Study Guide

Book of Jeremiah Chapter 31

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Chapter 31

Consolation Prizes

  • God continues to talk about how great the future will be. He'll be the God of all the families of Israel.
  • The people who've survived life in exile will find God again, like Jacob encountering God in a dream.
  • God will reaffirm his love for Israel, and build it up again. People will plant vineyards and be merry. (Vineyards seem to be the key to happiness in ancient Israel.)
  • So now they should celebrate, praising God and asking him to save them from exile.
  • God will gather together all the Israelites from Babylon and from every part of the world and lead them all back to Judah and Israel—the blind and the lame, women and children: everyone.
  • He'll treat them like a first-born child.
  • Everywhere, people should talk about how God will soon bring Israel home.
  • The people will get their oil and wine and flocks back; they'll be like a well-watered garden.
  • The young women will dance and everyone will be happy again.
  • The priests and everyone else will be satisfied with the bounty God's given them.

God Gets a Do-Over

  • Metaphorically, Rachel (Jacob's wife) can be heard weeping for her lost children. God comforts her, telling her not to cry: her children will be brought back from exile.
  • Again, Israel as a whole is represented by another Biblical character, Ephraim. Ephraim says that God's taught him a lesson and that he finally learned it.
  • God agrees, says that Ephraim/Israel is still his beloved son, and promises to have some mercy on him.
  • God advises Israel to consider the way back home, setting up signs and posts and breadcrumbs along the highway.
  • He also says he's created a new thing on earth: a woman who encompasses a man. (Whatever that means; maybe a female Israel surrounding a male God? It's unclear, much debated. One translation suggests "a woman courts a man," like Sadie Hawkins Day.)
  • The farmers and all the people who've been wandering will return to their land, and people will be filled with energy even before their morning Starbucks.
  • God will replant Israel and Judah with people and animals, watching them grow instead of destroying them.
  • Children won't have to pay for their parents' sins in the future. That would be like having to taste sourness if your parents were eating sour grapes.

New Deal

  • God's going to make a new covenant with the people, different from the covenant that they broke.
  • This time the covenant will be an inner covenant. The law will be written on the people's hearts.
  • They won't need to tell each other to "know the Lord," because they'll all know God.
  • God says that Israel will be like his children unless the whole natural order fell apart, like if the sun and moon fell out of their courses, and the sea covered up all the land.
  • Jerusalem will be totally rebuilt and improved. The valley that's now filled with corpses and ashes will be made sacred to God.

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