‘Come back to me, wayward Israel,’ says the Lord.
‘I will not continue to look on you with displeasure. 2
For I am merciful,’ says the Lord.
‘I will not be angry with you forever.
3:14 “Come back to me, my wayward sons,” says the Lord, “for I am your true master. 3 If you do, 4 I will take one of you from each town and two of you from each family group, and I will bring you back to Zion.
31:2 The Lord says,
“The people of Israel who survived
death at the hands of the enemy 5
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. 6
so that you will once again be built up.
Once again you will take up the tambourine
and join in the happy throng of dancers. 8
31:5 Once again you will plant vineyards
on the hills of Samaria. 9
Those who plant them
will once again enjoy their fruit. 10
31:6 Yes, a time is coming
when watchmen 11 will call out on the mountains of Ephraim,
“Come! Let us go to Zion
to worship the Lord our God!”’” 12
1 tn Heb “Go and proclaim these words to the north.” The translation assumes that the message is directed toward the exiles of northern Israel who have been scattered in the provinces of Assyria to the north.
2 tn Heb “I will not cause my face to fall on you.”
3 tn Or “I am your true husband.”
sn There is a wordplay between the term “true master” and the name of the pagan god Baal. The pronoun “I” is emphatic, creating a contrast between the
4 tn The words, “If you do” are not in the text but are implicit in the connection of the Hebrew verb with the preceding.
5 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
6 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
7 tn Heb “Virgin Israel.”
sn For the significance of this metaphor see the note on Jer 14:17. Here the emphasis appears on his special love and care for his people and the hint (further developed in vv. 21-22) that, though guilty of sin, he considers them like an innocent young virgin.
10 sn The terms used here refer to the enjoyment of a period of peace and stability and the reversal of the curse (contrast, e.g., Deut 28:30). The Hebrew word translated “enjoy its fruit” is a technical one that refers to the owner of a vineyard getting to enjoy its fruit in the fifth year after it was planted, the crops of the first three years lying fallow, and that of the fourth being given to the
11 sn Watchmen were stationed at vantage points to pass on warning of coming attack (Jer 6:17; Ezek 33:2, 6) or to spread the news of victory (Isa 52:8). Here reference is made to the watchmen who signaled the special times of the year such as the new moon and festival times when Israel was to go to Jerusalem to worship. Reference is not made to these in the Hebrew Bible but there is a good deal of instruction regarding them in the later Babylonian Talmud.
12 sn Not only will Israel and Judah be reunited under one ruler (cf. 23:5-6), but they will share a unified place and practice of worship once again in contrast to Israel using the illicit places of worship, illicit priesthood, and illicit feasts instituted by Jeroboam (1 Kgs 12:26-31) and continued until the downfall of Samaria in 722