Jeremiah 31:12
Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, 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.
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(12-14) Therefore they shall come and sing . . .—The vision of return culminates in a picture of the prosperity of the restored kingdom. The “goodness of the Lord” is, as in Hosea 3:5, the attribute on which the prophets love to dwell, as shown in all forms of outward abundance. The picture, always among the brightest which an Eastern mind can draw, of a “watered garden” (comp. Isaiah 51:3; Isaiah 58:11; Genesis 13:10) should be but the symbol of the continuous joy and freshness of their life. The dances of joy, as in the days of Miriam (Exodus 15:20), and Jephthah (Judges 11:34), and David (1Samuel 18:6), should take the place of lamentation. It will be noticed that in all these instances, the dancing company consists of women only. Sacrifices should be offered in the thankfulness of a prosperous people, beyond the utmost expectations of the priests, who had the right of eating of the victims’ flesh. Young and old, priests and laity, should rejoice together.

Jeremiah 31:12-14. They shall sing in the height of Zion — By the height of Zion is meant the temple, built upon a hill adjoining to mount Zion, and it is here to be taken metaphorically, as it frequently is in the writings of the prophets, for the church, which is compared, by Christ, to a city set on a hill, as being remarkable for the excellence of its laws and institutions, and the piety and virtue of its genuine members. And shall flow to the goodness of the Lord, &c. — Spiritual blessings are here, as elsewhere, described under the emblems of fruitfulness and plenty. And their soul shall be as a watered garden — Refreshed and fertilized by the truth and grace of God. And they shall not sorrow any more at all — Hebrew, לדאבה עוד ולא יוסיפו, They shall not add, or, continue, yet to grieve. The LXX. render it, ου πεινασουσιν ετι, They shall not hunger any more; and so the Vulgate. Then shall the virgin rejoice, &c., both young men and old — There shall be signs of a universal joy, in which all ages shall unanimously join. The expressions in the next verse allude to that plentiful provision that was made for the temporal support of the priests under the law, which is here put metaphorically for that plenitude of blessings which are to be enjoyed under the gospel.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.Omit together. The ten tribes are to flow like a river down from Zion's height to their own land, there to reap the rich produce of their tillage. In Jerusalem they would be occupied with religious duties, but after these are rendered to God, they are to disperse each to his own fields.

Sorrow - Rather, languish, pine.

12. height of Zion—(Eze 17:23).

flow—There shall be a conflux of worshippers to the temple on Zion (Isa 2:2; Mic 4:1).

to the goodness of … Lord—(See Jer 31:14). Beneficence, that is, to the Lord as the source of all good things (Ho 3:5), to pray to Him and praise Him for these blessings of which He is the Fountainhead.

watered garden—(Isa 58:11). Not merely for a time, but continually full of holy comfort.

not sorrow any more—referring to the Church triumphant, as well as to literal Israel (Isa 35:10; 65:19; Re 21:4).

The particular phrases in this verse must not be strained, nor do they need a particular explication, all signifying but one thing, viz. the happy and prosperous state the Jews should be in after their return from the captivity, both as to their religious and civil state.

The height of Zion may either signify Jerusalem, or the temple more especially, where those that returned, as well those of the ten tribes as those strictly of Judah, should come and sing praises to God; and should there come to beg of God good things upon the account of his goodness, owning him as the God of their mercies, whether of a spiritual or temporal nature; such as corn, wine, oil, and an increase of their cattle, both flocks and herds. And they should be a beautiful, flourishing, growing people, like

a watered garden that looks cheerly, and in which things grow and thrive (for soul doth not seem here to be taken for men’s spiritual and immortal part, but for the whole man). And they shall be sorrowful no more in that manner as they have been, and for that age and generation were; or many years: see Isaiah 35:10. Some think that under these expressions is also promised the spiritual joy which the true Israel of God should have under the gospel, and the eternal joy they shall have in heaven, when, and not before, all tears shall be wiped from their eyes; for in a strict sense it was not fulfilled to the Jews, who at the taking of their city by the Romans, sixty years after Christ, met with more sorrow than they had ever before met with. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion,.... The Targum is,

"in the mountain of the house of the sanctuary, which is built on Zion;''

but though there be an allusion to the temple built on it, and which may be called the height of it; yet the church of Christ in Gospel times is meant; the city built on a hill, where the saints, enjoying Gospel ordinances, dwell on high, and have all suitable provisions made for them; and here being come freely and willingly, though brought by the Lord, and drawn by his grace, they "sing" the songs of electing, redeeming, calling, justifying, pardoning, and adopting grace; and which they will still do in a better manner, when they get to the height of Zion above:

and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord; to the perfection of his goodness, which is essential to him, infinite and eternal; and is diffusive and communicative, not only in a providential way, but in a way of grace and mercy; and especially in pardoning grace and mercy, which sensible sinners take notice of, and flee unto, and not their own merits; and who would faint under a sense of sin, without a sight of it; but this, viewed in such a light, makes all the perfections of God look amiable and lovely, which otherwise would be terrible; and encourages faith, hope, fear, and thankfulness: likewise to Christ, who is the goodness of the Lord; in whom his goodness is laid up; in whom it is proclaimed; through whom it is displayed; by whom it is communicated; who himself is the great gift of it, as well as he himself is good; and his goodness extends to his people, and to him sensible sinners apply for it: also to the goodness and fatness of the house and church of God; those rich provisions which are made in it for the comfort and refreshment of his people; hence it follows:

for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock,

and of the herd; not for temporal blessings, which are for the good of the body only; but for spiritual blessings, signified by these, which are for the good of the soul, as the next clause shows: "for wheat"; for the Gospel and the doctrines of it, which are the finest of the wheat; and are as preferable to false doctrines as chaff is to wheat, and are soul nourishing and strengthening; see Jeremiah 23:28. Moreover, Christ himself is compared to wheat, and was typified by the manna, the corn of heaven, and angels' food; and is the bread of God, and the bread of life; and to be had in the church and ordinances of it; see John 12:24; "and for wine"; the precious truths of the word, which, like the best wine, go down sweetly; the discoveries of the love of God and Christ, which are better than spiced wine; and the blood of Christ, signified by the wine in the Lord's supper, which is drink indeed, Sol 7:9; "and for oil"; the grace of the Spirit, and larger measures of it; which is the golden oil, that through the golden pipes of ordinances is emptied out of the fulness of grace in Christ into the hearts of his people, Zechariah 4:12; "and for the young of the flock, and of the herd"; the best of them, which being slain in sacrifice, typified Christ the passover lamb, and fatted calf, and which makes the principal part of the Gospel feast, Matthew 22:4; now, for all these the redeemed of the Lord "flow" to Zion, and to the goodness of the Lord there; which denotes their coming in great numbers, in shoals, as the streams of a flowing river; in conjunction and harmony "together": in the lively and flowing exercise of grace, and all moving one way, and to one centre, and with the greatest pleasure, delight, and cheerfulness; thus the Targum,

"and they shall delight in the good which the Lord giveth unto them;''

and so the Syriac version:

and their soul shall be as a watered garden; in a thriving and prosperous condition: the soul of a believer is as a "garden", in which are planted the graces of the Spirit; and which does not lie open to everyone, but to Christ, who is the object of every grace; has the sole property of this garden, where he walks and dwells: and this is "watered" by the Lord himself, with the dews of his grace, and by the ministry of his word; which drops and distils as the rain upon the mown grass; when every plant lifts up its head, and looks pleasant, shoots up and grows, and brings forth fruit:

and they shall not sorrow any more at all: have no occasion for it, being loved with an everlasting love, Jeremiah 31:3; redeemed by Christ out of the hand of their mighty enemies, Jeremiah 31:11; and enjoying all the goodness of the Lord, and of his house, as in this verse; and being partakers of Christ, and the blessings of grace in him, in whom there is always cause of rejoicing; though this will not have its full accomplishment as long as the saints are in the present state; having a body of sin and death, being liable to the temptations of Satan, and divine desertions; and until they come into the Jerusalem state, when there will be no more sinning, and so no more sorrowing, Revelation 21:4.

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.

(q) By these temporal benefits he means the spiritual graces which are in the Church, and of which there would ever be plenty, Isa 58:11,12.

12. shall flow together] The exact sense is not quite plain. Does it continue the picture which the first clause gives us of the returned tribes assembling in joyful worship on the holy mountain, that they may receive the blessings of a fruitful land, or are they likened to a river which pours down from Zion, so that, their religious service over, they go forth to their several abodes to reap the produce of the field, vineyard, and oliveyard? The use of the word in the parallel passages (ch. Jeremiah 51:44; Isaiah 2:2; Micah 4:1) makes the former interpretation to be perhaps on the whole the better of the two.

goodness] viz. the material blessings that follow.

wine] new wine, must. See Joel and Amos (C.B.), p. 179.

sorrow] pine, waste away through listlessness and inactivity, such as they had felt when exiles. Cp. the cognate word in Deuteronomy 28:65 (“pining of soul”).Verse 12. - Shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord; i.e. the Ephraimites, after praising God on the holy hill, shall spread themselves over their own territory like an overflowing stream, and enjoy the "goodness" or good gifts of Jehovah - the corn (not simply the wheat), the wine, the oil, etc. (comp. Deuteronomy 8:8). Sorrow; rather, languish. As Dr. Payne Smith well says, "It expresses the poverty and helplessness of exiles unable from homesickness and want of confidence to do anything with spirit. Restored to their homes, they will be as full of vigour as a garden irrigated with water under a Southern sun." Jeremiah 31:6 is attached to the foregoing by כּי, which introduces the reason of what has been stated. The connection is as follows: This prosperous condition of Ephraim is to be a permanent one; for the sin of Jeroboam, the seduction of the ten tribes from the sanctuary of the Lord, shall not continue, but Ephraim shall once more, in the future, betake himself to Zion, to the Lord his God. "There is a day," i.e., there comes a day, a time, when watchmen call. נצרים here denotes the watchmen who were posted on the mountains, that they might observe and given notice of the first appearance of the crescent of the moon after new-moon, so that the festival of the new-moon and the feasts connected with it might be fixed; cf. Keil's Bibl. Archol. ii. 74, Anm. 9 see also the articles Mond and Neumond in Herzog's Real-Encykl. vols. ix. and x.; New-moon in Smith's Bible Dictionary, vol. ii.]. עלה, to go up to Jerusalem, which was pre-eminent among the cities of the land as to spiritual matters.
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