Jeremiah 31:32
Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was an husband to them, said the LORD:
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(32) Not according to the covenant . . .—Our familiarity with the words hinders us, for the most part, from recognising what must have seemed their exceeding boldness. That the Covenant with Israel, given with all conceivable sanctions as coming directly from Jehovah (Exodus 24:7-8), should thus be set aside, as man repeals an earthly law;—the man who could say this without trembling must indeed have been confident that he too was taught of God, and that the new teaching was higher than the old.

Although I was an husband unto them.—The words declare the ground on which Jehovah might well have looked for the allegiance of Israel. (See Notes on Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:20.)

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.Although ... - i. e., although as their husband (or, "lord" (Baal, compare Hosea 2:16)) I had lawful authority over them. The translation in Hebrews 8:9 agrees with the Septuagint here, but the balance of authority is in favor of the King James Version.32. Not … the covenant that I made with … fathers—the Old Testament covenant, as contrasted with our gospel covenant (Heb 8:8-12; 10:16, 17, where this prophecy is quoted to prove the abrogation of the law by the gospel), of which the distinguishing features are its securing by an adequate atonement the forgiveness of sins, and by the inworking of effectual grace ensuring permanent obedience. An earnest of this is given partially in the present eclectic or elect Church gathered out of Jews and Gentiles. But the promise here to Israel in the last days is national and universal, and effected by an extraordinary outpouring of the Spirit (Jer 31:33, 34; Eze 11:17-20), independent of any merit on their part (Eze 36:25-32; 37:1-28; 39:29; Joe 2:23-28; Zec 12:10; 2Co 3:16).

took … by … hand—(De 1:31; Ho 11:3).

although I was an husband—(compare Jer 3:14; Ho 2:7, 8). But the Septuagint, Syriac, and St. Paul (Heb 8:9) translate, "I regarded them not"; and Gesenius, &c., justify this rendering of the Hebrew from the Arabic. The Hebrews regarded not God, so God regarded them not.

Not in substance differing from it, but in circumstances vastly differing, as was showed before, and is further declared afterward. The covenant which God made with the Jews when they came out of the land of Egypt, was on God’s part the law which he gave them, with the promises annexed to their observation of it; on their part (which made it a formal covenant) their promise of obedience to it, of which see Exodus 24:7,8 Deu 26:17,18. This covenant God saith he made with them when they were an impotent, weak people, the care of whom he took upon him, and led them as a parent leadeth the feeble child by his hand. None must imagine that this covenant did not contain the promise of pardon, through the blood of the Messiah, upon their application to him, for to what purpose else was it confirmed by blood? Exodus 24:8. Which covenant they are said to have broken, not because of every disobedience to the law of God, for so every one daily breaketh it, but by their gross and eminent sinnings, so oft repeated and continued in without repentance; and more particularly by their idolatry, which is compared to whoredom, which breaketh the covenant and bond of marriage, and causeth God to say unto a people, Lo Ammi, You are not my people. And this covenant-breaking is aggravated from God’s kindness to them, and care of them; who had for them the love, and declared the care, of a husband, and gave them no temptation to go a whoring from him. Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers,.... Meaning not Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; but the ancestors of the Jews that came out of Egypt, as appears by what follows. This was the covenant made at Sinai, which is here referred to; but the above covenant was not according to that; for, though it was not properly a covenant of works, but a typical one; yet it was in some sense faulty and deficient; or, however, the persons under it were faulty, and did not keep it; and besides, it was made with the Israelites; whereas this new covenant belongs both to Jews and Gentiles. That the Sinai covenant is intended is clear by the following circumstances:

in the day that I took them by the hand, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; that is, immediately after their being brought out of Egypt, the covenant was made with them; see Exodus 19:1; at which time of their bringing out, the Lord took them by the hand, as being unable to deliver themselves, and to go out of themselves; which is expressive, as of their weakness, so of his power and goodness, kindness and tenderness to them; and is an aggravation of their ingratitude to him in breaking the covenant, made with them at such a time by the Lord, who was so kind and indulgent to them; and which is still more fully expressed in the following clause:

which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them,

saith the Lord; they promised fair, but did not perform; their hearts were not right with God, nor were they steadfast in his covenant; though it was such a solemn transaction, and had the nature of a matrimonial contract; it was the day of their espousal; they were betrothed to the Lord, and he acted the part of a husband to them in nourishing and cherishing them in providing food and raiment for them; manna that continued with them, and clothes that waxed not old; and in protecting them from their enemies, and bringing them to a good settlement in the land of Canaan. The Septuagint version renders it, "and I regarded them not"; and so the apostle, Hebrews 8:9; for the reconciliation of which to the Hebrew text See Gill on Hebrews 8:9.

Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they {i} broke, although I was an husband to them, saith the LORD:

(i) And so were the opportunity of their own divorcement through their infidelity, Isa 50:1.

32. in the day] See on Jeremiah 7:22.

took them by the hand] with fostering care, as of a father guiding the faltering steps of a young child. Cp. Hosea 11:1-4.

to bring them … Egypt] omitted by Co., as well as the last three words of the v., so restoring the Ḳinah measure.

which my covenant they brake] mg. forasmuch as they brake my covenant. The contrast between “they” and the “I” of the next clause is emphasized in the original.

although I was an husband unto them] mg. lord over them. We should, however, changing one Heb. letter, read (supported by LXX and Syr.) and I abhorred them. Cp. “and I regarded them not” in Hebrews 8:9. Jehovah’s rejection of them was a gradual process, culminating in the overthrow of the Northern and later of the Southern kingdom.Verse 32. - Although I was an husband unto them. The translation of the Septuagint κἀγὼ ἠμέλησα αὐτῶν, is undoubtedly wrong, though adopted for consistency's sake by the author of Hebrews 8:9. The phrase is the same as in Jeremiah 3:14, where even the Septuagint has ἐγὼ κατακυριεύσω ὑμῶν Thereupon the prophet awoke from his ecstatic sleep, and said, "My sleep was pleasant" (cf. Proverbs 3:24). Very many expositors, including Rosenmller, Umbreit, and Neumann among the moderns, understand the words, "therefore (or, because of this) I awoke," etc., as referring to God, because in what precedes and follows Jahveh speaks, and because God is sometimes, in the Psalms, called on to awake, e.g., Psalm 7:7; Psalm 35:23; Psalm 44:24, etc. But it has been properly objected to this, that the words, "my sleep was sweet" (pleasant), are inappropriate as utterances of God, inasmuch as He does not sleep; nowhere in Scripture is sleep attributed to God, and the summons to awake merely implies the non-interference on the part of God in the affairs of His people. Moreover, we would need to refer the sleeping of God, mentioned in this verse, to His dealing towards Israel during the exile, in such a way that His conduct as a powerful judge would be compared to a sweet sleep - which is inconceivable. As little can the verse be supposed to contain words of the people languishing in exile, as Jerome has taken them. For the people could not possibly compare the time of oppression during the exile to a pleasant sleep. There is thus nothing left for us but to take this verse, as the Targum, Raschi, Kimchi, Venema, Dahler, Hitzig, Hengstenberg, and others have done, as a remark by the prophet regarding his feelings when he received this revelation; and we must accept something like the paraphrase of Tholuck (die Propheten, S. 68): "Because of such glorious promises I awoke to reflect on them, and my ecstatic sleep delighted me." This view is not rendered less tenable by the objection that Jeremiah nowhere says God had revealed Himself to him in a dream, and that, in what precedes, there is not to be found any intimation that what he sets forth appeared to him as a vision. For neither is there any intimation, throughout the whole prophecy, that he received it while in a waking state. The command of God, given Jeremiah 30:2 at the first, to write in a book the words which Jahveh spoke to him, implies that the prophecy was not intended, in the first instance, to be publicly read before the people; moreover, it agrees with the assumption that he received the prophecy in a dream. But against the objection that Jeremiah never states, in any other place, in what bodily condition he was when he received his revelations from God, and that we cannot see why he should make such an intimation here - we may reply, with Ngelsbach, that this prophecy is the only one in the whole book which contains unmixed comfort, and that it is thus easy to explain why he could never forget that moment when, awaking after he had received it, he found he had experienced a sweet sleep. Still less weight is there in the objection of Graf, that one cannot comprehend why this remark stands here, because the description is evidently continued in what follows, while the dream must have ended here, when the prophet awoke. For this is against the assumption that the hand of the Lord immediately touched him again, and put him back into the ecstatic state. One might rather urge the consideration that the use of the word שׁנה, "sleep," does not certainly prove that the prophet was in the ecstatic state, from the fact that the lxx render תּר, in Genesis 2:21 and Genesis 15:2, by ἔκστασις. But wherever divine revelations were made in dreams, these of course presuppose sleep; so that the ecstatic state might also be properly called "sleep." Jeremiah adds, "And I looked," to signify that he had been thoroughly awakened, and, in complete self-consciousness, perceived that his sleep had been pleasant.
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