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Restoration Promised for Israel and Judah


The word that came to Jeremiah from the L ord: 2Thus says the L ord, the God of Israel: Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you. 3For the days are surely coming, says the L ord, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the L ord, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their ancestors and they shall take possession of it.

4 These are the words that the L ord spoke concerning Israel and Judah:


Thus says the L ord:

We have heard a cry of panic,

of terror, and no peace.


Ask now, and see,

can a man bear a child?

Why then do I see every man

with his hands on his loins like a woman in labor?

Why has every face turned pale?


Alas! that day is so great

there is none like it;

it is a time of distress for Jacob;

yet he shall be rescued from it.

8 On that day, says the L ord of hosts, I will break the yoke from off his neck, and I will burst his bonds, and strangers shall no more make a servant of him. 9But they shall serve the L ord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.



But as for you, have no fear, my servant Jacob, says the L ord,

and do not be dismayed, O Israel;

for I am going to save you from far away,

and your offspring from the land of their captivity.

Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease,

and no one shall make him afraid.


For I am with you, says the L ord, to save you;

I will make an end of all the nations

among which I scattered you,

but of you I will not make an end.

I will chastise you in just measure,

and I will by no means leave you unpunished.



For thus says the L ord:

Your hurt is incurable,

your wound is grievous.


There is no one to uphold your cause,

no medicine for your wound,

no healing for you.


All your lovers have forgotten you;

they care nothing for you;

for I have dealt you the blow of an enemy,

the punishment of a merciless foe,

because your guilt is great,

because your sins are so numerous.


Why do you cry out over your hurt?

Your pain is incurable.

Because your guilt is great,

because your sins are so numerous,

I have done these things to you.


Therefore all who devour you shall be devoured,

and all your foes, every one of them, shall go into captivity;

those who plunder you shall be plundered,

and all who prey on you I will make a prey.


For I will restore health to you,

and your wounds I will heal,

says the L ord,

because they have called you an outcast:

“It is Zion; no one cares for her!”



Thus says the L ord:

I am going to restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob,

and have compassion on his dwellings;

the city shall be rebuilt upon its mound,

and the citadel set on its rightful site.


Out of them shall come thanksgiving,

and the sound of merrymakers.

I will make them many, and they shall not be few;

I will make them honored, and they shall not be disdained.


Their children shall be as of old,

their congregation shall be established before me;

and I will punish all who oppress them.


Their prince shall be one of their own,

their ruler shall come from their midst;

I will bring him near, and he shall approach me,

for who would otherwise dare to approach me?

says the L ord.


And you shall be my people,

and I will be your God.



Look, the storm of the L ord!

Wrath has gone forth,

a whirling tempest;

it will burst upon the head of the wicked.


The fierce anger of the L ord will not turn back

until he has executed and accomplished

the intents of his mind.

In the latter days you will understand this.

This and the next chapter contain, as we shall see, a most profitable truth; and that the people might be the more attentive, God introduced these prophecies by a preface. Jeremiah spoke many things which afterwards, as it has elsewhere appeared, had been collected and inserted in one volume by the priests and Levites; but God reminds us in these words, that the prophecies which are to follow respecting the liberation of the people, were especially to be remembered.

There is, however, another circumstance to be noticed. We have seen that such was the stubbornness of the people, that Jeremiah spent his labor among them in vain, for he addressed the deaf, or rather stocks and stones, for they were so possessed by stupor that they understood nothing, for God had even blinded them, a judgment which they fully deserved. Such was the condition of the people. We must further bear in mind the comparison between the doctrine of Jeremiah and the fables of those who fed the miserable people with flatteries, by giving them the hope of a return after two years. God knew what would be the event; but the people ceased not to entertain hope and to boast of a return at the end of two years. Thus they despised God’s favor, for seventy years was a long period: “What! God indeed promises a return, but after seventy years who of us will be alive? Hardly one of us will be found then remaining, therefore so cold a promise is nothing to us.” They, at the same time, as I have said, were filled with a false confidence, as with wind, and behaved insolently towards God and his prophets, as though they were to return sound and safe in a short time.

But profane men always run to extremes; at one time they are inflated with pride, that is, when things go on prosperously, or when a hope of prosperity appears, and they carry themselves proudly against God, as though nothing adverse could happen to them; then when hope and false conceit disappoint them, they are wholly disheartened, so that they will receive no comfort, but plunge into the abyss of despair. God saw that this would be the case with the people, except he came to their aid. Hence he proposes here the best and the fittest remedy — that the Prophet, as he had effected nothing by speaking, should write and convert as it were into deeds or acts what he had spoken, 11     “In a book:” the אל before “book” is in some copies על, as in other places when preceded by “write.” It may be more literally rendered, “on a roll;” but if אל be retained, the rendering may be, “for a record,” or memorial. Venema thinks that these two chapters were written after the destruction of Jerusalem, and that as there were no people to be addressed, Jeremiah was bidden to commit to writing what he had often previously delivered by word of mouth. — Ed. so that after the lapse of two years they might gather courage, and afterwards acknowledge that they had been deceived by unprincipled men, and thus justly suffered for their levity, so that they might at length begin to look to God and embrace the promised liberation, and not wholly despond. This, then, is the reason why the Prophet was commanded to write the words which he had before declared with his mouth.

Now, as we understand the design of God, let us learn that when it happens that we go astray and wander after false imaginations, we are not on that account to cast away the hope of salvation; for we see that God here stretches forth his hand to those who had erred, and who had even wilfully cast themselves into ruin, for they had been more than enough admonished and warned by true and faithful prophets; their ears they had stopped; their hearts they had hardened; and yet when they had sought as it were designedly to ruin themselves, we see how God still recalled them to himself.

He says that God had commanded him to write in a book all the words which he had heard; and the reason follows, For, behold, come shall the days, saith Jehovah, in which I will restore the captivity of my people Israel and Judah 22     The words literally are, “For behold the days coming, saith Jehovah, when I shall restore the migration of my people, Israel and Judah, saith Jehovah; and I will restore them to the land which I gave to their fathers, and they shall inherit it.” To render ו when, when preceded by a participle, is what may be done, and ought, in my view, to be commonly done. The word שבות means a migration, as given in the Targum, rather than captivity. It is rendered by the Sept. ἀποικία, removal from home. — Ed. There is to be understood a contrast between the restoration mentioned here and that of which the false prophets had prattled when they animated the people with the hope of a return in a short time; for, as I have said, that false expectation, when the Jews sought unseasonably to return to their own country, was a sort of mental inebriety. But when they found that they had been deceived, despair only remained for them. Hence the Prophet recalls them here to a quietness of mind, even that they might know that God would prove faithful after they found out that they had rashly embraced what impostors had of themselves proclaimed We then see that there is here an implied comparison between the sure and certain deliverance which God had promised, and the false and stolid hope with which the people had been inebriated: come, then, shall the days Now it appears that two years had taken away every expectation; for they believed the false prophets who said that God would restore them in two years; after the end of that time all the hope of the people failed. Therefore the Prophet here removes that erroneous impression which had been made on their minds, and he says that the days would come in which God would redeem his people; and thus he indirectly derides the folly of the people, and condemns the impiety of those who had dared to promise so quick a return.

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