“What Do I Need With These Idols?”By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz
The northern kingdom of the Ten Tribes has been found guilty of rebelling against G-d and they will be punished very harshly. The invading armies will perpetrate the most heinous acts of cruelty against them. G-d implores the people to return to Him because these troubles have come upon them due to their sins. He’s not asking them for gold or jewels; all He wants is sincere words of repentance. The people should ask Him to show them the proper way and the words of their lips will serve as sacrifices. The people cannot count on Assyria or Egypt to save them, nor can their idols accomplish anything. Only G-d can show mercy, as He did to their ancestors when they left Egypt.
G-d will correct them of their backsliding ways and He will love them unconditionally; His anger will have been turned away. His goodness will never be withheld from them (the chapter uses the simile of dew) and they will blossom like a rose. Their branches will spread out and they will be as beautiful as an olive tree (referring to the menorah of the Temple) and they’ll be as fragrant as the Lebanon (referring to the incense of the Temple). The exiles will return to the land where they will be reinvigorated.
The people of the nation will say, “What do I need with these idols?” G-d will save them from their troubles and all goodness will come from Him. Who is wise enough to recognize this and return to G-d? His ways are straight (not crooked like those of man); the righteous will walk in them and those who reject G-d will stumble.