Jeremiah 31

Listen to Jeremiah 31

The Lord Will Turn Mourning to Joy

1 1"At that time, declares the LORD, 2I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they shall be my people."
2 Thus says the LORD: "The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; 3when Israel sought for rest,
3 the LORD appeared to him[a] from far away. 4I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore 5I have continued 6my faithfulness to you.
4 7Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel! 8Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines and shall go forth in 9the dance of the merrymakers.
5 10Again you shall plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant and shall enjoy the fruit.
6 For there shall be a day when watchmen will call in 11the hill country of Ephraim: 12'Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the LORD our God.'"
7 For thus says the LORD: 13"Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, and raise shouts for 14the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, 15'O LORD, save your people, the remnant of Israel.'
8 Behold, I will bring them 16from the north country and 17gather them from 18the farthest parts of the earth, among them 19the blind and the lame, the pregnant woman and she who is in labor, together; a great company, they shall return here.
9 20With weeping they shall come, 21and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back, I will make them 22walk by brooks of water, 23in a straight path in which they shall not stumble, for 24I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is 25my firstborn.
10 "Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, and declare it in the coastlands far away; say, 'He who scattered Israel will 26gather him, and will keep him 27as a shepherd keeps his flock.'
11 28For the LORD has ransomed Jacob and has redeemed him from 29hands too strong for him.
12 They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, 30and they shall be radiant 31over the goodness of the LORD, 32over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; 33their life shall be like a watered garden, 34and they shall languish no more.
13 35Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. 36I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.
14 37I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, declares the LORD."
15 Thus says the LORD: 38"A voice is heard in 39Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. 40Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, 41because they are no more."
16 Thus says the LORD: "Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears, for there is a reward for your work, declares the LORD, and 42they shall come back from the land of the enemy.
17 43There is hope for your future, declares the LORD, and your children shall come back to their own country.
18 I have heard 44Ephraim grieving, 'You have disciplined me, and I was disciplined, like an untrained calf; 45bring me back that I may be restored, for you are the LORD my God.
19 For after 46I had turned away, I relented, and after I was instructed, 47I struck my thigh; 48I was ashamed, and I was confounded, because I bore the disgrace of my youth.'
20 49Is Ephraim my dear son? 50Is he my darling child? For as often as I speak against him, I do remember him still. 51Therefore my heart[b] yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, declares the LORD.
21 52"Set up road markers for yourself; make yourself guideposts; 53consider well the highway, 54the road by which you went. Return, O virgin Israel, return to these your cities.
22 55How long will you waver, 56O faithless daughter? For the LORD has created a new thing on the earth: a woman encircles a man."
23 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: "Once more they shall use these words in the land of Judah and in its cities, 57when I restore their fortunes: 58"'The LORD bless you, 59O habitation of righteousness, 60O holy hill!'
24 61And Judah and all its cities shall dwell there together, and 62the farmers and those who wander with their flocks.
25 For I will 63satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish."
26 At this I awoke and looked, and my sleep was pleasant to me.
27 64"Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when 65I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with 66the seed of man and the seed of beast.
28 And it shall come to pass that 67as I have watched over them 68to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring harm, 69so I will watch over them 70to build and to plant, declares the LORD.
29 In those days they shall no longer say: 71"'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.'
30 72But everyone shall die for his own sin. Each man who eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.

The New Covenant

31 73"Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make 74a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,
32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when 75I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, 76though I was their husband, declares the LORD.
33 77But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: 78I will put my law within them, and I will write it 79on their hearts. 80And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,'81for they shall all know me, 82from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For 83I will forgive their iniquity, and 84I will remember their sin no more."
35 Thus says the LORD, who 85gives the sun for light by day and 86the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar-- 87the LORD of hosts is his name:
36 88"If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the LORD, then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever."
37 Thus says the LORD: "If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth below can be explored, 89then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done, declares the LORD."
38 90"Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when the city shall be rebuilt for the LORD 91from the Tower of Hananel to 92the Corner Gate.
39 93And the measuring line shall go out farther, straight to the hill Gareb, and shall then turn to Goah.
40 94The whole valley of the dead bodies and the ashes, and all the fields as far as the 95brook Kidron, to the corner of 96the Horse Gate toward the east, 97shall be sacred to the LORD. 98It shall not be uprooted or overthrown anymore forever."

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Jeremiah 31 Commentary

Chapter 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)

Verses 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.

Verses 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, ( Matthew 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.

Verses 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.

Verses 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?

Verses 27-34 The people of God shall become numerous and prosperous. In ( hebrews 8:8 hebrews 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.

Verses 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.

Cross References 98

  • 1. Jeremiah 30:24
  • 2. [2 Corinthians 6:18]; See Jeremiah 30:22
  • 3. [Jeremiah 30:10; Psalms 95:11; Isaiah 63:14]
  • 4. Deuteronomy 7:8; Deuteronomy 10:15; Malachi 1:2; Romans 11:28
  • 5. Psalms 36:10
  • 6. Hosea 11:4
  • 7. ver. 28; Jeremiah 33:7
  • 8. Isaiah 61:10
  • 9. ver. 13; Exodus 15:20; Judges 11:34; Judges 21:21; See 2 Samuel 6:14
  • 10. Isaiah 65:21; Amos 9:14
  • 11. See Joshua 24:33
  • 12. Isaiah 2:3; Isaiah 27:13
  • 13. Isaiah 12:6; Isaiah 65:18
  • 14. Amos 6:1
  • 15. Psalms 118:25
  • 16. See Jeremiah 3:18
  • 17. See Jeremiah 23:3
  • 18. See Jeremiah 6:22
  • 19. Isaiah 35:5, 6
  • 20. Jeremiah 50:4; [Ezra 3:13; Ezra 10:1]
  • 21. Jeremiah 3:21; Zechariah 12:10
  • 22. Isaiah 35:6, 7; Isaiah 49:10; [Psalms 23:2]
  • 23. Isaiah 35:8; Isaiah 43:19; Isaiah 49:11
  • 24. Romans 8:15
  • 25. [Exodus 4:22; Psalms 89:27]
  • 26. [See ver. 8 above]
  • 27. Isaiah 40:11
  • 28. Isaiah 43:1; Isaiah 44:23; Isaiah 48:20
  • 29. [Isaiah 49:24, 25]
  • 30. Isaiah 2:2; Micah 4:1
  • 31. Hosea 3:5
  • 32. [Deuteronomy 12:17]
  • 33. Isaiah 58:11
  • 34. Isaiah 35:10
  • 35. See ver. 4
  • 36. [John 16:20]
  • 37. [ver. 25]
  • 38. Cited Matthew 2:18
  • 39. Joshua 18:25
  • 40. [Genesis 35:19, 20; Genesis 48:7; 1 Samuel 10:2]
  • 41. Jeremiah 10:20
  • 42. Ezra 1:5; Hosea 1:11
  • 43. Jeremiah 29:11
  • 44. [ver. 9]
  • 45. Psalms 80:3; Lamentations 5:21
  • 46. Deuteronomy 30:2
  • 47. Ezekiel 21:12
  • 48. [Jeremiah 3:25]
  • 49. [See ver. 18 above]
  • 50. [Proverbs 8:30]
  • 51. Song of Songs 5:4; Isaiah 16:11
  • 52. [Isaiah 57:14; Isaiah 62:10]
  • 53. Jeremiah 50:4, 5
  • 54. [Isaiah 57:14; Isaiah 62:10]
  • 55. Jeremiah 2:18, 23, 36
  • 56. Jeremiah 49:4
  • 57. See Jeremiah 30:3
  • 58. Psalms 122:6, 7
  • 59. Jeremiah 50:7; Isaiah 1:26
  • 60. Zechariah 8:3
  • 61. Jeremiah 33:13
  • 62. Jeremiah 33:13
  • 63. Psalms 36:8; [ver. 14]
  • 64. Jeremiah 9:25
  • 65. Ezekiel 36:11; Hosea 2:23; Zechariah 10:9
  • 66. [Psalms 22:30; Isaiah 53:10]
  • 67. Jeremiah 44:27; [Jeremiah 32:42]
  • 68. [ver. 40]; See Jeremiah 1:10
  • 69. Jeremiah 44:27; [Jeremiah 32:42]
  • 70. See Jeremiah 24:6
  • 71. Ezekiel 18:2, 3; [Lamentations 5:7]
  • 72. Ezekiel 18:4
  • 73. ver. 31-34, cited Hebrews 8:8-12
  • 74. Luke 22:20; 2 Corinthians 3:6
  • 75. [Deuteronomy 1:31]
  • 76. See Jeremiah 3:14
  • 77. Jeremiah 32:40; Ezekiel 37:26; Cited Hebrews 10:16
  • 78. Jeremiah 32:40; Ezekiel 37:26; Cited Hebrews 10:16
  • 79. Psalms 37:31; 2 Corinthians 3:3
  • 80. Hosea 2:23; Zechariah 8:8; Zechariah 13:9; Revelation 21:7; See Jeremiah 30:22
  • 81. Isaiah 54:13
  • 82. See Jeremiah 6:13
  • 83. Jeremiah 33:8; Jeremiah 36:3; Jeremiah 50:20; Micah 7:18; Acts 10:43; Romans 11:27; Cited Hebrews 10:17
  • 84. Isaiah 43:25
  • 85. Genesis 1:16
  • 86. See ver. 36
  • 87. See Jeremiah 10:16
  • 88. [Psalms 148:6; Isaiah 54:9, 10]; For ver. 36, 37, see Jeremiah 33:20-26
  • 89. Romans 11:1
  • 90. ver. 27, 31
  • 91. Nehemiah 3:1; Nehemiah 12:39; Zechariah 14:10
  • 92. 2 Kings 14:13
  • 93. Ezekiel 40:3; Zechariah 1:16; Zechariah 2:1, 2; [Revelation 11:1]
  • 94. [Jeremiah 7:31, 32]
  • 95. See 2 Samuel 15:23
  • 96. 2 Chronicles 23:15
  • 97. Isaiah 52:1; Joel 3:17
  • 98. [ver. 28]

Footnotes 2

Chapter Summary


This chapter is connected with the former, respects the same times, and is full of prophecies and promises of spiritual blessings; of the coming of Christ; of the multiplication of his people, and the increase of their joy; of the conversion of the Gentiles; of the covenant of grace; and of the stability of the saints. It begins with the principal promise of the covenant, confirmed by past experience, of divine goodness, and with a fresh declaration of God's everlasting love, Jer 31:1-3; an instance of which would appear, in planting vines or churches in Samaria, the metropolis of Ephraim or the ten tribes, under the ministry of the apostles, the watchmen, on Mount Ephraim; whereby the Israel of God would be built, beautified, and made to rejoice, Jer 31:4-6; yea, it would be matter of joy to all that heard of it; since, notwithstanding distance and other difficulties, a great number should come to Christ, and to his church, drawn by the Father's love to them, and as owing to the relation he stands in to them, Jer 31:7-9; redemption out of the hands of Satan, and every spiritual enemy, must be published among the Gentiles; which would cause great joy, and give great satisfaction to the priests and people of the Lord, expressed by various metaphors, Jer 31:10-14; and though, upon the birth of the Redeemer, there would be an event, which might tend to damp the joy of saints on account of it, the murder of the infants at Bethlehem; yet some things are said to encourage faith, hope, and joy, and to abate sorrow and weeping, Jer 31:15-17; Ephraim's affliction, and behaviour under it, his repentance and reception, are recorded, Jer 31:18-20; backsliding Israel are called upon to return, in consideration of the birth of the Messiah, Jer 31:21,22; the happy and flourishing estate of the people of God is promised; all which were made known to the prophet by a dream in the night, Jer 31:23-26; and fresh promises are made, that the Lord would do them good, and not punish the children for their fathers' sins, but everyone for their own, Jer 31:28-30; and then an account is given of the new covenant of grace, as distinct from the old, and of the articles of it; the inscription of the law in the heart, spiritual knowledge of the Lord, and remission of sin, Jer 31:31-34; then follow assurances of the everlasting continuance of the true Israel and church of God, Jer 31:35-37; and the chapter is concluded with a promise of rebuilding the city of Jerusalem, and of the holiness of it, and of its abiding for ever, Jer 31:38-40.

Jeremiah 31 Commentaries

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