Jeremiah 31

DateVersionReading Plan
@July 24, 2023ESV (2016)ESV Prophets Plan 2023


  • The Lord Will Turn Mourning to Joy
  • The New Covenant


The chapter opens with a declaration of the LORD that He will be the God of “all the clans of Israel, and they shall be my people.” This endearing sentiment is repeated several times throughout the Bible, many of which contained within the prophetic literature.

Jer. 31:2-22 is a large section of the LORD’s rescue of the people from exile. It is very positive and rings of how His continued faithfulness will lead to their rebuilding and rejoicing in Him. The people are called to praise God and ask for His deliverance, to “Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, and raise shouts for the chief of the nations” (Jer. 31:7). The Lord had ransomed Jacob (Israel) “from hands to strong for him” (Jer. 31:11). He will “turn their mourning into joy” (Jer. 31:13) and there will be great prosperity. They are not to weep because they will soon be rescued and that “There is hope for your future” (Jer. 31:17).

Jer. 31:18-20 are of God’s compassion for Ephraim. Ephraim represented the ten northern tribes who finally saw how he had acted as an untrained (or “undisciplined”) calf and a rebel against God. Now having been chastened and humiliated, Ephraim will be forgiven and return home like the prodigal son.

In Jer. 31:21, the people are told to “Set up road markers” and “signposts” for themselves. These would lead them back home from Babylon and function as signposts of the “ancient paths” they had traveled with God (Jer. 6:16).

Jer. 31:24-30 speak of how the LORD will satisfy every languishing soul and replenish the weariness of the people (Jer. 31:25). The season of destruction will lead into one of building and planting (Jer. 31:28).

Jer. 31:31-37 are some of the most hopeful verses in the entire Bible of how God will establish a “new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah” (Jer. 31:31). The people had broken the Mosaic covenant, so God, in His infinite grace, willed to issue a new one. However, this new covenant will be unlike the previous as He will put His law “within them” and “write it on their hearts” (Jer. 31:33). There will no longer be a need for teaching because “they shall all know me” and God will choose to forgive and forget their sin (Jer. 31:34). God dovetails His great power and dominion over creation with His assured ability to keep His promise and restore Israel (Jer. 31:35-36).

The final verses (Jer. 31:38-40) describe the boundaries of the rebuilt city of Jerusalem. It will all be sacred to the LORD and “shall not be plucked up or overthrown anymore forever.” (Jer. 31:40)


What a wonderful chapter of God’s grace and mercy, providing us with abundant hope. We have a God of patience and longsuffering. He knows and sees the wickedness of our hearts and seeks not to abandon but to gather and restore. The inauguration of the new covenant (the one in which will now live until Christ’s return) is a gesture of divine adornment; a nomination to imbue us with His Spirit, empowering us to be His ambassadors. This, not because of what we have done, but that His glory would be magnified in the work He does through us. What a joy it is for God to reveal and for us to reflect on such things!

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