Jeremiah 31

 

כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה מָצָא חֵן בַּמִּדְבָּר עַם שְׂרִידֵי חָרֶב הָלֹוךְ לְהַרְגִּיעֹו יִשְׂרָאֵל׃   31:1

Jere. 31:1   Thus says the Lord:

                      “The nation of the survivors of the sword

                                has found grace in the wilderness;

                      Israel is going to have its rest.”

מֵרָחֹוק יְהוָה נִרְאָה לִי וְאַהֲבַת עֹולָם אֲהַבְתִּיךְ עַל־כֵּן מְשַׁכְתִּיךְ חָסֶד׃   31:2

Jere. 31:2   From afar the Lord appeared to me.

                                “I love you with a love everlasting;

                      therefore I have faithfully preserved you.”

In this verse the two occurrences of the second-person pronoun you are feminine.  So they don’t refer to Jeremiah.  Instead they must refer to Zion or Jerusalem, which are both feminine.

עֹוד אֶבְנֵךְ וְנִבְנֵית בְּתוּלַת יִשְׂרָאֵל עֹוד תַּעְדִּי תֻפַּיִךְ וְיָצָאת בִּמְחֹול מְשַׂחֲקִים׃   31:3

Jere. 31:3   “Again I shall build you

                                and you shall be reestablished,

                     O virgin of Israel.

                                Again you shall don your tamborines,

                      and go forth with the dance of merrymakers.”

עֹוד תִּטְּעִי כְרָמִים בְּהָרֵי שֹׁמְרֹון נָטְעוּ נֹטְעִים וְחִלֵּלוּ׃   31:4

Jere. 31:4   “Again you shall plant vineyards

                                 on the hills of Samaria.

                     The planters shall plant,

                                 and they shall make use of.”

כִּי יֶשׁ־יֹום קָרְאוּ נֹצְרִים בְּהַר אֶפְרָיִם קוּמוּ וְנַעֲלֶה צִיֹּון אֶל־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ׃   31:5

Jere. 31:5   “For there shall be a time.

                                Proclaim, watchmen, on Mount Ephraim:

                      ‘Arise and let us ascend to Zion,

                                to the Lord, our God.’”

כִּי־כֹה אָמַר יְהוָה רָנּוּ לְיַעֲקֹב שִׂמְחָה וְצַהֲלוּ בְּרֹאשׁ הַגֹּויִם הַשְׁמִיעוּ הַלְלוּ וְאִמְרוּ הֹושַׁע יְהוָה   31:6       אֶת־עַמְּךָ אֵת שְׁאֵרִית יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

Jere. 31:6   For thus says the Lord:

                     “Sing joyfully for Jacob,

                               and shout to the head of the nations,

                     announce, praise, and say, ‘O Lord,

                               save Your people, the remnant of Israel!’”

הִנְנִי מֵבִיא אֹותָם מֵאֶרֶץ צָפֹון וְקִבַּצְתִּים מִיַּרְכְּתֵי־אָרֶץ בָּם עִוֵּר וּפִסֵּחַ הָרָה וְיֹלֶדֶת יַחְדָּו קָהָל גָּדֹול   31:7 יָשׁוּבוּ הֵנָּה׃

Jere. 31:7   “Behold, I am bringing them back

                                from the land of the north

                     and will gather them

                                from the ends of the earth,

                      the blind and the lame with them,

                                the pregnant and the midwife together.

                     A great assembly shall return here.”

בִּבְכִי יָבֹאוּ וּבְתַחֲנוּנִים אֹובִילֵם אֹולִיכֵם אֶל־נַחֲלֵי מַיִם בְּדֶרֶךְ יָשָׁר לֹא יִכָּשְׁלוּ בָּהּ כִּי־הָיִיתִי   31:8           לְיִשְׂרָאֵל לְאָב וְאֶפְרַיִם בְּכֹרִי הוּא׃

Jere. 31:8   “With weeping they shall come,

                                and through supplications

                     will I be leading them.

                                 I will have them going

                      into torrents of water by a straight path;

                                 they shall not stumble in it,

                      for I am for a Father to Israel

                                 and he is Ephraim, My firstborn.

Why do you suppose the Lord calls Ephraim His first born?  I can make an “intelligent” guess.  But first, here’s what the sages say.  Some believe that it is because of Jacob’s blessing to Manassah and Ephraim, giving the younger (Ephraim) the blessing that should have been his older sibling’s (see Gene. 48:14) .  Others think it’s because Ephraim was the first to go into exile (hinted at in Isai. 7:8).  I can’t agree with either of these reasons:  Neither explains why the Lord would call Ephraim His first born.  I believe that this is the most likely reason:  The name Ephraim is a poetic name for Israel, and Israel is His first born.  In fact, basically, that’s what the Lord says here -- in the last two English lines.  Read them again.

עֶדְרֹו׃ שִׁמְעוּ דְבַר־יְהוָה גֹּויִם וְהַגִּידוּ בָאִיִּים מִמֶּרְחָק וְאִמְרוּ מְזָרֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל יְקַבְּצֶנּוּ וּשְׁמָרֹו כְּרֹעֶה   31:9

Jere. 31:9   Hear the word of the Lord, nations,

                               and proclaim to the regions from afar and say,

                      “The Disperser of Israel shall gather him,

                               and He will guard him as a shepherd his flock.”

כִּי־פָדָה יְהוָה אֶת־יַעֲקֹב וּגְאָלֹו מִיַּד חָזָק מִמֶּנּוּ׃   31:10

Jere. 31:10   “For the Lord ransoms Jacob

                               and redeems him

                        from a hand stronger than his.”

וּבָאוּ וְרִנְּנוּ בִמְרֹום־צִיֹּון וְנָהֲרוּ אֶל־טוּב יְהוָה עַל־דָּגָן וְעַל־תִּירֹשׁ וְעַל־יִצְהָר וְעַל־בְּנֵי־צֹאן וּבָקָר   31:11 וְהָיְתָה נַפְשָׁם כְּגַן רָוֶה וְלֹא־יֹוסִיפוּ לְדַאֲבָה עֹוד׃

Jere. 31:11   “So they will come and sing

                                on the height of Zion,

                       and they will be radiant

                                because of the goodness of the Lord

                       over corn and over wine and over oil

                                and over the young

                       of the flock and the herd,

                                and their soul will be

                        like a well-watered garden,

                                and they will be languishing no more.”

אָז תִּשְׂמַח בְּתוּלָה בְּמָחֹול וּבַחֻרִים וּזְקֵנִים יַחְדָּו וְהָפַכְתִּי אֶבְלָם לְשָׂשֹׂון וְנִחַמְתִּים וְשִׂמַּחְתִּים   31:12         מִיגֹונָם׃

Jere. 31:12   “Then the virgin shall rejoice with dancing,

                                and the young men and the old men together,

                        as I change their mourning to exultation

                                and console them and gladden them

                        out of their grief,

The virgin -- Zion or Jerusalem -- shall be pure again.  Or perhaps it never was.  However, now no more adultery.

וְרִוֵּיתִי נֶפֶשׁ הַכֹּהֲנִים דָּשֶׁן וְעַמִּי אֶת־טוּבִי יִשְׂבָּעוּ נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃   31:13

Jere. 31:13   and satiate the desire of the priests with fatness,

                                so My people with My goodness

                       may be filled,” declares the Lord.

כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה קֹול בְּרָמָה נִשְׁמָע נְהִי בְּכִי תַמְרוּרִים רָחֵל מְבַכָּה עַל־בָּנֶיהָ מֵאֲנָה לְהִנָּחֵם עַל־בָּנֶיהָ   31:14 כִּי אֵינֶנּוּ׃

Jere. 31:14   Thus says the Lord:

                        “A sound of lamentations is heard in Ramah,

                                 of tears of bitterness,

                        Rachel weeping over her children,

                                 refusing to be consoled about her children

                        when they are gone.”

כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה מִנְעִי קֹולֵךְ מִבֶּכִי וְעֵינַיִךְ מִדִּמְעָה כִּי יֵשׁ שָׂכָר לִפְעֻלָּתֵךְ נְאֻם־יְהוָה וְשָׁבוּ מֵאֶרֶץ   31:15      אֹויֵב׃

 

Jere. 31:15   Thus says the Lord:

                        “Restrain your voice from weeping

                                 and your eyes from tears,

                        for there is a reward for your exertion,”

                                 declares the Lord,

                        “that they shall return

                                  from the land of the enemy,

וְיֵשׁ־תִּקְוָה לְאַחֲרִיתֵךְ נְאֻם־יְהוָה וְשָׁבוּ בָנִים לִגְבוּלָם׃   31:16

Jere. 31:16   that there is hope for your future,”

                                 declares the Lord,

                        “that the descendants shall return

                                  to their own territory.”

שָׁמֹועַ שָׁמַעְתִּי אֶפְרַיִם מִתְנֹודֵד יִסַּרְתַּנִי וָאִוָּסֵר כְּעֵגֶל לֹא לֻמָּד הֲשִׁיבֵנִי וְאָשׁוּבָה כִּי אַתָּה יְהוָה   31:17       אֱלֹהָי׃

Jere. 31:17   “Surely I hear Ephraim bemoaning himself:

                                  ‘You have disciplined me

                        and I am chastened, like an untrained calf.

                                 Turn me back that I may return,

                        for You are the Lord, my God.’

כִּי־אַחֲרֵי שׁוּבִי נִחַמְתִּי וְאַחֲרֵי הִוָּדְעִי סָפַקְתִּי עַל־יָרֵךְ בֹּשְׁתִּי וְגַם־נִכְלַמְתִּי כִּי נָשָׂאתִי חֶרְפַּת   31:18         נְעוּרָי׃

Jere. 31:18   ‘Surely after my turning back,

                                  I was comforted,

                        and after my being made perceptive,

                                  I slapped on the thigh,

                         I was so ashamed and also humiliated,

                                  for I have suffered

                         the disgrace of my youth.’”

הֲבֵן יַקִּיר לִי אֶפְרַיִם אִם יֶלֶד שַׁעֲשֻׁעִים כִּי־מִדֵּי דַבְּרִי בֹּו זָכֹר אֶזְכְּרֶנּוּ עֹוד עַל־כֵּן הָמוּ מֵעַי לֹו    31:19      רַחֵם אֲרַחֲמֶנּוּ נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃

Jere. 31:19   “Is Ephraim a precious son to Me,

                                 a lad of delights?

                       But as often as My speaking at him,

                                ‘Remember,’

                        I remember him more.

                               Therefore My internal parts

                       cry aloud for him.

                                I must have deep compassion for him,”

                       declares the Lord.

הַצִּיבִי לָךְ צִיֻּנִים שִׂמִי לָךְ תַּמְרוּרִים שִׁתִי לִבֵּךְ לַמְסִלָּה דֶּרֶךְ (הָלָכְתִּי) [הָלָכְתְּ] שׁוּבִי בְּתוּלַת   31:20             יִשְׂרָאֵל שֻׁבִי אֶל־עָרַיִךְ אֵלֶּה׃

Jere. 31:20   Erect signposts for yourself;

                                 set guideposts for yourself;

                        fix your heart toward the highway,

                                 the way you departed.

                        Return, O virgin of Israel,

                                 return to these, your cities.

The word in the parentheses, translated as you departed, is misspelled.  The correction is in the brackets.

עַד־מָתַי תִּתְחַמָּקִין הַבַּת הַשֹּׁובֵבָה כִּי־בָרָא יְהוָה חֲדָשָׁה בָּאָרֶץ נְקֵבָה תְּסֹובֵב גָּבֶר׃   31:21

Jere. 31:21   How long will you make yourself turn away,

                                 the backsliding daughter?

                        Surely the Lord has created

                                 something new on the earth:

                        A female can circle about a Warrior.

The meaning here?  I suspect that Jeremiah is saying that the Lord’s bride -- Israel -- can put herself out of God’s reach.  Because of the gift of free will and the Lord’s love for her, she can maintain her distance from her Groom.

כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאֹות אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל עֹוד יֹאמְרוּ אֶת־הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה בְּאֶרֶץ יְהוּדָה וּבְעָרָיו בְּשׁוּבִי   31:22       אֶת־שְׁבוּתָם יְבָרֶךְךָ יְהוָה נְוֵה־צֶדֶק הַר הַקֹּדֶשׁ׃

Jere. 31:22   Thus says the Lord of hosts, God of Israel:

                        “Again they shall utter this speech

                                  in the land of Judah and in its cities

                       with My reversing their captivity:

                                  ‘May the Lord bless you,

                       O habitation of righteousness,

                                 O mountain of holiness.’”

וְיָשְׁבוּ בָהּ יְהוּדָה וְכָל־עָרָיו יַחְדָּו אִכָּרִים וְנָסְעוּ בַּעֵדֶר׃   31:23

Jere. 31:23   “And Judah shall dwell by it,

                                 and all its cities,

                        farming together,

                                 and they shall move out with flocks.”

כִּי הִרְוֵיתִי נֶפֶשׁ עֲיֵפָה וְכָל־נֶפֶשׁ דָּאֲבָה מִלֵּאתִי׃   31:24

Jere. 31:24   “For I have watered the weary soul,

                                 and reinvigorated every languishing soul.”

עַל־זֹאת הֱקִיצֹתִי וָאֶרְאֶה וּשְׁנָתִי עָרְבָה לִּי׃   31:25

Jere. 31:25   Upon this I awoke and perceived, and my sleep was pleasing to me.

This verse informs us specifically that Jeremiah was dreaming all this.

הִנֵּה יָמִים בָּאִים נְאֻם־יְהוָה וְזָרַעְתִּי אֶת־בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֶת־בֵּית יְהוּדָה זֶרַע אָדָם וְזֶרַע בְּהֵמָה׃   31:26

Jere. 31:26   “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will supply the house of Israel and the house of Judah seed of human and seed of beast.”

וְהָיָה כַּאֲשֶׁר שָׁקַדְתִּי עֲלֵיהֶם לִנְתֹושׁ וְלִנְתֹוץ וְלַהֲרֹס וּלְהַאֲבִיד וּלְהָרֵעַ כֵּן אֶשְׁקֹד עֲלֵיהֶם לִבְנֹות   31:27   וְלִנְטֹועַ נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃

Jere. 31:27   “And it shall be, as I have watched over them to expel and break down, and to overthrow and destroy, and to injure, so shall I watch over them to rebuild and establish,” declares the Lord.

בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם לֹא־יֹאמְרוּ עֹוד אָבֹות אָכְלוּ בֹסֶר וְשִׁנֵּי בָנִים תִּקְהֶינָה׃   31:28

Jere. 31:28   “In those days they will no longer say,

                                ‘The fathers eat sour grapes so the teeth

                        of the children shall be blunted.’”

כִּי אִם־אִישׁ בַּעֲוֹנֹו יָמוּת כָּל־הָאָדָם הָאֹכֵל הַבֹּסֶר תִּקְהֶינָה שִׁנָּיו׃    31:29

Jere. 31:29   “Indeed if a person is in iniquity, he shall die; each human who eats the sour grapes, his teeth will be blunted.”

הִנֵּה יָמִים בָּאִים נְאֻם־יְהוָה וְכָרַתִּי אֶת־בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֶת־בֵּית יְהוּדָה בְּרִית חֲדָשָׁה׃   31:30

Jere. 31:30   “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I shall make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,

לֹא כַבְּרִית אֲשֶׁר כָּרַתִּי אֶת־אֲבֹותָם בְּיֹום הֶחֱזִיקִי בְיָדָם לְהֹוצִיאָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם אֲשֶׁר־הֵמָּהּ   31:31

 הֵפֵרוּ אֶת־בְּרִיתִי וְאָנֹכִי בָּעַלְתִּי בָם נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃

Jere. 31:31   not like the covenant that I made with their ancestors in the day of My holding onto their hand to bring them out from the land of Egypt, as they violated My covenant while I ruled among them,” declares the Lord.

כִּי זֹאת הַבְּרִית אֲשֶׁר אֶכְרֹת אֶת־בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל אַחֲרֵי הַיָּמִים הָהֵם נְאֻם־יְהוָה נָתַתִּי אֶת־תֹּורָתִי   31:32 בְּקִרְבָּם וְעַל־לִבָּם אֶכְתֲּבֶנָּה וְהָיִיתִי לָהֶם לֵאלֹהִים וְהֵמָּה יִהְיוּ־לִי לְעָם׃

Jere. 31:32   “Instead this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord: “I have set My Torah in their inner parts; now I will inscribe it upon their heart; then I will be for God to them and they will be for a people to Me.”

וְלֹא יְלַמְּדוּ עֹוד אִישׁ אֶת־רֵעֵהוּ וְאִישׁ אֶת־אָחִיו לֵאמֹר דְּעוּ אֶת־יְהוָה כִּי־כוּלָּם יֵדְעוּ אֹותִי   31:33            וְעַד־גְּדֹולָם נְאֻם־יְהוָה כִּי אֶסְלַח לַעֲוֹנָם וּלְחַטָּאתָם לֹא אֶזְכָּר־עֹוד׃

Jere. 31:33   “Then they will not have to teach anymore one another and each his brothers saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all of them shall know Me, from the least of them and up to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord. “Then I shall forgive for their iniquity and I will not remember any more in regard to their sin.”

כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה נֹתֵן שֶׁמֶשׁ לְאֹור יֹוםָם חֻקֹּת יָרֵחַ וְכֹוכָבִים לְאֹור לָיְלָה רֹגַע הַיָּם וַיֶּהֱמוּ גַלָּיו יְהוָה   31:34 צְבָאֹות שְׁמֹו׃

Jere. 31:34   Thus says the Lord,

                                Giver of the sun for light by day,

                        Prescriber of the moon and stars

                                to light the night,

                        Disturber of the sea that its waves roar

                                (the Lord of hosts is His name):

אִם־יָמֻשׁוּ הַחֻקִּים הָאֵלֶּה מִלְּפָנַי נְאֻם־יְהוָה גַּם זֶרַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יִשְׁבְּתוּ מִהְיֹות גֹּוי לְפָנַי כָּל־הַיָּמִים׃   31:35

Jere. 31:35   “If these ordinances depart from before Me,”

                                declares the Lord,

                        “then the seed of Israel shall cease

                                from being a nation before Me forever.”

There’s an interesting grammatical peculiarity in this verse.  The seed of Israel, the subject of the second phrase in the statement, is singular, but its verb, shall cease, is plural.  But if we continue to read the rest of the verse, the mismatch begins to make sense.   Although the word seed itself is singular, the seed of Israel is not one; it’s all of the nation of Israel.  The words the seed of Israel mean all the descendants of Jacob.

כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה אִם־יִמַּדּוּ שָׁמַיִם מִלְמַעְלָה וְיֵחָקְרוּ מֹוסְדֵי־אֶרֶץ לְמָטָּה גַּם־אֲנִי אֶמְאַס בְּכָל־זֶרַע   31:36    יִשְׂרָאֵל עַל־כָּל־אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃

Jere. 31:36   Thus says the Lord:

                        “Suppose the vastness of heaven

                                could be measured,

                        and the foundations of the earth

                                searched out as to depth,

                        only then would I give up

                                on all the seed of Israel

                        because of all that they did,”

                                declares the Lord.

הִנֵּה יָמִים (ִָ  ) [בָּאִים] נְאֻם־יְהוָה וְנִבְנְתָה הָעִיר לַיהוָה מִמִּגְדַּל חֲנַנְאֵל שַׁעַר הַפִּנָּה׃   31:37

Jere. 31:37   “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when the city will be rebuilt for the Lord from the tower of Hananel up to the gate of the corner,

This verse contains one of those unusual errors consisting of blank spaces.  The vowel points shown in the parentheses are those assumed by the sage or sages who printed the earliest Hebrew bibles some time in the tenth century of the common era.  The word assumed to be missing, translated as are coming, is in the brackets. 

וְיָצָא עֹוד (קְוֵה) [קָו] הַמִּדָּה נֶגְדֹּו עַל גִּבְעַת גָּרֵב וְנָסַב גֹּעָתָה׃   31:38

Jere. 31:38   and a line of measurement will stretch out again straight from it onto the hill of Gareb; then it will turn toward Goah.”

Here we have an error in which the word in parentheses contains an extra heh suffix which makes the word mean something totally inappropriate in this context.  The correction in the brackets can be translated as line.

וְכָל־הָעֵמֶק הַפְּגָרִים וְהַדֶּשֶׁן וְכָל־(הַשְּׁרֵמֹות) [הַשְּׁדֵמֹות] עַד־נַחַל קִדְרֹון עַד־פִּנַּת שַׁעַר   31:39                  הַסּוּסִים מִזְרָחָה קֹדֶשׁ לַיהוָה לֹא־יִנָּתֵשׁ וְלֹא־יֵהָרֵס עֹוד לְעֹולָם׃

Jere. 31:39   “And the whole valley of carcasses and fat ashes, and all the fields, up to the brook Kidron, as far as the corner of the gate of horses to the east, shall be holy to the Lord; it shall not be uprooted or broken down again forever.”

Yet another error:  The word in parentheses, translated as the fields, should be spelled with a daled in the third position, not a resh.  The correction is in the brackets.

 

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