Israel is Restored
Verse 1 – “At the same time,” says the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.”
Verse 2 – Thus says the Lord: “The people who survive the sword found grace in the wilderness – Israel, when I went to give him rest.”
Verse 3 – The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you.
God was about to prove His love for Israel by returning them from exile. This was refreshing because they had heard for so long of their sin. No matter the circumstances, God’s love for His people remains faithful. The biggest proof is Jesus.
Verse 4 – Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! You shall again be adorned with your tambourines, and shall go forth in the dances of those who rejoice.
Verse 5 – You shall yet plant vines on the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant and eat them as ordinary food.
By the law of Moses no man was permitted to eat of vineyard till the fifth year after planting. The first three years it was considered unclean, not fit to eat; the fourth year it was holy to the Lord; the fifth year it was for himself. But in this verse, God says it will be lawful to eat at all times.
Verse 6 – For there shall be a day when the watchmen will cry on Mount Ephraim, arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.”
The assumption is that the temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem. Ephraim, standing for the 10 northern tribes of Israel, will once again go up to Zion to worship.
Verse 7 – For thus says the Lord: “Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, O Lord, save Your people, the remnant of Israel!’
Verse 8 – Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the ends of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and the one who labors with child, together; a great throng shall return there.
God’s future restoration will come not only from the northern land, Assyria and Babylon, but it will come from remote regions of the earth.
Verse 9 – They shall come with weeping, and with supplications I will lead them. I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters, in a straight way in which they shall not stumble; for I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn.
Ephraim was Joseph’s second son, but first in rank and priority just as Israel was called God’s “firstborn.” Jacob (Israel) was God’s firstborn, even though he was Isaac’s second son. David, eighth son of Jesse, is called a “firstborn” in Psalm 89:27, and Jesus is called the firstborn of all creation, both signifying first in rank, not chronological order.
Verse 10 – “Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd does his flock.’
The coast-land of the Mediterranean, the most distant corners, are to hear this and marvel at Israel’s restoration.
Verse 11 – For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of one stronger than he.
Ransom – paid the price to rescue as a relative who rescued one from danger or hardship.
Verse 12 – Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, streaming to the goodness of the Lord-for wheat and new wine and oil. For the young of the flock and the herd; their souls shall be like a well-watered garden, and they shall sorrow no more at all.
Verse 13 – “Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old, together, for I will turn their mourning to joy, will comfort them, and make them rejoice rather than sorrow.
Verse 14 – I will satiate the soul of the priests with abundance, and My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the Lord,”
The harvests will grow and the priests portion will increase with abundance. It’s also a symbol of life and prosperity (Psalm 36:8; 63:5; Isaiah 55:2).
Verse 15 – Thus says the Lord: “A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.”
Rachel, Jacob’s favorite wife, was the symbolic mother of the northern tribes who were taken away by the Assyrians as slaves. Rachel is pictured as crying for the exiles at Ramah, the deportation point.
Verse 16 – Thus says the Lord: “Refrain your voice form weeping, and your eyes from tears; and your work shall be rewarded, says the Lord, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.
Verse 17 – There is hope in your future, says the Lord, that your children shall come back to their own border.
This reward, would be that Rachel’s children would return from exile and all over the world, just as Jacob and Rachel returned from serving Laban.
Verse 18 – “I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself: ‘You have chastised me, and I was chastised, like an untrained bull; restore me, and I will return, for You are the Lord my God.
Verse 19 – Surely, after my turning, I repented; and after I was instructed, I struck myself on the thigh; I was ashamed, yes, even humiliated, because I bore the reproach of my youth.’
Verse 20 – Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For though I spoke against him, I earnestly remember him still; therefore My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him says the Lord.
Ephraim, the northern tribes, realized how they had sinned against God and repented. Why is it, that we have to fall into a pit before we admit or realize, “We have sinned?” Israel, the northern kingdom, had went into captivity long before Judah did. So why did not Judah heed Jeremiah’s warning that the same thing was coming their way. Because, for the same reason people won’t turn back to God today – they think they are right, in their own eyes! The Bible says they love darkness more than light. Light exposes darkness!
Verse 21 – “Set up signposts, make landmarks; set your heart toward the highway, the way in which you went. Turn back, O virgin of Israel, turn back to these your cities.
Verse 22 – “How long will you gad about O you backsliding daughter? For the Lord has created a new thing in the earth – a woman shall encompass a man.”
A woman shall encompass a man – the female shall protect the strong man; the weaker nature that needs help will surround the stronger with loving and fostering care. This expresses a new relationship of Israel with the Lord, a new covenant, which the Lord will make with His people.
Verse 23 – Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘They shall again use this speech in the land of Judah and in its cities, when I bring back captivity: ‘The Lord bless you, O habitation of justice, and mountain of holiness!’
These prophecies of the restoration of the Jews show two very important attributes of God, one asserts His power to do the thing He has promised; and His goodness to His people.
Verse 24 – “And there shall swell in Judah itself and in all its cities together, farmers and those going out with flocks.
Verse 25 – “For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.”
“I have”, as if it was already done, is the way God talks, because when He says it, it’s as good as done. That’s the way our prayers should be; when God says it in His word that you have all spiritual blessing, you need to believe, “It’s already done!” (Ephesians 1:3).
When He tells you that He will restore what the enemy has stolen, it’s already done; when He says “By His stripes, you are healed, done; when He says “if you diligently seek Him, He will give you the desires of your heart, “Done!” Believe and receive from the One who loves you more than you could ever imagine!
Verse 26 – After this I awoke and looked around, and my sleep was sweet to me.
(This is Jeremiah talking about a dream or vision God sent him.)
Verse 27 – “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and the seed of beasts.
God will exceedingly multiply both man and cattle.
Verse 28 – “And it shall come to pass, that as I have watched over them to pluck up, to break down, to throw down, to destroy, and to afflict, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the Lord.
Verse 29 – “In those days they shall say no more: ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’
Verse 30 – “But every one shall die for his own iniquity; every man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.
The people tried to blame God’s judgment on the sins of their fathers. But Moses taught this was not so (Deuteronomy 24:16; Ezekiel 18:2).
Verse 31 – “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah –
Verse 32 – “not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in that day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord.
Verse 33 – “But this covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God and they will be My people.
This change describes the “New Birth.” When we turn our lives over to God, He places the Holy Spirit in us, Jesus. The foundation of this new covenant is Christ (Hebrews 8:6). It not only involves Israel and Judah, but Gentiles. For us today this covenant is here. It’s about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!
Verse 34 – “No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
This forgiveness came through Jesus Christ, who forgives all sin and does not hold it against any. There is one small requirement though: You have to believe to receive this magnificent power of grace that was offered on the cross at Calvary by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Verse 35 – Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, who disturbs the sea, and its waves roar, The Lord of Hosts is His name:
Verse 36 – “If those ordinances depart from before Me, says the Lord, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever.’
As sure as the sun shall continue to give light the Jews will continue to be a distinct people. They cannot be destroyed.
Verse 37 – Thus says the lord: “If heaven above can be measured, and the foundation of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all they have done, says the Lord.
This is God’s way of saying that He will not reject Israel any more than He will do away with nature’s laws or that the heavens can be measured.
Verse 38 – “Behold, the days are coming say s the Lord, that the city shall be built for the Lord from the Tower of Hananeel to the Corner Gate.
Verse 39 – “The surveyor’s line shall again extend straight forward over the hill Gareb, then it shall turn toward Goath.
Verse 40 – “And the whole valley of the dead bodies and of the ashes, and all the fields as far as the Brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be holy to the Lord,. It shall not be plucked up or thrown down anymore forever.
These points mark the boundaries of restored Jerusalem in the days of Nehemiah. Gareb and Goath are unknown. The Valley of the dead bodies and ashes is probably the Valley of Ben-Hinnom where children were sacrificed in pagan worship.