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This passage, as with many of the OT prophecies, has a near fulfillment in the return from the Babylonian Captivity with ultimate fulfillment in Israel’s final restoration in the end times after the Great Tribulation. Jeremiah’s tone thus far has been largely one of judgment. But now in this Book of Consolation, chaps. 30-33, we see the bright light of God’s intended future blessing for His covenant nation – the combined and restored northern and southern kingdoms. The promises of God are both surprising and magnificent – surprising in light of the manifold iniquities of God’s people and magnificent in their breadth and scope of peace and prosperity.



(:1) “The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,”

A. (:2) Scriptural Permanency

“Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Write all the words which I have spoken to you in a book.’”

Parunak: God is going to reverse his former judgments, by bringing them back to the land. Because this will happen a ways down the road, he wants the record preserved so that, when it happens, people will recognize it as the hand of God and not just political happenstance.

B. (:3) Specific Promise

“’For behold, days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah.’ The LORD says, ‘I will also bring them back to the land that I gave to their forefathers and they shall possess it.’”

The connection to the Promised Land makes it difficult to spiritualize this verse and apply it to the church of Jesus Christ; was this completely fulfilled in the return from the 70 year Babylonian Captivity or does it have end times implications?

Parunak: Specifically, he will bring them back to their land and give it back to them. Note the emphasis on the land! It is central; the other blessings are secondary. To apply this to God’s blessings on the church, which omit the land entirely, is completely backwards.

Mackay: “restore the fortunes of” – occurs 7 times in the Book of Consolation (v. 18; 31:23; 32:44; 33:7, 11, 26). . . to effect a reversal of divine judgment and a restoration of the people to a state of well-being and prosperity. This is a more general concept than release from captivity and involves reinstatement in covenantal favour (29:14), often including divine action to correct what had led to the imposition of judgment (Bracke 1985:243). . . While the land provided the people with national identity and political integrity, its significance primarily derived from the fact that it was the arena of covenant blessing, the place where God’s presence and spiritual bounty would be enjoyed.


(:4) “Now these are the words which the LORD spoke concerning Israel and concerning Judah:

A. (:5-6) Fear and Hopelessness Dominate

“For thus says the LORD, ‘I have heard a sound of terror, of dread, and there is no peace. Ask now, and see If a male can give birth. Why do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in childbirth? And why have all faces turned pale?”

Parunak: The metaphor here compares the suffering of the exile with the pain of childbirth (v.6), in contrast with the triumph of the resurrection that God will bring in the future (v.9). Two modes of attaining to life, one painful, the other gloriously free of pain.

Longman: the fear is so great, even on those strong men who would be responsible for providing military defense that they would act like a woman experiencing labor pains. Their emotion is also etched on their ace since fear causes their face to go pale.

B. (:7-9) Freedom From the Yoke of Oppression

1. (:7) Reversal – From Great Distress to Great Salvation

“Alas! for that day is great, There is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s distress, But he will be saved from it.”

Unprecedented horrors identified here – nation has experienced nothing of this severity previously

Parunak: What historical event is in view?

a> Dan. 9:27 foretells a seven-year period (“one week”) during the second half of which (3.5 years) Jerusalem will be desolated. This is placed AFTER the coming of Messiah.

b> Matt. 24:14ff gives further temporal precision; it refers to Daniel’s period AFTER the evangelization of the entire world, and describes it as an unprecedented “great tribulation.”

c> Revelation picks up the 3.5 year figure (11:2, 3; 12:6, 14; 13:5) and describes the coming sufferings in great detail.

2. (:8) Release – From the Yoke of Oppression

“’It shall come about on that day,’ declares the LORD of hosts, ‘that I will break his yoke from off their neck and will tear off their bonds; and strangers will no longer make them their slaves.’”

3. (:9) Reorientation — to Serve God and King David

“But they shall serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.”

Liberation is not freedom from governance but freedom to serve God and His appointed righteous ruler

Parunak: Who is the David here? Is the reference here to David the individual? To his house? Or to Messiah? The answer will probably depend on whether you understand these promises to refer to the Jewish restoration, spiritually to the church, or to a future restoration of Israel on earth.

Constable: Instead of suffering captivity, the Israelites would serve their God and David their king, whom the Lord would raise up for them. This probably refers to a successor to David rather than King David himself (cf. Jeremiah 23:5; Isaiah 55:3-5; Ezekiel 34:23-25; Ezekiel 37:24-25; Hosea 3:5).


A. (:10) Security – Do Not Fear

“’Fear not, O Jacob My servant,’ declares the LORD, ‘And do not be dismayed, O Israel; For behold, I will save you from afar and your offspring from the land of their captivity. And Jacob will return and will be quiet and at ease, and no one will make him afraid.’”

B. (:11) Salvation – Enjoyment of Divine Presence

“’For I am with you,’ declares the LORD, ‘to save you; For I will destroy completely all the nations where I have scattered you, Only I will not destroy you completely. But I will chasten you justly and will by no means leave you unpunished.’”

Parunak: The verse contrasts Israel’s discipline with God’s dealings with the other nations. He will exterminate the nations entirely. His dealings with Israel, by contrast, are described in three statements, a positive between two negatives. Each has application to us in God’s dealings with us when we sin.

1) He will not make a full end of Israel. The nation will endure before him. Confirmed in spite of amazing trials, through history.

Application: Even so, the believer will never be swept away by God’s wrath.

2) He will “guide [them] toward the right” (not “correct in measure,” cf. Isa. 28:26). The point is that he has a purpose in their chastisement, something to teach them. This is the difference between chastisement and punishment: chastisement is intended for improvement; punishment, to bring justice and revenge.

Application: This is the point of 1 Cor. 10:13. “A way to escape” is literally, “an outcome,” which I take to be the purpose or issue of the chastisement.

3) He will not leave them unpunished. Quotation from Exod. 34:6,7, the tension between God’s mercy and justice; the enduring effects of sin, even after forgiveness.

Application: Gal. 6:7,8, God’s harvest law. God is not mocked.


“For thus says the LORD,”

A. (:12-13) Incurable Wound – Beyond Recovery

“Your wound is incurable

And your injury is serious.

There is no one to plead your cause;

No healing for your sore,

No recovery for you.”

Constable: Yahweh had inflicted His people with a wound from which they could not recover because they had sinned greatly. No one could intercede effectively for them because the Lord had determined to punish them. Israel’s political allies had forsaken her and would not help her. Even crying out would not help them.

B. (:14-15) Iniquities to Blame – No Excuses – No Surprise

“All your lovers have forgotten you, they do not seek you;

For I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy,

With the punishment of a cruel one,

Because your iniquity is great and your sins are numerous.

Why do you cry out over your injury?

Your pain is incurable.

Because your iniquity is great and your sins are numerous,

I have done these things to you.”

C. (:16) Imprecation Against Adversaries

“Therefore all who devour you will be devoured;

And all your adversaries, every one of them, will go into captivity;

And those who plunder you will be for plunder,

And all who prey upon you I will give for prey.”

D. (:17) Intervention by God to Bring Healing

“’For I will restore you to health

And I will heal you of your wounds,’ declares the LORD,

‘Because they have called you an outcast, saying:

It is Zion; no one cares for her.’”

Kidner: the emphasis in verses 12 and 15 on what is incurable and indefensible is preparing us for the paradox of verses 16-17, where God turns the tables on the enemy and retrieves the irretrievable, doing all this for his own honour – “for he will not have it said of his people and his city that no one cars (17) for them!

Mackay: the contempt of the nations for Zion also slighted the Lord of the covenant and the adequacy of his provision, being based on the misconception that judgment had befallen the Lord’s people because he was incapable of defending them from the onslaughts of their adversaries. In fact he had been acting in furtherance of his own purposes, and now he intervenes to reverse his judgment and vindicate his name (Isa. 62:12).


A. (:18) Restoration

“Thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob and have compassion on his dwelling places; and the city will be rebuilt on its ruin, and the palace will stand on its rightful place.’”

B. (:19-20) Blessing and Prosperity

1. Celebration

“From them will proceed thanksgiving

And the voice of those who celebrate;”

2. Significance

“And I will multiply them and they will not be diminished;

I will also honor them and they will not be insignificant.”

3. Standing

“Their children also will be as formerly,

And their congregation shall be established before Me;”

4. Vindication

“And I will punish all their oppressors.”

C. (:21) Leadership

“’Their leader shall be one of them,

And their ruler shall come forth from their midst;

And I will bring him near and he shall approach Me;

For who would dare to risk his life to approach Me?’ declares the LORD.”

Kidner: The idyllic picture of verses 8ff, is now filled out with detail, not only in terms of regaining all that had been lost (18-20) but of something new: a ruler one of themselves, who will be what no king had ever been allowed to be: their mediator and priest (21). It is one of the boldest but least-known messianic prophecies (for this ruler is clearly the “David” of v. 9).

D. (:22) Identity

“You shall be My people,

And I will be your God.”

Cf. Hosea 1:9; 2:23


A. (:23) Divine Wrath Overwhelms the Wicked

“Behold, the tempest of the LORD! Wrath has gone forth, a sweeping tempest;

It will burst on the head of the wicked.”

B . (:24a) Divine Wrath Accomplishes God’s Purposes

“The fierce anger of the LORD will not turn back until He has performed and until He has accomplished the intent of His heart;”

C. (:24b) Divine Wrath Targets the End Times

“In the latter days you will understand this.”

Constable: The people did not understand this prophecy fully when the prophet first gave it, but they would in the far distant future. Similarly, God told Daniel to seal up his prophecy because it was not time for His people to understand it yet (Daniel 12:4; Daniel 12:9).


“’At that time,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will be the God of all the families of Israel,

and they shall be My people.’”

Cf. vs. 22