Jeremiah 31:1-6

Jeremiah 31:1-6
Easter, A20


1 At that time, saysA the Lord,B I will be the GodC of all the familiesD of Israel,E and they shall be my people.F

Notes on verse 1

A “says” = neum. From na’am (to speak a prophecy; properly, to whisper, which implies saying an oracle). This is an utterance or speaking an oracle.
B “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
C “God” = Elohim.
D “families” = mishpachah. From the same as shiphcah (maid, maidservant); root means to spread out. This is one’s circle of relatives – clan, family, kindred.
E “Israel” = yisrael. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). This is God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.
F “people” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.

Thus says the Lord:
The people who survivedG the swordH
    foundI graceJ in the wilderness;K
when Israel soughtL for rest,M

Notes on verse 2

G “survived” = sarid. From sarad (to escape or remain; properly, this refers to a puncture, so figuratively it is remaining or escaping by slipping out). This is survivor, remnant, or alive.
H “sword” = chereb. From charab (to stack, slay). This is any sharp instrument like a sword, dagger, axe, or mattock.
I “found” = matsa. This is to find, catch or acquire. It can also mean to come forth or appear. Figuratively, this can mean to meet or be together with.
J “grace” = chen. From chanan (beseech, show favor, be gracious; properly, to bend in kindness to someone with less status). This is grace, favor, kindness, beauty, precious.
K “wilderness” = midbar. From dabar (to speak, command, declare). This is mouth or speech. It can also be desert or wilderness. Additionally, it can be used for a pasture to which one drives cattle.
L “sought” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
M “rest” = raga’. 12x in OT. This is to toss violently, break, or disturb. It could be tossed about as on rough sea or the skin breaking out in skin disease. It can mean to shut the eyes an so to settle, east, rest, or quiet.

    the Lord appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlastingN love;
    therefore I have continuedO my faithfulnessP to you.

Notes on verse 3

N “everlasting” = olam. This is a long scope of time whether in the past (antiquity, ancient time) or in the future (eternal, everlasting).
O “continued” = mashak. This is to draw, drag, or pull. It can mean sow, march, remove, draw along, continue, extend, or prolong.
P “faithfulness” = chesed. From chasad (being good, kind, merciful; may mean bowing one’s neck as is done in the presence of an equal for courtesy’s sake; so, if one in a superior position is treating you like an equal, that is what is captured here). This is favor, goodness, kindness, loving kindness, pity, reproach, or a good deed. When done by God to humanity, this is mercy/loving kindness. When done by humanity to God, it is piety.

Again I will buildQ you, and you shall be built,
    O virginR Israel!
Again you shall takeS your tambourines,
    and go forth in the danceT of the merrymakers.U

Notes on verse 4

Q “build” = banah. This is to build, make, set up, restore, repair, or obtain children. It is to build literally or figuratively
R “virgin” = betulah. This is virgin, maiden, or bride. Can also be used figuratively for a place.
S “take” = adah. 10x in OT. This is to advance or continue. It can also mean to take away or remove. Plus, it has a specific usage as adorning oneself with ornaments.
T “dance” = machol. 6x in OT. From chul (whirling around so dancing as in a circle or writhing in pain; used particularly for the pain of childbirth or from writhing due to fear; can also be falling in pain or waiting). This is a round dance.
U “merrymakers” = sachaq. This is to laugh, celebrate, joke, mock, scorn. This is laughing, whether for joy or scorn. It can imply plays or holding a contest.

Again you shall plantV vineyards
    on the mountains of Samaria;W
the planters shall plant,
    and shall enjoy the fruit.X

Notes on verse 5

V “plant” = nata. To fix or fasten, establish or plant. This is planting in a literal or figurative sense.
W “Samaria” = shomron. From shamar (to keep, watch, or preserve; to guard something or to protect it as a thorny hedge protects something). This is Samaria, meaning watch station.
X “enjoy the fruit” = chalal. This is to pierce, which implies to wound. It is used figuratively for making someone or something profane or breaking your word. It can also mean to begin as though one opened a wedge. Also, to eat something as a common thing.

6 For there shall be a day when sentinelsY will call
    in the hill country of Ephraim:Z
“Come,AA let us go up to Zion,BB
    to the Lord our God.”

Notes on verse 6

Y “sentinels” = natsar. This is to watch, guard, protect. It can be positive – preserve or obey. It can be negative as conceal.
Z “Ephraim” = ephrayim. From the same as epher (ashes or dust – properly something strewn) OR from parah (to grw, increase, be fruitful in a literal or figurative sense). This is Ephraim, one of Joseph’s sons, his descendants, and their land.
AA “come” = qum. To arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide. This is rising as in rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action. It can also be standing in a figurative sense.
BB “Zion” = tsiyyom. The word is related to tsyiyyun (signpost, monument); from tsavah (to charge someone, to command, order); from the same as tsiyyah (dryness drought); from a root meaning parched as desert, dry land. Zion can refer to a mountain in Jerusalem as well as another name for Jerusalem itself or the people.

Image Credit: “Power in the Skies,” photographer unknown, 2009.

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