Jeremiah 31:6
For there shall be a day, that the watchmen on the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise you, and let us go up to Zion to the LORD our God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) The watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry . . .—The special fact is given as the ground of the previous prediction. The two kingdoms should be united, and therefore the possession of the vineyards should be undisturbed. The city of Samaria stood on one of the mountains of Ephraim. The “watchmen” may be either the sentinels stationed in the towers of the city, or, more probably, those that were on the look-out for the first appearance of the crescent moon as the signal for the observance either of the Passover or the new-moon festival. What follows is all but decisive in favour of the latter view. What is implied is that the rival worship in Bethel and in Dan, which had so long kept the ten tribes of Israel from the Temple at Jerusalem, should cease, and that from the mountains of Ephraim there should be heard the cry which, with a solitary exception in the reign of Hezekiah (2Chronicles 30:11; 2Chronicles 30:18), had not been heard for centuries—“Let us go up to Zion.” The long schism which had caused the ruin of the nation would at last be healed. Unity of worship, at once the ground and symbol of national unity, should be restored.

Jeremiah 31:6-7. For there shall be a day, that the watchmen shall cry — By the watchmen are meant God’s prophets, or the ministers of his word, giving notice of his dispensations, and calling upon men to act suitably under them. The first reference may be to the leaders and teachers of the Jews, returning from Babylon, or to the general summons throughout all the ten tribes, for which Ephraim is put, to repair to Jerusalem, and join themselves to the true church, from which they had been so long separated; but, doubtless, in the full completion of the prophecy, by watchmen the preachers of the gospel are to be understood. The phrase, crying upon mount Ephraim, alludes to the custom of persons that had to publish any proclamation ascending to the top of some high hill, from whence their voice might be heard a great way off. See Jdg 9:7; 2 Chronicles 13:4; Isaiah 40:9. The phrase, Arise ye, let us go up to Zion, &c, alludes to the Jewish custom of going in companies to Jerusalem at their three annual festivals. For thus saith the Lord, Sing with gladness, &c. — When ye see some dawning of these blessed times, express your joy for the restoration of Jacob’s posterity in the most public manner that can be; and shout among the chief of the nations — Namely, among the most potent nations from whence you are to be gathered. Or, persons belonging to the chief nations of the earth are here called upon to congratulate the Israelites on their restoration to their own land, and their conversion to the church of God, as Moses predicted, Deuteronomy 32:43, and the apostle exhorts, Romans 15:10, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people; for when the promises made to the fathers are accomplished, the Gentiles shall glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause will I confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name, Romans 15:8. Publish ye, praise ye, and say, O Lord, save thy people — Publish these good tidings with the highest expressions of praise and glory to God; and likewise pray that he, who hath begun so glorious a work, would proceed and complete it.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.This verse anticipates a time when the schism caused by Jeroboam is over. Ephraimite watchmen equally with the tribe of Judah watch for the new moon that they may go up to Jerusalem to keep the appointed Feasts. 6. The watchmen stationed on eminences (types of the preachers of the gospel), shall summon the ten tribes to go up to the annual feasts at Jerusalem ("Zion"), as they used to do before the revolt and the setting up of the idol calves at Dan and Beer-sheba (Eze 37:21, 22).

Mount Ephraim—not one single mountain, but the whole mountainous region of the ten tribes.

our God—from whom we formerly revolted, but who is now our God. An earnest of that good time to come is given in the partial success of the gospel in its first preaching in Samaria (Joh 4:1-42; Ac 8:5-25).

That

Mount Ephraim was a part of the lot of the ten tribes is out of question. Whether by

watchmen be to be understood state sentinels set to give warning of dangers approaching, or keepers of vineyards, seemeth not much material. It is said they should call upon men to go up to Zion, that is, to the temple of the Lord at Jerusalem, to worship the Lord. The only question is, what time tills prophecy was fulfilled. For though Judah returned from the captivity of Babylon, yet the ten tribes (that we read of) never returned. Some think that it was fulfilled in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, when though the body of the ten tribes returned not, yet many particular persons of those tribes did return and join themselves with those who returned out of the captivity of Babylon, and rebuilt both the city and the temple. Besides, it appeareth from Josephus, 1.13. cap. 5.8, that the Demetrii gave Samaria, Galilee, and Perea to the Jews. But the best interpreters judge that this prophecy was fulfilled under the gospel; for both Galilee and Samaria received the gospel, as appeareth from Acts 8:1,5,9,14 9:31. For there shall be a day,.... The whole Gospel dispensation is "a day", made so by the bright rising of the sun of righteousness; here it seems to design some certain fixed period of time in that dispensation, when the light of the Gospel will break out most gloriously, and it will be a clear day; as it will be when the Jews will be converted:

that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim; the same with the mountains of Samaria; for Samaria was the head or metropolis of Ephraim, Isaiah 7:9; and these are the watchmen that kept the vines there, Jeremiah 31:5; for the allusion is not to watchmen of states and cities, but to watchers of vineyards, and to such the ministers of the Gospel are compared, Sol 1:6. Grotius thinks there is an allusion in the word "Notzerim" to the title of Nazarenes, given to Christ and his followers; and Abarbinel the Jew on the place observes, that the prophet, by the Holy Ghost, foresaw that the Romans would believe in Jesus of Nazareth, and therefore would be called Nazarenes from him; see Acts 24:5; so that Christian ministers may be well thought to be here intended: who

shall cry, arise ye; lift up their voice like a trumpet, and cry aloud to persons as asleep, or in dead and lifeless frames, to awake, arouse, and rise up, and shake off their sloth and indolence, saying:

and let us go up to Zion unto the Lord our God; to the church of God, to attend the word of God, his worship and ordinances; to which sometimes there is a backwardness, arising from sloth, from a lukewarm frame of spirit, from a love of the world, and a vain conceit of their own sufficiency and knowledge; and it is the business of Gospel ministers to stir up persons to frequent the house of God, and attend public worship in it; since it is not only their duty, but their interest and privilege; here they have true pleasure, and real profit; and it is to their honour to continue here, and not forsake the assembling of themselves together: but they should not rest here, trusting to, and depending on, these things; but should go "to the Lord their God"; not only seek and pray unto him, but should be desirous of hearing of him, and from him; of seeing him, his power and his glory, and him in his beauty; and of having communion with him; and should exercise faith upon him as their own God. Christ seems to be intended; going to him is exercising faith upon him, for righteousness and strength, peace, pardon, life, and salvation; and saying, as Thomas did, "my Lord, and my God", John 20:28.

For there shall be a day, that the {i} watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to {k} Zion to the LORD our God.

(i) The ministers of the word.

(k) They will exhort all to the embracing of the gospel, as in Isa 2:3.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. watchmen] giving signals for the pilgrimage.

let us go up to Zion] for the schism between the Northern and Southern tribes is at an end.Verse 6. - The termination of the schism between north and south will be shown by the anxiety of the Ephraimites (see on "Samaria," ver. 5) to take part with their brethren in the festival of the new moon. It was the custom, at any rate in later times, to station watchmen at elevated points to give notice of the first appearance of "the slender sickle, which shines so brightly in the clear Oriental heaven" Let us go up. Not with reference to the physical elevation of Jerusalem, for the phrase, "to go up," is used of an army withdrawing from Jerusalem (Jeremiah 21:2; Jeremiah 34:21). This seems to indicate that the term was sometimes used in a weakened sense, to which parallels might easily be given. These words, "Arise ye, and let us go up," etc., were, at a later period, the formula with which the leader of the pilgrims from any particular district summoned the members of his caravan to fall into the procession. The wicked shall be destroyed by the fire of God's anger. - Jeremiah 30:23. "Behold, a whirlwind of Jahveh - wrath goeth forth - a sweeping whirlwind; it shall hurl down on the head of the wicked. Jeremiah 30:24. The heat of Jahveh's anger shall not return till He hath done and till He hath established the purpose of His heart; in the end of the days ye shall consider it."

These two verses have been already met with in Jeremiah 23:19 and Jeremiah 23:20, with a few variations. Instead of מיחולל we have here מתגּורר, and אף־יהוה is here strengthened by prefixing חרון; on the other hand, בּינה, which is added in the preceding passage to intensify התבּוננוּ, is here omitted. The first of these changes is more of a formal than a real kind; for by the substitution of מתגּורר for מיחולל, the play in the latter word on יחוּל is merely disturbed, not "destroyed," since ר and ל are kindred sounds. התגּורר has been variously rendered. The meaning of "abiding," which is founded on 1 Kings 17:20, is here unsuitable. Equally inappropriate is the meaning of "crowding together," or assembling in troops, which we find in Hosea 7:14. It is more correct to derive it from גּרר, either in the sense of sweeping away or that of blustering, which are meanings derived from the fundamental one of producing harsh sounds in the throat, and transferred to the rushing sound made by the storm as it carries everything along with it. The second and third changes affect the sense. For, by the addition of חרון to אף, the idea of a judgment in wrath is intensified; and by dropping בּינה, less is made of the acuteness of perception. Both of these variations correspond to differences in the context of both passages. In Jeremiah 23, where the words are applied to the false prophets, it was important to place emphasis on the statement that these men would, by experience, come to a full knowledge of the reality of that judgment they denied; in this chapter, on the other hand, the idea of judgment in wrath must be expressly set aside. There is thus no good ground for considering these verses a later interpolation into the text, as Movers, Hitzig, and Ngelsbach think. Hitzig rejects these verses as spurious on the false ground that the judgment threatened in this chapter refers merely to the fall of the kingdom of Babylon, which Jeremiah could not have been able to know beforehand; Ngelsbach rejects them on the ground of other erroneous assumptions.

(Note: First, he holds the groundless opinion that this prophecy originated in the time of Josiah, and therefore could not have borrowed verses from the address given in Jeremiah 23, which belongs to the time of Jehoiakim; secondly, with as little ground he affirms that these verses do not correspond with the character of the chapter, and seem like a jarring discord in the midst of the announcement of deliverance it contains; finally, he asks whence could come "the wicked" mentioned, in the times described by the prophet - as if he thought that when the captivity of the people was turned, all godless ones would suddenly disappear. - The doubts as to the genuineness of Jeremiah 30:22 are based by Ngelsbach merely on the fact that the same idea is repeated in Jeremiah 31:1.)

The only doubtful point regarding these verses is, whether they are to be connected, as Hengstenberg thinks, with what precedes, or with what follows, as Ewald supposes. In the former case, to the promise for the true Israel would be added a threat against those who only seemed to be Israel, - like the declaration in Isaiah, "There is no peace to the wicked:" this addition would thus be made, lest those for whom the promise was not intended should unwarrantably apply it to themselves. But, however well-founded the thought is, that every increasing manifestation of grace is invariably accompanied by an increased manifestation of righteousness, and though all the prophets clearly testify that the godless members of the covenant people have no share in the promised salvation, but instead are liable to judgment; yet there has not been such preparation made for the introduction of this thought as that we might be able at once to join these two verses to what precedes. The exclamation "Behold!" with which the words are introduced, rather form a sign that a new addition is to be made to the prophecy. We therefore view the threat in this verse as a resumption of the threat of judgment made in Jeremiah 30:5., to which is attached, in Jeremiah 31:1, the further development of the announcement of deliverance; but we refer the threat made in the verse not merely to the heathen as such, but to all "wicked ones," in such a way that it at the same time applies to the godless members of the covenant people, and signifies their exclusion from salvation.

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