O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance. The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary. We are thine: thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name.
It seems as if the remnant seems to blame the LORD for their backsliding, but the truth is that God only hardened their heart after they had first hardened their own heart. The remnant should have asked God why He permitted them to err from His ways and not punish them quickly. In reality, it would have made a difference in how the Israelites would have responded to God. In any case, the exiles cry to Jehovah to return to them in grace. Israel had possessed the land in peace for only a comparatively short time, and now the sanctuary lies in ruins, and God’s people are no better off than the other nations who never had a covenant relationship with the Lord because of their disobedience.