Jeremiah 31:28
And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the LORD.
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(28) Like as I have watched over them . . .—Some twenty-three years had passed since the prophet’s call to his office, but the words that called him to it are living still. The very symbolism of the “almond,” with the play upon its meaning, as the “wakeful” or “watching” tree (see Notes on Jeremiah 1:10-11), the very terms in which his two-fold work was painted, are present to his thoughts, yet are seen under a new and brighter aspect. Up to this time his task had been mainly that of a prophet of evil, “rooting out” and “pulling down.” Now he sees before him the happier work of “building up” and “planting.”

31:27-34 The people of God shall become numerous and prosperous. In Heb 8:8,9, this place is quoted as the sum of the covenant of grace made with believers in Jesus Christ. Not, I will give them a new law; for Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it; but the law shall be written in their hearts by the finger of the Spirit, as formerly written in the tables of stone. The Lord will, by his grace, make his people willing people in the day of his power. All shall know the Lord; all shall be welcome to the knowledge of God, and shall have the means of that knowledge. There shall be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, at the time the gospel is published. No man shall finally perish, but for his own sins; none, who is willing to accept of Christ's salvation.The prophet shows that the happiness of Israel and Judah, united in one prosperous nation, will rest upon the consciousness that their chastisement has been the result of sins which they have themselves committed, and that God's covenant depends not upon external sanctions, but upon a renewed heart.

Jeremiah 31:27

So rapid shall be the increase that it shall seem as if children and young cattle sprang up out of the ground.

28. (Jer 44:27). The same God who, as it were (in human language), was on the watch for all means to destroy, shall be as much on the watch for the means of their restoration. Nothing can produce in God a change of counsels, purposes, and decrees, for he is not as man that he should lie or repent, he is the God that changeth not, but men’s reformation may produce in him a change of providential dispensations. God is here set out as a man that is vindictive, and his vindictive nature prompts him to watch all opportunities of doing hurt to the person against whom he is set. There is no fury nor revenge in God, but what he doth is justice; but here an angry God is set out as taking all opportunities to punish sinners, as if he had watched for them, whereas he never slumbereth nor sleepeth: but the time of their reformation and his favour being come, God promiseth to be as diligent to do them good, which is here expressed by the metaphorical notions of planting and building them, as he was before to execute his justice upon them.

And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them,.... In providence; looked upon them with an eye of vindictive justice; observed all their actions and motions; diligently attended to everything that passed, and took the first and most fitting opportunity:

to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; which words, as they have an elegance and an agreeableness in their sound, in the original; so they are expressive of the utter overthrow of the city, temple, and nation of the Jews, and of the several troubles and calamities they should be afflicted with:

so will I watch over them; be as careful and diligent, as intent, earnest, and early:

to build, and to plant, saith the Lord; to build their city and temple, and to plant them in their own land. So the church of God is his building, whose foundation he lays, the superstructure of which he rears up, and will complete it in his own time; and it is his plantation, into which he puts his pleasant plants, his plants of renown; which he waters with his Spirit and grace, by the ministry of the word, that they may grow, and become fruitful.

And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the LORD.
28. I have watched over them] The Heb. verb is the same as that of ch. Jeremiah 1:12, where see note.

to pluck up, etc.] Cp. ch. Jeremiah 1:10, Jeremiah 18:7; Jeremiah 18:9. Thus the later and more cheering part of the message for which Jeremiah was ordained is now being delivered by him.

Verse 28. - As I have watched... so will I watch, etc. The allusion is to the twofold commission given to the prophet (Jeremiah 1:10), which was partly to pluck up and to destroy, partly to build and to plant. Jehovah has hitherto been "watchful" (another point of contact with ch. 1; see on Jeremiah 1:12) over the fulfilment of the destructive prophecies; he will now be equally zealous for that of the promises of regeneration. Jeremiah 31:28The renovation of Israel and Judah. - Jeremiah 31:27. "Behold, days are coming, saith Jahveh, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with seed of men and seed of beasts. Jeremiah 31:28. And it shall be that, just as I have watched over them to pluck up and to break down, to pull down and to destroy and to hurt, so shall I watch over them to build and to plant, saith Jahveh. Jeremiah 31:29. In those days they shall no more say, 'Fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the teeth of the children become blunt;' Jeremiah 31:30. But each man shall die for his own iniquity: every man who eats the sour grapes, his own teeth shall become blunted."

After announcement has been made, in what preceded, that both portions of the covenant people will be led back into their own land and re-established there, both are now combined, since they are again, at the restoration, to be united under one king, the sprout of David (cf. Jeremiah 3:15, Jeremiah 3:18), and to both there is promised great blessing, both temporal and spiritual. The house of Israel and the house of Judah, as separate nations, are represented as a fruitful field, which God will sow with men and cattle. בּהמּה, "cattle," the tame domestic animals, contribute to the prosperity of a nation. That this seed will mightily increase, is evident from the fact that God sows it, and (as is further stated in Jeremiah 31:28) will watch over it as it grows. Whereas, hitherto, He has watched for the purpose of destroying and annihilating the people, because of their apostasy, He will in time to come watch for the purpose of planting and building them up. The prophet has hitherto been engaged in fulfilling, against the faithless people, the first part of the commission given him by the Lord when he was called to his office (Jeremiah 1:10); hereafter, he will be engaged in building up. As certainly as the first has taken place - and of this the people have had practical experience - so certainly shall the other now take place.

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