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
“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
Your children will return to their own territory.
I, the Lord, affirm it! 8
‘We were like a calf untrained to the yoke. 11
You disciplined us and we learned from it. 12
Let us come back to you and we will do so, 13
for you are the Lord our God.
31:19 For after we turned away from you we repented.
We are ashamed and humiliated
because of the disgraceful things we did previously.’ 16
31:20 Indeed, the people of Israel are my dear children.
They are the children I take delight in. 17
For even though I must often rebuke them,
I still remember them with fondness.
So I am deeply moved with pity for them 18
and will surely have compassion on them.
I, the Lord, affirm it! 19
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
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.”
6 tn Heb “Oracle of the
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
9 tn The use of “indeed” is intended to reflect the infinitive absolute which precedes the verb for emphasis (see IBHS 585-86 §35.3.1f).
sn Jer 2:20; 5:5 already referred to Israel’s refusal to bear the yoke of loyalty and obedience to the
12 tn The verb here is from the same root as the preceding and is probably an example of the “tolerative Niphal,” i.e., “I let myself be disciplined/I responded to it.” See IBHS 389-90 §23.4g and note the translation of some of the examples there, especially Isa 19:22; 65:1.
13 tn Heb “Bring me back in order that I may come back.” For the use of the plural pronouns see the marginal note at the beginning of the verse. The verb “bring back” and “come back” are from the same root in two different verbal stems and in the context express the idea of spiritual repentance and restoration of relationship not physical return to the land. (See BDB 999 s.v. שׁוּב Hiph.2.a for the first verb and 997 s.v. Qal.6.c for the second.) For the use of the cohortative to express purpose after the imperative see GKC 320 §108.d or IBHS 575 §34.5.2b.
sn There is a wordplay on several different nuances of the same Hebrew verb in vv. 16-19. The Hebrew verb shub refers both to their turning away from God (v. 19) and to their turning back to him (v. 18). It is also the word that is used for their return to their homeland (vv. 16-17).
14 tn For this meaning of the verb see HAL 374 s.v. יָדַע Nif 5 or W. L. Holladay, Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon, 129. REB translates “Now that I am submissive” relating the verb to a second root meaning “be submissive.” (See HALOT 375 s.v. II יָדַע and J. Barr, Comparative Philology and the Text of the Old Testament, 19-21, for evidence for this verb. Other passages cited with this nuance are Judg 8:16; Prov 10:9; Job 20:20.)
sn The expression the disgraceful things we did in our earlier history refers to the disgrace that accompanied the sins that Israel did in her earlier years before she learned the painful lesson of submission to the
17 tn Heb “Is Ephraim a dear son to me or a child of delight?” For the substitution of Israel for Ephraim and the plural pronouns for the singular see the note on v. 18. According to BDB 210 s.v. הֲ 1.c the question is rhetorical having the force of an impassioned affirmation. See 1 Sam 2:27; Job 41:9 (41:1 HT) for parallel usage.
18 tn Heb “my stomach churns for him.” The parallelism shows that this refers to pity or compassion.
19 tn Heb “Oracle of the