Jeremiah 31:7
For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel.
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(7) Shout among the chief of the nations . . .—Better, Shout over the head of the nations, i.e., over Israel. It would seem from Amos 6:1 as if this was a title specially claimed by the kingdom of the Ten Tribes. (Comp. Exodus 19:5; Leviticus 20:24; Leviticus 20:26; Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 26:19.) The prophet, in his vision of the future, calls even on the heathen (see Jeremiah 31:10) to rejoice in the restoration of the remnant of Israel, and pray for their prosperity. In “deliver” we have the same verb as in the “Hosanna” of Psalm 118:25, Matthew 21:9. The old bitterness of feeling was to pass away, and heathen and Israelite were to join together in a chorus of praise and prayer. The thought is the same as that of Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 60:3.

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.Among - Or, because of. Israel is the chief or, first of the nations Deuteronomy 26:19, and Yahweh summons mankind to rejoice, because the remnant of Israel is about to be restored to its old position. 7. The people are urged with praises and prayers to supplicate for their universal restoration. Jehovah is represented in the context (Jer 31:1, 8), as promising immediately to restore Israel. They therefore praise God for the restoration, being as certain of it as if it were actually accomplished; and at the same time pray for it, as prayer was a means to the desired end. Prayer does not move God to grant our wishes, but when God has determined to grant our wishes, He puts it into our hearts to pray for the thing desired. Compare Ps 102:13-17, as to the connection of Israel's restoration with the prayers of His people (Isa 62:1-6).

for Jacob—on account of Jacob; on account of his approaching deliverance by Jehovah.

among—"for," that is, on account of, would more exactly suit the parallelism to "for Jacob."

chief of the nations—Israel: as the parallelism to "Jacob" proves (compare Ex 19:5; Ps 135:4; Am 6:1). God estimates the greatness of nations not by man's standard of material resources, but by His electing favor.

This grave, authoritative preface,

Thus saith the Lord, seemeth to be prefixed to put the people of God out of fear of the accomplishment of the good things he had before promised and prophesied of. The verse in itself is either an exhortation to those amongst the Jews who feared God, or to the heathen, to sing and rejoice on the behalf of the Jews, to whom God would certainly show such mercy as they might

sing for; before they had it in their hands, they might both publish the thing that it should certainly be, and also bless God for it. But withal he minds them that there would be occasion for prayer as well as praise, there would be a

remnant of Israel that would have at least no present share in these mercies, through their impenitency, unbelief, and hardness of heart. Hereby minding us that we ought not so to rejoice in our good things, as to forget those who are no sharers with us. The best of God’s people’s lot, while they are in this life, is such as will show them a need of prayer as well as praise.

For thus saith the Lord, sing with gladness for Jacob,.... For the restoration of Jacob, or the conversion of the Jews; which will be matter of joy to the Christians among the Gentiles; who seem to be here called upon to express their joy on that occasion, as they will; for it will be to them as life from the dead, Romans 11:15. Kimchi thinks there is a trajection in the words; and that they may be rendered, "thus saith the Lord to Jacob, sing with gladness"; as if the exhortation was to him to rejoice, and not to others on his account; and so the Septuagint and Arabic versions render it; and to the same sense the Syriac version, "thus saith the Lord, sing, O ye of the house of Jacob, with gladness"; and so the Targum; it will no doubt be a joyful time with them:

and shout among the chief of the nations; where they shall be when converted, as in Great Britain, and other places: or, "on the top of the nations" (l); on some high place among them. It seems to denote the publicness of the shout; it will be open and manifest to all; so the Targum,

"and exult with head uncovered, in the sight of all people;''

Turks, Papists, and Pagans:

publish ye; or "cause to hear", or "to be heard" (m); cause their voice to be heard, both in prayer and praise to God; or cause men to hear their faith in Christ, and profession of it; and publish that Gospel, and spread it among others, which before they rejected and despised:

praise ye; the Lord for his wonderful grace in the conversion of them:

and say, O Lord, save thy people, the remnant of Israel; his covenant people; the remnant according to the election of grace. This is a direction to the Jews that are converted, to pray for the rest that are not; or to the Gentiles to pray for them; who are before called upon to rejoice at the first appearance of this wonderful work, and to spread it abroad, and to go on publishing the Gospel for the more forwarding of it; and to praise the Lord for what he had done; and to pray unto him to go on with the work of saving his people, the residue of them.

(l) "in cacumine gentium", Castalio; "in capite gentium", Pagninus, Montanus. (m) "auditum facite", Pagninus, Montanus; "audiri facite", Schmidt.

{l} For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: proclaim ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel.

(l) He shows what will be the concord and love of all under the gospel when none will be refused for their infirmities: and everyone will exhort one another to embrace it.

7. for the chief] i.e. Israel; cp. Amos 6:1; or, as mg. at the head, i.e. as leader of the nations thus set free. But it is perhaps best (so Du.) to read on the top of the mountains (for “nations”), as suggested by the mention of them in Jeremiah 31:5-6. Cp. Isaiah 42:11.

O Lord, save thy people] LXX and Targ. read, The Lord hath saved his people. If we adopt that reading, we must understand the verb as the prophetic perfect (hath determined to save). The actual event is still future in Jeremiah 31:8.

7–15. These vv. are probably on the whole post-exilic, having close affinities with 2 Isaiah.

Verses 7-14. - The restoration of Israel; its blessedness and joyousness. Verse 7. - Sing with gladness, etc. It is not stated who are addressed; but we may doubtless understand, from Isaiah 66:10, "all ye who love him," whether Jews or Gentiles. The latter, too, are interested in the restoration of Israel, because Israel is as it were a "priest" or mediator for the other nations (Isaiah 61:6). Among the chief of the nations; rather, because of the chief of the nations. Israel is called the "chief of the nations" (so, with a cognate word for "chief," in Amos 6:1) because Jehovah has" chosen" it as his peculium (to use the language of the Vulgate), Deuteronomy 7:6, and because no other nation "hath God so nigh unto them," and "hath statutes and judgments so righteous," as Israel (Deuteronomy 4:7, 8). Jeremiah 31:7The restoration of Israel. - Jeremiah 31:7. "For thus saith Jahveh: Shout for joy over Jacob, and cry out over the head of the nations! Make known, praise, and say, I Jahveh, save Thy people, the remnant of Israel! Jeremiah 31:8. Behold, I will bring them out of the land of the north, and will gather them from the sides of the earth. Among them are the blind and lame, the woman with child and she that hath born, together; a great company shall they return hither. Jeremiah 31:9. With weeping shall they come, and with supplications will I lead them: I will bring them to streams of water, by a straight way in which they shall not stumble; for I have become a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born. Jeremiah 31:10. Hear the word of Jahveh, ye nations, and declare among the islands far off, and say: He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd his flock. Jeremiah 31:11. For Jahveh hath redeemed Israel and ransomed him out of the hand of one stronger than he. Jer 31:12. And they shall come and sing with joy on the height of Zion, and come like a flood to the goodness of Jahveh, because of corn, and new wine, and fresh oil, and the young of the flock and the herd; and their soul shall be like a well-watered garden, neither shall they pine away any more. Jeremiah 31:13. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, and young men and old men together; and I will turn their mourning to joy, and will comfort them, and will cause them to rejoice after their sorrow. Jeremiah 31:14. And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fat, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith Jahveh."

In order to set forth the greatness of the salvation which the Lord will prepare for Israel, so long outcast, Israel is commanded to make loud jubilation, and exhorted to approach the Lord with entreaties for the fulfilment of His purpose of grace. The statement regarding this salvation is introduced by כּי, "for," since the description, given in this strophe, of Israel's being led back and re-established, furnishes the actual proof that the nation shall be built up again. The summons to rejoice comes from Jahveh (since, by His gracious dealings, He gives the people material for praise), and is addressed to the members of the nation. These are to rejoice over Jacob, i.e., over the glorious destiny before the people. צהלו is translated by Hitzig: "shout at the head of the nations," i.e., making a beginning among them all; but this is incorrect and against the context. The thought that many other enslaved nations besides Israel will rejoice over the fall of their oppressors, has not the least foundation in this passage. The summons to the nations, which follows in Jeremiah 31:19, is simply a command to make known God's purpose regarding the deliverance of Israel. Of course, בּראשׁ, taken literally and by itself, may be rendered "at the head" (1 Kings 21:12; Amos 6:7, etc.); but in this place, the expression of which it forms the first word is the object of צהלו, which is construed with בּ, "to rejoice over something," Isaiah 24:4. "The head of the nations" signifies "the first of the nations" (ראשׁית הגּוים, Amos 6:1), i.e., the most exalted among the nations. Such is the designation given to Israel, because God has chosen them before all the nations of the earth to be His peculiar people (Deuteronomy 7:6; 2 Samuel 7:23.), made them the highest over (עליון על, Deuteronomy 26:19) all nations. This high honour of Israel, which seemed to have been taken from him by his being delivered over to the power of heathen nations, is now to appear again. השׁמיעוּ, "make to be heard, sing praise," are to be combined into one thought, "sing praise loudly" (so that people may hear it). The words of praise, "Save Thy people, O Jahveh," form rather the expression of a wish than of a request, just as in many psalms, e.g., Psalm 20:10; Psalm 28:9, especially Psalm 118:25 in הושׁיאה נא, with which Jesus was greeted on His entry into Jerusalem, Matthew 21:9 (Graf). - To the rejoicing and praise the Lord replies with the promise that He will lead back His people out of the most distant countries of the north, - every one, even the feeble and frail, who ordinarily would not have strength for so long a journey, "Hither," i.e., to Palestine, where Jeremiah wrote the promise; cf. Jeremiah 3:18; Jeremiah 16:15.

"With weeping," i.e., with tears of joy, and with contrition of heart over favour so undeserved, they come, and God leads them with weeping, "amidst earnest prayers to the God they have found again, as a lost son returns to the arms of his father" (Umbreit). Hitzig and Graf would connect בּתחנוּנים with what precedes, and combine "I will lead them, I will bring them;" by this arrangement, it is said, the careful guidance of God, in leaving nothing behind, is properly set forth. But the symmetry of the verse is thereby destroyed; and the reason assigned for this construction (which is opposed by the accents), viz., that תּחנוּנים does not mean miseratio, clementia, will not stand the test. As in Isaiah 55:12 it is the being brought בּשׂמחה that is the chief point, so here, it is the bringing בּתחנוּנים, amidst weeping, i.e., fervent prayer. At the same time, the Lord will care like a father for their refreshment and nurture; He will lead them to brooks of water, so that they shall not suffer thirst in the desert (Isaiah 48:21), and guide them by a straight (i.e., level) road, so that they shall not fall. For He shows Himself again to Israel as a father, one who cares for them like a father (cf. Jeremiah 3:19; Deuteronomy 32:6; Isaiah 63:6), and treats Ephraim as His first-born. "The first-born of Jahveh," in Exodus 4:22, means the people of Israel as compared with the other nations of the earth. This designation is here transferred to Ephraim as the head and representative of the ten tribes; but it is not likely that there is in this any allusion to the preference which Jacob displayed for the sons of Joseph, Genesis 49:22. compared with Jeremiah 31:4 (Venema, J. D. Michaelis, Ngelsbach) - the advantage they obtained consisting in this, that Ephraim and Manasseh were placed on an equal footing with Jacob's sons as regards inheritance in the land of Canaan; in other words, they were elevated to the dignity of being founders of tribes. There is no trace in this prophecy of any preference given to Ephraim before Judah, or of the ten tribes before the two tribes of the kingdom of Judah. That the deliverance of Ephraim (Israel) from exile is mentioned before that of Judah, and is further more minutely described, is simply due to the fact, already mentioned, that the ten tribes, who had long languished in exile, had the least hope, according to man's estimation, of deliverance. The designation of Ephraim as the first-born of Jahveh simply shows that, in the deliverance of the people, Ephraim is in no respect to be behind Judah, - that they are to receive their full share in the Messianic salvation of the whole people; in other words, that the love which the Lord once displayed towards Israel, when He delivered them out of the power of Pharaoh, is also to be, in the future, displayed towards the ten tribes, who were looked on as lost. The nature of fatherhood and sonship, as set forth in the Old Testament, does not contain the element of the Spirit's testimony to our spirit, but only the idea of paternal care and love, founded on the choosing of Israel out of all the nations to be the peculiar people of God; see on Exodus 4:22 and Isaiah 63:16; Isaiah 64:7. בּכרי is substantially the same as יקּיר been בּן and ילד שׁעשׁעים in Jeremiah 31:20.

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