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 brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith 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 Jeremiah 31:32The new covenant. - Jeremiah 31:31. "Behold, days are coming, saith Jahveh, when I will make with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah a new covenant; Jeremiah 31:32. Not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I laid hold of their hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, which covenant of mine they broke, though I had married them to myself, saith Jahveh; Jeremiah 31:33. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jahveh: I will put my law within them, and on their heart will I write it; and I will become to them a God, and they shall be to me a people. Jeremiah 31:34. And they shall no more teach every man his neighbour and every man his brother, saying, Know ye Jahveh, for all of them shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, saith Jahveh; for I will pardon their iniquity, and their sins will I remember no more. Jeremiah 31:35. Thus saith Jahveh, [who] gives the sun for light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and stars for light by night, who rouses the sea so that its waves roar, Jahveh of hosts is His name: Jeremiah 31:36. If these ordinances move away from before me, saith Jahveh, then also will the seed of Israel cease to be a people before me for ever. Jeremiah 31:37. Thus saith Jahveh: If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth below can be searched out, then will I also reject all the seed of Israel because of all that they have done, saith Jahveh. Jeremiah 31:38. Behold, days come, saith Jahveh, when the city shall be built for Jahveh, from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner, Jeremiah 31:39. And the measuring-line shall once more go out straight over the hill of Gareb, and turn round towards Goah. Jeremiah 31:40. And all the valley of the corpses and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the valley of Kidron, unto the corner of the gate of the horses towards the east, [shall be] holiness to Jahveh; it shall not be plucked up nor pulled down again for ever.

The re-establishment of Israel reaches its completion in the making of a new covenant, according to which the law of God is written in the hearts of the people; thereby Israel becomes in truth the people of the Lord, and the knowledge of God founded on the experience of the forgiveness of sins is such that there is no further need of any external means like mutual teaching about God (Jeremiah 31:31-34). This covenant is to endure for ever, like the unchangeable ordinances of nature (Jeremiah 31:35-37); and in consequence of this, Jerusalem shall be guilt as the holy city of God, which shall never be destroyed again (Jeremiah 31:38-40).

Jeremiah 31:31-32

כּרת בּרית does not mean "to make an appointment," but "to conclude a covenant," to establish a relation of mutual duties and obligations. Every covenant which God concludes with men consists, on the side of God, in assurance of His favours and actual bestowal of them; these bind men to the keeping of the commands laid on them. The covenant which the Lord will make with all Israel in the future is called "a new covenant," as compared with that made with the fathers at Sinai, when the people were led out of Egypt; this latter is thus implicitly called the "old covenant." The words, "on the day when I took them by the hand," etc., must not be restricted, on the one side, to the day of the exodus from Egypt, nor, on the other, to the day when the covenant was solemnly made at Sinai; they rather refer to the whole time of the exodus, which did not reach its termination till the entrance into Canaan, though it culminated in the solemn admission of Israel, at Sinai, as the people of Jahveh; see on Jeremiah 7:22. (On the punctuation of החזיקי, cf. Ewald, 238, d, Olshaus. Gramm. 191,f.) אשׁר is not a conjunction, "quod, because," but a relative pronoun, and must be combined with את־בּריתי, "which my covenant," i.e., which covenant of mine. "They" stands emphatically in contrast with "though I" in the following circumstantial clause, which literally means, "but I have married them to myself," or, "I was their husband." As to בּעלתּי, see on Jeremiah 3:14. Hengstenberg wrongly takes the words as a promise, "but I will marry them to myself;" this view, however, is incompatible with the perfect, and the position of the words as a contrast with "they broke."

(Note: In the citation of this passage in Hebrews 8:8., the words are quoted according to the lxx version, κᾀγὼ ἠμέλησα αὐτῶν, although this translation is incorrect, because the apostle does not use these words in proving any point. These same words, moreover, have been rendered by the lxx, in Jeremiah 3:14, ἐγὼ κατακυριεύσω ὑμῶν.)

The two closely connected expressions indicate why a new covenant was necessary; there is no formal statement, however, of the reason, which is merely given in a subordinate and appended clause. For the proper reason why a new covenant is made is not that the people have broken the old one, but that, though Jahveh had united Israel to Himself, they have broken the covenant and thereby rendered it necessary to make a new one. God the Lord, in virtue of His unchangeable faithfulness, would not alter the relation He had Himself established in His love, but simply found it anew in a way which obviated the breaking of the covenant by Israel. For it was a defect connected with the covenant made with Israel at Sinai, that it could be broken on their part. This defect is not to exist in the new covenant which God will make in after times. The expression "after those (not these) days" is remarkable; ההם is not the same as האלּה, and yet the days meant can only be the "coming days;" accordingly, it is "those days" (as in Jeremiah 31:29) that are to be expected. The expression "after these days" is inexact, and probably owes its origin to the idea contained in the phrase "in the end of the days" (בּאחרית, cf. Jeremiah 23:20).

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