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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Yirmiyahu - Jeremiah - Chapter 3

Yirmiyahu - Jeremiah - Chapter 3

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 3

1. [I have] to say; If a man sends away his wife, and she goes away from him, and marries another man, may he return to her again? Will not the land become defiled? But you have played the harlot [with] many lovers, yet return to Me, says the Lord.   א. לֵאמֹר הֵן יְשַׁלַּח אִישׁ אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ וְהָלְכָה מֵאִתּוֹ וְהָיְתָה לְאִישׁ אַחֵר הֲיָשׁוּב אֵלֶיהָ עוֹד הֲלוֹא חָנוֹף תֶּחֱנַף הָאָרֶץ הַהִיא וְאַתְּ זָנִית רֵעִים רַבִּים וְשׁוֹב אֵלַי נְאֻם יְהֹוָה:
to say: I have to say that you are no longer fit for me, for so is the way of one who sends away his wife and she goes away, etc.  
But you have played the harlot [with] many lovers: With many lovers. Nevertheless, return to Me.  
yet return to me: Heb. ושוב, lit. and to return to me, like עשות, to do, and to return to Me, I long for you.  
2. Lift up your eyes upon the rivulets and see, where have you not been lain with? By the roads you sat for them like an Arab in the desert, and you defiled the land with your harlotries and with your evil.   ב. שְׂאִי עֵינַיִךְ עַל שְׁפָיִם וּרְאִי אֵיפֹה לֹא שֻׁכַּבְתְּ עַל דְּרָכִים יָשַׁבְתְּ לָהֶם כַּעֲרָבִי בַּמִדְבָּר וַתַּחֲנִיפִי אֶרֶץ בִּזְנוּתַיִךְ וּבְרָעָתֵךְ:
rivulets: rivulets of water.  
you were not lain with: Heb. שלגת, an expression of a פילגש a concubine.  
you sat for them: to be prepared to greet them.  
like an Arab: A tent dweller, who is always found outside in the deserts, and because of this, he is called ערבי since he dwells in the ערבה, the plain.  
3. And the rains were withheld, and there has been no latter rain, and you had a harlot's forehead; you refused to be ashamed.   ג. וַיִּמָּנְעוּ רְבִבִים וּמַלְקוֹשׁ לוֹא הָיָה וּמֵצַח אִשָּׁה זוֹנָה הָיָה לָךְ מֵאַנְתְּ הִכָּלֵם:
and the latter rain: The rain that falls in Nissan on the ears (מלילות) and the straws (קשים). מלקוש is (tardif in O.F.).  
4. Will you not from this time call me, "My Father, You the Master of my youth."   ד. הֲלוֹא מֵעַתָּה קָרָאת לִי אָבִי אַלּוּף נְעֻרַי אָתָּה:
Will you not from now: If only you repent of your evil and call me “My Father.” If you do so, will your Lord bear a grudge forever for what you have sinned? Will He keep it to eternity? He will not keep it.  
5. Will He bear a grudge forever? Will He keep it to eternity? Behold, you have spoken, and you have committed evil things, and you were able.   ה. הֲיִנְטוֹר לְעוֹלָם אִם יִשְׁמֹר לָנֶצַח הִנֵּה דִבַּרְתְּ וַתַּעֲשִׂי הָרָעוֹת וַתּוּכָל:
Behold, you have spoken: with your mouth, “We will no longer come to You,” and that evil you will do, and you will not give any thought of returning.  
and you were able: And you prevailed in rebelling with a victorious and irrefutable reply.  
6. And the Lord said to me in the days of King Josiah: Have you seen what the backsliding Israel has done? She goes on every lofty mountain and under every leafy tree, and she played the harlot there.   ו. וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֵלַי בִּימֵי יֹאשִׁיָּהוּ הַמֶּלֶךְ הֲרָאִיתָ אֲשֶׁר עָשְׂתָה מְשֻׁבָה יִשְׂרָאֵל הֹלְכָה הִיא עַל כָּל הַר גָּבֹהַּ וְאֶל תַּחַת כָּל עֵץ רַעֲנָן וַתִּזְנִי שָׁם:
In the days of King Josiah: when He commanded me to bring back the Ten Tribes,"Have you seen what the backsliding Israel has done? משבה is the same as שובבה, (envejjsede in O.F).  
Israel: The Ten Tribes.  
she goes: i.e., when she was still on her land before she was exiled in the days of Hezekiah with Hoshea son of Elah. הלכה means, she would go on every lofty mountain.  
and she played the harlot there: i.e., she played the harlot by worshipping idols. וַתִּזְנִי is the equivalent of וַתִּזֶן, the ‘yod’ being superfluous.  
7. And I said after she had done all these things: She shall return to Me. But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw [it].   ז. וָאֹמַר אַחֲרֵי עֲשֹׂתָהּ אֶת כָּל אֵלֶּה אֵלַי תָּשׁוּב וְלֹא שָׁבָה וַתֵּרֶא בָּגוֹדָה אֲחוֹתָהּ יְהוּדָה:
And I said: through My prophets, Amos and Hosea son of Beeri and the other prophets, “You shall return to Me.”  
And her treacherous sister Judah saw it: i.e., saw all this. The appellation “treacherous” is harsher than “backsliding.” Israel, since they were the first to sin, and they did not see any retribution from which to learn and to repent, are called “backsliding.” Judah, who saw that these went in exile and did not receive correction, are called “treacherous.”  
8. And I saw, because of all that backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I sent her away, and I gave her her bill of divorcement, yet treacherous Judah, her sister, did not fear, and she too went and played the harlot.   ח. וָאֵרֶא כִּי עַל כָּל אֹדוֹת אֲשֶׁר נִאֲפָה מְשֻׁבָה יִשְׂרָאֵל שִׁלַּחְתִּיהָ וָאֶתֵּן אֶת סֵפֶר כְּרִיתֻתֶיהָ אֵלֶיהָ וְלֹא יָרְאָה בֹּגֵדָה יְהוּדָה אֲחוֹתָהּ וַתֵּלֶךְ וַתִּזֶן גַּם הִיא:
And I saw, because of all that backsliding Israel had committed adultery: The signs of the intonation of this verse teach us its explanation. ישראל is punctuated with a ‘zakef-katan,’ separated from שלחתיה, I sent her away. שלחתיה, I sent her away, is punctuated with a ‘zakef-gadol’ by itself. And this is its explanation: I saw; i.e., I contemplated her to exact punishment upon her. And why? Because of all that backsliding Israel had committed adultery. And what was My vengeance? I sent her away from before Me. And treacherous Judah did not fear when she saw the retribution of Samaria, to set her heart to repent.  
9. And it was through the lightness of her harlotry, that she polluted the land, and she committed adultery with the stones and the wood.   ט. וְהָיָה מִקֹּל זְנוּתָהּ וַתֶּחֱנַף אֶת הָאָרֶץ וַתִּנְאַף אֶת הָאֶבֶן וְאֶת הָעֵץ:
and she committed adultery with the stones: Jonathan paraphrases: And she strayed with the worshippers of stones and wood. And Jonathan renders מִקֹל as an expression of lightness, since her idols were light in her eyes.  
10. And yet for all this, her treacherous sister Judah did not return to Me with all her heart, but falsely, says the Lord.   י. וְגַם בְּכָל זֹאת לֹא שָׁבָה אֵלַי בָּגוֹדָה אֲחוֹתָהּ יְהוּדָה בְּכָל לִבָּהּ כִּי אִם בְּשֶׁקֶר נְאֻם יְהֹוָה:
And yet for all this: that they saw the misfortune of the retribution of their companions.  
but falsely: Josiah’s generation would show themselves as righteous although they were wicked. They would make forms of pagan deities on the inside of their doors, half on this door and half on this one, and when the destroyers of idols would inspect, the door would be open, and they would not notice it.  
11. And the Lord said to me; Backsliding Israel has proven herself more righteous than treacherous Judah.   יא. וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֵלַי צִדְּקָה נַפְשָׁהּ מְשֻׁבָה יִשְׂרָאֵל מִבֹּגֵדָה יְהוּדָה:
has proved herself more righteous: She has been cleared and she has freed herself from an unfavorable verdict, for she had no one to learn from.  
12. Go and proclaim these words to the north, and say; Return, O backsliding Israel, says the Lord. I will not let My anger rest upon you, for I am pious, says the Lord; I will not bear a grudge forever.   יב. הָלֹךְ וְקָרָאתָ אֶת הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה צָפוֹנָה וְאָמַרְתָּ שׁוּבָה מְשֻׁבָה יִשְׂרָאֵל נְאֻם יְהֹוָה לוֹא אַפִּיל פָּנַי בָּכֶם כִּי חָסִיד אֲנִי נְאֻם יְהֹוָה לֹא אֶטּוֹר לְעוֹלָם:
Go and proclaim, etc.: Go, as the Targum renders, אזיל, the imperative form. Here he commanded him to go and bring back the Ten Tribes during the days of Josiah, as he states above that during the days of Josiah this prophecy was said to him and some of them returned in the eighteenth year of Josiah.  
to the north: To the places where they were exiled there to Assyria.  
My anger: My anger, so did Jonathan render it.  
13. Only acknowledge your iniquity, for you have rebelled against the Lord your God, and you have scattered your ways to strangers under every leafy tree, and you did not hearken to My voice, says the Lord.   יג. אַךְ דְּעִי עֲו‍ֹנֵךְ כִּי בַּיהֹוָה אֱלֹהַיִךְ פָּשָׁעַתְּ וַתְּפַזְּרִי אֶת דְּרָכַיִךְ לַזָּרִים תַּחַת כָּל עֵץ רַעֲנָן וּבְקוֹלִי לֹא שְׁמַעְתֶּם נְאֻם יְהֹוָה:
you have rebelled: Heb. פשעת.  
and you have scattered your ways: This is an expression of harlotry, spreading the legs to the woman’s private parts.  
14. Return, backsliding children, says the Lord, for I possessed you, and I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.   יד. שׁוּבוּ בָנִים שׁוֹבָבִים נְאֻם יְהֹוָה כִּי אָנֹכִי בָּעַלְתִּי בָכֶם וְלָקַחְתִּי אֶתְכֶם אֶחָד מֵעִיר וּשְׁנַיִם מִמִּשְׁפָּחָה וְהֵבֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם צִיּוֹן:
backsliding children: (Envasec in O.F.) That you perverted your way because of much good, that you enjoyed tranquility and pleasure, as Scripture states: They hum snatches of song to the tune of the lute (Amos 6:5), those who drink from bowls of wine (v. 6).  
for I possessed you: and you are called by My name, that I am your Master, and it is not honorable for Me to leave you in the hands of My enemies.  
15. And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, and they will feed you with knowledge and understanding.   טו. וְנָתַתִּי לָכֶם רֹעִים כְּלִבִּי וְרָעוּ אֶתְכֶם דֵּעָה וְהַשְׂכֵּיל:
16. And it shall be, when you multiply and are fruitful in the land in those days, says the Lord, they will no longer say, "The ark of the Lord's covenant," neither shall it come to mind, neither shall they mention it, nor shall they remember it, nor shall it be done anymore.   טז. וְהָיָה כִּי תִרְבּוּ וּפְרִיתֶם בָּאָרֶץ בַּיָּמִים הָהֵמָּה נְאֻם יְהֹוָה לֹא יֹאמְרוּ עוֹד אֲרוֹן בְּרִית יְהֹוָה וְלֹא יַעֲלֶה עַל לֵב וְלֹא יִזְכְּרוּ בוֹ וְלֹא יִפְקֹדוּ וְלֹא יֵעָשֶׂה עוֹד:
they will no longer say, “The ark of the Lord’s covenant”: For your entire assembly will be holy, and I will dwell therein as though it were an ark.  
nor shall they remember it: Heb. יפקדו, like יזכרוּ, remember or mention.  
nor shall it be done anymore: i.e., it shall not be done what was done with it already in Shiloh, that they brought it into the battle with the Philistines in the days of Eli.  
17. At that time, they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the Lord, and all nations shall gather to it in the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem, and they shall no longer follow the idea of their evil heart.   יז. בָּעֵת הַהִיא יִקְרְאוּ לִירוּשָׁלִַם כִּסֵּא יְהֹוָה וְנִקְוּוּ אֵלֶיהָ כָל הַגּוֹיִם לְשֵׁם יְהֹוָה לִירוּשָׁלִָם וְלֹא יֵלְכוּ עוֹד אַחֲרֵי שְׁרִרוּת לִבָּם הָרָע:
shall gather: Heb. ונקוו, an expression of: מקוה מים, a gathering of water.  
the idea of: an expression of seeing. Comp. אשורנו “I see him” (Num. 24:17).  
18. In those days, the house of Judah will go with the house of Israel, and they will come together from the north land to the land that I caused your forefathers to inherit.   יח. בַּיָּמִים הָהֵמָּה יֵלְכוּ בֵית יְהוּדָה עַל בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיָבֹאוּ יַחְדָּו מֵאֶרֶץ צָפוֹן עַל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר הִנְחַלְתִּי אֶת אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם:
the house of Judah will go with the house of Israel: They will join them and they will be added to them to be one kingdom.  
19. And I said: How shall I place you among the sons? But I will give you a desirable land, an inheritance of the beauty of hosts of nations, and I said: Call Me 'my Father,' and do not turn away from following Me.   יט. וְאָנֹכִי אָמַרְתִּי אֵיךְ אֲשִׁיתֵךְ בַּבָּנִים וְאֶתֶּן לָךְ אֶרֶץ חֶמְדָּה נַחֲלַת צְבִי צִבְאוֹת גּוֹיִם וָאֹמַר אָבִי תִּקְרְאִי לִי וּמֵאַחֲרַי לֹא תָשׁוּבִי:
And I said: to Myself, etc. and therefore, I caused your forefathers to inherit them.  
How shall I place you among the sons?: i.e., how shall I place you, my congregation and My nation, among the other sons, mingled with the heathens. I, therefore, selected a handsome portion, and I gave you a desirable land.  
the beauty of hosts of nations: The beauty of all the hosts of nations.  
20. Truly, as a woman betrays her beloved, so have you betrayed Me, O house of Israel, says the Lord.   כ. אָכֵן בָּגְדָה אִשָּׁה מֵרֵעָהּ כֵּן בְּגַדְתֶּם בִּי בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל נְאֻם יְהֹוָה:
Truly: But you did not live up to My expectations [lit., do My thought], but like a woman who betrays her beloved because he cannot provide her sustenance, so did you betray Me, Who provides you with all good. So is the Midrash Aggadah (Tanhuma Mishpatim 17).  
21. A voice on the rivulets is heard, the weeping of the supplications of the children of Israel, for they perverted their way, they forgot the Lord their God.   כא. קוֹל עַל שְׁפָיִים נִשְׁמָע בְּכִי תַחֲנוּנֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי הֶעֱווּ אֶת דַּרְכָּם שָׁכְחוּ אֶת יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיהֶם:
A voice on the rivulets is heard: It is likely to be heard.  
22. Return, backsliding children, I will cure your backslidings. "Here we are; we have come to You, for You are the Lord our God.   כב. שׁוּבוּ בָּנִים שׁוֹבָבִים אֶרְפָּה מְשׁוּבֹתֵיכֶם הִנְנוּ אָתָנוּ לָךְ כִּי אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ:
Here we are, we have come to You: The prophet teaches them to confess and to say as follows, “Here we are, we have come to You… Truly, in vain… But the shameful thing has consumed, etc., Let us lie in our shame.” All this is the language of the prayer that the prophet teaches them to say. We have come אתנו.  
23. Truly, in vain [we awaited help] from the hills, the multitude of mountains, but in the Lord our God is Israel's salvation.   כג. אָכֵן לַשֶּׁקֶר מִגְּבָעוֹת הָמוֹן הָרִים אָכֵן בַּיהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ תְּשׁוּעַת יִשְׂרָאֵל:
Truly, in vain: we awaited from the hills and the multitude of mountains where we worshipped idols.  
Truly: in truth.  
24. But the shameful thing has consumed the toil of our fathers since our youth, their flocks and their cattle, their sons and their daughters.   כד. וְהַבֹּשֶׁת אָכְלָה אֶת יְגִיעַ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ מִנְּעוּרֵינוּ אֶת צֹאנָם וְאֶת בְּקָרָם אֶת בְּנֵיהֶם וְאֶת בְּנוֹתֵיהֶם:
But the shameful thing: The idolatry with which we occupied ourselves, as Scripture states.“And they turned aside to the shameful thing” (Hosea 9:10).  
consumed the toil of our fathers: Because of the iniquity of its worship, our toil was pillaged.  
25. We lie in our shame, and our disgrace covers us, for we have sinned against the Lord our God-we and our fathers-since our youth until this day, but we did not hearken to the voice of the Lord our God."   כה. נִשְׁכְּבָה בְּבָשְׁתֵּנוּ וּתְכַסֵּנוּ כְּלִמָּתֵנוּ כִּי לַיהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ חָטָאנוּ אֲנַחְנוּ וַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ מִנְּעוּרֵינוּ וְעַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה וְלֹא שָׁמַעְנוּ בְּקוֹל יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ:
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