3:1 They a say, If a man shall put away his wife, and she shall go from him, and become another man’s, shall he return to her again? shall not that land b be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many c lovers; yet d return again to me, saith the LORD.
3:2 Lift up thy eyes to the high places, and see where thou hast not been lain with. In the ways hast thou sat for them, as the e Arabian in the wilderness; and thou hast polluted the land with thy harlotry and with thy wickedness.
(a) According as it is written, (Deuteronomy 24:4).
(b) If he take such a one to wife again.
(c) That is, with idols, and with them whom you have put your confidence in.
(d) And I will not cast you off, but receive you, according to my mercy.
(e) Who dwells in tent and waits for them that pass by to rob them.
3:3 Therefore the showers have been withheld, and there hath been no f latter rain; and thou hadst an g harlot’s forehead, thou didst refuse to be ashamed.
3:4 Wilt thou not from this time cry h to me, My father, thou [art] the guide of my youth?
(f) As God threatened by his law, (Deuteronomy 28:24).
(g) You would never be ashamed of your acts and repent: and this impudency is common to idolaters, who will not cease, though they are openly convicted.
3:6 The LORD said also to me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen [that] which backsliding i Israel hath done? she hath gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot.
(h) He shows that the wicked in their miseries will cry to God and use outward prayer as the godly do, but because they do not turn from their evil, they are not heard, (Isaiah 58:3,4).
(i) Meaning the ten tribes.
3:8 And I saw, when for all the causes by which backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put k her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.
(k) And gave her into the hands of the Assyrians.
3:9 And it came to pass through the l lightness of her harlotry, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with trees.
(l) The Hebrew word may either signify lightness and wantonness, or noise and brute.
3:10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned to me with m her whole heart, but deceitfully, saith the LORD.
(m) Judah pretended for a time that she returned, as under Josiah and other good kings, but she was never truly touched, or wholly reformed, as appeared when opportunity was offered by any wicked prince.
3:11 And the LORD said to me, The backsliding Israel hath n justified herself more than treacherous Judah.
(n) Israel has not declared herself as wicked as Judah, who yet has had more admonitions and examples to call her to repentance.
3:12 Go and proclaim these words toward o the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; [and] I will not cause my anger to fall upon you: for I [am] merciful, saith the LORD, [and] I will not keep [anger] for ever.
(o) While the Israelites were now kept in captivity by the Assyrians, to whom he promises mercy, if they will repent.
3:13 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.
3:16 And it shall come to pass, when ye shall be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The q ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they miss [it]; neither shall [that] be done any more.
(q) This is to be understood of the coming of Christ: for then they will not seek the Lord by ceremonies, and all figures will cease.
3:17 At that time they shall call Jerusalem r the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.
3:18 In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together from the land of the s north to the land that I have given for an inheritance to your fathers.
(r) Meaning, the Church, where the Lord will be present to the world’s end, (Matthew 28:20).
(s) Where they are now in captivity.
3:20 Surely [as] a wife treacherously departeth from her t husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD.
3:21 u 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.
(t) The Hebrew word signifies a friend or companion, and here may be taken for a husband, as it is used also in (Hosea 3:1).
(u) Signifying, that God, whom they had forsaken, would bring their enemies to them, who would lead them captive, and make them to cry and lament.
3:22 Return, ye backsliding children, [and] I will heal your backslidings. x Behold, we come to thee; for thou [art] the LORD our God.
(x) This is spoken in the person of Israel to the shame of Judah, who stayed so long to turn to God.
3:24 For shame hath devoured the labour of our y fathers from our youth; their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters.
(y) For their idolatry God’s vengeance has light on them and theirs.
3:25 We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us: z for we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.
(z) They justify not themselves, or say that they would follow their fathers, but condemn their wicked doings and desire forgiveness for the same, as in (Ezra 9:7; Psalms 106:6; Isaiah 64:6).