I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself - The exiled Israelites are in a state of deep repentance.
Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised - I was at first like an unbroken and untoward steer, the more I was chastised the more I rebelled; but now I have benefited by thy correction.
Turn thou me - I am now willing to take thy yoke upon me, but I have no power. I can only will and pray. Take the matter into thy own hand, and fully convert my soul.
The religious character of the restoration of the ten tribes. Chastisement brought repentance, and with it forgiveness; therefore God decrees their restoration.
Ramah, mentioned because of its nearness to Jerusalem, from which it was distant about five miles. As the mother of three tribes, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh, Rachel is regarded as the mother of the whole ten. This passage is quoted by Matthew (marginal reference) as a type. In Jeremiah it is a poetical figure representing in a dramatic form the miserable condition of the kingdom of Ephraim devastated by the sword of the Assyrians.
Rachel‘s work had been that of bearing and bringing up children, and by their death she was deprived of the joy for which she had labored: but by their being restored to her she will receive her wages.
In thine end - i. e., for thy time to come (see the Jeremiah 29:11 note).
As a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke - literally, like an untaught calf. Compare the Hosea 10:11 note. Ephraim, like an untrained steer, had resisted Yahweh‘s will.
After that I was turned - i. e., after I had turned away from Thee. In Jeremiah 31:18 it has the sense of turning to God.
Instructed - Brought to my senses by suffering. The smiting upon the thigh is a sign of sorrow. Compare Ezekiel 21:17.
The reproach of my youth - i. e., the shame brought upon me by sins of my youth.
Moved to compassion by Ephraim‘s lamentation, Yahweh shows Himself as tender and ready to forgive as parents are their spoiled (rather, darling) child.
For him - Or, “that so often as I speak concerning him,” i. e., his punishment.
My bowels are troubled - The metaphor expresses the most tender internal emotion.
Waymarks - See 2 Kings 23:17 note.
High heaps - Or, signposts, pillars to point out the way.
Set thine heart - Not set thy affection, but turn thy thoughts and attention (in Hebrew the heart is the seat of the intellect) to the highway, even the way by which thou wentest.
Israel instead of setting itself to return hesitates, and goes here and there in a restless mood. To encourage it God gives the sign following.
A woman shall compass a man - i. e., the female shall protect the strong man; the weaker nature that needs help will surround the stronger with loving and fostering care. This expresses a new relation of Israel to the Lord, a new covenant, which the Lord will make with His people (Jeremiah 31:31 following). The fathers saw in these words a prophecy of the miraculous conception of our Lord by the Virgin.
These, with the prophecies of the twenty-fifth chapter, are the letters and the records that Daniel the prophet, during “the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede,” prayerfully studied, three-score years and more after they were written (The Review and Herald, March 21, 1907). 4BC 1158.1
11, 12 (chs. 28; 29:14). Punishment in Proportion to Intelligence and Warnings Despised—“In the fourth year of Jehoiakim,” very soon after Daniel was taken to Babylon, Jeremiah predicted the captivity of many of the Jews, as their punishment for not heeding the Word of the Lord. The Chaldeans were to be used as the instrument by which God would chastise His disobedient people. Their punishment was to be in proportion to their intelligence and to the warnings they had despised. “This whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment,” the prophet declared; “and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.” 4BC 1158.2Read in context »