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Jeremiah 31:2-3

Context
Israel Will Be Restored and Join Judah in Worship

31:2 The Lord says,

“The people of Israel who survived

death at the hands of the enemy 1 

will find favor in the wilderness

as they journey to find rest for themselves.

31:3 In a far-off land the Lord will manifest himself to them.

He will say to them, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love.

That is why I have continued to be faithful to you. 2 

1 tn Heb “who survived the sword.”

sn This refers to the remnant of northern Israel who had not been killed when Assyria conquered Israel in 722 b.c. or who had not died in exile. References to Samaria in v. 5 and to Ephraim in vv. 6, 9 make clear that northern Israel is in view here.

2 tn Or “The people of Israel who survived the onslaughts of Egypt and Amalek found favor in the wilderness as they journeyed to find rest. At that time long ago the Lord manifested himself to them. He said, ‘I have…That is why I have drawn you to myself through my unfailing kindness.’” For the basis for each of these translations see the translator’s note. There is debate whether the reference here is to God’s preservation of Israel during their wandering in the Sinai desert or his promise to protect and preserve them on their return through the Arabian desert on the way back from Assyria and Babylon (see e.g., Isa 42:14-16; 43:16-21; Jer 16:14-15; 23:7-8). The only finite verbs in vv. 2-3a before the introduction of the quote are perfects which can denote either a past act or a future act viewed as certain of fulfillment (the prophetic perfect; see GKC 312-13 §106.n and see examples in Jer 11:16; 13:17; 25:14; 28:4). The phrase at the beginning of v. 3 can either refer to temporal (cf. BDB 935 s.v. רָחוֹק 2.b and Isa 22:11) or spatial distance (cf. BDB 935 s.v. רָחוֹק 2.a[2] and Isa 5:29; 59:14). The verb in the final clause in v. 3 can refer to either the continuance of God’s love as in Ps 36:10 (cf. BDB 604 s.v. מָשַׁךְ Qal.5) or drawing someone to him in electing, caring love as in Hos 11:4 (cf. BDB 604 s.v. מָשַׁךְ Qal.1). The translation has opted for the prophetic reference to future deliverance because of the preceding context, the use of מֵרָחוֹק (merakhoq) to refer to the far off land of exile in Jer 30:10; 46:27; 51:50, and the reference to survivors from the sword being called on to remember the Lord in that far off land in 51:50.



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