We'll continue with the verse-by-verse study of Jeremiah chapter 31.
(15) Thus says the LORD [Yahweh], 'A voice is heard in Ramah [[The Hebrew could also be translated, "on the height" instead of "in Ramah." ((I had a long footnote: William L. Holladay ("Jeremiah 2" [Fortress Press, 1989], pages 153, 186, 187) translates "on the height" and discusses this translation in some detail. He points out that the Jewish Targum and the Latin Vulgate have "height," not Ramah. He refers to 1 Sam. 22:6, which uses the same Hebrew preposition ("b") and noun ("ramah") that are used here in Jer. 31:15; the NASB translates "on the height" in 1 Sam. 22:6. Holladay also says, "Rachel's bewailing her childlessness on the height is reminiscent of Jephthah's daughter bewailing her virginity on the mountains (Judg. 11:37-38)...."
Ramah was a town some 5 miles north of Jerusalem (cf. Josh. 18:25; Judg. 4:5). Some assume Rachel was buried at Ramah, but the Bible doesn't say that (cf. 1 Sam. 10:2). Based on Gen. 35:16-20; 48:7 she could have been buried a few miles north of Jerusalem or a few miles south of Jerusalem, near Bethlehem. Some believe Rachel was buried near Bethlehem, and Rachel's tomb in Israel today is near Bethlehem. There is no need to picture Rachel weeping from the place of her burial; she wasn't in the tomb. Ramah is mentioned in Jer. 40:1 as a staging area for the Babylonian's deportation of the Jews after Jerusalem fell in 587/586 BC.
Matthew 2:18 quotes Jer. 31:15, applying these prophetic words to King Herod's slaying all the male children from two years old and under in the vicinity of Bethlehem in an attempt to eliminate the "King of the Jews" (Matt. 2:2). This application of Jeremiah's prophetic words was appropriate in that Rachel, the favored/chosen wife of Jacob/Israel and the mother of Joseph and Benjamin (Benjamin was part of the southern kingdom), would have been concerned about the people of the northern and southern kingdoms. Matthew's application of the prophetic words of Jer. 31:15 would have been all the more appropriate if Rachel was buried near Bethlehem.))]], Lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; She refuses to be comforted [cf. Gen. 37:35; Psalm 77:2] for her children, Because they are no more [cf. Jer. 10:20].' [[This verse, which takes a lot of poetic license, effectively communicates the low state of Rachel's children for whom she was weeping, who were bearing the penalty for their sins. ((I had a footnote: This verse (with verse 16) doesn't teach that Rachel's weeping, after her death, is the cause of the ultimate salvation of her children. As I mentioned this verse takes a lot of poetic license. J. A. Thompson equates Rachael with "personified Israel." Eventually the repentant, believing, end-time remnant of her children will be saved with new-covenant salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ.)) The next two verses (along with many other prophetic verses in Jeremiah and other books of the Bible) show that there was hope for her children. For one thing, (the remnant of) her children will be saved in the last days and return to the land that God gave them for an inheritance.
Most commentators believe Rachel's children here (as throughout verses 2-22) are limited to the people of the northern kingdom of Israel, and (because of the use of "Ephraim" in verses 6, 9, 18, and 20 and other considerations - see under verse 2) I have to agree with them. Rachel was the mother of Joseph, and the grandmother of his sons Ephraim and Manasseh, which were dominant tribes in the northern kingdom. It should be understood though that verses 15-17 by themselves would fit just as well for the combined kingdoms of Israel/Ephraim and Judah in that Rachel was also the mother of Benjamin. The tribe of Benjamin was aligned with Judah in the southern kingdom (see, for example, 1 Kings 12:21, 23; 2 Chron. 11:1, 3; and Ezra 1:5). Rachel was the favored wife of Jacob (who was later named Israel), the wife he had chosen (cf. Gen. 28:1-5; 29:1-30).
I'll quote part of what Merrill F. Unger says under verses 15-17 ("Unger's Commentary on the Old Testament," Vol. II [Moody Press, 1981], pages 1421, 1422). His heading for these verses is "Divine Grace Assures Hope for Israel's Future." Under verse 15, he says, "In an imaginative poetic and prophetic touch, Rachel, the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, from whom the leading tribes in the Northern Kingdom descended, is pictured as weeping in Ramah because of the captivity of Israel, that is, her children (descendants). Ramah, about five miles north of Jerusalem, was evidently the place where the captives [of the southern kingdom] were gathered before being carried away to Babylon (Jer. 40:1).
Rachel's lamentation, and bitter weeping presaged the chastenings of Israel through the centuries at the hands of her Gentile overlords and tyrants (cf. Matt. 2:17-18), culminating in the cruelties of the Antichrist in the nation's final time of supreme Tribulation preceding establishment of the Kingdom (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21-22)."
I'll also quote his first three sentences under verse 16, "Only at Christ's second advent...[For Unger Christ's second advent takes place at the end of Daniel's 70th week and the rapture takes place before that seven-year period begins.] will God's promise of comfort, eventuating in conversion and restoration, be fully realized.... Then the faith and work of the saved remnant, purged out of the apostate mass of the nation, will be rewarded (Ruth 2:12; Heb. 6:10), for at the Messiah's second advent His reward will be 'with him' (Isa. 40:10).
And they (the exiles) from Babylon (Ezra 1:5) [people of the southern kingdom], and ultimately from Israel's final worldwide scattering (Jer. 23:3; 29:14; Ezek. 11:17-18; Hos. 1:11), shall come again to their homeland from the land of the enemy...." Unger includes the salvation and return of the remnant of the southern kingdom here too. They certainly will return, but it's not clear to me that we can see the salvation and return of the remnant of the southern kingdom here in verses 15-17, which is part of verses 2-22. Unger commented (on page 1420) that "Verses 1-22 concern principally the ten northern tribes, while verses 23-26 deal with the other two tribes (cf. Isa. 11:12; Ezek. 37:15-28)." Unger comments under verse 18 that Ephraim is "the representative of the ten tribes."]] (16) Thus says the LORD [Yahweh], 'Restrain your voice from weeping And your eyes from tears [cf. Isa. 30:19]; For your work will be rewarded [cf. Ruth 2:12],' declares the LORD [Yahweh], 'And they will return from the land of the enemy. [See under verses 7-9. Many of the people of the southern kingdom returned to Judah some seventy years after being taken captive by the Babylonians, but no such return is mentioned for the people of the northern kingdom. The primary return for the remnant of both kingdoms will take place at the end of this age.] (17) There is hope for your future' [still speaking to Rachel] declares the LORD [Yahweh], 'And your children will return to their own territory. [[I'll quote Jer. 29:11-14, " 'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD [Yahweh], 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,' declares the LORD [Yahweh], 'and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,' declares the LORD [Yahweh], 'and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.' ]] (18) I have surely heard Ephraim grieving [The name Ephraim was also used in verses 6, 9, and 20, The grieving here goes with the people of Israel/Ephraim's bearing the penalty for their sin and the chastening of God that is mentioned later in this verse. The weeping of Rachel correlates with the weeping (and grieving) of her children.], "You have chastised me, and I was chastised [It must be recognized that God's chastening of the people of Israel was extremely severe and long lasting. For one thing, many of the sons of Israel were not part of God's true Israel (cf. Rom. 9:6).], Like an untrained calf [cf. Hos. 4:16]; Bring me back [The NIV translates "restore me"; "cause me to come back [to You in a spiritual sense]" is the idea here. And the NIV translates the following words, "and I will return."] that I may be restored [Compare Psalm 80:3, 7, 19; Jer. 17:14; Lam. 5:21; and Acts 3:26.], For You are the LORD [Yahweh] my God. [Israelites (or Gentiles) being brought back to God is totally dependent on the saving grace of God, but it must also be understood that the people themselves (as free moral agents [men still have some freedom after the fall]) must ultimately repent and submit to God in faith; see verse 19. We desperately need the balanced truth of what the Bible teaches.] (19) For after I turned back [which includes God's role and man's role], I repented [cf. Ezek. 36:31; Zech. 12:10]; And after I was instructed, I smote on my thigh ["after I came to understand, I beat my breast" NIV. Compare Ezek. 21:12; Luke 18:13]; I was ashamed and also humiliated [cf. Jer. 3:25] Because I bore the reproach of my youth." (20) Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a delightful child? Indeed, as often as I have spoken against him, I certainly still remember him; Therefore My heart yearns for him [cf. Hos. 11:8 (which speaks of the northern kingdom)]; I will surely have mercy on him [cf. Isa. 55:7; Mic. 7:18],' declares the LORD [Yahweh]. (21) 'Set up for yourself roadmarks, Place for yourself guideposts; Direct your mind to the highway [[Compare Isa. 11:16; 19:23; 35:8-10; and Jer. 50:4, 5. "The virgin of Israel is urged to send out an advance party to setâ€¦up waymarks and signposts to direct the returning exiles on their way home" ("Unger's Commentary on the Old Testament," Vol. II [Moody Press, 1981], pages 1421, 1422.) "The guideposts should be understood as poetic figures of speech" (Andrew W. Blackwood, "Commentary on Jeremiah" [Word Books, 1977], page 222.)]], The way by which you went [when you were exiled]. Return, O virgin of Israel, Return to these your cities [cf. Isa. 48:20; 52:7-12]. (22) How long will you go here and there, O faithless daughter? [cf., e.g., Jer. 3:14, 20-25] For the LORD [Yahweh] has created a new thing in the earth - A woman will encompass [["surround" NIV. One meaning given in the BDB Hebrew Lexicon (under "sabab" on page 686) is, "with affection 'press round' her divine husband." J. A. Thompson ("Book of Jeremiah," page 576) cites the view of G. P. Couturier ("Jeremiah," "Jerome Bible Commentary" (1969), page 326.), which is essentially the same as the viewpoint just mentioned, "The 'woman' personified Israel and the 'man' personified Yahweh. The adulterous wife, Israel, who had to be divorced by Yahweh her husband, now returns to him and clings to him (Hos. 1:3; Jer. 2:20-21). This would be something new, something unheard of in all Israel's history." And essentially the same view is mentioned by Gerald Keown, Pamela Scalise, and Thomas Smothers ("Jeremiah 26-52," page 123), "The people will 'assemble around' (sabab) God in worship (cf. Psalm 26:6)." There are quite a few different opinions on the meaning of these last words, but I believe this view is the correct view; that is, the people of Israel (referred to as "a woman" here) will finally become faithful to God through submitting to Him, His Christ, and His new-covenant plan of salvation at the end of this age.]] a man.' (23) [After speaking (at least for the most part) of God's end-time salvation of the remnant of the people of the northern kingdom in verses 2-22, verses 23-25 very briefly speak of His end-time salvation of the remnant of the people of the southern kingdom of Judah, when He restores their fortunes.] Thus says the LORD [Yahweh] of hosts, the God of Israel, 'Once again they will speak this word in the land of Judah and in its cities when I restore their fortunes [cf. Jer. 29:14; 30:3, 18; and 32:44], "The LORD [Yahweh] bless you, O abode of righteousness [cf. Isa. 1:26; Jer. 50:7], O holy hill! [referring to Jerusalem and the temple mount (cf. Psalms 2:6; 43:3; 48:1; 87:1; Isa. 66:20; and Zech. 8:3)]." (24) Judah and all its cities will dwell together in it, the farmer and they who go about with flocks. [Compare, for example, Zech. 8:4-8.] (25) For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes [cf. Psalm 107:9; Jer. 31:12, 14].' (26) At this I awoke and looked, and my sleep was pleasant to me. [Compare Zech. 4:1. We are not informed where the revelation began, which apparently Jeremiah received while experiencing this particular "sleep." That revelation could have begun at Jer. 30:1 or at Jer. 31:1 or 2.] (27) 'Behold, days are coming,' declares the LORD [Yahweh], 'when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and with the seed of beast [Compare Ezek. 36:8-12; Hos. 2:23. Growth and multiplication result from God's sowing.]. (28) As I have watched over them to pluck up, to break down, to overthrow, to destroy and to bring disaster [cf., e.g., Jer. 44:27; Dan. 9:12-14], so I will watch over them to build and to plant [cf. Jer. 1:10; 18:5-12; and 24:6, 7],' declares the LORD [Yahweh]. (29) 'In those days they will not say again, "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children's teeth are set on edge." [Compare Lam. 5:7, but especially Ezek. 18:2 with all of Ezekiel chapter 18.] (30) But everyone will die for his own iniquity [cf. Deut. 24:16; Isa. 3:11; and Ezek. 18:4, 20]; each man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth will be set on edge [see verse 29]. (31) [[Verses 31-34 are extremely important. They prophesy of the all-important new covenant that has now been inaugurated, based on the incarnation, sinless life, atoning death, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ (God the Son). New-covenant salvation became available in a full sense starting on the day of Pentecost, when the Lord Jesus poured forth the promised gift of the Holy Spirit, which enabled believers to be born again and sanctified in the full new-covenant sense (and to function in the charismatic gifts, as the Spirit distributes the gifts). As these verses show, the new covenant was designed to solve the serious sin problem that existed on an all-to-consistent basis for the people of Israel (the entire nation) under the old covenant (and for the Gentiles).
The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews quotes Jer. 31:31-34 in Heb. 8:8-12 and he quotes a key part of these verses in Heb. 10:16-17. In Hebrews chapters 8-10 (and in other parts of the epistle), he emphasizes the all-important point that the new covenant in the blood of Christ has been given to fully solve the sin problem, through complete forgiveness and especially through enabling believers to live in the righteousness and holiness of God, with the victory over spiritual death, sin, and the devil and his hosts who have been defeated through the all-powerful saving grace of God in Christ.
The new covenant wasn't an afterthought in God's salvation plans: Before the foundation of the world, He had already planned to sacrifice His Son to accomplish full salvation (new-covenant salvation) for those who would submit to the gospel in faith, and to totally remove sin and all unrepentant sinners (starting with the devil and his angels) from His kingdom forever. On pages 156-162 of my book "Holiness and Victory Over Sin," I discuss some of the most relevant verses from Hebrews chapters 8-10, verses that put the emphasis on holiness and victory over sin through new-covenant salvation in the all-powerful shed blood of the Lamb of God.]] Behold, days are coming,' declares the LORD [Yahweh], 'when I will make a new covenant [cf. Jer. 32:40; 33:14-16; Ezek. 37:24-28; Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25; 2 Cor. 3:6; Heb. 8:6-13; and 10:9-18] with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah [[These verses are of key importance to explain the salvation of Israel and Judah prophesied in Jer. 30:1-31:26, for example. Although many Israelites became Christians in the early years of Christianity (through submitting in faith to the gospel of the new-covenant) and some have become Christians throughout the last two thousand years, the Bible (both the Old and the New Testaments) show that Israel/Judah will not be saved as a nation (more specifically, as a remnant of the nation) until the end of this age, and after intense shaking (cf., e.g., Matt. 23:37-39; 24:15-31 [with Dan. 11:36-12:13; Joel 2:30-32; and Zech. 12:1-14:21, for example]; Rom. 9:27-29; 11:25-27; Rev. 7:1-8; 10:7; 11:13; 12:6-13:10; and 15:2-4).] ]], (32) not like the covenant [the old covenant based on the Mosaic Law] which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt [cf. Ex. 19:5, 6; 24:6-8; and Deut. 5:2, 3], My covenant which they broke [cf., e.g., Jer. 11:6-8.], although I was a husband to them,' declares the LORD [Yahweh]. [[(This double bracket goes on for a page and a half.) The fact that they rather consistently broke the covenant was the problem. The old covenant was from God and was good, of course, but God never intended that covenant to be the full answer to the spiritual death, bondage to sin problem. The old covenant didn't have the authority or power to dethrone sin, spiritual death, or the devil. As I mentioned, God always intended to fully solve the sin problem (at a high cost to Himself and His Son) through the new covenant. For men to think and live as God (and divine order) requires us to think and live, we are dependent on the enabling grace/Spirit of God in Christ. We were not created to be independent beings; we are dependent on the enabling grace/Spirit of God in Christ. When mankind died spiritually (through the rebellion of Adam and Eve), we lost the life-flowing relationship we had with God and His enabling grace - we must be born again and enabled (by the Holy Spirit of God) to live in the righteousness and holiness of God.
God gave the old covenant as a major step in His plan to bring about new-covenant salvation. Through the old covenant He taught us a lot about sin (and His wrath against sin) and about righteousness and of our need for new-covenant salvation. He taught us about sacrificial offerings and atonement, which enables us to understand the all-important Sacrifice of the Lamb of God. He gave us the Old Testament (which included all the prophecies of the Messiah/Christ and new covenant salvation, for one thing) through the people of the old-covenant, and He gave us the Messiah/Christ, the twelve apostles, etc. The people of the old-covenant experienced quite a bit of God's enabling grace under the old covenant to the extent they were faithful to Him, and He always kept a faithful remnant of the nation.
The people of the old covenant didn't have the new birth and sanctifying grace of the new covenant available to them, but (as God repeatedly informed them) there was no excuse for the almost continuous rebellion by so many of the Israelites. For one thing, many of the people of Israel were not the people of God - they were not true believers; they were not part of God's true Israel. God took Israel's rebellion seriously and often chastened them. How much more does He take seriously the sin of new-covenant believers, and there has been much such sin throughout the history of the Christian church, and much of the Christian church of our day has a serious sin problem. We must address this problem with the highest priority - we don't get by with sin.]] (33) 'But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel [Judah and Israel united] after those days,' declares the LORD [Yahweh], 'I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it [cf. Psalm 40:8; 2 Cor. 3:3] and I will be their God, and they shall be My people [cf. Jer. 24:7; 30:22; and 32:38]. [[The words of this verse are of key importance to understand the glorious focus of new-covenant salvation. Instead of God's giving Israel His law at Mt. Sinai and telling the Israelites to take the law into their hearts and to think and live in accordance with those righteous laws (those righteous laws which the Israelites have rather consistently broken [verse 32]), this time (as a major aspect of new-covenant salvation) He puts His law within them - He writes it on their hearts. In other words He transforms them; He sets them free from sin, spiritual death, and the devil; He puts His Righteous and Holy Spirit within them; He imparts His righteousness and holiness to them - He makes them righteous and holy. Ezekiel 36:26, 27 are a very important cross-reference, "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh. I WILL PUT MY SPIRIT WITHIN YOU AND CAUSE YOU TO WALK IN MY STATUTES, AND YOU WILL BE CAREFUL TO OBSERVE MY ORDINANCES." We Gentiles can, and we must, be very thankful for the fact that God offers this new-covenant salvation to us too. We are grafted into God's true Israel (see Rom. 11:17-24, for example).
It must be understood that though the Bible speaks quite a bit about God's making His people righteous and holy in the new covenant, and of the fact that He must receive all the glory for the Christian's righteousness and holiness, the New Testament also makes it clear that Christians have a definite role in their becoming righteous and holy and in their continuing to abide in that glorious state. We must resist sin and walk in the righteousness and holiness of God on a consistent basis by the enabling grace and Spirit of God through faith, in accordance with the teaching of the New Testament, or we won't be righteous and holy. See, for example, Rom. 6:1-23; 8:12-14; Gal. 5:16-25; Eph. 4:17-5:21; and 1 Pet. 1:13-19, and there are many more such exhortations and warnings throughout the New Testament. As Gal. 5:16, for example, shows, we are required to walk by the Holy Spirit on a continuous basis (by faith). These super-important passages, and many more like them, are discussed in some detail in my book "Holiness and Victory Over Sin" and in my papers.]] (34) They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, "Know the LORD [Yahweh]," for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them [Compare Isa. 11:9; 54:13; Jer. 24:7; Hab. 2:14; and John 17:3 ("This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent"). Christians come to know God the Father as His born again children.],' declares the LORD [Yahweh], 'for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.' [Compare Isa. 43:25; Jer. 33:8; 50:20; Mic. 7:18, 19; Heb. 8:12; and 10:17. Complete forgiveness is a glorious and necessary part of the good news of the new-covenant gospel. In my opinion, however, about ten percent of the emphasis should be placed on forgiveness and about ninety percent on being transformed and walking in the righteousness and holiness of God with the victory over sin, by grace through faith. It takes a lot more than the knowledge of forgiveness of sins for Christians to have faith for righteousness, holiness, and victory over sin; and we must be motivated to make God and His righteousness top priority and to fear sinning against Him.] (35) Thus says the LORD [Yahweh], Who gives the sun for light by day And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night [cf. Gen. 1:14-18; Psalm 136:7-9], Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar [cf. Isa. 51:15]; The LORD [Yahweh] of hosts [armies] is His name [cf. Jer. 10:16; 32:18; and 50:34]: (36) 'If this fixed order departs From before Me,' declares the LORD [Yahweh], 'Then the offspring of Israel also will cease From being a nation before Me forever.' [Compare Psalms 89:34-37; 148:6; Jer. 33:20-26; and Amos 9:8-15.] (37) Thus says the LORD [Yahweh], 'If the heavens above can be measured And the foundations of the earth searched out below [cf. Isa. 40:12], Then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel For all that they have done,' declares the LORD [Yahweh]. [Compare Rom. 11:2-5, 25-27.] (38) 'Behold, days are coming,' declares the LORD [Yahweh], 'when the city [Jerusalem] will be rebuilt for the LORD [cf. Jer. 30:18] from the Tower of Hananel [cf. Zech. 14:10; Neh. 3:1; and 12:39] to the Corner Gate [cf. Zech. 14:10; 2 Kings 14:13; and 2 Chron. 26:9]. (39) The measuring line [cf. Zech. 1:16] will go out farther straight ahead to the hill Gareb; then it will turn to Goah. [I'll quote a sentence from what Merrill F. Unger says here ("Unger's Commentary on the Old Testament," Vol. II, page 1424), "The hill Gareb, and Goah are unknown, but the line to the west is presumably described [the western boundary of the city], for verse 40 deals with the southern and eastern parts of the city." Under verse 38 he mentions that the "Tower of Hananel" was at the northeast corner and that the "Corner Gate" was apparently on the northwest corner. "...the Horse Gate [see verse 40], which lay on the southeast corner of the temple courts (Neh. 3:28). Omitted from this description is the eastern periphery round the Temple where the Kidron Valley itself formed the boundary" (John L. Mackay "Jeremiah," Vol. 2, page 243).] (40) And the whole valley [referring to the Hinnom Valley; cf. Jer. 7:31-33; 19:2-13] of the dead bodies and of the ashes [J. A. Thompson translates "greasy ashes." [[I had a footnote: "Book of Jeremiah," page 583. In a footnote Thompson says, "The word 'deshen' is used in Lev. 1:16; 4:12; 6:8-9; 1 Kings 13:3, 5 of the burnt wood of the fire soaked in fat." The fat came from sacrificial offerings. Since Jeremiah refers to the Jews offering pagan sacrifices (including human sacrifices) in the Valley of Hinnom (cf. Jer. 7:31; 19:4; 2:23), I assume these "greasy ashes" resulted from those sacrifices. C. F. Keil ("Commentary on the Old Testament," Vol. VIII, page 45) says, "According to Lev. 6:3 [6:10] deshen means the ashes of the burnt-offerings consumed on the altar." Gerald Keown, Pamela Scalise, and Thomas Smothers ("Jeremiah 26-52," page 138) say, "The deshen, 'fatty ashes,' of the sacrificial victim (Lev. 6:3 [English 6:10] would refer to their remains.")]], and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron [cf. 2 Sam. 15:23; 2 Kings 23:6, 12; and John 18:1], to the corner of the Horse Gate [cf. 2 Chron 23:15; Neh. 3:28] toward the east, shall be holy to the LORD [cf. Joel 3:17; Zech. 14:20, 21] ; it will not be plucked up or overthrown anymore forever.' " These last words confirm that God is speaking of the restoration of Jerusalem (and the salvation of the people of Israel and Judah) at the end of this age (cf., e.g., Jer. 3:15-18).
This concludes the verse-by-verse study of Jeremiah chapter 31. We will start with Jeremiah 32:36-44 in part 5 of the excerpts.