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.
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.