and they will be my people.
I, the Lord, affirm it!” 2
31:2 The Lord says,
“The people of Israel who survived
death at the hands of the enemy 3
will find favor in the wilderness
as they journey to find rest for themselves.
31:3 In a far-off land the Lord will manifest himself to them.
He will say to them, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love.
That is why I have continued to be faithful to you. 4
so that you will once again be built up.
Once again you will take up the tambourine
and join in the happy throng of dancers. 6
31:5 Once again you will plant vineyards
on the hills of Samaria. 7
Those who plant them
will once again enjoy their fruit. 8
31:6 Yes, a time is coming
when watchmen 9 will call out on the mountains of Ephraim,
“Come! Let us go to Zion
to worship the Lord our God!”’” 10
[31:1] 1 sn This verse repeats v. 22 but with specific reference to all the clans of Israel, i.e., to all Israel and Judah. It functions here as a transition to the next section which will deal with the restoration of Israel (31:3-20) and Judah (31:21-25) and their reunification in the land (31:27-29) under a new covenant relation with God (31:31-37). See also the study note on 30:3 for further reference to this reunification in Jeremiah and the other prophets.
[31:2] sn This refers to the remnant of northern Israel who had not been killed when Assyria conquered Israel in 722
[31:3] 4 tn Or “The people of Israel who survived the onslaughts of Egypt and Amalek found favor in the wilderness as they journeyed to find rest. At that time long ago the
[31:4] sn For the significance of this metaphor see the note on Jer 14:17. Here the emphasis appears on his special love and care for his people and the hint (further developed in vv. 21-22) that, though guilty of sin, he considers them like an innocent young virgin.
[31:5] 8 sn The terms used here refer to the enjoyment of a period of peace and stability and the reversal of the curse (contrast, e.g., Deut 28:30). The Hebrew word translated “enjoy its fruit” is a technical one that refers to the owner of a vineyard getting to enjoy its fruit in the fifth year after it was planted, the crops of the first three years lying fallow, and that of the fourth being given to the
[31:6] 9 sn Watchmen were stationed at vantage points to pass on warning of coming attack (Jer 6:17; Ezek 33:2, 6) or to spread the news of victory (Isa 52:8). Here reference is made to the watchmen who signaled the special times of the year such as the new moon and festival times when Israel was to go to Jerusalem to worship. Reference is not made to these in the Hebrew Bible but there is a good deal of instruction regarding them in the later Babylonian Talmud.
[31:6] 10 sn Not only will Israel and Judah be reunited under one ruler (cf. 23:5-6), but they will share a unified place and practice of worship once again in contrast to Israel using the illicit places of worship, illicit priesthood, and illicit feasts instituted by Jeroboam (1 Kgs 12:26-31) and continued until the downfall of Samaria in 722