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Verses 17-19

Each cycle of apostasy was worse than the former one.

"The Israelites were stiff-necked in the wilderness, but they were even more obstinate in the Promised Land. A new environment, alas, did not mean a new attitude." [Note: Wolf, p. 395. Cf. Genesis 6:12; Exodus 32:9; 33:3, 5; 34:9.]

". . . God cannot help but be gracious to a people who apparently cannot help but be unfaithful. This, indeed, is the portrayal of God throughout the biblical canon, including the prophetic books, which both demand obedience and yet promise forgiveness, and including the New Testament, where the ’resolution’ of God’s dilemma takes the form of a cross, the ultimate act of God’s grace toward an incurably sinful humankind." [Note: McCann, p. 37.]

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