For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2003 James Melough 

30:1.  “The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,”


30:2.  “Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book.”


It is generally believed that chapters 30 and 31 were written during or shortly after the 586 BC siege of Jerusalem.  It was by God’s direct command that Jeremiah recorded all that Jehovah communicated to him, and clearly what he was about to receive was the revelation of the regathering of Israel in the latter days, the condition of the world today making it clear that fulfillment of what is written is imminent.  It was to be written “in a book” so as to be available to those who would be scattered in 586 BC., and though it wasn’t revealed to Jeremiah, it would be for the comfort of those who have also been scattered since AD 70.


Chapter 31:26 makes it clear that what follows was revealed to the prophet in a dream.


30:3.  “For, lo, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the Lord: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.”


From Jeremiah’s perspective it might have seemed that the return was to be from Babylonian captivity, but clearly what is written here awaits fulfillment in a day then far distant, but now very near, for while some of them did return from Babylon and Assyria, not all did, and the descendants of those who did return were scattered again in AD 70, and with the exception of the few who have been returning since the restoration of Jewish autonomy in 1948, the majority are still scattered amongst the nations.


30:4.  “And these are the words that the Lord spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah.”


30:5.  “For thus saith the Lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear and not of peace.”


It seems that the One Who hears the cry of terror is God Himself, so the “we” signifies the three persons of the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  In the twenty centuries since the Diaspora, scattered Israel’s bitter cry of distress and fear has been heard virtually without ceasing, for she has known neither permanent rest nor peace in all those weary years; nor will she until the Tribulation judgments will have brought her nationally to repentant faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as her Savior Messiah.


30:6.  “Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child?  Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness?”


Since birth pangs are unique to women, Jehovah asks why it is that he sees men experiencing the very same anguish: they grip their loins, while their faces become ashen in terror.


30:7.  “Alas!  for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.”


The “day” is the second half of the seven-year Tribulation era, i.e., the three and a half years of the Great Tribulation, which will leave the world in ruins, and see billions slain by war, famine, and disease worse than anything that has ever been.  It will be the most terrible time in the history of the world, yet God will bring out of that terrible crucible a repentant, believing, purified remnant, not only of Israel, but also of the nations, they being those who will remain on the earth to enjoy millennial blessings.


30:8.  “For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him;”


“... his yoke” means the yoke which the oppressor will have placed on Israel’s neck.  Other translations render it “thy yoke from off thy neck.”  The truth being declared is that Israel will no longer be subservient to any other nation: she will in fact be “the head, and not the tail,” De 28:13.


30:9.  “But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them”


Jehovah alone will be over Israel through the regency of a descendant of David, all other nations being subservient to Israel.


The final stage of the resurrection of life will occur at the end of the Tribulation, that resurrection transporting to heaven those then raised, Scripture offering no hint that any of them will return to the millennial earth, so clearly the king who will then reign will be a descendant of David, not David himself.  The latter part of Ezekiel chapter 45, and all of chapter 46, also make it very clear that that king will not be the Lord Jesus Christ, for that millennial prince will offer sacrifice and worship, something the Lord Jesus Christ does not do: as the second Person of the Godhead He receives worship.


30:10.  “Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the Lord; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid.”


The two names, Jacob and Israel, used to designate the same people, have special significance, for Jacob is associated with what pertains to the flesh; Israel, with what pertains to the spirit, facts which serve to remind us that Israel was divided into two parts: those who were true believers, the believing remnant; and those who were unbelievers, being Israelites in name only.


Christendom is similarly divided.


This assurance of restoration to the land, and their peaceful occupation of it, still awaits fulfillment, and will not come about until the Millennium. Only then will they be regathered from the Diaspora which finds them still scattered amongst the nations, except for the few who have been returning to the land since 1948. 


Their being called Jacob and Israel is the reminder, that apart from the believing remnant that will pass from the Great Tribulation into the Millennium, millennial Israel will be a nation comprised of believers and unbelievers, for the children born during that halcyon age will be like those born in every other age: they will need to be born again to fit them for the eternal state to which the Millennium will give place.  The multitudes who will join Satan at the end of the Millennium, in his final rebellion against God, attests the truth that many of those born in the Millennium, will, like many in every other age, refuse to be born again, but will be allowed to live to the end of the Millennium as long as their hatred of God and His people does not become overt.


30:11.  “For I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in a measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.”


This doesn’t mean that God will utterly destroy every nation at whose hand Israel has suffered, but the elimination of Babylon and the Philistines, for example, is the assurance that some of them have been destroyed, and that others will yet suffer that fate.


Some times it has seemed as though Israel were on the very brink of extinction, e.g., in 586 BC at the hand of Babylon, and again in AD 70 at the hand of the Romans, but God has preserved her against seemingly impossible odds.  Her grievous sin has incurred such drastic punishment as to make her survival seem impossible, but God has always stopped short of that drastic extreme, because His ultimate objective is her blessing in the Millennium.


30:12.  “For thus saith the Lord, Thy bruise (sin) is incurable, and thy wound is grievous.”


The fact that Israel’s sin was incurable; and what she had suffered at the hand of God and man as a result of it, equally incurable, would indicate that her case was hopeless, her destruction inevitable; and humanly speaking this was true.  But what is impossible to man is not impossible to God: He could, and would, heal her; but by an inexplicable means: giving His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die in her stead, He thus expiating her sin, and enabling God to pardon her and bestow His priceless gift of eternal life.


It is to be noted, however, that the healing was and is available only in response to individual repentance, and faith in Christ; the faith of the OT believer being anticipative; that of the NT saint, retrospective.  Only the OT believers constituted the true Israel, as it is written in Ro 9:6-8, “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall they seed be called.  That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.”


Only the believing Jews were true Israelites, that believing remnant constituting the only Israel that God recognizes.  In every age He has preserved such a remnant, those who emerge from the terrible judgments of the Great Tribulation being the remnant that will constitute the Israel which will inherit millennial and eternal blessing.


That generation addressed by Jeremiah, however, was one which had sealed its doom by refusal to repent of its sin.  Its wound was incurable.  It must perish, as must every other generation except that which will emerge repentant and believing from the Tribulation judgments.


30:13.  “There is none to plead thy cause, that thou mayest be bound up: thou hast no healing medicines.”


It was its failure to repent of its sin that doomed that generation, as must that same failure doom every man who also refuses to repent and trust in Christ as his Savior.


30:14.  “All thy lovers (friends, allies) have forgotten thee; they seek thee not, for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of thine iniquity; because thy sins were increased.”


Its refusal to repent within God’s time had cut that generation off from any hope of escaping destruction, the record of their folly being preserved to warn others, nations and individuals against being guilty of the same madness, i.e., of failing to repent within the time in which God will grant pardon, His warning to all men being, “My spirit shall not always strive with man,” Ge 6:3, and, “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy,” Pr 29:1. 


The chastisement, which heeded within God’s time, would have brought salvation, had become instead the stroke of wrath bringing death.  He is a very great fool who ignores the warning, and walks in Israel’s unrepentant footsteps, for he too will perish eternally under the stroke of a God no longer willing to pardon.


30:15.  “Why criest thou for thine affliction? thy sorrow is incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity: because thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee.”


This continues to emphasize the folly of failing to repent within God’s time, for the cry, which uttered within that time would have brought mercy, will then bring instead His deadly stroke of eternal vengeance: first, consignment to hell, and ultimately to the eternal torment of the awful lake of fire.


30:16.  “Therefore all they that devour thee shall be devoured; and all thine adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; and they that spoil thee shall be a spoil, and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey.”


This does not offer hope that any unrepentant generation of Israel will ultimately be forgiven.  It is rather the announcement of the truth that those who take delight in afflicting her will make themselves also the objects of His fierce wrath.  It is one thing for Him to use nations as His instruments of Israel’s chastisement, but it is a very different thing when they take vindictive delight in afflicting her simply out of malicious hatred, when they themselves are guilty of the very same sins.


God reserves to Himself the right to take vengeance, as it is written, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord,” Ro 12:19.  His inherent holiness invests Him with that right, while man’s intrinsic sinfulness disqualifies him, since it makes him the object of vengeance from which only God’s grace appropriated by faith delivers him.  The principle was dramatically declared by the Lord Himself relative to the accusation of the Jews against the adulteress in John 8:7-9, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.... And they ... convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last....”


30:17.  “For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, this is Zion, whom no man seeketh after.”


As discussed already, healing and restoration had been forfeited by the failure of that generation to repent within God’s time, nor has any other generation qualified itself for these blessings.  It will take the terrible Tribulation judgments to work genuine repentance in Israel’s stony heart, and all the signs around us point to the fact that this present generation could be the one to have that experience, for virtually every sign relative to the approach of that era of judgment has been fulfilled.


It is only in man’s impaired judgment that Israel as a nation has cut herself off eternally from blessing, that faulty judgment implying that God is incapable of fulfilling His Word - a thing impossible.  His every Word will be fulfilled, the Tribulation judgments producing that repentant remnant that will inherit the promised blessings forfeited by the failure of every other generation to repent and trust in Christ as their Savior Messiah. Never were words more apropos than those recorded in Ro 3:4, “... let God be true, but every man a liar....”


30:18.  “Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob’s tents, and have mercy on his dwelling-places; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof.”


This regathering will be in the Millennium, the use of the name Jacob, which is associated with the flesh rather than the spirit, emphasizing that those regathered will not be resurrected individuals, but living people who will have survived the horrors of the Great Tribulation.  The mention of “tents” is particularly appropriate relative to a people who for the past twenty centuries have wandered amongst the nations without a settled place of abode.


Jerusalem will be rebuilt on its former elevated site, and the royal palace also will stand again where it had been in the days of Israel’s glory.


30:19.  “And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small (weak, despised).”


The people whose voices for the past twenty centuries have been employed almost exclusively in wailing and weeping, will yet be heard in songs of praise and in laughter.  They whose numbers have frequently been diminished by the sword will be multiplied; and the once weak and despised will be made mighty and honorable.

She who for over two thousand years has been “the tail” of the nations will be “the head.”


30:20.  “Their children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress them.”


Their children will thrive and be multiplied, as in the days of David and Solomon, and their tribes will stand in favor before Jehovah, no more to be scattered and diminished, all who might attempt to wrong, hurt, or oppress them incurring the wrath of their omnipotent God.


30:21.  “And their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near and he shall approach unto me: for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? saith the Lord.”


Their king will be one of themselves, rather than as so often in the past, a foreign tyrant; and he will be graciously invited into the very presence of God, for it seems that he will be also a priest.


30:22.  “And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.”


This is not to be understood as implying that this relationship has never previously existed: it has, but in the Millennium it will be experienced in a very different context.  In the past it has been under the constraint necessarily imposed by the sinfulness of the people, but in the Millennium sin will be tolerated only as long as it remains covert in the heart; but the moment it expresses itself in word or deed it will be visited with death. 


In addition, Satan and his minions will be imprisoned in the bottomless pit, so that enticement to sin will be drastically curtailed.  Righteousness will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea, so that there will be little to mar the fellowship between men and God.


30:23.  “Behold, the whirlwind of the Lord goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind; it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked.”


30:24.  “The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider (understand) it.”


This very clearly takes us back to the terrible judgments that will devastate the earth in the Great Tribulation.


The term “latter days or years” refers to the Tribulation era, see De 4:30; Dan 2:28; 8:23; 10:14, and the fact that the Jews “in the latter days shall consider (understand) it,” i.e., what is here written, makes it clear that those instructed in God’s Word will understand perfectly what the outcome of the judgments of that terrible era will be: they will leave the earth purged in preparation for the inauguration of the millennial kingdom.


“The last day (singular)” refers to God’s resurrection program, see Jn 6:39-40, 44, 45; 11:24; 12:48; and “... last days (plural)” refers to Israel’s salvation and blessing in the Millennium, see Isa 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-7.

[Jeremiah 31]


     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough