Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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JEREMIAS - Chapter 31

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Jeremias xxxi.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Israel. The ten tribes returned as well as Juda, &c. (Calmet) --- They were more ready to receive Christ than the other two tribes, Matthew xiii., &c. (Worthington)

Ver. 2. Desert. From which the former inhabitants had been driven, (4 Kings xvii. 6, 24.; Calmet) or, as those under Moses were favoured, (Haydock) so shall the captives. (Grotius) --- Septuagint, "I found him warm," (thermon, means also a lupin, which has misled the old Latin interpreters. St. Jerome) murdered "in the desert, with those slain by the sword. Go, and destroy not Israel." (Haydock)

Ver. 3. Afar. He has seemed to despise me, (St. Jerome) or he has spoken to my ancestors. (Calmet) --- Chaldean, He has "manifested himself long ago to our fathers. Prophet, tell them I have," &c., Psalm xxxv. 11., and cviii. 11. (Calmet)

Ver. 5. Samaria. Its wine was famous, Judges ix. 27. (Josephus, Jewish Wars iii. 2.) --- Time, three years being elapsed, Leviticus xix. 35. (Calmet) --- Protestants, "plant, and shall eat (marginal note, profane) them as common things." They shall not be too greedy, (Haydock) but shall have leisure to enjoy the fruits of their labour. (Calmet)

Ver. 6. Watchmen. Some were stationed on eminences to observe the first appearances of the moon, (Calmet) which was a sort of festival. (Haydock)

Ver. 7. Head. Rejoice over Babylon. --- Save. Hebrew Hoshang, "I beg," was usually added; and this acclamation is used by the Church.

Ver. 8. Together. All shall hasten, and there shall be no impediment, Isaias xxxv. 5.

Ver. 9. Shall, or "came" into captivity, Baruch vi. 6., Psalm cxxv. 6., and Isaias lxvi. 20. --- Way. They shall find every accommodation, and plenty of water, Isaias xxxv. 7., and xlix. 10. --- Born. Chaldean, "beloved." I will treat the ten tribes as well as Juda. Christ inebriates his disciples with his graces. (Calmet) --- Ephraim shall be treated with all the love and attention shewn to the first-born. (Worthington)

Ver. 12. Sion. There shall be no farther schism or idolatry among them. --- No more, if they prove faithful. This was not the case.

Ver. 14. Fatness. Abundant crops secured them more plentiful tythes[tithes], as long as the people preserved their religion. (Haydock) --- No nation had more priests, or better provided for. (Calmet)

Ver. 15. High. Literally, "high places." Hebrew Rama. (Haydock) --- There was a city of this name near Bethlehem, where Rachel was buried. Benjamin was her son, and was conducted by this road to Babylon. (Chaldean) (Grotius) (Tirinus) --- Ephraim and Manasses were also her grandchildren, and she may bewail their captivity by personification. St. Matthew (ii. 18.) shews that this prediction was more fully accomplished when the innocents were slain. The same passage may allude to different events. (Calmet) --- All the people of God, both of the ten and of the two tribes, bewailed their captivity, and the mothers lamented for those slain near Bethlehem. (Worthington)

Ver. 16. Reward. A time fixed for thy tears being dried up, Isaias xvi. 14., and xl. 10.

Ver. 18. I was. Chaldean, Theodoret, and St. Chrysostom have "not." But chastisement produced a salutary effect upon the ten tribes, Osee vi. 1., and xiv. 3. --- Convert. Bring me back from captivity and from my evil ways. This must be attributed to grace. (Calmet) --- We cannot repent without it. (St. Jerome) --- Da quod jubes. (St. Augustine, Confessions x. 19, 31, and 37.) --- God's grace is the principal cause of justification. Man's co-operation is the secondary cause. (Worthington)

Ver. 19. Thigh, through grief. Femur mœrenti plangere dextra. (Ovid, Metam. xi.) --- Cyrus struck his thigh, mounted his horse, and went to attend the funeral of Abradates. (Xenophon vii.) --- So did Achilles for Patroclus. (Homer, Iliad xvi.) --- Youth, being seduced by Jeroboam.

Ver. 20. I spoke. Hebrew, "my word is in him," and he is docile to my instructions.

Ver. 21. Tower, to bewail thy past follies; or signals to know the way, or tombs for thy beloved.

Ver. 22. Daughter. Bury thy dead, and delay thy return no longer. The Israelites did not soon make use of the leave granted by Cyrus. (Calmet) --- Man. Hebrew, "a hero." (Tirinus) --- The fathers generally explain this of the incarnation. (Calmet) --- Christ had the perfect use of reason in the virgin's womb. (Haydock) --- He was the brightness of his Father's glory, Hebrew i. 3. Even some ancient Jews apply this to the Messias. (Galatin. vii. 14.) But the moderns understand that women would offer themselves in marriage; the times would be so happy. This was not so unusual in countries where polygamy prevailed, Ruth iii. 9., Isaias iv. 1., and Canticle of Canticles viii. 1. (Calmet) --- Hence this is hardly the meaning; for God promises something new. (Haydock) --- "The Lord hath created a new thing in a woman." (Aquila) --- Symmachus agrees nearly with the Septuagint, "because the Lord has created thee by salvation a new plantation. Men shall go about in thy salvation." This "might be explained, if it were not sacrilegious to argue respecting God's word by human sense," says St. Jerome; though this censure of "the Vulgate" (Septuagint) seems rather harsh. He complains here of his copy. Theodoret explains it of the apostles going through the world to spread the gospel. (Haydock) --- Behold whence thy happiness must come, (Menochius) O thou who hast so long proved faithless, going astray after many lovers. (Haydock) --- Christ, in his mother's womb, was in stature small, but a perfect man (Worthington) in the use of reason, &c. (Haydock)

Ver. 23. Bless thee. Thus the captives speak in rapture at their return.

Ver. 24. Together. Jerusalem shall be large enough to contain all, at the great festivals.

Ver. 26. To me. Thus Jeremias concludes his prediction with joy. (Calmet)

Ver. 27. Men. They shall increase exceedingly by my blessing. (Haydock) --- Beasts were the source of their riches. Hence pecunia is derived from pecus. (Worthington)

Ver. 29. Edge. Such observations had been too often made, Ezechiel xviii. 12. (Haydock) --- Henceforward you shall not suffer for the faults of Achab, Manasses, &c. Each one shall bear his own burden. The captivity has been like a deluge, cleaning all away. (Calmet)

Ver. 31. Covenant. That made with the captives was not such. Their covenant is grown old, and at an end, as St. Paul shews, Hebrews viii. 8. They were not indeed divided, as they had been, Ezechiel xxxvii. 16.

Ver. 32. Dominion. As a husband, (Hebrew; Calmet) or "Lord." (Haydock) --- "I despised them." (Septuagint) (Hebrews viii.)

Ver. 33. Heart. They were more docile after their return: yet still their service was very imperfect and forced. How many false traditions were received, at the coming of Christ! This of course, regards his disciples.

Ver. 34. Lord. Christ himself came to instruct mankind. The true God was better known than ever, even by the illiterate. Yet God requires us to have recourse to men, in order to know his truths, as St. Paul was sent to Hananias, and the eunuch to Philip. [Acts viii., and ix.] (Haydock) --- The apostles were enlightened by the Holy Ghost, (John vi. 45.; St. Augustine, de Spir.; Calmet) who still guides the flock by his pastors. The private spirit is too fanatical and delusive. (Haydock) --- The most ignorant shall easily become acquainted with the truths of salvation. External preaching is requisite, though of little use unless grace touch the mind and the heart. (Tirinus) --- All will hear successively, (Haydock) or embrace the gospel at the same time, for several years before the last day. (Houbigant, pref. in Prop. 356) (Isaias xi. 9., and xlv. 23., and Sophonias iii. 9., &c.) (Haydock)

Ver. 36. Ever. Like the Chanaanites and Ephraim during the captivity, Isaias vii. 8. God restored the latter. Yet they are again dispersed from above 17 centuries, so that this perpetuity, which shall equal the world's duration, belongs to the Church. (Calmet) --- Israel remains, not in the incredulous Jews, but in those who with the apostles embraced and propagated the faith of Christ. (St. Jerome) (Worthington)

Ver. 37. Out, experimentally, and not by philosophical hypotheses, which were little known in the days of Jeremias. (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "if it be made lower." (Haydock) --- This is impossible; so it is that I should abandon Israel. (Theodoret) --- All was not faithless. (Calmet) --- The Israel of God embraced the gospel. (Haydock)

Ver. 38. Come, is only in the margin of the Hebrew, but is found properly in some manuscripts. (Kennicott) --- Corner. On the south, opposite to the former, 2 Esdras iii. 1.

Ver. 40. Valley of Hinnom, or Topheth, (chap. vii. 32., and xix. 6.) where Cedron flowed, Zacharias xiv. 4. (Calmet) --- The city was much enlarged on this side, under the Machabees. (Josephus, Jewish Wars vi. 6.) --- Ever. Yet the temple was utterly destroyed by the Romans, so that we must explain this of the Catholic Church, founded on a rock, and proof against the gates of hell, and all the malice of heretics and persecutors, Matthew xvi. 18. (Calmet)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

The restoration of Israel. Rachel shall cease from mourning. The new covenant. The Church shall never fail.

1 At that time, *saith the Lord, I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.

2 Thus saith the Lord: The people that were left and escaped from the sword, found grace in the desert: Israel shall go to his rest.

3 The Lord hath appeared from afar to me. Yea, I have loved thee with everlasting love: therefore have I drawn thee, taking pity on thee.

4 And I will build thee again, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy timbrels, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.

5 Thou shalt yet plant vineyards in the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and they shall not gather the vintage before the time:

6 For there shall be a day, in which the watchmen on Mount Ephraim, shall cry: *Arise, and let us go up to Sion, to the Lord our God.

7 For thus saith the Lord: Rejoice ye in the joy of Jacob, and neigh before the head of the Gentiles: shout ye, and sing, and say: Save, O Lord, thy people, the remnant of Israel.

8 Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and will gather them from the ends of the earth: and among them shall be the blind and the lame, the woman with child, and she that is bringing forth together, a great company of them returning hither.

9 They shall come with weeping: and I will bring them back in mercy: and I will bring them through the torrents of waters in a right way, and they shall not stumble in it: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born.

10 Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the islands that are afar off, and say: He that scattered Israel will gather him: and he will keep him as the shepherd doth his flock.

11 For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and delivered him out of the hand of one that was mightier than he.

12 And they shall come, and shall give praise in Mount Sion: and they shall flow together to the good things of the Lord, for the corn, and wine, and oil, and the increase of cattle and herds, and their soul shall be as a watered garden, and they shall be hungry no more.

13 Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, the young men and old men together: and I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them joyful after their sorrow.

14 And I will fill the soul of the priests with fatness: and my people shall be filled with my good things, saith the Lord.

15 Thus saith the Lord: *A voice was heard on high of lamentation, of mourning, and weeping of Rachel, weeping for her children, and refusing to be comforted for them, because they are not.

16 Thus saith the Lord: Let thy voice cease from weeping, and thy eyes from tears: for there is a reward for thy work, saith the Lord: and they shall return out of the land of the enemy.

17 And here is hope for thy last end, saith the Lord: and the children shall return to their own borders.

18 Hearing, I heard Ephraim, when he went into captivity: thou hast chastised me, and I was instructed as a young bullock unaccustomed to the yoke. Convert me, and I shall be converted: for thou art the Lord my God.

19 For, after thou didst convert me, I did penance: and, after thou didst shew unto me, I struck my thigh: I am confounded and ashamed, because I have borne the reproach of my youth.

20 Surely Ephraim is an honourable son to me, surely he is a tender child: for, since I spoke of him, I will still remember him. Therefore are my bowels troubled for him: pitying, I will pity him, saith the Lord.

21 Set thee up a watch-tower, make to thee bitterness: direct thy heart into the right way, wherein thou hast walked: return, O virgin of Israel, return to these thy cities.

22 How long wilt thou be dissolute in deliciousness, O wandering daughter? for the Lord hath created a new thing upon the earth: a woman shall compass a man.

23 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: As yet shall they say this word in the land of Juda, and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring back their captivity: The Lord bless thee, the beauty of justice, the holy mountain.

24 And Juda and all his cities shall dwell therein together: the husbandmen, and they that drive the flocks.

25 For I have inebriated the weary soul: and I have filled every hungry soul.

26 Upon this I was as it were awaked out of a sleep, and I saw, and my sleep was sweet to me.

27 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord: and I will sow the house of Israel, and the house of Juda, with the seed of men, and with the seed of beasts.

28 And, as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to throw down, and to scatter, and destroy, and afflict; so will I watch over them, to build up, and to plant them, saith the Lord.

29 In those days they shall say no more: *The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the teeth of the children are set on edge.

30 But every one shall die for his own iniquity; every man that shall eat the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.

31 *Behold, the days shall come, saith the Lord, and I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Juda:

32 Not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; the covenant which they made void, and I had dominion over them, saith the Lord.

33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, after those days, saith the Lord: *I will give my law in their bowels, and I will write it in their heart; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying: Know the Lord; for all shall know me from the least of them even to the greatest, saith the Lord: *for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

35 Thus saith the Lord, who giveth the sun for the light of the day, the order of the moon and of the stars, for the light of the night; who stirreth up the sea, and the waves thereof roar, the Lord of hosts is his name.

36 If these ordinances shall fail before me, saith the Lord; then also the seed of Israel shall fail, so as not to be a nation before me for ever.

37 Thus saith the Lord: If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath; I also will cast away all the seed of Israel, for all that they have done, saith the Lord.

38 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the city shall be built to the Lord, from the tower of Hanameel, even to the gate of the corner.

39 And the measuring line shall go out farther in his sight upon the hill Gareb; and it shall compass Goatha,

40 And the whole valley of dead bodies, and of ashes, and all the country of death, even to the torrent Cedron, and the corner of the horse-gate towards the east, the Holy of the Lord: it shall not be plucked up, and it shall not be destroyed any more for ever.



1: Year of the World 3406.

6: Isaias ii. 3.; Micheas iv. 2.

15: Matthew ii. 18.

29: Ezechiel xviii. 2.

31: Hebrews viii. 8.

33: Hebrews x. 16.

34: Acts x. 43.