31:9 They will come back shedding tears of contrition.
I will bring them back praying prayers of repentance. 1
I will lead them besides streams of water,
along smooth paths where they will never stumble. 2
I will do this because I am Israel’s father;
Ephraim 3 is my firstborn son.’”
31:20 Indeed, the people of Israel are my dear children.
They are the children I take delight in. 4
For even though I must often rebuke them,
I still remember them with fondness.
So I am deeply moved with pity for them 5
and will surely have compassion on them.
I, the Lord, affirm it! 6
2 sn Jer 31:8-9 are reminiscent of the “New Exodus” motif of Isa 40-66 which has already been referred to in Jer 16:14-15; 23:7-8. See especially Isa 35:3-10; 40:3-5, 11; 41:17-20; 42:14-17; 43:16-21; 49:9-13. As there, the New Exodus will so outstrip the old that the old will pale in comparison and be almost forgotten (see Jer 23:7-8).
3 sn Ephraim was the second son of Joseph who was elevated to a place of prominence in the family of Jacob by the patriarch’s special blessing. It was the strongest tribe in northern Israel and Samaria lay in its territory. It is often used as a poetic parallel for Israel as here. The poetry is not speaking of two separate entities here; it is a way of repeating an idea for emphasis. Moreover, there is no intent to show special preference for northern Israel over Judah. All Israel is metaphorically God’s son and the object of his special care and concern (Exod 4:22; Deut 32:6).
4 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.
5 tn Heb “my stomach churns for him.” The parallelism shows that this refers to pity or compassion.
6 tn Heb “Oracle of the