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Jeremiah 31:15-17

Context

31:15 The Lord says,

“A sound is heard in Ramah, 1 

a sound of crying in bitter grief.

It is the sound of Rachel weeping for her children

and refusing to be comforted, because her children are gone.” 2 

31:16 The Lord says to her, 3 

“Stop crying! Do not shed any more tears! 4 

For your heartfelt repentance 5  will be rewarded.

Your children will return from the land of the enemy.

I, the Lord, affirm it! 6 

31:17 Indeed, there is hope for your posterity. 7 

Your children will return to their own territory.

I, the Lord, affirm it! 8 

1 sn Ramah is a town in Benjamin approximately five miles (8 km) north of Jerusalem. It was on the road between Bethel and Bethlehem. Traditionally, Rachel’s tomb was located near there at a place called Zelzah (1 Sam 10:2). Rachel was the mother of Joseph and Benjamin and was very concerned about having children because she was barren (Gen 30:1-2) and went to great lengths to have them (Gen 30:3, 14-15, 22-24). She was the grandmother of Ephraim and Manasseh which were two of the major tribes in northern Israel. Here Rachel is viewed metaphorically as weeping for her “children,” the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh, who had been carried away into captivity in 722 b.c.

2 tn Or “gone into exile” (cf. v. 16), though some English versions take this as meaning “dead” (e.g., NCV, CEV, NLT), presumably in light of Matt 2:18.

3 tn The words “to her” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.

4 tn Heb “Refrain your voice from crying and your eyes from tears.”

5 tn Heb “your work.” Contextually her “work” refers to her weeping and refusing to be comforted, that is, signs of genuine repentance (v. 15).

6 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

7 tn For this nuance for the Hebrew word אַחֲרִית (’akharit) see BDB 31 s.v. אַחֲרִית d and compare usage in Pss 37:38; 109:13. Others translate “your future” but the “future” lies with the return of her descendants, her posterity.

8 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”



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