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Yet even after she had done all that, I thought that she might come back to me.[a] But she did not. Her sister, unfaithful Judah, saw what she did.[b] She also saw[c] that, because of wayward Israel’s adulterous worship of other gods,[d] I sent her away and gave her divorce papers. But still her unfaithful sister Judah was not afraid, and she too went and gave herself like a prostitute to other gods.[e] Because she took her prostitution so lightly, she defiled the land[f] through her adulterous worship of gods made of wood and stone.[g]

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  1. Jeremiah 3:7 tn Or “I said to her, ‘Come back to me!’” The verb אָמַר (ʾamar) usually means “to say,” but here it means “to think,” of an assumption that turns out to be wrong (so HALOT 66 s.v. אמר 4) (cf. Gen 44:28; Jer 3:19; Pss 82:6; 139:11; Job 29:18; Ruth 4:4; Lam 3:18).sn Open theists suggest that passages such as this indicate God has limited foreknowledge; however, more traditional theologians view this passage as an extended metaphor in which God presents himself as a deserted husband, hoping against hope that his adulterous wife might return to him. The point of the metaphor is not to make an assertion about God’s foreknowledge, but to develop the theme of God’s heartbreak due to Israel’s unrepentance.
  2. Jeremiah 3:7 tn The words “what she did” are not in the text but are implicit from the context and are supplied in the translation for clarification.
  3. Jeremiah 3:8 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.
  4. Jeremiah 3:8 tn Heb “because she committed adultery.” The translation is intended to spell out the significance of the metaphor.
  5. Jeremiah 3:8 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.
  6. Jeremiah 3:9 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.
  7. Jeremiah 3:9 tn Heb “because of the lightness of her prostitution, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood.”