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Jeremiah 3:12-14

Context
The Lord Calls on Israel and Judah to Repent

3:12 “Go and shout this message to my people in the countries in the north. 1  Tell them,

‘Come back to me, wayward Israel,’ says the Lord.

‘I will not continue to look on you with displeasure. 2 

For I am merciful,’ says the Lord.

‘I will not be angry with you forever.

3:13 However, you must confess that you have done wrong, 3 

and that you have rebelled against the Lord your God.

You must confess 4  that you have given yourself to 5  foreign gods under every green tree,

and have not obeyed my commands,’ says the Lord.

3:14 “Come back to me, my wayward sons,” says the Lord, “for I am your true master. 6  If you do, 7  I will take one of you from each town and two of you from each family group, and I will bring you back to Zion.

1 tn Heb “Go and proclaim these words to the north.” The translation assumes that the message is directed toward the exiles of northern Israel who have been scattered in the provinces of Assyria to the north.

2 tn Heb “I will not cause my face to fall on you.”

3 tn Heb “Only acknowledge your iniquity.”

4 tn The words “You must confess” are repeated to convey the connection. The Hebrew text has an introductory “that” in front of the second line and a coordinative “and” in front of the next two lines.

5 tc MT reads דְּרָכַיִךְ (dÿrakhayikh, “your ways”), but the BHS editors suggest דּוֹדַיִךְ (dodayikh, “your breasts”) as an example of orthographic confusion. While the proposal makes sense, it remains a conjectural emendation since it is not supported by any actual manuscripts or ancient versions.

tn Heb “scattered your ways with foreign [gods]” or “spread out your breasts to strangers.”

6 tn Or “I am your true husband.”

sn There is a wordplay between the term “true master” and the name of the pagan god Baal. The pronoun “I” is emphatic, creating a contrast between the Lord as Israel’s true master/husband versus Baal as Israel’s illegitimate lover/master. See 2:23-25.

7 tn The words, “If you do” are not in the text but are implicit in the connection of the Hebrew verb with the preceding.



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