," Jeremiah 2:23. And I said, sc. to myself, i.e., I thought. A speaking by the prophets (Rashi) is not to be thought of; for it is no summons, turn again to me, but only the thought, they will return. It is true that God caused backsliding Israel to be ever called again to repentance by the prophets, yet without effect. Meantime, however, no reference is made to what God did in this connection, only Israel's behaviour towards the Lord being here kept in view. The Chet. ותּראה is the later usage; the Keri substitutes the regular contracted form ותּרא. The object, it (the whoredom of Israel), may be gathered from what precedes.
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