Chapter 31

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1 At the same time, saith the Lord, wil I be the God of all the families of Israel, & they shalbe my people.

2 Thus saith the Lord; The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wildernesse, euen Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.

3 The Lord hath appeared of old vnto mee, saying; Yea I haue loued thee with an euerlasting loue: therefore with louing kindnesse haue I drawen thee.

4 Againe I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgine of Israel, thou shalt againe be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt goe forth in the daunces of them that make merry.

5 Thou shalt yet plant vines vpon the mountaines of Samaria, the planters shall plant, and shall eate them as common things.

6 For there shall be a day, that the watchmen vpon the mount Ephraim shall cry; Arise yee, and let vs goe vp to Zion vnto the Lord our God.

7 For thus saith the Lord, Sing with gladnesse for Iacob, and shout among the chiefe of the nations: publish yee, praise yee, and say; O Lord saue thy people the remnant of Israel.

8 Behold, I will bring them from the North countrey, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child, and her that trauelleth with child together, a great company shall returne thither.

9 They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I leade them: I will cause them to walke by the riuers of waters, in a straight way wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first borne.

10 Heare the word of the Lord, O yee nations, and declare it in the iles afarre off, and say; Hee that scattered Israel will gather him, and keepe him as a shepheard doth his flocke.

11 For the Lord hath redeemed Iacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger then hee.

12 Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodnesse of the Lord, for wheate, and for wine, and for oyle, and for the young of the flocke and of the herd: and their soule shall be as a watered garden, and they shall not sorrow any more at all.

13 Then shall the virgine reioyce in the daunce, both yoong men and old together: for I will turne their mourning into ioy, and will comfort them, and make them reioyce from their sorrow.

14 And I will satiate the soule of the priests with fatnesse, and my people shall be satisfied with goodnesse, saith the Lord.

15 Thus saith the Lord; A voyce was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping: Rahel weeping for her children, refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.

16 Thus saith the Lord; Refraine thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from teares: for thy worke shall be rewarded, saith the Lord, and they shall come againe from the land of the enemie.

17 And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come againe to their owne border.

18 I haue surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himselfe thus, Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullocke vnaccustomed to the yoke: turne thou me, and I shall be turned; thou art the Lord my God.

19 Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote vpon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea euen confounded, because I did beare the reproch of my youth.

20 Is Ephraim my deare sonne? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I doe earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely haue mercy vpon him, saith the Lord.

21 Set thee vp way-markes; make thee high heaps: set thine heart toward the high way, euen the way which thou wentest: turne againe, O virgine of Israel, turne againe to these thy cities.

22 How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the Lord hath created a new thing in the earth: A woman shall compasse a man.

23 Thus saith the Lord of hosts the God of Israel, As yet they shall vse this speech in the land of Iudah, and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring againe their captiuitie, The Lord blesse thee, O habitation of iustice, and mountaine of holinesse.

24 And there shall dwell in Iudah it selfe, and in all the cities thereof together, husbandmen, and they that goe forth with flocks.

25 For I haue satiated the wearie soule, and I haue replenished euery sorowfull soule.

26 Upon this I awaked and beheld, and my sleepe was sweete vnto me.

27 Behold, the dayes come, saith the Lord, that I will sow the house of Israel, and the house of Iudah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast.

28 And it shall come to passe, that like as I haue watched ouer them, to plucke vp and to breake downe, and to throw downe, and to destroy, and to afflict: so will I watch ouer them, to build and to plant, saith the Lord.

29 In those dayes they shall say no more, The fathers haue eaten a sowre grape, and the childrens teeth are set on edge.

30 But euery one shall die for his owne iniquitie, euery man that eateth the sowre grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.

31 Behold, the dayes come, saith the Lord, that I will make a newe couenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Iudah.

32 Not according to the couenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I tooke them by the hand, to bring them out of the land of Egypt, which my couenant they brake, although I was an husband vnto them, saith the Lord.

33 But this shall be the couenant, that I will make with the house of Israel, After those dayes, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and wil be their God, and they shall be my people.

34 And they shall teach no more euery man his neighbour, and euery man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know mee, from the least of them vnto the greatest of them, saith the Lord; for I will forgiue their iniquitie, and I will remember their sinne no more.

35 Thus saith the Lord which giueth the Sunne for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moone and of the starres for a light by night, which diuideth the sea when the waues thereof roare, the Lord of hosts is his name.

36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for euer.

37 Thus saith the Lord, If heauen aboue can bee measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they haue done, saith the Lord.

38 Behold, the dayes come, saith the Lord, that the citie shall be built to the Lord from the tower of Hananeel vnto the gate of the corner.

39 And the measuring line shall yet goe forth ouer against it, vpon the hill Gareb, and shall compasse about to Goath.

40 And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes, and all the fields vnto the brooke of Kidron, vnto the corner of the horse gate towards the East, shalbe holy vnto the Lord, it shall not be plucked vp, nor throwen downe any more for euer.

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Commentary for Jeremiah 31

The restoration of Israel. (1-9) Promises of guidance and happiness; Rachel lamenting. (10-17) Ephraim laments his errors. (18-20) The promised Saviour. (21-26) God's care over the church. (27-34) Peace and prosperity in gospel time. (35-40)1-9 God assures his people that he will again take them into covenant relation to himself. When brought very low, and difficulties appear, it is good to remember that it has been so with the church formerly. But it is hard under present frowns to take comfort from former smiles; yet it is the happiness of those who, through grace, are interested in the love of God, that it is an everlasting love, from everlasting in the counsels, to everlasting in the continuance. Those whom God loves with this love, he will draw to himself, by the influences of his Spirit upon their souls. When praising God for what he has done, we must call upon him for the favours his church needs and expects. When the Lord calls, we must not plead that we cannot come; for he that calls us, will help us, will strengthen us. The goodness of God shall lead them to repentance. And they shall weep for sin with more bitterness, and more tenderness, when delivered out of their captivity, than when groaning under it. If we take God for our Father, and join the church of the first-born, we shall want nothing that is good for us. These predictions doubtless refer also to a future gathering of the Israelites from all quarters of the globe. And they figuratively describe the conversion of sinners to Christ, and the plain and safe way in which they are led.

10-17 He that scattered Israel, knows where to find them. It is comfortable to observe the goodness of the Lord in the gifts of providence. But our souls are never valuable as gardens, unless watered with the dews of God's Spirit and grace. A precious promise follows, which will not have full accomplishment except in the heavenly Zion. Let them be satisfied of God's loving-kindness, and they will be satisfied with it, and desire no more to make them happy. Rachel is represented as rising from her grave, and refusing to be comforted, supposing her offspring rooted out. The murder of the children at Bethlehem, by Herod, #Mt 2:16-18|, in some degree fulfilled this prediction, but could not be its full meaning. If we have hope in the end, concerning an eternal inheritance, for ourselves and those belonging to us, all temporal afflictions may be borne, and will be for our good.

18-20 Ephraim (the ten tribes) is weeping for sin. He is angry at himself for his sin, and folly, and frowardness. He finds he cannot, by his own power, keep himself close with God, much less bring himself back when he is revolted. Therefore he prays, Turn thou me, and I shall be turned. His will was bowed to the will of God. When the teaching of God's Spirit went with the corrections of his providence, then the work was done. This is our comfort in affliction, that the Lord thinks upon us. God has mercy in store, rich mercy, sure mercy, suitable mercy, for all who seek him in sincerity.

21-26 The way from the bondage of sin to the liberty of God's children, is a high-way. It is plain, it is safe; yet none are likely to walk in it, unless they set their hearts towards it. They are encouraged by the promise of a new, unheard-of, extraordinary thing; a creation, a work of Almighty power; the human nature of Christ, formed and prepared by the power of the Holy Ghost: and this is here mentioned as an encouragement to the Jews to return to their own land. And a comfortable prospect is given them of a happy settlement there. Godliness and honesty God has joined: let no man think to put them asunder, or to make the one atone for the want of the other. In the love and favour of God the weary soul shall find rest, and the sorrowful shall find joy. And what can we see with more satisfaction than the good of Jerusalem, and peace upon Israel?

27-34 The people of God shall become numerous and prosperous. In #Heb 8:8,9|, this place is quoted as the sum of the covenant of grace made with believers in Jesus Christ. Not, I will give them a new law; for Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it; but the law shall be written in their hearts by the finger of the Spirit, as formerly written in the tables of stone. The Lord will, by his grace, make his people willing people in the day of his power. All shall know the Lord; all shall be welcome to the knowledge of God, and shall have the means of that knowledge. There shall be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, at the time the gospel is published. No man shall finally perish, but for his own sins; none, who is willing to accept of Christ's salvation.

35-40 As surely as the heavenly bodies will continue their settled course, according to the will of their Creator, to the end of time, and as the raging sea obeys him, so surely will the Jews be continued a separate people. Words can scarcely set forth more strongly the restoration of Israel. The rebuilding of Jerusalem, and its enlargement and establishment, shall be an earnest of the great things God will do for the gospel church. The personal happiness of every true believer, as well as the future restoration of Israel, is secured by promise, covenant, and oath. This Divine love passes knowledge; and to those who take hold upon it, every present mercy is an earnest of salvation.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

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