The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Jeremiah 31

Jer 31:1

Jer 31: "Jeremiah must have rejoiced to deliver the prophecy of Jer 31. It demonstrates that though Jewry would receive divine punishments for their good, the nation will ultimately be saved. The apostle Paul similarly argues in Rom 11. So Israel will be: [1] Saved out of the wilderness: vv 1-9, brought back from dispersion into which for centuries the nation has languished. [2] All nations will be caused to witness Israel's redemption: vv 10-14. As the restoration includes the re-establishment of the great temple of Zion, more glorious than any former temple (Hag 2; Jer 30:18-22), so the joyous worship therein will includes all nations. Gentiles will see the goodness of Yahweh to His ancient people, and shall rejoice together in divine worship. [3] Rachel's weeping shall cease: vv 15-17. The birth of Benjamin brought the weeping of Rachel, as typical of the birth of the Lord Jesus. In the coming birth of the nation there will be weeping; but in the end there will be comfort. [4] Ephraim's confession of unfruitfulness and determination to change: vv 18-21. There will be a national acknowledgement and confession of sin, which leads to repentance and acceptance. [5] Great changes in Zion: vv 22-26. [6] Yahweh vindicated: vv 27-30. [7] The Kingdom Covenant: vv 31-34. [8] The divine guarantee of fulfilment: vv 35-37. [9] The glorious city of the future: vv 38-46" (GEM).

Jer 31:4

Examples of personification: riches (Mat 6:24); sin (Joh 8:34; Rom 5:21; 6:16); spirit (Joh 16:13); wisdom (Pro 3:13-15; 9:1); Israel (Jer 31:4,18); people of Christ (Eph 4:4,13; 5:23; Rev 19:7; 1Co 12:27; 2Co 11:2; Col 1:18,24).

Jer 31:7

Vv 7-9: Cp Gen 31: Jacob leaving Laban: "blind" = Leah (Gen 29:17), "lame" = Jacob (Gen 32:31), "expectant mothers" = Leah, "women in labor" = Rachel, "weeping... praying" = Jacob with angel (cp Hos 12:4), "streams of water" = Jabbok, and "stumble" = Jacob's lameness.

Jer 31:15

RAMAH: Near Bethlehem in Benjamin (see Mat 2:18). One mile north of Bethlehem (WGos 39).

RACHEL: Daughter of Laban, wife of Jacob, mother of Joseph, grandmother of Ephraim.

REFUSING TO BE COMFORTED: As Jacob refused to be comforted: Gen 37:35. Cp Jer 31:9,18: "Benoni" = son of sorrow.

Jer 31:16

THEY WILL RETURN FROM THE LAND OF THE ENEMY: Jesus did this (cp v 22). Through him, many others will so "return". Cp vv 7-12: Jacob's family returning to land of promise. Cp also Eze 37.

THE LAND OF THE ENEMY: Babylon (cp v 17), or all nations. These are not children returning from the dead -- as JWs teach: cp 2Sa 12:22,23 with Act 2:34; Job 3:11-13; 10:18,19.

Jer 31:21

ROAD SIGNS... GUIDEPOSTS: The heap of witness: Gen 31:45,47,53.

Jer 31:22

The first woman -- Isha -- came out of man -- Ish. Here, however, man comes out of woman. Different words are used, however: "woman" = Heb "neqebah"; "man" = Heb "gibbor": the hero, or mighty man!

The Virgin Birth in the OT: Psa 71:6; 89:26,27; 110:3, LXX; Gen 3:15; 49:1,25; Isa 7:14; 49:1; Jer 31:22; Mic 5:1,2; 2Sa 7:14.

Jer 31:25

// Mat 5:6; Luk 6:21,25.

Jer 31:31

The Abrahamic covenant, "new" because not in force until confirmed by death of Jesus: Rom 15:8; Heb 12:24.

Jer 31:32

The Sabbath Law, part of the Old (Sinaitic) Covenant: Exo 34:27,28; 25:16,21. The Old Covenant, with all that is fundamental to it, was abolished in Christ, "the end of the law" (Rom 10:4), and replaced with a new covenant:
Heb 8:6-13.

Jer 31:33

Written in "fleshly tables of the heart: 2Co 3:3. "Inwardly" Jews: Rom 3:28,29. "My people", though formerly alienated by wicked works, but now restored: Hos 1:10,11.

"There is a repeated theme that Israel's entry into the New Covenant will be associated with God doing something to their hearts, confirming their own change of mind. In other words, the covenant is largely a matter of the mind. This new state of mind is in fact fundamentally part of being in covenant relationship with God... This leads us to the paramount need for us to develop genuine spiritual mindedness, the thinking, the breathing of God's Spirit in our minds. So God will act upon Israel's heart directly, using the medium of His word to do so. The initiative is God's; He will write His word upon their hearts. He is not passively offering people the opportunity to do it to themselves; He will do it to Israel. The same heart-swap operation is described in Eze 36:25,26: 'Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness... will I cleanse you (cp our baptism into the new covenant). A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you... I will put my spirit within you (note the double emphasis), and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.' Being in the new covenant is therefore characterized by having a new spirit, a new mind, and therefore a new way of life. And so Heb 10:20 calls the new covenant 'a new and living way', a new, living way of life. Jer 31:33 said that God would place His laws in Israel's heart; in Eze 36 we read that He will place His Spirit in their hearts. So the way in which God will give Israel a new heart will be through their response to the word" (BB).

Jer 31:34

Pastors and teachers given to Israel in future age: Jer 3:14,15; 23:3,4; Isa 30:19-21; 54:13. Christ to be revealed to Israel: Zec 12:10 (next). Forgiveness not possible under the first covenant: Heb 10:1-4; Rom 3:20; Gal 2:16; 3:10-12.

The sins of God's people: "Covered" (Psa 32:1), "Removed" (Psa 103:12), "Cast behind God's back" (Isa 38:17), "Blotted out" (Psa 51:1; Isa 44:22), "Washed away" (Psa 51:2,7), "Remembered no more" (Jer 31:34), "Sought for but not found" (Jer 50:20), "Cast into the depths of the sea" (Mic 7:19).

Jer 31:35

SUN... MOON... STARS: Related to Israel in Jer 33:25,26. Cp Luk 21:25,26.

WHO STIRS UP THE SEA SO THAT ITS WAVES ROAR: Yahweh's control of the waters at creation -- a commentary on the Canaanite "sea chaos" myth: see Lesson, Leviathan -- esp the "Creation".

Jer 31:36

The heavenly bodies sym Israel, never to cease in God's purpose. Cp sun, moon, and stars in Joseph's dream: Gen 37:9,10. Also cp Joel 2:10,31; 3:15.

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