Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, you backsliding Israel, said the LORD…
I. THE INVITATION TO RETURN.
1. From one who
(1) has been wronged (ver. 13);
(2) might therefore justly be angry;
(3) but is "merciful" (ver. 12).
2. To one who
(1) has been grossly disobedient;
(2) has been equally ungrateful;
(3) is reaping consequences of disobedience and ingratitude.
II. THE CONDITION OF RETURN. Confession is the condition of return, because —
1. Genuine confession of sin can proceed only from genuine contrition for sin, which is not unfrequently brought about (Luke 15:17) by a comparison of the lamentable consequences of backsliding, with happiness previously enjoyed.
2. "Godly sorrow" or genuine contrition "worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of"; i.e. it finds relief only in that confession which is the condition of return. True repentance involves —
(1) Contrition for sin against God.
(2) Confession of sin to God.
(3) Return from sin "towards God" (Acts 20:21).
III. RESULTS OF THE RETURN.
1. God's anger will be averted (ver. 12).
2. God will Himself escort the wanderer home.
3. A happy future. Comprising(1) life under a rule which can commit no errors, legislative or judicial (ver. 15);
(2) a promise that the restored shall not "walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart" (ver. 17), the cause of their backsliding.
(H. A. Hall, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever.
WEB: Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, 'Return, you backsliding Israel,' says Yahweh; 'I will not look in anger on you; for I am merciful,' says Yahweh. 'I will not keep [anger] forever.