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Jeremiah 3:8-14

Context
3:8 She also saw 1  that I gave wayward Israel her divorce papers and sent her away because of her adulterous worship of other gods. 2  Even after her unfaithful sister Judah had seen this, 3  she still was not afraid, and she too went and gave herself like a prostitute to other gods. 4  3:9 Because she took her prostitution so lightly, she defiled the land 5  through her adulterous worship of gods made of wood and stone. 6  3:10 In spite of all this, 7  Israel’s sister, unfaithful Judah, has not turned back to me with any sincerity; she has only pretended to do so,” 8  says the Lord. 3:11 Then the Lord said to me, “Under the circumstances, wayward Israel could even be considered less guilty than unfaithful Judah. 9 

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. 10  Tell them,

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

‘I will not continue to look on you with displeasure. 11 

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, 12 

and that you have rebelled against the Lord your God.

You must confess 13  that you have given yourself to 14  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. 15  If you do, 16  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 tc Heb “she [‘her sister, unfaithful Judah’ from the preceding verse] saw” with one Hebrew ms, some Greek mss, and the Syriac version. The MT reads “I saw” which may be a case of attraction to the verb at the beginning of the previous verse.

2 tn Heb “because she committed adultery.” The translation is intended to spell out the significance of the metaphor.

3 tn The words “Even after her unfaithful sister, Judah, had seen this” are not in the Hebrew text but are implicit in the connection and are supplied for clarification.

4 tn Heb “she played the prostitute there.” This is a metaphor for Israel’s worship; she gave herself to the worship of other gods like a prostitute gives herself to her lovers. There seems no clear way to completely spell out the metaphor in the translation.

5 tc The translation reads the form as a causative (Hiphil, תַּהֲנֵף, tahanef) with some of the versions in place of the simple stative (Qal, תֶּחֱנַף, tekhenaf) in the MT.

6 tn Heb “because of the lightness of her prostitution, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood.”

7 tn Heb “And even in all this.”

8 tn Heb “ has not turned back to me with all her heart but only in falsehood.”

9 tn Heb “Wayward Israel has proven herself to be more righteous than unfaithful Judah.”

sn A comparison is drawn here between the greater culpability of Judah, who has had the advantage of seeing how God disciplined her sister nation for having sinned and yet ignored the warning and committed the same sin, and the culpability of Israel who had no such advantage.

10 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.

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

12 tn Heb “Only acknowledge your iniquity.”

13 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.

14 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.”

15 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.

16 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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