King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Jeremiah 3

Exhortations to repentance. (1-5) Judah more guilty than Israel. (6-11) But pardon is promised. (12-20) The children of Israel express their sorrow and repentance. (21-25)

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Exhortations to repentance

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 the LORD.

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.

Judah more guilty than Israel

6 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.

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.

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 the LORD.

11 And the LORD said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah.

But pardon is promised

12 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.

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

14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:

15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

16 And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.

17 At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.

18 In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.

19 But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me.

20 Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD.

The children of Israel express their sorrow and repentance

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 the LORD their God.

22 Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God.

23 Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains: truly in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel.

24 For shame hath devoured the labour of our fathers from our youth; their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters.

25 We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us: for we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. It. Heb. “a saying.” Sept. “If,” &c. Deut. xxiv. 1. H. — Woman. Heb. “land.” — Lovers. Sept. “shepherds,” C. seeking aid from idols and foreigners.

Ver. 2. High. Lit. “straight forward.” H. — On the hills, idolatry and immorality prevailed. — Ways, where harlots used to sit. Gen. xxxviii. 14. Prov. vii. 9. and xxxiii. 27. — Robber; “Arab,” (Chal. &c.) or “crow.” (Sept.) C. — No sin is so great as to be irremissible to the true penitent. W.

Ver. 3. Rain; about November. Deut. xi. 14. This drought happened under Josias, (C. v. 24.) and was different from that specified, C. viii. 13. and xiv. 1.

Ver. 4. Guide. Husband. Prov. ii. 16. and Joel i. 8.

Ver. 5. Wilt. Heb. “will he,” &c. The faithless people will not use this language, but do all the evil possible.

Ver. 6. Days, before the 18th year. God now pronounces sentence (C.) on all. H. — Rebellious, a faithless wife. The kingdom of Israel gave way to idolatry first. But the people were less favoured than Juda, which had many prophets and good kings, the temple, &c. Moreover, the misfortunes of Israel did not open the eyes of their brethren. C. — Both the ten tribes, and the two tribes (W.) which adhered to the line of David, prevaricated. H.

Ver. 10. Falsehood. Their reform was only apparent, under Joas, &c. C.

Ver. 11. Soul, and appeared comparatively innocent. v. 6. Ezec. xvi. 51. S. Jer. — Yet neither of them was excusable. W.

Ver. 12. North. Samaria, or rather Assyria, where the people were captives. — Face, in anger.

Ver. 13. Ways, dividing thy love, and adoring idols with me.

Ver. 14. Kindred. Only few Israelites returned under Cyrus. The rest came by degrees, though it was more fully accomplished by the conversion of the Gentiles.

Ver. 15. Pastors. Zorobabel, &c. but more particularly Christ and his apostles.

Ver. 16. Ark. It was no longer at Jerusalem. The law and its figures cease.

Ver. 17. All. Many might embrace the Jewish religion. But the predictions of the prophets on this head, were not verified, till the gospel was preached. C. — Then many embraced the faith: several captives also returned to God. W.

Ver. 18. North. Sept. add, “and from all places” where the Jews were in captivity. H. — Many thus returned to their own country. v. 14. C. — Israel had been led into captivity sooner, but all were released at once. Theodor. W.

Ver. 19. Gentiles, which they all covet, or to which they are invited in the Church. C. — Me. On these conditions thou shalt be restored. H.

Ver. 21. God. Hence proceed these miseries and lamentations.

Ver. 23. Liars, unfruitful; and the idols have left us empty. C. — They were placed on the hills. Houbigant.

Ver. 24. Confusion. Thus Baal was styled Boseth, contemptuously. Jer. xi. 13.

Ver. 25. Shame. We are justly punished with exile, (C.) and death. M.