|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
31:10-17 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.
Verse 16. - Rachel is admonished to cease from weeping, because her work has not really been in vain; her children shall be restored. Thy work shall be rewarded. Like the Servant of the Lord, Rachel had said (though with the voiceless language of tears), "I have laboured in vain; I have spent my strength for nought and in vain;" and like the ocean mother of Zidon, "I have not travailed, nor brought forth children, neither nourished up young men, nor brought up virgins" (Isaiah 23:4). Rachel's work had been that of rearing up the patriarchs, "in whose loins" the tribes themselves were, in a certain sense. From the land of the enemy; i.e. from the countries of Israel's dispersion. But in the spirit of St. Matthew, we may fill the passage with a higher meaning, of which the prophet (like Shakespeare sometimes) was unconscious, namely, "from death;" and the passage thus becomes an undesigned prophecy of the Resurrection.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thus saith the Lord, refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears,.... Though sorrow on such an occasion may be lawfully indulged, yet it ought to be moderated; and attention should be given to those things which may serve to relieve under it, and especially when they come from the Lord himself; then a stop is to be put to the mournful voice, and wet eyes are to be dried up:
for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; in bearing these children, and bringing them into the world, and expressing such an affectionate and tender concern for them; signifying, that the trouble of bearing and bringing them into the world, and nursing them the time they did live, should not, as it might seem, be fruitless, and to answer no end; but it should be seen hereafter, that all this was not in vain; nor should they think it so; but that they have an ample recompense of all their sorrow and trouble:
and they shall come again from the land of the enemy; meaning either Joseph, and Mary, and Jesus; who, by the warning of an angel, went into Egypt, the land of the enemy, where the Jewish fathers were once evilly entreated, just before this barbarity was committed; where they stayed till all danger was over, and then returned; see Matthew 2:13; compared with Hosea 11:1; or rather the murdered children, who, in the resurrection morn, shall return from the grave, the land of that "last enemy", death, which shall be destroyed, 1 Corinthians 15:26; and so Rachel, and the Jewish mothers she represents, are comforted with the hopes of a better resurrection; see Hebrews 11:35.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. thy work—thy parental weeping for thy children [Rosenmuller]. Thine affliction in the loss of thy children, murdered for Christ's sake, shall not be fruitless to thee, as was the case in thy giving birth to the "child of thy sorrow," Benjamin. Primarily, also, thy grief shall not be perpetual: the exiles shall return, and the land be inhabited again [Calvin].
come again—(Ho 1:11).
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