New Defender's Study Bible Notes
31:3 drawn thee. The incomprehensible, yet wonderful, truth of God’s election breaks through in such Scriptures as this. He has loved His own from eternity; then, in time, He draws them to Himself (note also John 6:37,44; Ephesians 1:4; Romans 8:29-30).
31:15 weeping for her children. This enigmatic prophecy was fulfilled in the slaughter of the infant children by King Herod at the time of the birth of Christ (see Matthew 2:18).
31:17 children shall come again. This promise seems to assure us that the slaughtered children of Bethlehem will finally be restored to life and service, in the age to come after the resurrection.
31:18 Thou hast chastised me. Note the picture of restoration after backsliding (note Jeremiah 31:22) as presented in these verses. “Ephraim” represents the ten tribes of the northern kingdom whose rebellious wickedness had finally caused them to be carried into captivity by Assyria. Yet God still loved them (Jeremiah 31:20), and eventually, at the second coming of their Messiah, they will acknowledge Him, though with great mourning (see Zechariah 12:10–13:1; also Romans 11:26-27).
31:19 I was turned. Note the order of events associated with restoration. First, Ephraim had to be “chastised,” corrected with either words or blows or both, as necessary. Next, he had to be “turned,” to go back where he had begun. This required him to “repent” (the Hebrew word, nacham, basically means “sigh,” and it involves both sorrow for the past and comfort in facing the future). Following this, he must be “instructed” by God’s Word concerning the full implications of both past failure and future responsibility. This would involve being “ashamed” and even “confounded,” bearing the open “reproach” of his former sinfulness. The end result, however, would be God’s “mercy” (Jeremiah 31:20) and restoration.
31:22 created a new thing. This “new thing” can be nothing less than the coming miraculous conception and virgin birth of the promised Savior. The word for “compass” means “enclose,” and no other interpretation of this promise would involve a “new thing.” Note the reference also to a “virgin of Israel” in the preceding verse. The following verses lead to the great promise of the “new covenant” in Jeremiah 31:31 and following.
31:31 new covenant. This “new covenant” (same as “New Testament”) applies to all twelve tribes (Israel plus Judah) as God’s elect nation. In addition, the Lord Jesus Christ established it by “my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28), as efficacious for Gentiles as well as the children of Israel. “The bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world….Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life.…the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:51,54,63). The new covenant is elaborated in detail in Hebrews 8–12, referring back especially to Jeremiah 31:31-40. Finally, it is called the “everlasting covenant” in Hebrews 13:20.
31:33 in their hearts. This marvelous feature of the new covenant, with God’s law written “not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart” (II Corinthians 3:3), has specific application to Israel, but also applies to all believers. Note its quotation and application in Hebrews 8:10-13 and 10:15-17, the promises therein clearly applying to all believers in Christ.
31:35 for a light. The main function of the sun, moon and stars, no matter how vast the heavens are with respect to earth, is simply to provide light for the earth and its inhabitants (Genesis 1:14-18).
31:36 If those ordinances depart. The sun, moon and stars have been created to last forever (Psalm 148:3-6, etc.), and so will the nation Israel.
31:37 heaven above. So far as can be ascertained, the heavens are infinite in extent, and so can never be measured by man.
31:37 foundations of the earth. Although the earth’s radius is well established, every human attempt to drill through the earth’s crust to the plastic mantle beneath has, thus far, ended in failure.
31:38 city shall be built. The dimensions of the city in Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s day were much smaller than his description here, and even this city was soon to be destroyed. However, in its modern development, it has indeed reached and exceeded the boundaries described in Jeremiah 31:38-40.