Jeremiah 35 Commentary: The Rechabites’s Obedience

Jeremiah 35 serves as a contrast to Jeremiah 34.

In Jeremiah 34, we saw the last king of Judah – Zedekiah – and all the people of Jerusalem making a covenant. They made a covenant with their Hebrew slaves to let them go. And they actually followed-through on that covenant. But then they went back on their covenant and took back their Hebrew slaves.

And God took issue with them for two reasons. First, they broke their promise – a promise they made before God in his Temple. And second, this covenant that they made was biblical.

When God released all of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt back in the Exodus, he commanded them that if they come into possession of a fellow Hebrew as a slave – they need to let that fellow-Hebrew go after 6 years. So, by ignoring this command – even if they thought it was a small issue – they were not just breaking a promise they made. They weren’t just being unloving to their fellow-Hebrews. They were disobeying the God in whose hands were their very lives – the God who could send the Babylonians to come and destroy them or who could actually send the Babylonians away from them, if he so chose.

Well, in contrast to those oath breakers and rebels in Jeremiah 34, Jeremiah 35 showcases a group of individuals who paid attention to detail, as it were. This group, known as the Rechabites had obeyed the command of their ancestor in a relatively minor point – maybe something that some would ignore or consider superfluous. But they obeyed that command and thus they’re held up by God for all Judah to consider. God uses the Rechabites’ example to urge Judah to obedience. He also promises to bless the Rechabites and thus he shows them as an example to all of what happens when you Submit to God’s Authority.

So, let’s consider how God Blesses Obedience in Jeremiah 35.

Introduction (35:1)

We’ll start by reading the introduction to this story in verse 1.

KJV Jeremiah 35:1 ¶ The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying,

So, note the king mentioned here. It’s Jehoiakim.

What this means is that as you step from the last verse of Jeremiah 34 and come into Jeremiah 35 you are actually going back in time. You are going from Jeremiah 34 with King Zedekiah – who is the last king of Judah. He was king for about 11 years.

Then you go backwards and have about three months of the reign of a king named Jehoiachin.

And then go back one more king to Jehoiakim who also reigned about 11 years. And that’s where you are in Jeremiah 35 – under the reign of King Jehoiakim.

So, keep that time frame in mind as we proceed through this chapter.

Commanded Action from God (35:2)

Now, back in the reign of Jehoiakim, God came to Jeremiah and gave him a command in verse 2.

2 Go unto the [house/community] of the Rechabites,
and speak unto them,
and bring them into the house of the LORD, into one of the [chambers/side rooms],
and give them wine to drink.

A few things here.

First, who is this group of people?

Second, why is God commanding them to drink wine?

Who were the Rechabites?

So, let’s address the issue of who these people are. They’re known as Rechabites. And it turns out that they’re named after one of their ancestors whose name was Rechab. But we don’t know anything about this man.

However, later on in this chapter we’re going to hear about another ancestor of these folks. His name is Jonadab. And he’s the son of Rechab. Now, we do know a little bit about a man named Jehonadab who is said to be the son of Rechab way back in 2 Kings 10. This man was an associate of the king of Northern Israel whose name was Jehu. Remember him? He’s the one who obliterated Baal worship from Northern Israel.

Well, Jehu met this Jehonadab, son of Rechab on the way to destroy Baal worshippers. And it appears that this man Jehonadab helped Jehu exterminate the idolaters.

Now, Jehu reigned from 841-814 BC. Jehoiakim – the king in power in this chapter of Jeremiah – he reigned from 608-598 BC. So, there’s at least a 200-year gap between the time of Jehonadab and the events of this chapter in Jeremiah. Keep that in mind for later.

Why did God command them to drink wine?

But now let’s consider what God is actually commanding. Because when we think of wine in our 21st Century American context, we are rightly opposed to its consumption. Our church has an official statement in our Constitution that says we’re not going to drink intoxicating beverages – and modern wine would be included in that category.

And let me register support for that stance. That position is safe. It’s biblical. Professing Christians these days want to argue that it’s within the bounds of their scriptural liberty to be able to drink wine – just so long as they don’t get drunk. And yet, that is what modern wine is made to do, with an alcoholic content of anywhere from 9-16%. My best understanding is that wine in Bible times was more like 4-6% and then it was diluted with two or three parts water. So, that would bring the alcoholic content down to maybe 2-3%. It would also kill harmful bacteria and flavor your water – AND take quite a bit to get you drunk – which the Bible forbids.

But, as with everything that has to do with one’s pleasure in this hedonistic culture – if there are three professing Christians in a room and they’re asked to give their opinion concerning alcohol, you’ll hear four different opinions. I think the scenario I just mentioned fits with scriptural descriptions of wine as well as the commands concerning it.

So, I say that to help us think about God’s command here. He’s not commanding Jeremiah to give the Rechabites the incredibly intoxicating stuff that we know of as wine – the stuff that they are able to refine a great deal and even add extra alcohol to it.

Can I draw what I think would be an appropriate parallel to what God is saying in Jeremiah 35? It’s like God commanding you to go tell someone to drink apple juice – more or less. Or a carbonated beverage. Or flavored water. I just think that God’s command involves nothing related to drunkenness or some unethical action.

So, when God commands Jeremiah to offer the Rechabites some wine, he’s not enticing them to sin or drunkenness in any way.

And what that means is that whether they drink or they don’t drink, objectively it’s not a big deal either way. If they wanted to drink the “flavored water” that would be OK. If they didn’t want to drink it, that’s fine, too.

Does that make sense? The options set before these people are both equally acceptable – all else being equal.

So, with those realities in mind, let’s continue.

Jeremiah’s Obedience (35:3-5)

We’ve seen the time frame of this passage. Then we just saw God give Jeremiah a command to go invite the Rechabites to have some wine.

Now, in verses 3-5 we have Jeremiah obeying the Lord and inviting the Rechabites to have some wine.

3 Then I took

Jaazaniah the son of Jeremiah, the son of Habaziniah,
and his brethren,
and all his sons,
and the whole [house/community] of the Rechabites;

So Jeremiah gathers up all the Rechabites.

4 And I brought them

into the house of the LORD,
into the chamber of the [sons/disciples] of Hanan, the son of Igdaliah, [a man of God/the prophet],

[which/that room] was [by/next to] the [chamber/room] of the [princes/officials/temple officers],
[which/and] was above the [chamber/room] of Maaseiah the son of Shallum, the keeper of the [door/threshold]:

So, now we know where Jeremiah brought the descendants of this man named Rechab, who preceded them by about 200 years. Jeremiah gives us a lot of detail as to the exact location of where he brought them. And so that would typically make me think that this information is meaningful or important in some way. But all I can make of those details is the general location of this room that he brought them to. Perhaps that’s all that Jeremiah wants us to know.

They’re in the Temple. In one of these rooms that was built on the outside of the Temple to accommodate Temple-workers and their equipment. Apparently, they’re on the second level or story of such rooms. In the room of the disciples of a prophet named Hanan.

And then Jeremiah gives these men wine.

5 And I set before the [sons/members] of the [house/community] of the Rechabites [pots/pitchers] full of wine, and cups,

and I said unto them,

[Drink ye/Have some] wine.

The Rechabites’ Response (35:6-11)

So, here they are. Jeremiah on one side of the table (maybe) and the Rechabites on the other side. I’m not sure how many of them there are in this room. Maybe some of them stood outside the room if there were a lot of them.

But at any rate, they’re in the room with Jeremiah and these pitchers full of wine and cups that would allow them to drink it.

Again, Jeremiah is not inviting them to be drunk. He’s not commanding them to be immoral or to make some choice that is evil no matter what the circumstance. Jeremiah is simply giving them likely water mixed with wine, strong enough to kill bacteria and flavor the water, but diluted enough to be fairly low in alcoholic content.

From all that we know so far, their decision is really quite inconsequential.

And that’s why verses 6-11 are very helpful. Here we witness the response of this group and get more background as to why God commanded Jeremiah to offer them wine.

6 But they said,

We will drink no wine:

Why? Here’s their reason.

for Jonadab the son of Rechab our [father/anscestor] commanded us, saying,

Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons for ever:

So, that’s why they don’t drink wine. Because of the command of a distant relative – maybe 200 years ago. None of the living Rechabites had ever seen this ancestor of theirs – Jonadab or Jehonadab if he’s the same guy in 2 Kings 10. They had never heard his actual voice. They just had a command from him from the distant past to not drink wine. And so, they simply didn’t drink wine.

And yet, that’s not the only thing they abstained from because of their ancestor’s command. We see a number of other restrictions placed upon them by this man in verse 7. He told them…

7 Neither shall ye build house,
nor sow seed,
nor plant vineyard,
nor [have/own] [any/one]:

but all your days ye shall dwell in tents;

that ye may live many days in the land where ye [be strangers/sojourn/wander about].

So, this distant ancestor of these people commanded them to basically live as nomads. They couldn’t own or work the land. They needed to wander around in tents as strangers or sojourners or resident aliens all their lives. I imagine that these people had animals that they let graze on whatever land they happened to be wandering through. Otherwise, I’m not quite sure how they would have survived. But that’s it. No settling down in comfortable houses. No farming, beyond maybe a few goats and other livestock. A pretty bare, austere, ascetic kind of life.

So, that much is fairly clear. Jonadab’s reasoning – though – is somewhat of a puzzle. He told them to do and not do all that he commanded so that something would happen. So that they would live many days in the land.

Now, I’m pretty sure that there is nothing about wandering as a nomad that causes you to live a long time. I think then that what Jonadab was saying is similar to the 5th Commandment to honor father and mother. The promise given to someone who obeys that command is long life. I think then that Jonadab is saying that if his descendants obey his commands then they will be obeying him and thus they will reap the blessing of the 5th Commandment.

So, we’ve seen the rules these people have been given which makes them reject Jeremiah’s offer of wine. And by rejecting that offer they were obeying this old command from Jonadab. And further they go on to testify to their obedience to Jonadab’s commands in every area in which he commanded them.

8 Thus have we obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab our [father/ancestor] in all that he hath charged us,

to drink no wine all our days,

our wives,
our sons,
nor our daughters;

Nobody’s drinking wine in their clan. And again, this is extraordinary obedience because there was nothing wrong with drinking the wine they would have had available to them.

Drinking the wine they would have had available would have been as normal as the following actions that they rejected in order to obey their ancestor’s command.

9 Nor to build houses for us to dwell in:
neither have we vineyard,
nor field,
nor seed:

So, that’s their obedience negatively. It’s what they have not done. But here’s what they have positively done to obey.

10 But we have dwelt in tents,
and have obeyed,
and done according to all that Jonadab our [father/ancestor] commanded us.

And yet, the Rechabites did need to change their tactics just a little bit  – simply to preserve their own lives according to verse 11.

11 But it came to pass, when Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came up into the land, that we said,

Come, and let us go to Jerusalem
for fear of the army of the Chaldeans,
and for fear of the army of the Syrians:

so we dwell at Jerusalem.

So, the Rechabites’ nomadic lifestyle was challenged and really in some ways ended – at least temporarily – by Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion of the land.

Now, keep in mind that this is not the final invasion of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar. That’s not for at least another decade or so at this point. But this happened under Jehoiakim’s reign. And there may have been other times when Nebuchadnezzar came up against Judah during Jehoiakim’s reign, but we know at least that Babylon came to attack Jehoiakim at the end of his reign but he apparently died before they got there. So maybe that’s the timeframe we’re speaking of here or maybe a little earlier.

But back to the Rechabites’ obedience. Their being forced into the city of Jerusalem would surely have resulted in them not being able to perfectly obey Jonadab’s command to live a nomadic lifestyle. And they recognized that. But in every area in which they could still obey and at the same time keep their lives they did it.

So, living in Jerusalem for protection meant no more tents. They probably lived in houses. Maybe they had vineyards. I don’t know. So, in some ways they were actually forced to disobey. But where they could obey – in particular, in the matter of not drinking wine – they were still steadfastly seeking to obey Jonadab’s original commands to them.

What a contrast to what we see throughout the book of Jeremiah. No one in Jeremiah’s day needed to be forced to disobey God’s commandments. They could hardly be forced to obey them. And really, most people were flagrantly disobeying the Lord with their idolatry and abuse of their fellow-man.

God’s Commendation of the Rechabites (35:12-17)

And God takes note of that contrast. He sees – on the one hand – the chaos and widespread disobedience of the people of Judah. And on the other hand, he sees the steadfast attempt of the Rechabites to obey their ancestor.

By the way, I don’t think this means that the Rechabites were all really righteous individuals, necessarily. We all know people who obey some obscure tradition that was passed on to them by their family. That’s not necessarily the same thing as obeying the commands and traditions passed down to us from the Lord himself.

And yet, God is going to commend the Rechabites as an example for Judah to follow. We see that in verses 12-17.

12 ¶ Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying,

13 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel;

Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem,

Will ye not receive instruction [from this example…] [to/and] [hearken/listen] to my words?

saith the LORD.

Well, what was it that God is wanting the people of Judah to take notice of? This: …

14 The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed;

for unto this day they drink none,
but obey their father’s commandment:

And then God contrasts the Rechabites’ obedience to Jonadab to the disobedience of Judah to himself.

notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, [rising early and speaking/persistently/over and over again];
but ye hearkened not unto me.

And it’s not just that the people didn’t listen to God. They also ignored the prophets that he sent to them.

15 I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, [rising up early and/persistently/over and over again] sending them, saying,

Return ye now every man from his evil way,
and amend your doings,
and go not after other gods to serve them,

and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers:

but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me.

And, as we’ve heard often in this book, this kind of disobedience had to be punished.

16 Because the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them;

but this people hath not hearkened unto me:

17 Therefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel;

Behold, I will bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the [evil/disaster] that I have pronounced against them:

because I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard;
and I have called unto them, but they have not answered.

God’s Promise to the Rechabites (35:18-19)

But that’s not where God leaves it. God finishes this chapter by giving a promise to the Rechabites.

18 ¶ [And/But/Then] Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites,

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel;

Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father,
and kept all his precepts,
and done according unto all that he hath commanded you:

19 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel;

Jonadab the son of Rechab shall [not/never] [want/lack] a [man/male descendant] to [stand before/serve] me for ever.

So, God promises that there will always be a Rechabite to serve the Lord always. This is one of those promises that we don’t have anything else in Scripture that would allow us to verify that it’s happened. But God said it would happen and we can believe that it has indeed happened.


So, what do we see in this chapter that we as New Testament Christians can learn from?

We see that God loves obedience. Even if that obedience is to some obscure command issued by an authority figure a long time ago. And yet, he loves obedience to himself and his word even more.

We also see that God hates when people disobey him. And especially when that disobedience takes the form of idolatry, the Lord is often moved to punish.

And yet, that punishment is often long-delayed. In the case of this chapter, the final punishment wouldn’t come for another decade. So, we see God’s patience as well in this chapter – allowing people a long time to repent.

Because that’s what he ultimately wants. He wants people to Submit to His Authority. And when they do, he often sees fit to bless them.

Jeremiah 34 Commentary

Jeremiah 34 really consists of two separate messages. We have verses 1-7 which deal with a message given to Zedekiah. And then we have the rest of the chapter which deals with the importance of keeping promises. And it teaches that lesson by using Zedekiah as a bad example that people shouldn’t follow.

We’ll begin with verses 1-7.

Zedekiah Will Not Die | Jeremiah 34:1-7

In Jeremiah 34:1-7 we’re finishing the so-called Book of Encouragement which started back in Jeremiah 30. And these final eight verses of this book within the book of Jeremiah is directed at the last king of Judah, whose name was Zedekiah.

Background | 34:1

Now, despite the fact that these first eight verses appear in the Book of Encouragement, the background to this section that we get in verse 1 seems to be anything but encouraging.

KJV Jeremiah 34:1 ¶ The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, when

Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and
all his army, and
all the kingdoms of the earth [of/under] his dominion, and
all the people,

fought against Jerusalem, and
against all the cities thereof, saying,

So, this is what Zedekiah is facing. His city, Jerusalem, is under siege. The end is near. And the end is certain.

Look at the list of all those who are against this king and this city.

Nebuchadnezzar, the most powerful man in the world at the time. His mighty army. And that army included people from all the kingdoms of the earth. It was composed of all people.

So, don’t miss the piling-on of people and groups who are coming to destroy Jerusalem and Zedekiah.

It’s the world against Zedekiah.

God’s Message to Zedekiah: Justice | 34:2-3

And rightly so. This massive onslaught against Zedekiah has been orchestrated by God himself because of his justice. That’s what we see in verses 2-3.

2 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel;

Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah, and tell him,

Thus saith the LORD;

Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon,
and he shall burn it with fire:

3 And thou shalt not escape out of his [hand/clutches],
but shalt surely be [taken/captured],
and delivered into his hand;
and thine eyes shall behold the eyes of the king of Babylon,
and he shall speak with thee [mouth/face] to [mouth/face],
and thou shalt go to Babylon.

And what we’ve seen throughout this book is that this ultimate destruction of Jerusalem has been threatened for a long time. God had been very patient with the rebellious Jews. But finally his patience has now transitioned into a meting-out of his justice. They’ve had his mercy for a long time. But due to their chronic sin and rebellion they will now have his justice.

And that justice is going to be doled out through Babylon, who is at the door, so-to-speak.

God’s Message to Zedekiah: Mercy | 34:4-5

So, we’ve seen the harrowing background for this story – the world against Zedekiah.

We’ve seen the justice of God in this situation.

But now we witness yet still more mercy of God in verses 4 and 5. God’s abundantly merciful encouraging promise to this wavering, bad king is this: “You will not die a violent death. Your death will be peaceful and honorable.”

4 Yet hear the word of the LORD, O Zedekiah king of Judah; Thus saith the LORD of thee,

Thou shalt not die by [the sword/in battle or by execution]:

5 But thou shalt die [in peace/a peaceful death]:

and [with/at the funeral will be] the burnings [of incense…] [of/experienced by] thy fathers,
the former kings which were before thee,

so shall they burn odours for thee;
and they will lament thee, saying,

[Ah/Alas/Poor, poor] [lord/master]!

for I have [pronounced/spoken] the word,

saith the LORD.

Now, this is in contrast to what God determined concerning one of the kings before Zedekiah. His name was Jehoiakim. He reigned for 11 years just like Zedekiah. And there was one king that separated Jehoiakim and Zedekiah by just a few months.

In Jeremiah 22:18-19, God said this of this king who preceded Zedekiah by a few months: “Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah; They shall not lament for him, saying, Ah my brother! or, Ah sister! they shall not lament for him, saying, Ah lord! or, Ah his glory! He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem.”

And yet, here we see the exact opposite for Zedekiah. Why?

Why does God decide for one king to die by violence and without honor while he spares the other king this dishonor?

Now, before we answer that, we need to remember that Zedekiah doesn’t get off easy. He pays for his sins. We’ll see him having to witness the murder of his own children right in front of his eyes before having those very eyes put out. So, Zedekiah definitely suffers for his rebellion against the Lord.

And yet, his death will be a peaceful one. His children’s’ death wasn’t peaceful. His eyes being put out certainly wasn’t peaceful. But his death would be. And his funeral would be an honorable one.


Well, God doesn’t say. But I do have two ideas.

First, while Zedekiah was evil in God’s eyes, he was – at least from my vantage point with what I know of him in Scripture – he was nowhere near as devoted to sheer evil as was Jehoiakim.

Jehoiakim was the one who brazenly tore up God’s word and burned it up. We’ll see that happen later on in this book. Jehoiakim was the one who killed a true prophet of the Lord and would have killed Jeremiah, except Jeremiah had someone important looking out for him – both God and a man who was higher up in society. When you think of Jehoiakim, think of a settled, smoldering hatred of God. Think of sheer evil that is bent on actively destroying God’s work.

Zedekiah is a little bit different. I think what we see of him in this book especially is the portrait of a wavering man. He does evil – not because he is settled on being as evil as he possibly can be – but because he just has no backbone. One minute he is wandering toward doing the right thing. But then he’s afraid of what will happen to him if he does right. Another time, he’s pressured into imprisoning Jeremiah in a well – not that Zedekiah wanted to do it. He just gave in to what others wanted because he was unprincipled. But then when someone else comes to Zedekiah and pleads to have Jeremiah released, Zedekiah lets him do it and even lends him some aid.

So, do you see some difference between these two kings? Jehoiakim – pure and active evil. Zedekiah – reluctant and wavering evil. Both are evil. But I do wonder if the sentence passed on each king is different according to the nature and intensity of their evil.

Jehoiakim is killed and buried without honor as payment for his severe opposition to God. Zedekiah is definitely punished, but he lives and when he finally dies he’s treated honorably.

So, that’s one possible reason that these two kings are treated differently.

The second is much more simple and is hard to prove. It’s been said that we can choose our sin, but God chooses our what? Our punishment.

When it comes down to it, both of these kings deserved violent deaths and dishonorable burials. Frankly, that’s the case with every son of Adam who’s ever lived. We all deserve nothing but punishment for our sin. And yet, God causes his rain to fall on the just and the unjust. Whenever God is good to man, he’s good despite man’s sin. God’s goodness is never deserved. He just is that kind of being – he’s good.

And even when he’s punishing a wavering king, like we see here, he can sovereignly decide to go a little easy on him. Again, Zedekiah doesn’t get off easy. But compared to what he – or really any of us – deserve, God was merciful to him.

Jeremiah Delivers God’s Message | 34:6-7

Well, after God had given that message to Zedekiah, it remained for Jeremiah to deliver it to the king. That’s what we see in verses 6 and 7.

6 ¶ Then Jeremiah the prophet spake all these words unto Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem,

7 When the king of Babylon’s army fought

against Jerusalem, and
against all the cities of Judah that were left,
against Lachish, and
against Azekah:

for these defenced cities remained of [all…] the cities of Judah.

And again here we see the utter hopelessness of Judah’s – and Zedekiah’s – situation. Babylon is here. They’re fighting against three main cities. Why only three? Because as it says – these were the only three left.

How would you like to be the king that inherits the kingdom of the former David and Solomon? The kingdom which was formerly so mighty and so opulent? The king who now is left with only three cities of all that Israel once possessed. How sad.

This is Zedekiah’s situation. He was totally dependent on the Lord’s mercy, and he probably didn’t even think that way about his situation. And yet, the Lord extended mercy to this evil king – despite his evil and his rebellion.

So, God ends the Book of Encouragement by encouraging an evil king who had resisted him. God would see to it that this king lived through the worst of what was to come and that his future burial would be an honorable one.

The Importance of Keeping Promises: Negatively | Jeremiah 34:8-22

Then we reach verse 8 in Jeremiah 34. And we’re brought into a totally new circumstance.

Background | 34:8-11

What we’re going to read is an inspired story. And as with all stories, there’s a portion of it that’s used to set the scene. We see that happening in verses 8-11.

KJV Jeremiah 34:8 ¶ This is the word that came unto Jeremiah from the LORD,

Zedekiah Made a Covenant to Release Slaves | 34:8-9

First of all, in verses 8 and 9 we’ll hear about Zedekiah and all Judah making a covenant – making a promise to do something. Let’s read.

after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people which were at Jerusalem, to [proclaim liberty unto them/grant their slaves freedom];

9 That every man should let his manservant, and every man his maidservant, being an Hebrew or an Hebrewess, go free;

that none should [serve himself of them, to wit, of/enslave] a Jew his brother.

OK, so, Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, made a covenant – he and all the people who were still around in Jerusalem. They promised to let their Hebrew slaves go free.

People Released Their Slaves | 34:10

And true to their word, Zedekiah and all the Jews released their slaves according to verse 10.

10 Now when all the [princes/officials/leaders], and all the people, which had entered into the covenant, heard that every one should let his manservant, and every one his maidservant, go free, that none should serve themselves of them any more, then they obeyed, and let them go.

Wow! Did you hear that toward the end of that verse? The people obeyed! You don’t hear very much about that in this book. Most of what God has had to say regards their disobedience. But here we see them making a move toward obedience. They are obeying. They made a promise and they’re actually making steps toward keeping that promise.

People Took Back Their Slaves | 34:11

But then the people do what we’d expect them to do in verse 11. They break their promise and take back their Hebrew slaves.

11 But afterward they [turned/changed their minds], and caused the servants and the handmaids, whom they had let go free, to return, and brought them into subjection for servants and for handmaids.

So, that’s the background to the rest of what we’ll hear in this chapter. The people all made a promise before God to let their Hebrew slaves go. And they let them go. But then they took them back, breaking their promise which they made before God.

God’s Response | 34:12-22

And so now, from verse 12 to verse 22 we have God’s response to these realities. To summarize, he’s not happy with what they did and he will need to punish their disobedience to him.

12 Therefore the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,

13 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel;

God Released Israelite Slaves from Egypt | 34:13

So, first, God is going to reason with these oppressors. He brings them back to a time when they as a people – all of them – were slaves. And according to verse 13, God released them from that slavery in Egypt.

I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of [bondmen/bondage/slavery], saying,

So, God delivered the Hebrew slaves from Egypt. He released them from their bondage, just like Zedekiah and all Judah promised to do and initially did.

God Commanded Israelites to Release Israelites | 34:14

And when God delivered all the Hebrews from slavery, he commanded them something in particular, that God reminds them of in verse 14.

14 At the end of seven years let ye go every man his brother an Hebrew, which hath been sold unto thee; and when he hath served thee six years, thou shalt let him go free from thee:

So, if you were wondering what the background was to this whole situation, here it is. God allowed Hebrews to sell themselves into slavery to other Hebrews. Maybe one of them had fallen on hard times. Well, an option for that kind of Hebrew would be to sell himself into slavery to a fellow Hebrew.

But here’s the key! If a Hebrew sold himself to another Hebrew, the “buyer” who bought his fellow-countryman had to let the “bought” Hebrew go after 6 years. Without fail. When that seventh year rolled around, it was time to let that guy go. God said!

So, that was God’s command to the former slaves – let your enslaved brothers go after 6 years of work.

Former Jews Didn’t Obey | 34:14

But according to the end of verse 14, the Hebrews of old time didn’t obey God on this point.

but your fathers hearkened not unto me, neither inclined their ear.

Current Jews Didn’t Obey | 34:15-16

And now, God is going to tell them that they themselves have not obeyed him in this matter, either. Even though it seemed like maybe there was a glimmer of hope that they might actually turn from their ways and Submit to God’s Sovereignty in this relatively minor area.

Started with Obedience | 34:15

God communicates to the Jews that he was mindful that they were actually on their way to doing right in verse 15.

15 And ye [were now turned/recently repented/recently showed a change of heart], and had done right in my sight, [in/by] proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbour; and ye had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name:

We didn’t know this before, but they actually made their promise in the Temple – before God’s holy presence. Before the God who cannot lie and only speaks truth. He is truth itself. They made their promise in his presence.

Things looked good for a moment.

Ended with Disobedience | 34:16

But then verse 16. They turned back from doing right.

16 But ye [turned/turned around/turned right around] and [polluted/profaned] my name [and did not honor me…], and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom ye had set at liberty at their pleasure, to return, and brought them into subjection, to be unto you for servants and for handmaids.

Breaking your promises pollutes God’s name. It makes him look bad when his people make promises and then don’t keep them. We all need to be careful to keep any promises that we make – and to make only promises that we intend to keep.

God Will Repay | 34:17-22

Because God doesn’t take kindly to his name being polluted and profaned.

And here in the book of Jeremiah at least, God has some really harsh judgements to mete out on those who take his name “in vain” – those who make promises but break them. I think you can summarize verses 17-22 as “God Will Repay.” Let’s read.

17 Therefore thus saith the LORD;

Ye have not hearkened unto me, in [proclaiming liberty/granting freedom], every one to his brother, and every man to his neighbour:

And here’s a sarcastic turn of phrase that God employs to proclaim judgement on his promise-breaking people.

behold, I [proclaim a liberty for you/grant you freedom], saith the LORD,

[the freedom to die…] [to the sword/in war],
[to the pestilence/by starvation], and
[to the famine/by disease];

and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.

18 And I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, […continues in verse 20…] which have not performed the words of the covenant which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof,

That’s just speaking of the ceremony they would perform when making solemn covenants. You can see God doing this very thing back in Genesis with Abraham.

19 The princes of Judah, and
the princes of Jerusalem,
the eunuchs, and
the priests, and
all the people of the land, which passed between the parts of the calf;

20 […continued from verse 18…] I will even give them into the hand of their enemies,
and into the hand of them that seek their life:

and their dead bodies shall be for meat unto the fowls of the heaven,
and to the beasts of the earth.

21 And Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes will I give into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, which [are gone up/have withdrawn] from you.

Now, that last statement should make us pause and consider what was just said.

Verse 21 says that Babylon’s army had gone up from Jerusalem. They had retreated or left in some way. How did that happen? Why did that happen?

Here’s my theory. This was quite possibly an act of mercy on the part of God in response to the Jews doing right. Wouldn’t that be awesome? If that’s what’s happening here, then we see a glimpse of God’s mercy and desire to bless his people’s least efforts at obedience. I mean, they somehow took note of what we’d consider maybe a relatively minor point of the Mosaic Law. And all of a sudden God responds by removing Babylon from them!

And don’t miss how major that would have been. Babylon has been THE threat that God has been promising all throughout this book. I mean, they’re the ultimate punishment in God’s eyes. And he’s been threatening the rebellious Jews with their coming and attacking and conquering. He’s made their coming to be a virtual certainty. From all that we’ve read, there’s no getting out of their coming and destroying the Jews.

And all of a sudden, one little act that tended toward obedience – and BOOM God starts removing this great threat from his people. Do you get the sense that God is really quite inclined to respond to his people’s Submitting to His Authority?

But, alas, the people’s obedience was short-lived. And so God promises to bring back Babylon in verse 22.

22 Behold, I will command, saith the LORD, and cause them to return to this city; and they shall fight against it, and take it, and burn it with fire: and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without an inhabitant.

And I’ll end this message with two final thoughts.

First, this going back and forth that we see here in this chapter – of starting to obey and then ultimately disobeying – is what we’re going to see from this last king of Judah – Zedekiah. This is his modus operandi.

Second, Jeremiah 34:8-22 show the negative side of the importance of keeping promises. And you might think that this promise that they made and kept was really a small matter. Most of them did too, probably. And maybe they would have defended themselves, saying something like “Well, what’s the big deal? It’s a minor command! You really expect us to follow that?!”

And where that’s significant is in the next chapter. Because the next chapter shows the importance of keeping promises in a positive light. In that chapter we’ll see the Rechabites. These men were given some obscure command from some ancient member of their clan a long time ago. And we’ll see them obeying that command and being held out as a model for the rest of their countrymen.

So, may the Lord help us this week to keep the promises we make and to make only promises we intend to keep.

Jeremiah 33 3 Meaning

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Jeremiah 33 3 Meaning | Intro

And now that he’s reminded Jeremiah of who he is and what he’s truly able to do, verse 3…

3 Call unto me [in prayer…], and I will answer thee, and [shew/tell] thee great and [mighty/hidden/mysterious] things, which thou [knowest/have known/still x know about] not.

Jeremiah 33 3 Meaning | Context

Now, in context this is God encouraging Jeremiah to pray so that he could continue to declare to Jeremiah the wonderful blessings that he had in store for Israel.

Jeremiah 33 3 Meaning | Can We Use It?

How do we appropriate this verse? Can we?

I think we can. We can take away from this verse the fact that God encourages his people to pray for blessings. It’s OK to ask God for good things – for mercy – for forgiveness.

Jeremiah 33 3 Meaning | Praying for God’s Will

And it’s always a good thing to pray to God that he would accomplish things you know to be his will. Maybe you don’t know the timing in which he wants to accomplish his will. But that doesn’t matter! Pray for it anyway.

Jeremiah 33 3 Meaning | God Wants Us To Do This

God doesn’t get angry at you for asking him to do the things he’s already determined to do. He doesn’t grow impatient with our pathetic cries. He doesn’t think little of our repeated appeals to him for what we know he wants to do.

Jeremiah 33 3 Meaning | Salvation of All Men

Just one example. You can think of others. Does God want to save all men? Yes, we do. God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Well, then pray for your lost family members and friends and government officials as if God wants to save them – because he does!

So, we know that God wants us to pray for his will to happen on earth from passages like Jeremiah 33:3.

Jeremiah 33 3 Meaning | Back to the Context

But in the immediate context, let’s recognize that this was the Lord speaking to Jeremiah and encouraging him to pray that God would continue to reveal the wonderful blessings that he planned to shower upon his people Israel in the Millennium.

Back to our Jeremiah 33 Commentary.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary

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Jeremiah 33 is a continuation of the Book of Encouragement and of Jeremiah 32’s encouragement to Jeremiah to buy a field.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Background

We begin the passage with a very brief introduction to the circumstances under which God spoke to Jeremiah about Israel’s future. It’s so brief because it really just a continuation of what God was saying back in Jeremiah 32.

KJV Jeremiah 33:1 ¶ Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah [the/a] second time, while he was [yet/still] [shut up/confined] in the [court/courtyard] of the [prison/guard/guardhouse], saying,

So, just like in Jeremiah 32, here in this chapter the prophet is still in prison. He’s confined within a city which itself is a confinement for so many Jews who would end up losing their lives to the invading Babylonian army. And all this was happened because of their constant and chronic sin and rebellion against their God.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | An Encouragement to Pray

Now, the first statement God makes to Jeremiah is to encourage him to pray in verses 2 and 3.

2 Thus saith the LORD the [maker/doer] [thereof/of the earth/of these things],

Now, what does this mean? The Lord is the “maker thereof”? The maker of what? I think in context from what we saw in Jeremiah 32, the Lord is here declaring himself to be the maker or the doer of what he’s been promising his people. He’s the one who makes these plans for the future restoration of his people Israel. He’s the one who accomplishes those amazing promises. That’s what the Lord is claiming that he does here in verse 2.

Moving on…

the LORD that [formed/planned] it [again, these promises to bless Israel in the Millennium…], to establish it [those promises…]; the LORD is his name;

And then you’re sure to want to read our Jeremiah 33 3 Meaning article.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Current State of the Houses of Jerusalem

And as we’ve seen at least a few times so far in this book, God often starts his discussion of future blessings for his people with a reminder of where they were currently as a nation. He does that yet again in verses 4 and 5 where the Lord calls to mind the current state of Jerusalem. And he actually points to the houses in that city.

4 For thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are [thrown/torn] down [by/to make a defense against] the [mounts/siege mounds/siege ramps], and [by/against] the sword;

5 They [come/go] to fight with the Chaldeans, but it is to fill [them/the houses] with the dead bodies of men, whom I have slain in mine anger and in my fury, and for all whose wickedness I have hid my face from this city.

So, this is the current state of Israel a year or two before Babylon finally takes their city and kills most of them and exiles the rest of them out of their land.

God is acknowledging in verse 5 that the Judeans are going out to fight with Babylon. And yet, all they will accomplish is to die so that their dead bodies can be thrown into those ruined houses in Jerusalem. That’s apparently where many of these men would be “buried” if you can call it that – in these houses of rubble.

And these men will fail – not necessarily because they were poor fighters or because they didn’t have a will to fight – rather these warriors would fail and be killed because God was on the side – not of his people the Jews – but God was on the side of the Babylonians – the ones whom he sent to attack and destroy his own people!

So, as usual, the picture God paints of the current situation of the Jews is pretty bleak.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Future Restoration

And against that backdrop, the Lord will now in verses 6 through 9 speak of the glorious restoration that he had – and still has – in store for his people Israel.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Healing

The Lord begins by speaking of healing his people in the future.

6 [Behold/But], I will bring [to…] it health and [cure/healing], and I will [cure/heal] them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.

So, is this literal physical health that God is promising here? Or is a poetic way of saying that God is going to generally make things go well with them?

I think that God here is promising to literally physically heal his people the Jews in the Millennium. And we tend to recoil from that kind of promise. We’re so used to people to subscribe to what’s called the Prosperity Gospel that any time there’s a promise of physical healing in the Scripture, we look askance at it.

To acknowledge that God will physically heal his people in the Millennium is not to adopt the Prosperity Gospel. It is to acknowledge what God’s word says is to come for God’s people – not now, but in the Millennium.

The basic problem with the Prosperity Gospel is that it sees promises given by God that are for the Millennium and it forces those promises back into the Church Age – now. This interpretation of Scripture fools people and gives them unrealistic expectations. When the promises they say are relevant for this age don’t come to pass – because God intends them for another time – then it can wreck people’s faith in God’s promises.

The Prosperity Gospel is a heresy – it divides Christ’s church. The preachers of that so-called “gospel” lead people away from the truth. We’ve had this happen to people who have attended this very church. I’ve worked with people in the business world who have imbibed this Americanized form of Christianity and I’ve seen the change in focus it leads to for its adherents.

So, let me be clear – the Prosperity Gospel and any other form of teaching that tells you that healing and fortune are for this age – that tells you that if you don’t have these things somehow you are lacking faith – that kind of teaching is a perverted gospel – the kind which the Apostle Paul said in Galatians is no Gospel at all and is rather something that even if an angel is preaching to you, that angel is to be accursed – anathema.

Alright – so now I don’t think anyone will mistake how I think about physical healing being promised to Christians in this Church Age in which we live.

And now, let me repeat that what we have in verse 6 is a promise of literal physical healing for God’s people in the Millennium. And that is totally in keeping with other statements made in the Scripture concerning this 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ – known as the Millennium. Animals will no longer be killing each other – or humans, for that matter. People will live hundreds of years. And this passage fits in with those facts. God will heal his people in the Millennium.

And he’ll give them an abundance of peace and truth.

Again, what a contrast to what they were currently experiencing. The people of Judah were full of falsehood. But a time of truth is coming. The people of Judah were experiencing non-stop war. But a time of peace is coming. They were experiencing starvation and disease. But a time is coming when God will be their healer.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Return of Judah and Israel

God continues in verse 7 with promising to bring all of Israel and Judah back to their land in the Millennium.

7 And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Sin Forgiven

And we can think that likely verse 7 has already started in our day. And by the way, that should fill us with excitement and expectation. The Jews are back in their land. That kind of thing is so closely tied in with the Millennium that if we didn’t have all sorts of evidence to the contrary we might be tempted to think that the Millennium is upon us right now! But it isn’t.

And one of the many evidences that that is the case – that the Millennium is not here yet – is the promise in verse 8 that when God restores the Jews to their that he will cleanse them of all their sin. That hasn’t happened yet. So, let’s read…

8 And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Jerusalem

And lastly, in this small section of Millennial promises, God says that Jerusalem is in for an amazing amount of grace and blessing.

9 And [it/the city] shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I [procure unto/provide for] it. [NET – The nations will tremble in awe at all the peace and prosperity that I will provide for it.’]

The nations will hear about all the good that God will do for Jerusalem and they will tremble. Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever seen God bless someone so much that you just tremble about it? That hasn’t happened to me. But it will happen – with all the nations in the Millennium who see the great blessings and prosperity that God will bring upon his city Jerusalem.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Current Destruction

Now in verses 10 and 11 we have another cycle of God’s declaring the current destruction of Judah and contrasting that with the restoration that he has planned for them in the future.

So, start with verse 10 and the destruction that Judah was currently then experiencing.

10 ¶ Thus saith the LORD;

Again there shall be heard in this place, which ye say shall be desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast,

There’s a highlighting of the current destruction of Judah.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Future Restoration

Now for the future restoration and blessing.

There will be heard in that place…

11 The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness,
the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride,
the voice of them that shall say,

Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good;
for his mercy endureth for ever:

and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD.

For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Current Destruction and Future Restoration

Again, in verses 12 and 13 we have a third cycle of current misery contrasted with future blessings.

12 ¶ Thus saith the LORD of hosts;

Again in this place, which is desolate without man and without beast, and in all the cities thereof, shall be an habitation of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down.

13 In the cities of the [mountains/hill country], in the cities of the [vale/Shephelah/western foothills], and in the cities of the [south/Negeb], and in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah,

shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that [telleth/counts] them, saith the LORD.

At this point I just want to say that this is happening in a way right now. The Jews are back in their land. They are raising animals like we see prophesied in these two verses. And I’m impressed with the fact that Christ could come back at any moment and set in motion the seven years of Tribulation followed by this wonderful Millennium we keep hearing about in this book.

This could start at any moment. What’s left to be fulfilled before it happens? Christ could return for us at any moment.

Filter the troubling events happening in our country through this reality, friends. You get to serve and know the Lord until you die or Christ returns – at which time you’ll be with him forever in glory! And that time is drawing ever nearer. It’s not a cliché to say that this could happen today! It’s absolutely true. It’s what the Lord himself has led us to believe. He’s coming at any moment. And the fact that some of the blessings that he’s promised for the Millennium are practically upon us – this urges us on to a greater zeal for his business. You don’t know when Christ is coming to put an end to this age and begin to usher in his reign in Jerusalem. May the Lord help us to wake up and serve him with all of our heart and all of our days!!! Even these last days that we find ourselves living in.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Continuation of King and Priests

And speaking of our coming king, he’s not just our king. He’s the King of the Jews. And God has promised those people that their king will come in the Millennium. In fact, the Lord promises the continuation of both king and priests in verses 14-22.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Already Promised

To begin, in verse 14, the Lord points to the fact that he’s already promised this kind of thing before.

14 ¶ Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.

He’s already promised this then. Promised what?

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Messianic King Promised

What we see in verse 15 – a Messianic king, known as the Branch.

15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause [the Branch of righteousness/a Righteous Branch] to grow up [unto/for] David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.

Do you remember where the Lord has already promised – in this very book – to send a Davidic king that he refers to as the Branch? It’s Jeremiah 23.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | His Effect on Judah and Jerusalem

And much of what he said there is very similar to what he’s going to say here. Including the content of verse 6 here where the Lord speaks of the coming Messianic kings’ overall effect on Judah and Jerusalem.

16 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith [she/Jerusalem] shall be called, The LORD [is…] our righteousness.

So, this Messianic figure known as the Branch will come and bring peace and security to Judah and Jerusalem.

By the way, in Jeremiah 23 it says that the Branch will do these things to Judah and Israel. Now, here the emphasis is on Judah and Jerusalem.

There’s one more difference between this passage and Jeremiah 23. In Jeremiah 23 it’s the Branch himself that will be known as the Lord our righteousness. But here in this passage we have that the city of Jerusalem will be given that name.

Now, when we read that the Branch – Jesus Christ – will be called “the Lord Our Righteousness” we see there that Jesus is 1) the Lord Jehovah/Yahweh and 2) that he is our righteousness. But now we see that the city of Jerusalem is given the same title as the Messianic king. Why?

It seems that the answer has to do with the fact that Jerusalem and the king in her midst during the Millennium are very closely connected. And what a contrast that future time will be to what the Jews in Jeremiah were experiencing. The city of Jerusalem at that point had little to do with righteousness and little to do with their righteous God. But that will all change one day.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | The Lord’s Solemn Promise

And if anyone is tempted to think that this promise of a future king is something other than absolutely literal, then God is going to give them verses 17 and 18 to correct their thinking.

17 ¶ For thus saith the LORD;

David shall never [want/lack] a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;

18 Neither shall the priests the Levites [want/lack] a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.

But there are no Levites right now and there is no Davidic king. So, what do these verses mean? Catch the fact that God promises a Davidic king as long as there is something for that king to sit upon and rule from. As long as there is a throne there will be a king. There hasn’t been a throne in Jerusalem since the destruction by the Babylonians. No throne, no king.

Similar with the Levites. If there’s no Temple in which to burn sacrifices, then there are no priests. But when the throne and when the Temple are restored in Jerusalem, then God will bring back the king and the priests just as he’s promising here.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Celestial and Terrestrial Promises

Well, maybe you’re still really doubting that God is going to bring this to pass. After all, it seems that none of the Jews in our time even know their tribe. How will the Levites in the Millennium actually know that they’re Levites? And any number of similar objections might be cited to try to make this promise mean something different from what it seems to mean.

Well, God is again going to give more assurance to any doubters that he is really, really going to do this. We see this happening in verses 19 through 22.

19 ¶ And the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, saying,

20 Thus saith the LORD;

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Day & Night vs. David and Levites

And here’s one way that God is going to try to convince everyone that he’s going to someday again have a Davidic king ruling in Jerusalem and Levitical priests ministering in Jerusalem. If day and night cease, then his promise of these Millennial realities will also be null and void.

If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season;

21 Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Stars and Sand vs. David and Levites

And here’s one more way that God is going to double-down on this amazing promise of his. As soon as humanity is able to count the stars and the sand, that’s when his promise concerning David and the Levites will be repealed – a.k.a., NEVER!

22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Continuation of Israel and Judah

And it’s not only David and the Levites that God is concerned with. The Lord more broadly wants the Jews — and really even us Christians — to have faith in the fact that he will not completely cast off Israel and Judah.

23 ¶ Moreover the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying,

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Despite What People Think

24 Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying,

The two families which the LORD hath chosen, he hath even cast them off?

thus they have [despised/little regard for] my people, that they should be no more a nation [before them/in their estimation].

So, people of that day even were writing off Israel and Judah, saying they had no future or hope. And you have folks like that today. Some preachers that you or I would appreciate on some level would minimize the fact that God has a future plan for Israel and Judah that is separate in some way from his plan for the Church. This is part of what’s known as Covenant Theology. In some way, Israel/Judah and the Church are one in the same in that system of theology.

But what we’ve already heard in this book and what we hear all over the Bible and what we’ll continue to hear for the rest of this chapter is that God is not done with Israel – literal, Jewish, descended-from-Abraham Israel.

And as we see from verse 24, God has a plan for Israel concerning the Millennium that will happen despite what anyone thinks – whether that anyone lived in Jeremiah’s day or our day or whenever. God is not done with national, ethnic Israel and Judah.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | As Certain as Day and Night

Well, how certain is God to execute his plan for Israel and Judah? According to verses 25 and 26 he’s as certain as the cycle of day and night that we have experienced every single day of our life and will continue to experience until the day of our death.

25 Thus saith the LORD;

If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth;

26 Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.

God will literally physically restore Israel to their land. He will literally have a Davidic king to rule on the literal throne in literal Jerusalem. Accompanying that king will be literal Levitical priests ministering in a literal Temple and offering literal sacrifices once more.

You don’t believe it? God would strongly disagree. Only if the cycle of day and night stop would his plans for the future concerning Israel stop. Only if we could somehow count the stars in heaven and the sand on the shore can we say that God has utterly cast off and forgotten about his people Israel.

No, these things will surely happen. And they’ll happen because the one who made these promises is both able and willing to carry them out at exactly the right time.

That’s our God. He’s powerful, loving, just, and totally honest. Let’s seek to live a life this week that’s a praise to this awesome Lord of ours.

Jeremiah 32 Summary

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For our study on the first 15 verses of chapter 32, read our Jeremiah 32 Commentary.

Jeremiah 32 Summary | Jeremiah Prays to God

And the shock of God having a future for Israel isn’t lost on Jeremiah. This message from God prompts the prophet to pray. And I think what we’re going to see in verses 16-25 is the prophet working through accepting this shocking promise from God by means of speaking with the one who made this amazing promise.

16 ¶ Now when I had delivered the [evidence/deed] of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, I prayed unto the LORD, saying,

By the way, since there’s no mention of Jeremiah removing himself to some private place – as if there were any such places in his prison – he is likely praying in front of all the witnesses that were there in the prison.

Jeremiah 32 Summary | You Created the World and Are Omnipotent

Now, Jeremiah begins his struggle with God’s promise in prayer by recognizing that God is the omnipotent Creator of everything. And therefore, even this promise would be possible for him to carry out.

17 Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:

So, that’s what God has done that would allow him to carry out his amazing promise of restoring Israel to their land.

Jeremiah 32 Summary | God’s Holy Character

Next, Jeremiah focuses on God’s good and holy character. And this character is what at one time causes him to judge the Jews in Jeremiah’s day and at the same time allows him to promise undeserved blessing on future generations.

18 Thou shewest [lovingkindness/steadfast love/unfailing love] unto thousands, [and/but] [recompensest/repay] the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name,

19 Great in counsel, and mighty in [work/deed]: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings:

Jeremiah 32 Summary | Exodus from Egypt

And as so often happens in prayers in the Old Testament, Jeremiah’s prayer includes a reminder to himself and to the Lord of God’s past deliverance of Israel from bondage in Egypt.

20 Which hast [set/shown] signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, [even unto this day/which have had lasting effects], and in Israel, and among other [men/mankind]; and hast made thee a name, as at this day;

In other words, God earned himself a lasting reputation through his delivering his people from Egypt.

21 And hast brought forth thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs, and with wonders, and with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with great terror;

And of course, after God brought Israel out of Egypt, he brought them into the land he promised them. The land from which they would soon be ejected because of their sin.

22 And hast given them this land, which thou didst swear to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey;

Jeremiah 32 Summary | The People’s Abuse of God

And verse 23 gets at the reason for their being ejected from the land.

23 And they came in, and possessed it; but they obeyed not thy voice, neither walked in thy law; they have done nothing of all that thou commandedst them to do: therefore thou hast caused all this [evil/disaster] to come upon them:

Jeremiah 32 Summary | God’s Punishment Evident

And the evidence of God’s imminent sending of them out of their land was all around them according to verse 24.

24 Behold the [mounts/siege mounds/siege ramps], they are come unto the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans, that fight against it, because of [the sword/war], and of [the famine/starvation], and of [the pestilence/disease]: and what thou hast spoken is come to pass; and, behold, thou seest it.

Jeremiah 32 Summary | God’s Promise of Restoration

All of this was past or present for Judah and for Jeremiah. God’s creating the world. God’s bringing Israel out of Egypt. God’s bringing Israel into the land. And then of course presently for Jeremiah, God had brought the Babylonians to destroy and exile his people.

And so, that brings Jeremiah to his concluding comment in his prayer. In contrast to the troubling realities he was facing, this is the truth that had just come to him and he was still trying to digest it.

25 [And/Yet] thou hast said unto me, O Lord GOD,

Buy thee the field for money, and take witnesses;

[for/though] the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.

And there Jeremiah ends his prayer. He laid the whole situation out before the Lord. And again this is more implicit than explicit. But I think the idea is that the prophet is struggling to put it all together in his mind.

He needed convincing at the beginning of this chapter that the message that God had given him about his cousin coming was indeed God’s message. And based on God’s response to Jeremiah’s prayer in the rest of this chapter, I again sense that the prophet needed some reassurance. This promise seemed so amazing. So contrary to what they were currently experiencing. It’s not that Jeremiah doubted. But he seems to be reaching out for some assurance that this indeed was what God was going to bring to pass in the future.

Jeremiah 32 Summary | God Responds

So, God does respond to the prophet with the assurance he was looking for. And God does so by affirming two truths that seem at first to perhaps contradict or work against each other. First, in verses 26-35 the Lord confirms that he must punish the rebellious Judeans. But second, in verses 36-44 the Lord affirms that he will indeed restore the descendants of these sinful Judeans to this very land from which he must eject them.

Jeremiah 32 Summary | God Must Punish

So, let’s look at verses 26-35 where God states the current reality for the people of Judah – punishment for their sins.

26 ¶ Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying,

27 Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too [hard/difficult] for me?

So, the Lord begins by repeating what Jeremiah had already acknowledged in verse 17. Nothing is too hard for the Lord.

28 Therefore thus saith the LORD;

Behold, I [will give/am giving] this city into the hand of the Chaldeans, and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and he shall take it:

29 And the Chaldeans, that fight against this city, shall come and set fire [on/to] this city, and burn it with the houses, upon whose roofs they have offered incense unto Baal, and poured out drink offerings unto other gods, to provoke me to anger.

So, yet again the reason for God’s destroying Judah was no secret. They were worshipping other gods. And so he draws attention to the very places where that false worship is happening and targets them for destruction – their homes in this case.

And God continues justifying his destruction of Judah.

30 For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have only done evil before me from their [youth/earliest history]: for the children of Israel have only provoked me to anger with the work of their hands, saith the LORD.

31 For [the people of…] this city hath been to me as a provocation of mine anger and of my [fury/wrath] from the day that they built it even unto this day; [so…] that I [should/will] remove it from before my face,

32 Because of all the evil of the children of Israel and of the children of Judah, which they have done to provoke me to anger, they, their kings, their princes, their priests, and their prophets, and the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

33 And they have turned [unto me the back/away from me], and not [the face/to me]: though I taught them, [rising up early and teaching them/persistently/over and over again], yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction.

34 But they set their [abominations/disgusting idols] in the house, which is called by my name, to defile it.

35 And they built the high places of [worship for…] Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.

So, in light of their disgusting idolatry which included sacrificing their own children, God had to punish.

Jeremiah 32 Summary | God Will Restore

But that’s not the whole story. Yes, God had to punish. But now in verses 36-44 the Lord will promise to restore the descendants of these people to their land someday.

36 ¶ And now therefore thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning this city, whereof ye [rightly] say,

It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence;

OK, what they see and what they’re saying are accurate. But here’s what’s going to happen that’s a total reversal of what was presently the case for Jeremiah and his contemporaries.

37 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:

38 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God:

By the way, this hasn’t happened yet. It’s coming in the Millennium as we saw from chapter 31. This is the same language that’s used in that chapter of the effects of the New Covenant which will be fully in force with Israel and Judah in the Millennium.

39 And I will give them [one heart, and one way/a single-minded purpose], that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:

Again, this hasn’t happened yet. Neither has the following.

40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; [but/and] I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.

41 Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land [assuredly/faithfully] with my whole heart and with my whole soul.

And so, the rest of these promises are yet future. What about verse 41? Is God’s planting the people in the land necessarily only going to happen in the Millennium? Because, we have some Jews back there right now as we speak. And actually, they have a nation called Israel.

That’s a little bit trickier. If they weren’t in their land, then I’d be tempted to think this would happen in the Millennium. But since they’re there now, I’m left with two possibilities.

First and in my mind unlikely is that they’ll be sent out of their land again before the Millennium. I really hope that’s not the case. And yet, if it happens I’m not going to lose faith in God’s word.

The second possibility is that God is starting to bring about Millennial blessings right now and will bring them fully to pass in the Millennium. And he can do that. Just because he tells us that he will do certain things in the Millennium doesn’t mean he can’t do them in any way before the Millennium. Right? Like the New Covenant. It’s not fully in effect like Jeremiah 31 tells us will happen. But it is certainly in effect for us Gentiles right now in a sense.

So, much of Israel is back in its land right now. I hope they stay that way. But whether they do or not, there will be a final gathering-in of Israel to their land under the New Covenant in the Millennium.

Alright, now the Lord brings his reassuring the prophet to a conclusion in verses 42-44 by summarizing what he’s just said.

42 ¶ For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I [have promised/am promising] them.

43 And fields shall be bought in this land, whereof ye [correctly] say,

It is desolate without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.

44 Men shall buy fields for money, and [subscribe/sign] [evidences/deeds], and seal them, and take witnesses in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the [mountains/hill country], and in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south: for I will [cause their captivity to return/restore their fortunes/restore them to their land], saith the LORD.

All that the Lord has promised he will certainly bring to pass in his own timing.

What has God promised you that hasn’t been fully realized yet? Here are a few things promised to Christians that we don’t have yet:

  1. The resurrection and redemption of your body.
  2. Reigning with Christ.
  3. Judging angels.
  4. No more pain or tears or sickness or dying.
  5. Jesus Christ’s constant literal physical presence with you.
  6. Your being reunited to loved ones who have fallen asleep in Christ.
  7. No more flesh – no more sinful nature.

You and I don’t see these things yet. You and I might need assurance that these promises will happen.

Take comfort from Jeremiah 32. What God promises he is able also to perform. And he will perform it.

God has convinced his prophet, Jeremiah. Let him convince you.

Jeremiah 32 Commentary

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Jeremiah 32 is a continuation of the “Book of Encouragement.”

Jeremiah 32 Commentary | Background: Jeremiah in Prison, Judah 2 Years from Exile

Jeremiah starts this chapter by giving us some background. He’s going to relate to us a story of something that happened to him. So, just like with all stories we need to have the scene set for us.

We’ll read verses 1 through 5.

KJV Jeremiah 32:1 ¶ The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar.

By the way, Nebuchadnezzar’s final siege of Jerusalem happened in Zedekiah’s 11th year in the 5th month. We just heard that the events in Jeremiah 32 are happening in Zedekiah’s 10th year. So the events of this chapter are a mere year and a half – at most – away from Jerusalem’s final blow from the Babylonians.

Now, leading up to that fateful final siege of Jerusalem, we witness the following happening…

2 For then the king of Babylon’s army besieged Jerusalem:

So Babylon took several months to gain access to Jerusalem. Meanwhile, Jerusalem was “shut up” so to speak within its own walls.

Jeremiah also was “shut up” somewhere…

and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the prison, which was in the king of Judah’s house.

Why was the prophet incarcerated?

3 For Zedekiah king of Judah had shut him up, saying,

Wherefore dost thou prophesy, and say,

Thus saith the LORD,

Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it;

4 And Zedekiah king of Judah shall not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, but shall surely be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon, and shall speak with him [mouth/face] to [mouth/face], and his eyes shall behold his eyes;

5 And he shall lead Zedekiah to Babylon, and there shall he be until I visit him, saith the LORD:

though ye fight with the Chaldeans, ye shall not prosper.

Jeremiah was incarcerated because he was telling a king who was under God’s judgement a message from the Lord, which the king did not want to hear.

And – brothers and sisters – to the extent that we are delivering God’s message to this nation which is under God’s righteous judgement, we can expect the same treatment. In the coming days, resolve to suffer well for Jesus Christ and his message – wherever the Lord might have you suffer.

Well, that’s the background to this story in Jeremiah 32.

Jeremiah is in a pretty discouraging place in his life. He’s been ministering to his people for at least a few decades. He’s been delivering a very unpopular message to people who are violently opposed to what he’s preaching. And by the way, the people who are so opposed to God’s message are the very people that are supposedly “God’s people.” Now Jeremiah has been imprisoned by the vacillating king Zedekiah for doing only what God had commanded him to do. And to make matters worse, the army of the most powerful country in the world is outside of the city in which he is currently incarcerated.

Imagine your mindset in a situation like that. If you do, then you’ll be better acquainted with the temptations and struggles that Jeremiah likely would have been facing at this time in his life.

Jeremiah 32 Commentary | God Tells Jeremiah to Buy Land from his Cousin

Now, in the midst of this chaos and uncertainty and discouragement, God comes to Jeremiah with a message of hope and encouragement.

He tells the prophet to buy some land from his cousin in Jeremiah 32:6-7.

6 ¶ And Jeremiah said,

The word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

7 Behold, Hanameel the son of Shallum thine uncle shall come unto thee, saying,

Buy thee my field that is in Anathoth: for the right of redemption is thine to buy it.

Anathoth – if you recall – is the city in Benjamin from which Jeremiah hailed. His family lived there. And so God tells Jeremiah that one of his cousins is going to come to him and offer some land for him to buy.

Now, let’s get the picture right in our minds. Jeremiah is in jail. Jerusalem is under siege by Babylon. We’re less than 2 years away from the utter destruction and exile of Judah from their land. And somehow this cousin is supposed to get through all of that and offer Jeremiah a piece of land for him to purchase.

Could God make that happen?

Jeremiah 32 Commentary | Jeremiah’s Cousin Comes

Yes, he could. And that’s what we see come to pass in verse 8.

8 So Hanameel mine uncle’s son came to me in the court of the prison according to the word of the LORD, and said unto me,

Buy my field, I pray thee, that is in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin: for the right of inheritance is thine, and the redemption is thine; buy it for thyself.

Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD.

There are a few things that are remarkable here.

First, that this cousin of Jeremiah’s actually got to him! Maybe Babylon had to withdraw for a few weeks from the siege. That wasn’t an unknown event to have happen in those days and under those circumstances.

The other possibility is that maybe Jeremiah’s cousin actually lived in Jerusalem at that time, though his field was in Anathoth. I tend to think this is more likely the case because as Babylon swept through the land to arrive at Jerusalem I would assume that they would have captured anyone who was out in the open and not in a walled city.

So, I think either possibility could work. And in the end I don’t think we have enough data to be conclusive. But at least those possibilities could be in our minds as we read the story to try to get an idea of what was actually happening.

The other noteworthy thing in this 8th verse is Jeremiah’s last statement. He says that the coming of his cousin made him conclusively convinced that God’s word was … God’s word. Jeremiah struggled to really accept God’s promise of his cousin coming until … his cousin came.

It’s this statement along with another reality or two in this chapter that make me think that Jeremiah needed some convincing by the Lord at this stage in his life.

I imagine Jeremiah here almost like John the Baptist when he sent the message to Jesus, asking him whether he was the one they’d been looking for or if they should keep looking. At that time in John’s life, he was imprisoned just like Jeremiah. He had been serving God faithfully all of his life, just like Jeremiah. And yet he was experiencing some really dark times in his life. And he needed convincing by God himself.

And in both the case of John and of Jeremiah, God was pleased to convince his servant. And the Lord is still able and we might find him also willing to do this same thing for anyone like that here right now.

Jeremiah 32 Commentary | Jeremiah Buys Land

Well, the cousin came and offered his land to Jeremiah for him to purchase. And so, Jeremiah goes ahead, now convinced that this was indeed God’s will, and he buys the land from his cousin in Jeremiah 32:9-12.

9 ¶ And I bought the field of Hanameel my uncle’s son, that was in Anathoth, and weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels of silver.

10 And I [subscribed/signed] the [evidence/deed of purchase], and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed him the money in the balances.

11 So I took the [evidence/deed] of the purchase, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that which was open:

12 And I gave the [evidence/deed] of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, in the sight of Hanameel mine uncle’s son, and in the presence of the witnesses that [subscribed/signed] the [book/deed] of the purchase, before all the Jews that sat in the court of the prison.

This sounds a lot like what I did a few years ago when I purchased a home. Signing deeds. Making copies of them. Bringing payment or something to substitute for it. Having people there to witness the transaction. Doing everything according to law and custom. Some things don’t change very much over the centuries and even from culture to culture.

And by the way, this is the first we hear of Baruch, who turns out to be something of an assistant to the prophet Jeremiah. His name shows up in this chapter as well as chapters 36, 43, and 45.

Jeremiah 32 Commentary | Jeremiah Charges Baruch

And in this situation, Baruch happens to be the one that Jeremiah charges with keeping these two copies of the deed of purchase that Jeremiah just signed. We see that in verses 13-15.

13 And I charged Baruch before them, saying,

14 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel;

Take these [evidences/deeds], this [evidence/deed] of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may [continue/last/be preserved] [many days/a long time].

Why does God through Jeremiah want these two copies of this deed put in an earthen vessel?

15 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel;

Houses and fields and vineyards shall be [possessed/bought] again in this land.

That’s the punch line – if you will – of the story up to this point. God is going to develop his message from here. But all that precedes verse 15 is really leading up to the promise that is contained in that verse.

Houses, fields, and vineyards will again be possessed in the land of Israel – from the perspective of Jeremiah’s day.

And don’t miss the shock that this message would have been to the people of that time – even to the prophet Jeremiah. Remember what’s happening all around the Jews at this moment. The Babylonians are there. They’ve laid siege to the city. It’s only a matter of months before it all comes crashing down. It would seem to most Jews at that time that life as they knew it was over.

And, really, it was. But God now is looking past their current tragedy that they brought on their own selves and is telling them of a future for their land and their descendants. Not because of what they themselves did and how they were behaving themselves – but in spite of their sin and rebellion against the Lord.

Jeremiah 31 Commentary

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We’re continuing in the Book of Encouragement which takes up Jeremiah 30:1-34:7.

Last time, we studied the first 20 verses of Jeremiah 31, seeing the promises of Millennial Blessings for Northern Israel.

Jeremiah 31 Commentary | Don’t Forget the Way You Came Because You’re Going Back

God continues his message of encouragement by addressing all Israel – not just Northern Israel. He tells them, as it were, that as they leave the land for their time in exile they should remember the way they take.


Because their descendants are coming back that very way some day. Verses 21-22.

21 [God will say…] Set thee up [waymarks/road markers],
make thee [high heaps/guideposts]:

[set thine heart toward/consider well/keep in mind] the highway,
even the [way/road] [by] which thou wentest:

[So that you may someday…] [turn again/return], O virgin of Israel,
[turn again/return] to these thy cities.

You’re coming back, Israel! That’s the promise of God.

22 How long wilt thou [go about/waver/vacillate],
O thou [one-time] [backsliding/faithless] daughter?

All of that backsliding and faithlessness will stop one day…

for the LORD [hath created/will bring about] a new thing in the earth,
[Something as unique as…] A woman [shall compass/encircles/protecting] a man.

Jeremiah 31 Commentary | Joyful Return and Sweet Rest Promised for All Israel

What is that “new thing?” This thing that is as unique and unusual as a woman protecting a man?

This – that all Israel will enjoy a joyful return to their land and a sweet rest when they get there. Verses 23-26.

23 ¶ Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel;

[As yet/Once more] they shall use [this speech/these words] in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall [bring again/restore] their [captivity/fortunes];

The LORD bless thee, O habitation of [justice/righteousness], [and/O] [mountain of holiness/holy hill].

Now, as this “Book of Encouragement” was being written, there was nothing encouraging going on with these people. The people of Judah were a few years away from being invaded and exiled. The people of northern Israel were long-gone already. The people who were left in the land – they certainly weren’t expressing to one another genuine blessings in the name of the Lord. They had no concern for “holiness” or “justice.”

But that was going to change. Someday, God will bring these people back to their land – again, I think we have great reason to believe this happens in the Millennium – and when they’re back they will come with repentant hearts. They will be changed. And because of that, they will be uttering blessings in the name of the Lord to one another. Those blessings will be genuine. And these people will be loving justice and holiness.

But that was all future to their perspective. And it’s yet future to ours. But it will happen.

>>Is there anything future from our perspective concerning us that we struggle to accept?<<

Well, as these righteous individuals are totally restored to their land, they will experience natural abundance that will give them sweet rest.

24 And there shall dwell in Judah itself, and in all the cities thereof together, [husbandmen/farmers], and [they/shepherds] that go forth with flocks.

25 For I [have satiated/will satisfy] the weary soul,
and I [have replenished/will replenish] every [sorrowful/languishing/fainting] soul.

26 ¶ [Then they will say…] [Upon/At] this I awaked, and [beheld/looked];
and my sleep was [sweet/pleasant] unto me.

By the way, that’s either Jeremiah saying that he received this information in a dream and he woke up from it with great sweetness. Or it’s saying that the people of Israel at that time will sleep and wake up with great sweetness because of all the righteousness and blessing they’ll be receiving from their good Lord.

Jeremiah 31 Commentary | Agricultural Metaphors

And while the Lord is on the subject of physical abundance – husbandmen and shepherds, etc. – he’s going to take verses 27-30 to make metaphors concerning agriculture to describe how things will be for all Israel in the Millennium. So, he’s going to compare his people Israel or things related to them in the future to agricultural phenomena.

Jeremiah 31 Commentary | Sowing Seed

The Lord starts in verse 27 with comparing the territory of Israel and Judah to a field. He compares himself to a farmer who will plant seed in that field. The seed though is actually people – Jews, to be precise – and their farm animals.

27 ¶ Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast.

Jeremiah 31 Commentary | Gardening

Next, the Lord compares himself to a farmer who has had to pull down and destroy a lot of the equipment on his farm. But he is in the future going to be reversing those actions to instead build and fortify his equipment and plants, etc. And that equipment is literally all Israel in the future.

28 And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 31 Commentary | Eating Grapes

The last agricultural metaphor the Lord uses concerning Israel in the Millennium is about eating sour grapes. Let’s first read the metaphor and then try to understand it better.

29 In those days they shall say no more,

The fathers have eaten a sour grape,
and the children’s teeth [are set on edge/have grown numb].

30 But every one shall die for his own iniquity:

every man that eateth the sour grape,
his teeth shall [be set on edge/grow numb].

So, there’s a comparison between what Judah was currently experiencing with what all Israel will experience in the Millennium.

In the present of Jeremiah’s day, the people were claiming that they were suffering for the sins of their fathers. Now, there was some truth to that. Even though God was emphatic with them already in this book that they were suffering for their own sin – yet, God’s patience had waited a long time as his people sinned and rebelled against him. And so, in a sense, yes, the judgment that was coming to Judah was in some ways a result of the sins of their ancestors. And yet, the people who were experiencing the judgement of Babylon fully deserved it themselves.

But in the Millennium, God’s justice won’t delay. The person who sins will be dealt with immediately. His descendants won’t suffer for his sin. No, he himself will suffer right away for his own sin.

Now, at first that seems like something that is advantageous to people…until you realize that it means that sin will be dealt with right away – your sin! Right away! In the Millennium it seems that God will not be delaying his punishment. He will carry it out right away.

Jeremiah 31 Commentary | A New Covenant Promised

Well, you know, that’s a little bit of a problem for people. Because people are sinners. We sin because we’re sinners. And the history of Israel that we read of in the Scripture provides abundant evidence of that fact.

So, if a person is punished right away for his own sin in the Millennium, he’s going to need some serious help to stop sinning. And the Lord is going to give that serious help when he makes a new covenant with Israel and Judah in those days. And that’s just what the Lord says he will do in verses 31-34 – he promises a New Covenant with all Israel in the Millennium.

He begins by stipulating the parties to this covenant. It’s God and all Israel.

31 ¶ Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

The Lord then goes on to contrast this promised Millennial New Covenant with the Mosaic Covenant, under which the people were living in the days of Jeremiah.

32 Not [according to/like] the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they [brake/violated], although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:

Catch that one way the New Covenant will be different from the Old Mosaic Covenant. The people under the Mosaic Covenant broke it. In contrast, those in the New Covenant will not break it. And as we’ve noted before, this is because you cannot break the New Covenant.

The Lord continues by stating a few stipulations of the New Covenant. In particular, he promises a few things concerning Israel’s relation to God’s Law and to God himself.

33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days [of planting them in the land…], saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

So, no more stone tablets. God’s law will be written on the hearts of Israel in the Millennium – that’s the reference to “after those days”.

So, Israel’s relationship with the Law will go from one that is external to one that is internal. And therefore, Israel’s relationship to the God of that Law will go from one characterized by rebellion to one characterized by genuineness. They will be his people and he their God.

Further, this New Covenant will be enjoyed by all Israel, not just a select few.

34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD:

And what about that sin that each man is going to die for? Remember, in the Millennium apparently no one will be punished for the sin of their ancestors. If you do the crime, you do the time, so to speak. Again, this calls for actually less patience on the part of God in some ways. But look at the last promise given concerning this New Covenant.

for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

How do we reconcile these two facts about the Millennium: 1) everyone will die for his own sin and 2) God will forgive the sin of his people?

First, we need to take that second truth first. So, God will forgive the sin of those in the New Covenant. There will apparently be other peopl in the Millennium. The Scripture speaks of Egyptians living in those days and entertains the idea that they might not want to go up to Jerusalem for one of the feasts. If they don’t, God will withhold rain from them. So, there you have a hint at our first truth – that God’s punishment of sin will be swift and without delay. You also have something to help us understand the second truth – there will be some people in the Millennium that are not in the New Covenant. They will be punished for their sin swiftly.

Also, we can’t forget the effect that God’s New Covenant will have on those who are party to it. God will write his Law on their hearts. They will be pressured not merely outwardly with external rules and regulations to keep them in line but they will be constrained inwardly. I don’t believe that Israel will be totally sinless in the Millennium, but they will be pressured by God’s inward Law to do right. Plus, Satan will be bound so as to not be able to tempt them anymore. In addition, what we know as “the world” now will be very different in the Millennium. The World as it is, is an organized system that is opposed to God. But in the Millennium, Christ is ruling the world. So, you think of the three major enemies of mankind – the world, the flesh, and the devil. The Devil is out of there for 1,000 years. The world is totally different and no longer ruled by the prince of the world but by the Prince of Peace. That leaves man’s flesh – his sinful nature – to contend with. And I’m not minimizing the power of man’s sinful nature, but at the same time I think we’d all recognize that God’s restraining both the world and the devil will not make the sinful nature more powerful, but would rather have the effect of restraining man’s sinful nature to some extent. At least to the point of outward conformity to God’s standards.

So, that’s a start at trying to understand how God can say that in the Millennium those who sin will be punished swiftly and at the same time, that God will forgive the sins of those who are in the New Covenant.

Jeremiah 31 Commentary | Recipients and Timeframe of the New Covenant

Let’s also notice that God says here that he is going to make this New Covenant with Israel and Judah. So then, why are Gentiles – non-Jews, like you and me – why are we partakers of this New Covenant?

Also, God is saying here that he’s going to make this New Covenant with Israel and Judah in the Millennium. Why then are Gentiles enjoying this New Covenant right now?

Well, Jesus Christ is the one who inaugurated the New Covenant with his death on the cross. He is the mediator of this covenant. There is no doubt that those who have trusted in him for these last two thousand years enter into this covenant with him.

But that’s not to deny that in the Millennium, the whole nation of Israel will be brought into this covenant. Right now, Gentiles are enjoying it and a few Jews are as well. But in the Millennium, all Jews will enjoy this New Covenant.

And in the meantime, we Gentiles really are – like the Apostle Paul says in Romans – like wild olive branches that have been grafted in to the cultivated olive tree. We’re enjoying riches that we don’t at all deserve. Part of those riches is this New Covenant.

As part of the blessings of the New Covenant, we enjoy total forgiveness of our sins. We enjoy being God’s people. We experience God’s writing his law as it were in our inward parts. He has internalized his law in us. Anyone in this New Covenant automatically knows the Lord, so we don’t need to evangelize our fellow-covenant enjoyers.

The one major difference is that we’re not Israel or Judah. We’re the Church. And actually, part of our receiving mercy in terms of this New Covenant is in order to make the Jews jealous. That’s what Paul says in Romans 9-11. The Jews have for the most part rejected their Messiah and the New Covenant he brings. God will one day bring them all into this New Covenant and cause them to bow to their Messiah. In the meantime, God endures their unbelief and is intent on making them jealous of what they’re missing out on by pouring out his mercy on us Gentiles who don’t deserve an ounce of his mercy.

Jeremiah 31 Commentary | God is not Done with All Israel

Now, I pointed out the difficulty in this passage regarding the fact that the New Covenant is promised to Jews whereas the modern recipients of it are mostly non-Jewish. And you heard my explanation of that.

There are some people who would have a different explanation. They would basically say that the Church has replaced Israel and so when the Lord speaks of Israel and Judah here, he’s really just speaking in “spiritual” terms. Because actually, according to such a person, the Church has taken the place of Israel. Israel has sinned and fallen out of God’s grace. They’ve been rejected by God and God has moved on with life, as it were.

But verses 35-37 really make that position very difficult to maintain. Let’s read those verses and see why.

35 Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the [ordinances/fixed order] of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which [divideth/stirs up] the sea [when/so that] the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name:

36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.

37 Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.

So, maybe you’re wondering whether God has utterly and ultimately rejected Israel. Well, he’s going to answer you with two conditional statements. Did you see those two “if” statements in those verses?

Let’s review them. First, Israel will stop being a nation in God’s eyes when the sun, moon, stars, and sea waves stop doing what God made them to do. When is that going to happen? The answer? Never! So then, Israel will never stop being a nation in God’s eyes. You might have thought that Israel stopped being a nation between the diaspora under Rome until 1948. You’d be wrong. I didn’t notice the sun, moon, stars, or waves stop during that time. Therefore, Israel has not stopped being a nation before God even then.

The second conditional statement tells us that God will totally cast off Israel because of their sin … when heaven above can be measured and when people can fully explore the foundation of the earth. Has that happened yet? No, we don’t know even how far out the universe expands. We can’t get to the center of the earth either. And we won’t ever do either of these things. Therefore, the Lord will never utterly reject Israel even though they have sinned greatly against him.

Jeremiah 31 Commentary | Jerusalem Will Be Rebuilt

And perhaps the final nail in the coffin for someone’s thinking that God has rejected Israel and replaced that nation with the Church is found in the last three verses of this chapter. Here God is going to promise that literal Jerusalem – the city in Judah – will be rebuilt.

38 ¶ Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the city [of Jerusalem…] shall be built [to/as the special city of] the LORD from the tower of Hananeel [westward…] unto the [gate of the corner/Corner Gate].

39 And the measuring line shall yet go [forth over against it upon/out further west to] the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath.

40 And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the [sacrificial…] ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, shall be [holy/sacred] unto the LORD [for the purpose of being in this city…]; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever.

We don’t need to consider all the details here. Suffice it to say that the last line of verse 40 guarantees that this has not yet happened. Right? If this promise of rebuilding were fulfilled when Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah returned to Israel after the Babylonian Exile then the city has been plucked up and thrown down when the Romans came and did that very thing. But there’s a time coming when the Jews’ city will be rebuilt and will never be plucked up or thrown down again forever.

Lord, haste the day!

Jeremiah 31 Summary

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As we enter the 31st chapter of the book of Jeremiah, we continue to hear the contents of the “book” that God commanded Jeremiah to write back in Jeremiah 30:2. And due to the nature of the subject matter in this smaller book within the broader book of Jeremiah, commentators have called this section in Jeremiah 30-34 the Book of Encouragement or the Book of Consolation. And that’s what we’re going to continue to study today.

We’ll be examining Jeremiah 31:1-20. And the encouragement in these verses is going to relate to Millennial Blessings for Northern Israel. Let me just take that title one piece at a time.

The Lord is going on the record here as addressing the Millennium. That’s the time as we know it now after the Rapture of the Church, after the Tribulation of this world, and started by the return of Christ to earth. From other parts of Scripture, we know that this Millennium is a time when Christ reigns on earth from Jerusalem. We know that people will live a long time during this period. We know that Satan will be bound so that he can’t tempt anyone for 1,000 years. And that’s an important point to catch – the Millennium is 1,000 years! During this time, it seems that many of the results of the curse that were placed on this world because of Adam’s sin will be reversed or at least minimized.

And in that context of the Millennium, you can imagine that there will be blessing upon blessing. Good things from God. Among those would be: long life, a perfect ruler to lead us, a changed global environment apparently, no Satan, animals not harming one another, and on and on.

And those blessings we’ve just rehearsed will be universal. And yet, in this section of Jeremiah, the Lord wants to point out how those blessings apply to one particular group. That is, Northern Israel. And I think this is fascinating, because there is some reason to think that the Jews from the northern kingdom of Israel never came back to their land from the Babylonian captivity. But apparently, they will someday, according to this section.

So, with that explanation, let’s consider this message of the Millennial Blessings for Northern Israel in Jeremiah 31:1-20.

And the way this message is going to work is that I’ve noticed a number of facts presented here about this time in world history. And I’m a little naturally suspicious of alliteration – the beginning of consecutive words with the same sound or letter – but it just so happens that many of the points in this section start with the letter “R”.

So, let’s study the Millennial Blessings for Northern Israel now in Jeremiah 31:1-20.

Jeremiah 31 Summary | A Restored Relationship with God

To begin, the people who descended from Northern Israel will in the Millennium have a restored relationship with God.

KJV Jeremiah 31:1 ¶ At [the same/that] time, [saith/affirms] the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.

This corresponds to Jeremiah 30:22 where the Lord tells the people that in the future – in the Millennium as we recognize it – the Jews shall be God’s people and God shall be their God.

Now, northern Israel at the time of the writing of this book was in exile. They were brought to Assyria. They had been out of the land for maybe a century and a half. It seemed that they were no longer God’s people. In fact, by this point in history they could hardly be distinguished as a people at all! They were scattered and spread abroad and indistinguishable from the rest of the world.

But here God is promising that a time is coming when all Israel – not just Judah, but all Israel – would be God’s people. His special people. A people devoted and loyal to him. It hasn’t happened yet from our vantage point in the grand scheme of things. But this will happen. The Jews – all of them – will someday soon be viewed by God as his special people. And God will indeed be their God. There are all sorts of Jews in Israel today. But hardly any of them have adopted the true God as their God. Some day that is going to change.

Israel will – in the Millennium – enjoy a restored relationship with God.

Jeremiah 31 Summary | A Reversal of Circumstances

They’ll also experience a reversal of circumstances according to Jeremiah 31:2.

2 Thus saith the LORD,

The people [which were left of/who survived] the sword [found/will find] [grace/favor] in the wilderness; even Israel, [when/as] [I/it/they] [went/journey] to [cause him to/find its/find their] rest.

This verse is a little dark and obscure at first.

It could be speaking of Israel’s past move from Egypt to Canaan. In that sense then they would have escaped the sword of Egypt and would have found grace in the wilderness.

Another possible interpretation is that this is speaking of the Israelites who survived the Assyrian invasion. In that sense they escaped the sword of the Assyrians. And so then the grace that they find in the wilderness would apparently be speaking of their coming out of their time in exile – which would be a reference to the Millennium.

I prefer the latter possibility because of the context of Millennial Blessings for Northern Israel. But either has merit.

So, in the Millennium, Northern Israel will experience a reversal of circumstances. From sword and exile to grace and rest.

Jeremiah 31 Summary | Based on God’s Unending Love

But the question might be asked, “Why is God interested in blessing Northern Israel in the future Millennium?” The answer is found in Jeremiah 31:3. Simply, these promised future blessings are based completely on God’s unending love for Israel.

3 The LORD [hath appeared/will manifest himself] [of old/from afar/in a far-off land] [unto me/to him/to them], saying,

Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love:
therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

The speaker in this verse is a little uncertain. If it’s Jeremiah, then we know that God isn’t speaking only of his – he’s speaking to all of Jeremiah’s fellow-Jews as well. It’s more likely that God is speaking to exiled Northern Israel here and it’s to Israel that God is speaking.

God loves Israel. Why? Well, the Lord said back in Deuteronomy that it wasn’t because they were anything special. They weren’t numerous. They weren’t mighty. But rather, God just decided to love them. And when God decides to love you, he doesn’t ever ultimately stop.

So, why will the former inhabitants of the Northern Kingdom of Israel experience Millennial blessings some day? Because God loves them and always will.

Jeremiah 31 Summary | A Rebuilding that Results in Rejoicing

Moving on to Jeremiah 31:4, when God does finally bless Israel in the Millennium, there will be a rebuilding that results in rejoicing.

4 Again I will build thee,
and thou shalt be [built/rebuilt], [O virgin of/my dear children] Israel:

thou shalt again [be adorned with/take up] thy [tabrets/tambourines],
and shalt go forth [in/to] the dances of them that make merry.

So, Israel is pictured as a young daughter who is happy and dancing. God’s obviously not speaking of a sensual provocative dance. He’s speaking of a jubilant, exuberant, joyful dance.

That’s how God pictures Israel when they come back to the land finally and permanently in the Millennium and are rebuilt. They will rejoice.

Jeremiah 31 Summary | Abundant Agriculture

Part of what will encourage their great joy is what we find in Jeremiah 31:5. They will have abundant agriculture.

5 Thou shalt [yet/once again] plant [vines/vineyards] upon the [mountains/hills] of Samaria:
the planters shall plant, and shall [eat them as common things/enjoy their fruit].

By the way, note the mention of Samaria. Again, we’re reminded that here in this section God is speaking specifically of Northern Israel. Samaria was the former capital of that region. When Israel was conquered and exiled, their capital was silenced.

Let’s bring it to the modern day. Do you wonder what’s ever happened to Samaria? Well, you would be more familiar with the name of the region in which this city now lies. It’s called the West Bank by the international community. And Israel still doesn’t actually even control this area. The PLO does – the Palestine Liberation Organization.

But it’s not going to be that way forever. Someday, the Lord says, “thou (Israel!) shalt … plant” in this area. They’re not doing that yet. But they will. And they will be doing this in the Millennium.

Jeremiah 31 Summary | A Religious Renewal

Now, in addition to the abundant agriculture of that day, the Israelites will have something so much more important. According to Jeremiah 31:6, Israel will have a religious renewal.

6 [For/Yes,] there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry,

Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the LORD our God.

In the days when Northern Israel split off from the southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin, the king of Northern Israel wanted to prevent his citizens from going down south to Judah in order to worship the Lord. He thought that if they went down there, they’d go back to the Davidic ruler of the time and leave his kingdom. So, to prevent that, King Jeroboam set up the golden cows in Bethel and Dan. And ever since that point and until they were exiled, Israel’s worship was pure idolatry.

But a time is coming when people in this area of the modern West Bank – which again, currently does not even belong to Israel – these people will call out to one another and announce that it’s time to go to Jerusalem to worship the Lord.

So, in the Millennium, one more blessing that Israel has to look forward to is this religious renewal.

Jeremiah 31 Summary | A Challenge to Pray for this to Become Reality

Now, there are realities that are related to us in God’s word that don’t seem to fit together in our finite minds. Two large categories that often seem to be in conflict are these: 1) God’s sovereignty and 2) Man’s responsibility.

And not even in this passage can you escape these two seemingly-competing realities. Because up until now we’ve heard a message of God’s sovereignty. We’ve heard that God is going to do these things. We’ve heard that he loves Israel and will draw them and it seems that nothing will stop him.

But now, we arrive at Jeremiah 31:7. And it’s not as if God’s sovereignty is denied in this verse, but man’s responsibility is definitely highlighted. In this verse, the Lord challenges those who read this passage to pray for all of these wonderful things to become reality.

7 [For/Moreover] thus saith the LORD;

Sing with gladness for Jacob,
and shout [among the chief/for that foremost] of the nations:

[publish/proclaim] ye, praise ye, and say,

O LORD, [save/rescue] thy people,
the remnant of Israel.

We’re commanded to sing and shout and publish and praise and pray. You and I, as readers of this passage are commanded to pray that God would save his exiled people of northern Israel.

Jeremiah 31 Summary | A National Retrieval

And when God finally does hear those prayers for the salvation and restoration of his people Israel, he is going to perform a national retrieval, according to Jeremiah 31:8.

8 Behold, I will bring them from the north country,
and gather them from the [coasts/remote parts] of the earth,

and with them the blind and the lame,
the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together:

a great company shall return thither.

Now, I struggle at this point. Because this passage is all about the Millennium. But what it seems is happening right now in our day is that the Lord is doing some of this – he’s retrieving Jews from all over the world to come back to the nation of Israel. The United Nations re-constituted this country back in 1947. Numerous events have contributed to Jews from all over the world returning to their homeland. It’s happening now.

And yet, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the Millennium. God will bring back his people Israel to their land in the Millennium. And I think this explains something that has been a little difficult for me to understand. In the book of Revelation, the Lord commands his people the Jews to come out of Babylon in the days of the Great Tribulation. So, there will apparently still be Jews dispersed in other countries in the Tribulation that God himself will need to bring back at the end of that time period – which again leads into this time we’re speaking of in this passage, which is the Millennium.

Jeremiah 31 Summary | A Repentance that Results in Rest

And this is how these people will return. They’re not going to come back in unbelief. They will be weeping and repenting. And this repentance of theirs will result in rest for them.

9 They shall come with weeping,
and with [supplications/prayers of repentance] will I lead them:

That’s the repentance. Now for the rest.

I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way,
wherein they shall not stumble:

That’s a beautiful, very picturesque picture of the rest that God will give to his people Israel.

Jeremiah 31 Summary | God’s Relationship to Northern Israel

And the Lord will give them that rest because of his relationship with Northern Israel – end of Jeremiah 31:9.

for I am a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is my firstborn [but not the first one born…].

Ephraim was not the first one born in time to Joseph. He was the second. And this is one of those instances in which “first born” doesn’t mean the first one born. Being the firstborn was more of a privileged status than one’s order of birth. The firstborn was highly-honored by his father. He had greater responsibilities and greater benefits.

And it’s this high privilege that God is noting here. Ephraim – which is almost synonymous with Northern Israel – is claimed by the Lord to be his firstborn – not Jacob’s, not Joseph’s, the Lord’s! That’s quite a privileged position.

Jeremiah 31 Summary | A Reminder to the Nations

Well, at this point, in Jeremiah 31:10, the Lord turns to address the nations concerning his plans to gather Northern Israel back to their land.

10 Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations,
and declare it in the [isles/coastlands] afar off,

and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him,
and [keep/watch over] him, as a shepherd doth his flock.

Jeremiah 31 Summary | A Remarkable Redemption and Rescue

And in order to effect that gathering of Israel, the Lord will need to carry out a remarkable redemption and rescue as is recorded in Jeremiah 31:11.

11 For the LORD hath [redeemed/rescued] Jacob,
and [ransomed/secured the release of] him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.

In context, the one who was stronger than Israel simply would have been all of his oppressors while Israel was in captivity.

Jeremiah 31 Summary | A Rejoicing in Abundance, Removal of Sorrow

And you can only imagine the emotions that Israel will experience in the Millennium when all of them are brought back to their land. According to Jeremiah 31:12-13, there will first of all be a rejoicing in abundance. And second and kind of the opposite side of the same coin, there will be the removal of sorrow.

12 Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion,
and shall [flow together to/be radiant with joy over] the [goodness/bounty/good things] of the LORD,

for wheat, and for wine,
and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd:

and their [soul/life] shall be as a watered garden;
and they shall not [sorrow/languish/grow faint or weary] any more at all.

13 Then shall the [virgin/young women] rejoice in the dance,
both young men and old together:

for I will turn their mourning into joy,
and will comfort them,
and make them rejoice [from/in place of their] their sorrow.

And folks, what a contrast this message is compared to what we’ve been hearing throughout most of this book of Jeremiah. We’ve been hearing of punishment for the people’s disobedience. Then their punishers are promised punishment in the future. There’s been sorrow and wrath and all sorts of hard things. So, we do need to keep that in mind as we read through this wonderful Book of Encouragement. Let the contrast between what God was having to do to his people compared to what he had and has planned for that very group of people – let that shock you, in a good way. I’m sure it would have been shocking to those who heard the message originally. And that shock in the future will cause these people – the people who descend from the tribes of Northern Israel – to rejoice.

Jeremiah 31 Summary | Abundant Provision for All

Moving on to Jeremiah 31:14, God promises abundant provision for all.

14 And I will [satiate/fill] the soul of the priests with [fatness/abundance],
and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the LORD.

Both priests and people will find abundant provision.

Jeremiah 31 Summary | Rachel’s Children Restored from Exile

Next we get into a section in Jeremiah 31:15-17 regarding Rachel weeping for her children. So, we’ll try to explain what this meant in its original context and then try to consider how the apostle Matthew applied this passage to King Herod’s murdering of the infants of Bethlehem.

15 Thus saith the LORD;

A [voice/sound] was heard in Ramah,
lamentation, and bitter weeping;

Rahel weeping for her children
refused to be comforted for her children,
because they [were not/are no more/are gone].

16 Thus saith the LORD;

[Refrain thy voice from weeping/Stop crying!],
[and thine eyes from tears/Don’t shed any more tears!]:

for thy [work/heartfelt repentance] shall be rewarded, saith the LORD;
and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.

17 And there is hope [in/for] thine [end/future/posterity], saith the LORD,
that thy children shall come again to their own [border/territory].

So, first the easy part – what this passage meant in its original context. This section is portraying Rachel – the mother of Benjamin and Joseph – weeping from Ramah which was in the territory of Ephraim in Northern Israel, on the mountains of Ephraim. She’s weeping because those who descended from her in Northern Israel were exiled and thus gone from the land. But that’s when God comes back and addresses Rachel and tells her to stop weeping because of what he’s just been saying this whole time in Jeremiah 31 – he’s bringing back her descendants from exile in the Millennium!

That’s the original message given to the Jews. And it’s fairly easy to understand.

What’s not so easy to understand is how Matthew applies this to the children of Bethlehem who were murdered by King Herod.

In Matthew 2:16-18 we read the following.

KJV Matthew 2:16 ¶ Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, 18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

Matthew is clearly associating the events of Herod’s murder of the infants in Bethlehem with Jeremiah’s prophecy. And he goes farther and says that this event in some way or another “fulfills” Jeremiah’s prophecy.

Now, I understand how these two events share in common certain features. In both Jeremiah and Matthew, we’re speaking of Rachel’s descendants. In both books, we’re talking about their death or at least their violent displacement. In both books, the location is the same – Ramah in Ephraim.

We see differences, too. In Jeremiah the people will eventually come back. But Matthew leaves out that final comfort given by Jeremiah of the return of Rachel’s children. The details of the circumstances recorded in both of these books differ somewhat – Jeremiah has Rachel’s descendants being exiled, though some were killed and many of them would have been adults. In Matthew, Rachel’s descendants are all children, two years old and younger. All of them are killed and none are exiled.

So, there are indeed similarities in the events recorded in both Jeremiah and Matthew. There are also some significant differences in the details.

And yet somehow the events of Matthew fulfill the statement made by the Lord in Jeremiah 31. And I think the question that needs to be answered to make sense of this assertion by Matthew is to try to understand what “fulfill” means. What does that word mean? If we wanted to replace that word with another word or a phrase that would more completely convey the meaning of that word, what word or phrase would we use?

So, let’s try to complete the following statement.

“Herod killed the Bethlehem babies. This (blanks) Jeremiah 31:15.”

What should go in that blank?

  • This reminds us of Jeremiah 31:15?
  • This hearkens back to Jeremiah 31:15?
  • This shares a number of things in common with Jeremiah 31:15?
  • This bears an uncanny resemblance to Jeremiah 31:15?
  • This is amazingly similar to what happened in Jeremiah 31:15?

I think the best I can do with this passage is more like “acts out.” So, what happened with the babies in Bethlehem acts out or fleshes out what the Lord said in Jeremiah 31:15. It’s not as if Jeremiah 31:15 was given for the sole purpose of getting everyone ready for the slaughter of the babies in Bethlehem around 500-600 years after he spoke. But that slaughter of the babies was an acting out of that part of the prophesy given in Jeremiah 31.

You might wonder if Matthew uses the word “fulfill” in this sense anywhere else? I think he does. He uses the Greek word which is translated as “fulfill” (πληροω) 16 times. I think “acting out” could fit in just about any of those instances. One example will have to suffice for now. Jesus in Matthew 5:17 said that he came not to abolish or get rid of or ignore and consider worthless the Law and Prophets. No, he said he came to fulfill them. That is, he came to act them out. And he acted out the Law and the Prophets perfectly for your benefit and mine.

Now, the fact that Matthew 2 is an acting out of Jeremiah 31 is not to deny that there will be a final and ultimate “acting out” of the entirety of Jeremiah 31:15-17. We know already that God will have the final “acting out” of this passage when he finally brings the people of Northern Israel back to their land in the Millennium. But that’s not to exclude the possibility that parts of this passage in Jeremiah 31 will be acted out in some ways leading up to that point.

So, to summarize the connection between Jeremiah 31 and Matthew 2, what does Matthew mean when he speaks of the murder of babies in Bethlehem and then references Jeremiah 31 and says that that passage has been fulfilled? It simply means that the unrighteous murder of the babies was an “acting out” of the part of Jeremiah 31 where it portrays Rachel as mourning the loss of her descendants.

And at the most very basic level, what does it mean to fulfill something (at least in Matthew 2)? It means to act it out.

Jeremiah 31 Summary | A Repentance Received and Responded To

Now let’s continue in Jeremiah 31:18-19 where the people who were sent out of Northern Israel are portrayed as repenting in the future. And God wants it to be known that he will receive their repentance.

18 I have surely heard [Ephraim/the people(?)/the people of Israel] [bemoaning himself thus/grieving/saying mournfully];

Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised,
as a [bullock/calf] [unaccustomed to the yoke/untrained]:

[turn thou me/you disciplined us], and [I shall be turned/we learned from it];
for thou art the LORD my God.

19 Surely after that I was turned [i.e., away from You], I repented;
and after that I [was instructed/came to my senses], I smote upon my thigh:

I was ashamed, yea, even [confounded/humiliated],
because I did bear the reproach of my youth.

This is the kind of statement that those repentant Jews will say to the Lord when he brings them back to Israel in the Millennium.

Jeremiah 31 Summary | A Remembrance of Relationship

And finally, God remember his relationship with the people of Northern Israel in Jeremiah 31:20.

20 Is Ephraim my dear son?
is he a [pleasant/delightful] child?

for [since/as often as/even though] I [spake against/rebuked] him,
I do [earnestly/fondly] remember him still:

therefore my [bowels/heart] [are troubled/yearns] for him;
I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the LORD.

The Lord indeed will surely have mercy upon Northern Israel as he showers them with blessings in the Millennium.

And don’t worry. We haven’t spoken hardly a word about us Christians in this message. But there are definitely blessings to come for Christians in the Millennium. Revelation tells us that we will reign with Christ for that thousand-year period. What more do we need to know?!

So then, may the Lord help us to live the rest of this week in light of the future blessings to come – both for Northern Israel and for us.

Jeremiah 30 Commentary

Jeremiah 30 Commentary: The situation in Judah is bleak. The book of Jeremiah has led us through the steep spiritual decline of the nation. The Lord was going to need to exile the people and send them out of their country to Babylon. Many of them would die. Life would never be the same for these people. Not even repentance could let them stay in the land.

And it’s at this lowest point in the story of Judah that God breaks in with another prophecy. Now, this prophecy starts in the 30th chapter of Jeremiah. So, let’s turn there now. Jeremiah 30.

The prophecy that God starts in this chapter lasts for several chapters. And this extended prophecy has been come to be called “The Book of Consolation” by Bible commentators.

And as you can imagine from the title “Book of Consolation” this is going to be encouraging for Judah. And yet, the encouragement is about things that are not present realities. They are realities. But they’re future realities, rather than present realities.

And so, in Jeremiah 30 we’re going to see God encouraging his people to “Look Past Now to See Later.”

Jeremiah 30 Commentary For Christians

I don’t know what kind of situation you find yourself in today. As we meet here, I might be talking to a number of people who are totally distressed about any number of present realities that are troubling you to the core. You might even be suffering the consequences of some bad decision you made a long time ago. Or maybe your discomfort is a result of God’s patient and loving – and yet painful – chastening. Perhaps you’re just overwhelmed with life for other reasons.

Well, you might be struggling right now and things might be difficult – and you might even recognize that our loving and all-wise God is at the very least allowing – and very likely been causing – this trouble you’re experiencing.

And yet, that’s not the whole story. For a true Christian, you have a glorious future. Your sins are paid for and totally forgiven for Jesus’ sake. He suffered for your sin so that you don’t ever need to. In fact, you never will be separated from God because of your sin. You are eternally secure.

And because of this, good things are coming. It’s a guarantee. Things that eyes have never seen. Things that ears have never heard! They’re coming! For frail, tired, distressed, sinful, forgiven YOU!

But those things are not here yet. Are they? No, but they’re coming.

Jeremiah 30 Commentary For Jews and Christians

So, the Jews were facing some really harrowing situations, and God was the one who was doling those out. The same is true with us Christians. Now, we’re not under condemnation. We are reconciled with God. And yet, let’s not deny the fact that some things we face in this life are difficult and ponderous and leave us utterly overwhelmed and bewildered.

And so, God wants us – like he wanted the Jews in Jeremiah’s day – to “Look Past Now to See Later”.

Jeremiah 30 Commentary: Structure

Even the structure of Jeremiah 30 lends itself to this contrast between Now and Then.

The passage breaks down into two main sections. Both sections follow the same pattern. Each section will have the Lord speak of the Current Trouble that the Jews were facing. Then after that, the Lord points them to Future Deliverance that they can expect.

Why does God promise future deliverance for these sinners and rebels? It’s because God is merciful. And blessing is something he wants to do for his people – even if that blessing is nearly exclusively future in nature.

Well, let’s get into our text.

Jeremiah 30 Commentary: Command to Write a Book

Verses 1 through 3 have God commanding Jeremiah to write this Book of Consolation.

KJV Jeremiah 30:1 ¶ The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,

2 Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying,

Write thee all the words that I [have spoken unto thee/am about to tell you (in chs 30-31)] in a [book/scroll].

Well, why should Jeremiah write this book? What’s its purpose?

3 For, lo, the days come,
[saith/declares/affirms] the LORD,
that I will [bring again the captivity/restore the fortunes/reverse the plight] of my people Israel and Judah,
saith the LORD:
and I will [cause them to return/bring them back] to the land that I gave to their [fathers/anscestors],
and they shall possess it.

So, that’s why God wants Jeremiah to write these words in a book or a scroll. The words recorded from Jeremiah 30:1 to Jeremiah 34:7 are specifically geared towards the topic of God restoring Israel to their land after their 70 year Babylonian exile. And that’s to be some consolation to them.

And now for the first installment in the Book of Consolation. Words about Israel and Judah in Jeremiah 30:4 – 31:40. And right now, we’ll only study the rest of Jeremiah 30.

30:4 ¶ [And/Now/So] these are the words that the LORD spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah.

Jeremiah 30 Commentary: Section 1

And as I’ve said, the rest of Jeremiah 30 consists of two main sections: verses 5-11 and verses 12-24. Both of these sections consist of two smaller units – highlighting the Current Trouble that Judah was facing along with the Future Deliverance that they could expect from the Lord.

Jeremiah 30 Commentary: Current Trouble

So, we’ll start with the Current Trouble in Jeremiah 30:5-7.

And as you’ll see, these chapters are describing the coming invasion and then exile of the people of Judah.

5 For thus saith the LORD;

[We/I/You] [have heard/hear] [a voice/a sound/cries] of [trembling/terror/panic], of [fear/dread/terror], and [not of/there is no] peace [in sight].

So, the people were then currently surrounded by sounds of distress and panic and war. The current reality for them was a total lack of peace.

That’s the sound they experienced. Now, here’s the sight they saw connected with that anguish and terror.

6 Ask ye now, and see whether a man [doth travail with child/can give birth]?

Can a man give birth? The answer? No! Well, then…

wherefore do I see every [strong] man [with his hands on his loins/grabbing his stomach in pain] [between the ribs and thighs], as a woman in [travail/childbirth],

and all faces are turned [into paleness/pale]?

Why this reaction of sheer pain and terror?

7 Alas! for that day is great,
so that none is like it:

it is even the time of Jacob’s [descendants’] [trouble/distress];
but he shall be [saved/rescued] [out of/from] it.

What day is the Lord speaking of here? I would be inclined to think that he’s speaking of the day in which Babylon would come and take Judah into captivity.

And I think that’s right. He is speaking of that day. But based on what we see in this verse and what’s to follow it does seem like the Lord intends to speak of more than just the Babylonian invasion.

Note that this day the Lord speaks of is to be “great”. It’s so “great” that there is none like it. Now, an invasion from a foreign army which results in the mass killings of most of the citizens and the deportation of all others could legitimately be described as “great” and unique. After all, Judah had never been invaded and subsequently completely exiled with the Temple being destroyed and everything else.

This time is known as Jacob’s Trouble or Distress. God says he’ll be saved out of it. And the Lord of course did deliver Israel from exile after 70 years.

So, what we’ve heard so far describes pretty well what we’ve known so far of Babylon’s coming invasion and exile of Judah.

And yet, some things that we’re going to see in the “future deliverance” section in the next few verses just seem to be outside of what we know about how Israel made it back to the land.

Jeremiah 30 Commentary: Future Deliverance

And so let’s move on to where the passage shifts to focus on future deliverance for the Jews from this time of “Jacob’s Trouble” in Jeremiah 30:8-11.

8 ¶ For it shall come to pass [in that day/when the time for them to be rescued comes],

saith the LORD of hosts,

that I will break [his/the foreigners’] yoke from off [thy/their] neck, and will burst [thy/their] bonds, and strangers shall no more [serve themselves of him/make them their slaves]:

9 But they shall serve the LORD their God,
and [David their king/their Davidic king], whom I will raise up [as king] [unto/over] them.

So, there’s a day coming when the Jews won’t be servants to other nations. No, they will serve the Lord. Additionally, though, they will serve “David their king.”

This is either saying that the Lord will raise up for them a Davidic king. And we would know whom that will be – Jesus Christ. Or this might even be God promising to resurrect King David to rule over his people.

Either way, this has never, ever happened yet.

So, while I would tend to think that the Lord is speaking here of bringing the Jewish exiles back after their 70 year captivity in Babylon, this is really looking forward to a time that’s even beyond our current time period. This is speaking of a time after the Great Tribulation – which has yet to happen. Amazing!

So, it’s interesting. The Lord has already spoken of the Jews’ current troubles. And then when he moves on to their future deliverance, he doesn’t go right to their immediate deliverance from Babylon. He goes all the way past the return of the Jews under Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. He goes past the 400 silent years leading up to the New Testament. He continues on past the entire Church Age. And he goes to a period after the Tribulation, which we know of as the Millennium.

So, when he speaks of future deliverance for his people the Jews – he’s focusing on their ultimate deliverance as a nation. The time when their king Jesus Christ comes back and rules over them from Jerusalem.

And us Christians are going to be benefiting during that time, too. We’ll be there reigning with Christ! You think you have problems now? You do. And so do I. But, brother, sister, look past the Now to See the Later. You and I have a glorious future.

And so do the Jews. And so, the Lord continues speaking of their future deliverance in verse 10.

10 Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD;
neither be [dismayed/terrified], O Israel:

for, lo, I will [save/rescue] thee from afar,
and thy seed from the land of their captivity;

and Jacob shall return,
and shall be [in rest/at ease],
and be quiet,
and none shall make him afraid.

Again, I don’t believe that this can really be said of the Jews even until this day. Be at rest? Be quiet? None to make him afraid? No, this is not the reality of the Jews quite yet. But it will be one day.

Why? Why will this happen?

11 For I am with thee, saith the LORD,
to save thee:

This is the promise that God gave to Jeremiah at the beginning of the book. That he will be with the prophet to save him. One day, the protection afforded Jeremiah will also be the Jews’ experience.

God continues.

though I [make a full end of/completely destroy] all nations whither I have scattered thee,
yet will I not [make a full end of/completely destroy] thee:

Jeremiah 30 Commentary: Section 2

And it’s at this point in the middle of verse 11 that the Lord starts the second major section of this chapter. And we’ll see here again the pattern of God reminding them of their current trouble and then pointing them to future deliverance.

Jeremiah 30 Commentary: Current Trouble

We start with current trouble in Jeremiah 30:12-15.

So, God won’t make an end of Israel. They will remain. However, God continues…

but I will [correct/chasten/discipline] thee [in measure/justly],
and will not leave thee [altogether/by any means/entirely] unpunished.

12 For thus saith the LORD, [i.e., to the people of Zion]

Thy bruise is incurable,
and thy wound is [grievous/serious/severe].

13 There is none to plead thy cause,
that thou mayest be bound up:
thou hast no healing medicines.

And this was the case with them. God isn’t being deceitful with them and presenting a rosier picture than what was reality for them. They were certainly going to be invaded by Babylon. They would suffer for their chronic sin.

And no one could help them. Not even their political allies as verse 14 alludes to…

14 All thy [lovers/allies] have [forgotten/abandoned] thee;
they [seek/have concern for] thee not;

for I have [wounded/attacked] thee with the [wound/attack] of an enemy,
with [the/a] [chastisement/punishment] [of a cruel one/cruel],

for the [multitude/greatness] of thine [iniquity/wickedness];
because thy sins [were/are] [increased/numerous/so much].

15 Why [criest/cry out/complain] thou [for/about] thine [affliction/injury]?
thy [sorrow/pain] is incurable for the [multitude/greatness] of thine iniquity:

because thy sins [were/are] [increased/numerous],
I have done these things unto thee.

In other words, God declares that he himself is the one who is inflicting this punishment. And he’s doing it only because of their sin against him.

Jeremiah 30 Commentary: Future Deliverance

And because it’s God who is inflicting the punishment and he’s doing it because of Israel’s sin, well then any nation he might use as an agent of punishment will themselves be punished. It would be different maybe if there were a totally righteous nation that God would have used to judge his people. But such a nation didn’t exist and never will in this sin-cursed world. And therefore, any nation that God would use to punish his people would, in the end, themselves need to be punished.

And that’s one fact that God points out in verses 16-24 as he draws the eyes of his people the Jews to their future deliverance.

16 Therefore all they that [devour/destroy] thee shall be [devoured/destroyed];
and all thine [adversaries/enemies], every one of them, shall go into [captivity/exile];

and they that [spoil/plunder] thee shall be a [spoil/plunder],
and all that [prey upon/pillage] thee will I give [for a prey/to be pillaged].

17 For I will restore health unto thee,
and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD;

because they called thee an Outcast, saying,
This is Zion, whom no man [seeketh/cares] [after/for].

But how wrong the adversaries and spoilers were. No, indeed God does seek after Zion. And he had plans to heal their wounds and restore them to health as a nation.

And so, God would rebuild Israel.

18 Thus saith the LORD;

Behold, I will [bring again/restore] the [captivity/fortunes] of Jacob’s tents,
and have [mercy/compassion] on his [dwellingplaces/ruined homes];

and [the/every] city shall be builded upon her own [heap/ruin],
and [the palace/every occupied dwelling] shall [remain/stand] [after/on] [the manner thereof/its rightful place/its traditional site].

And those rebuilt cities would be full of people and those people would be giving thanks to God.

19 And out of [them/those places] shall proceed thanksgiving
and the voice of them that [make merry/celebrate]:

and I will multiply them,
and they shall not be [few/diminished];

I will also [glorify/honor] them,
and they shall not be [small/insignificant].

God will protect them and hurt those who try to hurt them.

20 [Their children/The descendants of Jacob] also shall be as [aforetime/formerly],
and their [congregation/community] shall be [established/reestablished] [before me/in my favor],
and I will punish all that [try to] oppress them.

Israel will be self-autonomous again.

21 And their nobles shall be [of themselves/one of their own people],
and their [governor/ruler] shall proceed from the midst of them;

And their ruler would be a godly man, which was quite a contrast to what they experienced throughout most of their history and especially for the 2 decades or so before Babylon came.

and I will cause him to draw near,
and he shall approach unto me:

for who is this that [engaged/would dare to risk] his [heart/life]
to approach unto me? saith the LORD.

22 And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

And so, God would be doing this. He will draw their ruler near to himself. He will be their God. He will restore them. He does it all and will do it all.

And lastly in this section and to end the chapter we have a statement that might sound very familiar. That’s because the words of verses 23 and 24 also appear in Jeremiah 23:19-20. So let’s read those.

23 Behold, the [whirlwind/tempest] of the LORD
[goeth forth with fury/wrath has gone forth],

a [continuing/sweeping] whirlwind:
it shall [fall with pain/burst] upon the head of the wicked.

24 The fierce anger of the LORD shall not return,
until he have done it,

and until he have performed the intents of his heart:
in [the latter days/days to come] ye shall [consider/understand] [it/this].

Now, in chapter 23 these words are spoken by the Lord in the context of his judging false prophets. But that’s not the context here. The context here in Jeremiah 30 has the Lord speaking these words of threatening judgement on the nations that have oppressed his people Israel.

Now, unlike the first section of this chapter in verses 5-11, this second section I think could be speaking almost exclusively of Israel’s return to their land after the 70 years of Babylonian captivity.

But to back out of the details of this chapter and to speak once more of it as a whole, I’d say we see that God’s purpose in this chapter is to encourage his people by both acknowledging their current trouble as well as pointing them past their trouble to the future glory that awaited his people.

I think that’s the purpose of the Apostle Paul when he tells us in the book of Romans that our present suffering is not worthy to be compared to the glory that awaits us. It’s not worthy of even comparison. The glory that you and I will receive from the Lord for trusting his son to save us for our sins should not even be placed on the same scale in your mind. There’s no comparison. Let that guarantee from the God who cannot lie encourage you to keep on going.

And so, may the Lord help us all to look past the now to see the glorious later.

Jeremiah 29 11 Meaning

Jeremiah 29 11 Meaning: Well, now we come to maybe the most beloved verse in the entire book of Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 29 11 Meaning Popularity

Let me give you some hard data on that assertion – the assertion that Jeremiah 29:11 is probably the most-beloved verse in the entire book of Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 29 11 Meaning on Google

According to the search giant, Google, the search for “Jeremiah 29” receives 22,200 searches on average every month. “Jeremiah 1” comes in a distant second at 6,600 average searches per month. So, when it comes to chapters in the book of Jeremiah that people are looking for on Google at least, the 29th chapter is by far the most popular single chapter in the book of Jeremiah.

And when you’re looking at search terms related to “Jeremiah 29” it becomes obvious very quickly that the 11th verse is the most popular one – again as far as searches on the wildly popular Google indicates. The search “Jeremiah 29 11” followed by any number of other terms averages over 12,000 searches every month. So, let’s just get that into perspective. Searches on Google for some permutation of “Jeremiah 29 11” account for double the searches for the second most popular chapter in Jeremiah – Jeremiah 1.

Jeremiah 29 11 Meaning Anecdotally

So, that’s the data side of things. But then there’s the anecdotal side. How many of us know of someone who has Jeremiah 29:11 displayed prominently on their wall? How many spiritual calendars have that verse as one of their verses? I checked Pinterest today and searched for “Jeremiah.” One of the top images delivered in response to my search featured the text of Jeremiah 29:11. Another featured Jeremiah 29:13.

So, Jeremiah 29:11 is a beloved verse for many. So, let’s read it and get to its meaning.

11 For I know the [thoughts/plans] that I [think toward/have for] you, saith the LORD,
[thoughts of peace/plans for welfare/plans to prosper you], and not [of evil/for calamity/to harm you], to give you [an expected end/a future filled with hope].

Jeremiah 29 11 Meaning – The Answer to a Question

So, Jeremiah 29:11 is really an answer to a question that Jeremiah 29:10 might make someone ask. The question would be something like “Why will God bring back the exiles after 70 years in Babylon? What would make him do that?”

Jeremiah 29 11 Meaning – God Wants to Bless

And Jeremiah 29:11 is the answer. God has it in his mind to bless his people. Hey, he promises future blessings. He wants to bless his people. In Jeremiah’s day, the people’s sin had caused God to turn blessings into curses, punishment, and ultimately exile for them. But now that he’s punished their sin and exiled them, he wants to make it clear that his heart is still and always has been fixed on doing good for them.

Jeremiah 29 11 Meaning – Not Directly for Christians

Now, I’ll set the record straight and say what is quite obvious. Jeremiah 29:11 is not directly addressed to Christians. Christ hadn’t even come by this point and so there were no Christians in Jeremiah’s day. There were Jews. Very few of them loved and believed the Lord. Most hated God.

Jeremiah 29 11 Meaning – Applies to Christians

And yet, while Jeremiah 29:11 wasn’t written directly to Christians, it applies to us. And in it God gives us another way to think correctly of future blessings. Why will God see to it that blessings that he’s promised you – eternal life for trusting Jesus alone and all the awesome things that go along with that – why will God see to it that those blessings do finally come to pass?

It’s because he wants to bless his people. He has good thoughts for us. His plan for us are good and right. He knows just what we need and will give it in the right time. And for the Jews of Jeremiah’s day and for us who are waiting for a Savior from heaven to return, the right time is yet future.