1 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 Yahweh.
2 Lift up thine eyes unto the high places, and see where thou hast not been lien with. In the ways hast thou sat for them, as the Arabian in the wilderness; and thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness.
3 Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore's forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed.
4 Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My father, thou art the guide of my youth?
5 Will he reserve his anger for ever? will he keep it to the end? Behold, thou hast spoken and done evil things as thou couldest.
6 Yahweh 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 world powers at the beginning of Jeremiah's time were Assyria and Egypt, but during his ministry the Assyrian Empire was completely obliterated and its mighty and splendid capital Nineveh-long the wonder and terror of the whole earth-was levelled to the ground so completely that it was soon forgotten and lost, and only in modern times have the ruins of Nineveh been found and identified.
And during Jeremiah's span, Egypt was cast down from its age-old pre-eminence and has ever since been a base kingdom, enslaved and ruled by foreigners.
Jeremiah's day marked the beginning of the great image of Nebuchadnezzar-the kingdom of men-just now running out.
Jeremiah prophesied during the reigns of Judah's last 5 kings-Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin and Zedekiah.
(The chapters of the book of Jeremiah are not in chronological order-unless this is noted and effort is made to get the right sequence of events, it will be quite confusing to attempt to place these various kings in relation to each other.)
When the zealous young men Josiah and Jeremiah set out together to bring Israel back to God, the picture looked very promising. In cleaning up the Temple (which during Manasseh's long evil reign had become broken-down and neglected) there was found the Book of the Law. It is hard to realize that the Book of the Law had been so completely forgotten that Josiah, though seeking God, was unaware of its contents. How impressive is the lesson that this could happen in one generation!
This was 6 years after he had begun his great reformation, and still when this Book was discovered and read to him, he rent his clothes and sent in haste to enquire of God what should be done to avert the evils therein prophesied.
God's answer to Josiah was that it was now too late! The evils were on their way and could not be turned aside-but because he was faithful and God-fearing it would not come in his day. It is testified of Josiah that-
"All his days the children of Israel departed not from following the Lord."
What a wonderful tribute! What better record could any man leave behind him than that?-that all his days his zeal and example and influence were such that he had kept his people wholly in the right way!
Bro Growcott - BYT 4.17.
7 And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it.
Yahweh gave Israel a bill of divorcement for he [spiritual] adulteries. A bill of divorcement for adultery
When the terrible judgments came, it would appear that God had completely repudiated Israel, and that all hope was gone. But the lonely prophet with his message of eventual glory was a symbol that God was still concerned with them though they were unfaithful, and his prophecies gave comforting assurance that those who held fast would never be forgotten, and that though these dreadful evils were to come, still the latter end would be blessing and peace.
The name Jeremiah has become in the world proverbial for a kill-joy, for one who foresees only doom and disaster. But we know Jeremiah better than that. The world hates those who call attention to its wickedness and folly, and who raise their voice to warn of the judgments that will come upon it.
The Jews of Jeremiah's day are typical of human nature everywhere. Though they recognised that he was sent by God, still they blindly hated him for his faithful testimony, and resented his forebodings of disaster.
Bro Growcott - BYT 4.17.
8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.
9 And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks.
10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith Yahweh.
11 And Yahweh said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah.
12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith Yahweh; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith Yahweh, and I will not keep anger for ever.
13 Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against Yahweh thy elohim, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith Yahweh.
14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith Yahweh; for I am [was] married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:
Throughout the Bible, we encounter terms and metaphors relating to marriage and its vicissitudes. All of them relate to the intimate relationship God has made with Israel.
We read in verse 8 that God had put away (shalach) the children of Israel and gave her a bill of divorce (keriythuwth, a complete cutting off) yet; He says He is still married to them! How can this be? Please note that the word, "married" is Strong's # <1166>. baal, and is the same word used in Deut 24:4 for "her former husband," or ex-husband. Here the word, "husband" is Strong's # <1167>, from <1166>, baal. This is in sharp contrast to the "latter husband" in verse 3 where the present "husband" is Strong's # <376>, iysh (ish)!
God is not saying He is married to them, but that He was married to them! He is their former husband; He was (past tense) "an husband unto them" (Jer 31:32).
This passage of Scripture literally reads thus:
"For I have been married with (or to) thee."
God explicitly tells Israel: "I married you," and charges that she turned away from her God, and her Husband by turning to spiritual adultery in worshipping other gods. Jeremiah citing the northern house of Israel's adulterous example, warned Judah, the southern house, to repent and return to God, or suffer the same fate.
He warned Judah (verse 10) of how the former was given a "bill of divorcement and was "put away." To "turn" and "repent," they would have had to put away their idols and completely cut themselves off from worshipping other gods in order to be spiritually married to God. Otherwise, He would put them away and divorce them according to His own Law!
Those from both houses, who stayed rebellious and unrepentant, were completely cut off. Nevertheless, because of the promise God made to Abraham, these two nations shall not cease to exist, they shall once again be healed, and shall be united with each other and with their God when He makes a new Kingdom covenant with them (Jer 31:28,31-34).
Sis Valerie Mello
The victory of Bozrah will be fatal to Gentile supremacy in the land of Israel. In the day of this discomfiture its invaders will be beaten off by Yahweh from the channel of the river (Euphrates) unto the stream of Egypt (the Nile); after which he will gather them one by one from Assyria and Egypt to worship him in Jerusalem (Isa. 27:12,13).
This gathering of Israelites of the tribe of Judah, "one of a city and two of a family" (Jer. 3:14) to Zion, will result from the angel proclamation in midheaven [Rev 14: 6]. Being fed by pastors according to Yahweh's own heart with knowledge and understanding, the veil will be removed from the minds of many, who will become willing (Psa. 110:3) to emigrate from among the nations and return to their fatherland. Yahweh, the Man of War, will bring them there - "I will bring you," saith He, "to Zion".
17 At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of Yahweh; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of Yahweh, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.
When these promises become accomplished facts, AN ISRAELITISH KINGDOM AND EMPIRE will exist upon the earth, transcending in the greatness of its power, the extent of its dominion, the splendor of its majesty, and the justice and beneficence of its rule, any sovereignty existent since nations occupied the earth.
This is that dominion of which the gospel of the kingdom treats.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, August 1853.
20 Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith Yahweh.
21 A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten Yahweh their Elohim.
There are those who presume upon their standing in the truth, and who forget that they have been called to obedience in many things required of them; and that their continuance in that Gospel is essential to their continuance in the position of favour to which they have been called by the Gospel.
This class have none of the sorrows of the truth, and rejoice after the flesh in their connection with it. They look at others with disdain, and glory in their own enlightenment. They say like Israel,
"The people of the Lord, the people of the Lord, the people of the Lord are we,"
but like them fail to sustain the character and position becoming the people of the Lord; but they were cut off for all that, because while with their mouth they drew near to God, with their heart they were far from Him.
So men may speak the truth in a technical sense in claiming to be the brethren of Christ, because they believe and have obeyed the Gospel, and at the same time they may be walking in utter unworthiness of the position, and may be in as great danger of being cut off as the natural branches of the good olive tree. Such have need to remember Paul's exhortation:
"Be not high-minded, but fear: for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he spare not thee" (Rom. 11: 21).
To such, the exhortation has to be changed into a call to weeping:
"Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord."
For what purpose are men grafted into Christ as branches into the living tree? It is that they may grow and bring forth fruit unto God-fruit that God will have pleasure in. So Christ has plainly told us.
"Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he (my Father) taketh away.... Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit."
Bro Roberts - Christ and the prophets , Seasons 1: 33