Jeremiah 31:9
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble, because I am Israel's father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son.

New Living Translation
Tears of joy will stream down their faces, and I will lead them home with great care. They will walk beside quiet streams and on smooth paths where they will not stumble. For I am Israel's father, and Ephraim is my oldest child.

English Standard Version
With weeping they shall come, and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back, I will make them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble, for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.

New American Standard Bible
"With weeping they will come, And by supplication I will lead them; I will make them walk by streams of waters, On a straight path in which they will not stumble; For I am a father to Israel, And Ephraim is My firstborn."

King James Bible
They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
They will come weeping, but I will bring them back with consolation. I will lead them to wadis filled with water by a smooth way where they will not stumble, for I am Israel's Father, and Ephraim is My firstborn.

International Standard Version
They'll come crying, and I'll lead them as they pray for mercy. I'll make them walk by streams of water, along a straight path on which they won't stumble. For I am Israel's father, and Ephraim is my firstborn."

NET Bible
They will come back shedding tears of contrition. I will bring them back praying prayers of repentance. I will lead them besides streams of water, along smooth paths where they will never stumble. I will do this because I am Israel's father; Ephraim is my firstborn son.'"

New Heart English Bible
They shall come with weeping; and with petitions will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by rivers of waters, in a straight way in which they shall not stumble; for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.'"

GOD'S WORD® Translation
They will cry as they return. They will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams on a level path where they will not stumble. I will be a Father to Israel, and Ephraim will be my firstborn.

JPS Tanakh 1917
They shall come with weeping, And with supplications will I lead them; I will cause them to walk by rivers of waters, In a straight way wherein they shall not stumble; For I am become a father to Israel, And Ephraim is My first-born.

New American Standard 1977
“With weeping they shall come,
            And by supplication I will lead them;
            I will make them walk by streams of waters,
            On a straight path in which they shall not stumble;
            For I am a father to Israel,
            And Ephraim is My first-born.”

Jubilee Bible 2000
They shall come with weeping, but with mercies I will cause them to return; I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, in which they shall not stumble; for I shall be a father to Israel, and Ephraim shall be my firstborn.

King James 2000 Bible
They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, in which they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.

American King James Version
They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.

American Standard Version
They shall come with weeping; and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by rivers of waters, in a straight way wherein they shall not stumble; for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born.

Douay-Rheims Bible
They shall come with weeping: and I will bring them back in mercy: and I will bring them through the torrents of waters in a right way, and they shall not stumble in it: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.

Darby Bible Translation
They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them; I will cause them to walk by water-brooks, in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble; for I will be a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.

English Revised Version
They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by rivers of waters, in a straight way wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.

Webster's Bible Translation
They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born.

World English Bible
They shall come with weeping; and with petitions will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by rivers of waters, in a straight way in which they shall not stumble; for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.

Young's Literal Translation
With weeping they come in, And with supplications I bring them, I cause them to go unto streams of waters, In a right way -- they stumble not in it, For I have been to Israel for a father, And Ephraim -- My first-born is he.
Study Bible
Mourning Turned to Joy
8"Behold, I am bringing them from the north country, And I will gather them from the remote parts of the earth, Among them the blind and the lame, The woman with child and she who is in labor with child, together; A great company, they will return here. 9"With weeping they will come, And by supplication I will lead them; I will make them walk by streams of waters, On a straight path in which they will not stumble; For I am a father to Israel, And Ephraim is My firstborn." 10Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, And declare in the coastlands afar off, And say, "He who scattered Israel will gather him And keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock."…
Cross References
Exodus 4:22
"Then you shall say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the LORD, "Israel is My son, My firstborn.

Numbers 2:18
"On the west side shall be the standard of the camp of Ephraim by their armies, and the leader of the sons of Ephraim shall be Elishama the son of Ammihud,

Psalm 89:27
"I also shall make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth.

Psalm 107:7
He led them also by a straight way, To go to an inhabited city.

Psalm 126:5
Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.

Isaiah 42:16
"I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, In paths they do not know I will guide them. I will make darkness into light before them And rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, And I will not leave them undone."

Isaiah 43:20
"The beasts of the field will glorify Me, The jackals and the ostriches, Because I have given waters in the wilderness And rivers in the desert, To give drink to My chosen people.

Isaiah 45:11
Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: "Ask Me about the things to come concerning My sons, And you shall commit to Me the work of My hands.

Isaiah 49:10
"They will not hunger or thirst, Nor will the scorching heat or sun strike them down; For He who has compassion on them will lead them And will guide them to springs of water.

Isaiah 63:13
Who led them through the depths? Like the horse in the wilderness, they did not stumble;
Treasury of Scripture

They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.

come.

Jeremiah 3:4 Will you not from this time cry to me, My father, you are the guide of my youth?

Jeremiah 50:4 In those days, and in that time, said the LORD, the children of Israel …

Psalm 126:5,6 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy…

Hosea 12:4 Yes, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made …

Zechariah 12:10 And I will pour on the house of David, and on the inhabitants of …

Daniel 9:17,18 Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of your servant, and his …

Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Luke 6:21 Blessed are you that hunger now: for you shall be filled. Blessed …

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what …

2 Corinthians 7:9-11 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you sorrowed …

Hebrews 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh…

supplications. or, favours. I will.

Psalm 23:2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside the still waters.

Isaiah 35:6-8 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb …

Isaiah 41:17-19 When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their …

Isaiah 43:16-19 Thus said the LORD, which makes a way in the sea, and a path in the …

Isaiah 49:9-11 That you may say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in …

Revelation 7:17 For the Lamb which is in the middle of the throne shall feed them, …

in a.

Isaiah 40:3,4 The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare you the way …

Isaiah 57:14 And shall say, Cast you up, cast you up, prepare the way, take up …

Isaiah 63:13 That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, that …

Matthew 3:3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, …

Luke 3:4-6 As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, …

Hebrews 12:13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be …

for I.

Jeremiah 31:20 Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spoke …

Jeremiah 3:4,19 Will you not from this time cry to me, My father, you are the guide …

Exodus 4:22 And you shall say to Pharaoh, Thus said the LORD, Israel is my son, …

Deuteronomy 32:6 Do you thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not …

1 Chronicles 29:10 Why David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David …

Isaiah 63:16 Doubtless you are our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and …

Isaiah 64:8 But now, O LORD, you are our father; we are the clay, and you our …

Matthew 6:9 After this manner therefore pray you: Our Father which are in heaven, …

2 Corinthians 6:18 And will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, …

Hebrews 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written …

Ephraim.

Ezekiel 34:12-14 As a shepherd seeks out his flock in the day that he is among his …

(9) They shall come with weeping . . .--The present version agrees with the Hebrew punctuation, but a slight change would give, They shall come with weeping and with supplications; I will lead them; I will cause them to walk . . . The procession of those whom the prophet sees with his mental eye is that of those who weep tears of sorrow for the past, of joy for the present, and pour out prayers for the future. Of this we have a partial fulfilment in the memorable and touching scene brought before us in Ezra 3:12-13. A hand which they do not see shall lead them by the "rivers of waters," both literally and figuratively. (Comp. Isaiah 35:7-8; Isaiah 43:19; Isaiah 48:21; Isaiah 49:10-11, for like promises.)

Ephraim is my firstborn.--Ephraim stands here, as often elsewhere (e.g., Hosea 11:3; Hosea 11:12; Hosea 13:1; Hosea 13:12) for the whole northern kingdom of the Ten Tribes, of which it was the most conspicuous member. The term "firstborn" is used, as an echo of Exodus 4:22, as marking out Ephraim as the object of the special favour of Jehovah, the birthright of Reuben having been transferred to the sons of Joseph (1Chronicles 5:1). The prominence of Ephraim over the other tribes is conspicuous throughout the whole history (Judges 12:1-3). The prophet apparently recognised it as taking its place once more in the restored unity of the people, when the king should be of the house of David, Jerusalem the centre of worship, Ephraim the leading tribe. (Comp. the contemporary prophecy of Ezekiel 37:19.) It is not without interest to note how the northern prophet looks to Judah as more faithful than Ephraim (Hosea 11:12), while Jeremiah turns from the sins of the princes and priests of Judah to look with hope on the remnant of Israel.

Verse 9. - With weeping; i.e. with a joy dashed with sorrow at the thought of the sin which has rendered such an interposition necessary (comp. Jeremiah 31:18). Cause them to walk by the rivers of waters. The reference here is primarily to the homeward journey of the exiles, which shall be free from the trials of the first Exodus, but not exclusively (see on next verse). The question arises how this prediction is to be reconciled with facts. For, as Kimchi has remarked, we find no reference to miracles performed for the Jews who returned from Babylon. A twofold reply seems admissible. We may say either that to those who enjoy a vivid sense of the favour and protection of God no trial is grievous, no circumstances exclude an undercurrent of joy (comp. Psalm 23.); or that the prophecy is still waiting for its complete fulfilment, Israel having still a great future reserved for it upon its recognition of the true Messiah. In a straight way; or, in an even way, i.e. one free from hindrances. Comp. Ezra's prayer (Ezra 8:21), and Psalm 107:7, in both of which passages "right" should probably be "even." Ephraim is my firstborn. It is doubted whether this simply means that Ephraim (i.e. North Israel) shall be in no respect inferior to Judah - a strong form of expression being chosen, on account of the longer continuance of Ephraim's captivity; or whether it implies a restoration to the tribes of Joseph of the prerogative conferred upon the sons of Joseph (1 Chronicles 5:1, 2; comp. Genesis 48:15). The former view seems hardly consistent with the dignity of a prophetic writer. "Forms of expression," i.e. rhetorical phrases, may be admitted in poetical passages, but hardly in solemn prophetic revelations. It was true that Judah had "prevailed above his brethren;" but the original "gift of God" to Ephraim was "without repentance." With regard to the fulfilment of this prediction, we must remember that the remnant of the northern tribes whose faith was strong enough to induce them to profit by the edict of Cyrus, was smaller than that of the southern. Hence the outward signs of God's favour to Ephraim could not be so great as they would have been had the moral conditions of the fulfilment of the promise been more fully complied with. They shall come with weeping,.... For joy, as Kimchi and Ben Melech observe; of which there are instances, Genesis 29:11; so the Jews will come to Christ, and to the Gospel church, as well as into their own land, with joy that they have found the Messiah, and are brought under his government, and into the enjoyment of the privileges of the Gospel, and the possession of their own land; or with tears of repentance for all their sins, original and actual, especially for their sin of unbelief, and rejection of the Messiah; they shall look upon him whom they have pierced, and mourn, when a spirit of grace and supplication is poured out upon them, Zechariah 12:10; with which agrees what follows:

and with supplications will I lead them; to Christ, and his church; and being drawn by the Father, and led by the Spirit, they will come to him with supplications and entreaties for mercy to be showed unto them; particularly for pardoning grace and mercy, and for salvation by him, which they will now see they stand in need of. Some render it, "with favours" (n), or mercies; blessings of grace bestowed on them; as a justifying righteousness; remission of sins; adoption; sanctifying grace; a right and title and meetness for eternal life; which are all owing to the free favour and grace of God:

I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters; or, "to rivers of waters" (o); to God himself, the fountain of living waters; and his everlasting love, that river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God; and to Christ, the fountain of gardens, and well of living waters; and to those wells of salvation, and fulness of grace, that are in him; and to the Gospel, its doctrines and ordinances, which are the still waters to it, by which the great Shepherd leads his flock. These rivers of waters may denote the blessings of grace which spring from the love of God, and flow through Christ in his word and ordinances, in great abundance; and it is very pleasant and profitable walking by these:

in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble; in a direct way to Christ, without going round about, by works of righteousness done by them, to render them acceptable to him; but they shall go directly to him as they are; or in a plain way, as it is to them that understand it, and in which men, though fools, shall not err: or in a righteous way, a way of righteousness; in a way that leads to Christ for righteousness; and in which men are taught to live soberly, righteously, and godly; and in which, though they may stumble and fall into sin, for "in many things we all offend", James 3:2; yet not stumble at the word, as some do; or at the stumbling stone, Christ, as the Jews' forefathers did; or so as to fall, be broken, and perish, Isaiah 8:14;

for am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn; and so very dear to him, as in Jeremiah 31:20. So the Targum,

"and Ephraim is beloved before me;''

all the blessings of grace which God bestows upon men, whether Jews or Gentiles, all flow from a prior relation he stands in to them; he first takes them into the relation of children, is a father to them in covenant; and then bestows children's blessings and covenant mercies on them. The allusion, perhaps, is to Joseph's having the birthright, and whose younger son, Ephraim, was preferred to Manasseh the elder, 1 Chronicles 5:2. Ephraim intends the same as Israel, the ten tribes, and includes the whole body of the Jewish nation.

(n) "cum beneficientiis", Tigurine version, Gataker; so Kimchi and Ben Melech. (o) "ad torrentes, vel fluvios aquarum", Munster, Tigurine version, Calvin, Cocceius; "ad fontes aquarum", Schmidt. 9. weeping—for their past sins which caused their exile (Ps 126:5, 6). Although they come with weeping, they shall return with joy (Jer 50:4, 5).

supplications—(Compare Jer 31:18, 19; Jer 3:21-25; Zec 12:10). Margin translates "favors," as in Jos 11:20; Ezr 9:8; thus God's favors or compassions are put in opposition to the people's weeping; their tears shall be turned into joy. But English Version suits the parellelism best.

I will cause … to walk by … waters … straight way—(Isa 35:6-8; 43:19; 49:10, 11). God will give them waters to satisfy their thirst as in the wilderness journey from Egypt. So spiritually (Mt 5:6; Joh 7:37).

Ephraim—the ten tribes no longer severed from Judah, but forming one people with it.

my first-born—(Ex 4:22; Ho 11:1; Ro 9:4). So the elect Church (2Co 6:18; Jas 1:18).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.
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OT Prophets: Jeremiah 31:9 They shall come with weeping (Jer.) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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