31:1 At the a same time, saith the LORD, I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.
(a) When this noble governor will come, meaning Christ, not only Judah and Israel, but the rest of the world will be called.
31:2 Thus saith the LORD, The people [who were] b left by the sword found grace in the wilderness; c [even] Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.
(b) Who were delivered from the cruelty of Pharaoh.
31:3 The LORD appeared d of old to me, [saying], e I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
(c) That is, God.
(d) The people thus reason as though he were not so beneficial to them now as he had been of old.
31:4 Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again f be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.
(e) Thus the Lord answers that his love is not changeable.
31:5 Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of g Samaria: the planters shall plant, and h shall eat [them] as common things.
(f) You will still have opportunity to rejoice which is meant by tabrets and dancing as their custom was after notable victories, (Exodus 15:20; Judges 11:34).
(g) Because the Israelites who were the ten tribes never returned to Samaria, therefore this must be spiritually understood under the kingdom of Christ, which was the restoration of the true Israel.
31:6 For there shall be a day, [that] the i watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to k Zion to the LORD our God.
(h) That is, will eat the fruit of it, as in (Leviticus 19:23-25; Deuteronomy 20:6).
(i) The ministers of the word.
31:7 l For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: proclaim ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel.
(k) They will exhort all to the embracing of the gospel, as in (Isaiah 2:3).
(l) He shows what will be the concord and love of all under the gospel when none will be refused for their infirmities: and everyone will exhort one another to embrace it.
31:9 They shall come with m weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of n waters in a straight way, in which they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim [is] o my firstborn.
31:11 For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand p of [him that was] stronger than he.
(m) That is, lamenting their sins which had not given ear to the prophets and therefore it follows that God received them to mercy, (Jeremiah 50:4). Some take it that they should weep for joy.
(n) Where they found no impediments, but abundance of all things.
(o) That is, my dearly beloved as the first child is to the father.
(p) That is, from the Babylonians and other enemies.
31:12 Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for q grain, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all.
31:13 Then shall the virgin rejoice in the r dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.
(q) By these temporal benefits he means the spiritual graces which are in the Church, and of which there would ever be plenty, (Isaiah 58:11,12).
(r) In the company of the faithful, who ever praise God for his benefits.
31:14 And I will abundantly satisfy the soul of the priests with s fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the LORD.
(s) Meaning, the spirit of wisdom, knowledge and zeal.
31:15 Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, [and] bitter weeping; t Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they [were] not.
(t) To declare the greatness of Godís mercy in delivering the Jews, he shows them that they were like the Benjamites of the Israelites, that is, utterly destroyed and carried away, so much so that if Rachel the mother of Benjamin could have risen again to seek her children she would have found none remaining.
31:18 I have surely heard u Ephraim bemoaning himself [thus]; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a x bull unaccustomed [to the yoke]: y turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou [art] the LORD my God.
(u) That is, the people who were led captive.
31:19 Surely after I was turned, I repented; and after I was instructed, I smote upon [my] z thigh: I was ashamed, and even confounded, because I bore the reproach of my youth.
(x) Which was wanton and could not be subject to the yoke.
(y) He shows how the faithful used to pray, that is, desire God to tame them as they cannot turn of themselves.
(z) In sign of repentance and detestation of my sin.
31:20 [Is] Ephraim a my dear son? [is he] a pleasant child? for since I spoke against him, I do earnestly b remember him still: therefore my heart is troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the LORD.
(a) As though he would say no for by his iniquity he did what lay in him to cast me off.
31:21 Set thee up c waymarks, make thee high heaps: set thy heart toward the highway, [even] the way [which] thou wentest: turn again, O virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities.
(c) Mark by what way you went into captivity and you will turn again by the same.
31:22 How long wilt thou wander about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the LORD hath created d a new thing in the earth, A woman shall encompass a man.
(d) Because their deliverance from Babylon was a figure of their deliverance from sin, he shows how this would be procured that is, by Jesus Christ, whom a woman would conceive and bear in her womb. Which is a strange thing in earth, because he would be born of a virgin without man or he means that Jerusalem which was like a barren woman in her captivity would be fruitful as she that is joined in marriage and whom God blesses with children.
31:26 Upon this I awoke, and beheld; and my sleep e was sweet to me.
(e) Having understood this vision of the Messiah to come, in whom the two houses of Israel and Judah would be joined, I rejoiced.
31:27 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah f with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast.
(f) I will multiply and enrich them with people and cattle.
31:29 In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have g eaten a sour grape, and the childrenís teeth are set on edge.
31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a h new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
(g) The wicked used this proverb when they murmured against Godís judgments pronounced by the prophets, saying that their fathers had committed the fault and that the children were punished, (Ezekiel 18:2,3).
(h) Though the covenant of redemption made to the fathers and this which was given later seemed varied, yet they are all one and grounded on Jesus Christ, save that this is called new, because of the manifestation of Christ and the abundant graces of the Holy Spirit given to his Church under the gospel.
31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day [that] I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they i broke, although I was an husband to them, saith the LORD:
31:33 But this [shall be] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After k those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
(i) And so were the opportunity of their own divorcement through their infidelity, (Isaiah 50:1).
31:34 And they shall l teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
(k) In the time of Christ, my law will instead of tables of stone be written in their hearts by my Holy Spirit, (Hebrews 8:10).
31:35 Thus saith the LORD, who giveth m the sun for a light by day, [and] the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, who divideth the sea when its waves roar; The LORD of hosts [is] his name:
(l) Under the kingdom of Christ there will be no one blinded with ignorance, but I will give them faith, and acknowledge God for remission of their sins and daily increase the same: so that it will not seem to come so much by the preaching of my ministers as by the instruction of my Holy Spirit, (Isaiah 54:13) but the full accomplishing of it is referred to the kingdom of Christ, when we will be joined with our head.
(m) If the sun, moon and stars cannot but glue light according to my ordinance, so long as this world lasts, so shall my church never fail, neither shall anything hinder it: and as sure as I will have a people, so certain is it, that I will leave them my word forever to govern them with.
31:37 Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, n and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.
(n) The one and the other is impossible.
31:38 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the o city shall be built to the LORD from the tower of Hananeel to the gate of the corner.
(o) As it was performed, (Nehemiah 3:1). By this description he shows that the city would be as ample and beautiful as it ever was: but he alludes to the spiritual Jerusalem whose beauty would be incomparable.