|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
31:1-9 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.
Verse 4. - I will build thee. A nation, like a family, is frequently compared to a building (so Jeremiah 12:16; Jeremiah 24:6; comp. Ephesians 2:22). O virgin of Israel. The people of Israel is personified as a virgin (comp. Jeremiah 14:7). Adorned with thy tabrets, The expression will not, of course, bear to be logically criticized, for it was not the whole people who went out with "tabrets" or "timbrels," but the "damsels," who, it is true, formed an important part of religious processions (Psalm 68:25), and doubtless of secular ones also (comp. Judges 11:34). Joyousness is an essential part of the Biblical ideal both of religion and of a normal state of society: "The joy of the Lord is your strength."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Again, I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel,.... The same with "all the families of Israel", Jeremiah 31:1; who, when converted, will be espoused to Christ as a chaste virgin; have a sincere affection for him; unfeigned faith in him, and purely worship him; receiving the pure doctrines of the Gospel, and submitting to the ordinances of it; and then will the church, comparable to a building, consisting of lively stones, laid upon the foundation Christ, which is fallen down, and lies in ruins, be rebuilt, and none shall hinder it; and a glorious building it will be, and will continue so, when its stones are laid with fair colours; its foundations with sapphires; its windows made of agates; its gates of carbuncles; and all its borders of pleasant stones, Isaiah 54:11;
thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets; or timbrels, instruments of music, such as women used at times of public joy and mirth, Exodus 15:20; which became them, and were very ornamental to them; and their playing on these was usually attended with dancing; hence it follows:
and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry; phrases expressive of spiritual joy, which will be in the hearts of the saints, and expressed by the behaviour of them at the time of the conversion of the, Jews, which will be the marriage of the Lamb; and when the bride will be ready, being adorned with the robe of Christ's righteousness, and with the graces of his Spirit, and be brought into his presence, accompanied with a chorus of virgins her companions, undefiled ones, having harps in their hands, singing the Lamb's new song; see Revelation 14:2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. I will build … thou shalt be built—The combination of the active and passive to express the same fact implies the infallible certainty of its accomplishment. "Build," that is, establish in prosperity (Jer 33:7).
adorned with … tabrets—(1Sa 18:6). Or, "adorn thyself with thy timbrels"; used by damsels on occasions of public rejoicings (Ex 15:20; Jud 11:34). Israel had cast away all instruments of joy in her exile (Ps 137:4).
dances—holy joy, not carnal mirth.
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