Jeremiah 31:31-34 and the New Covenant Promise

The following is an exegetical analysis of Jeremiah 31:31-34 submitted to Dr. Eric J. Tully in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the course OT 6217 Poetic and Prophetic Books at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL in April, 2015. The components/sections of the following paper were determined by the paper requirements.



Macro-Structure

The phrase הִנֵּה יָמִים בָּאִים נְאֻם־יְהוָה only occurs four times within Jer 30-31 (30:3; 31:27, 31, and 38).[1] In 30:3 it occurs in what appears to be something like a superscription or introduction (30:1-4) to the following collection of oracles (30:5-31:25), which ends with Jeremiah’s waking from the sleep in which he presumably received these oracles (31:26). This use of this phrase to head off this section seems to indicate that the phrase functions as a structural marker. Interestingly, the three other occurrences of this phrase in Jer 30-31 appear in much higher concentration, all within the short span of 31:27-40. This suggests (1) that 31:27-40 is a distinct literary unit from that of 30:1-26 and (2) that the occurrences ofהִנֵּה יָמִים בָּאִים נְאֻם־יְהוָה within 31:27-40 mark off subsections.

31:27-40 seems to have four subsections. Three are demarcated by the introductory use of הִנֵּה יָמִים בָּאִים נְאֻם־יְהוָה immediately followed by a temporal waw-perfect (vv.27-30, 31-34, and 38-40). Although disrupting the pattern of these introductoryהִנֵּה יָמִים בָּאִים נְאֻם־יְהוָה phrases,[2] vv.35-37 is an obvious sub-unit. It is marked off by its thematic shift,כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָ֗ה formulas, and poetic form.

Various additional observations confirm that 31:27-40 is a unified literary section containing four sub-units (vv.27-30, 31-34, 35-37, and 38-40). (1) Each subsection possesses something of a two-part structure.[3] In unit 1, vv.27-28 forms a promise to undue the exile whereas vv.29-30 reverses the exilic proverb (cf. Ezek 18:2) that expressed complaint of being punished with exile due to the sins of past generations. Furthermore, vv.27-28 are set apart from vv.29-30 by the use of the opening and closing quotation formula נְאֻם־יְהוָה. In unit 2, vv.31-32 express what the new covenant will not be while vv.33-34 express what it will be. Once again, each part (vv.31-32 and 33-34) is roughly delimitated by the bookend-use of נְאֻם־יְהוָה (cf. vv.27-28). In vv.35, a messenger formula serves to introduce unit 3. But outside of this additional feature, parallelism exists between the first (vv.35-36) and second parts (v.37) both in terms of structure (i.e., “if, then”; גַּם … אִם), content (i.e., identical form of argument), and thematic links (e.g., the repeated use of זֶ֨רַע יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל). כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָ֗ה and נְאֻם־יְהוָה are placed roughly at the beginning and end of each part to mark its boundaries. In unit 4, vv.38-39 present the topographical extent of the New Jerusalem; and v.40 declares the land’s consecration to YHWH, the key word לַיהוָה linking both halves.

(2) The second halves of units 1, 2, and 4 all possess an element of contrast.[4] Note the use of a contrastive כִּי and negative temporal modifier עוֹד … לֹא, all within the temporal boundaries of “those days” (vv.29, 33), to mark off the second parts units 1 and 2. Unit 4 also shares this element of contrast with its use of לֹֽא … וְלֹא (“neither … nor”) in v.40.

And (3), although not decisive, the Masorete’s placement of Setumas following vv.26, 30, 34, 36, 37, and 40 supports these proposed subdivisions.[5]

Despite these divisions, a variety of thematic and lexical links hold 31:27-40 together as a literary whole. (1) Both v.27 and v.31 use אֶת־בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֶת־בֵּית יְהוּדָה, the exact phrase used nowhere else in the OT,[6] to introduce the object of each section. (2) The use of זֶרַע (vv.27, 36, 37) establishes a lexical link between units 1 and 3. (3) נָתַשׁ and הָרַס are used in both v.28 and v.40, forming something of an inclusio to the entire passage. (4) עָוֹן occurs in both v.30 and v.34, in both cases having the same referent—the cause of exile. (5) A conceptual link exists between the temporal markers כָּל־הַיָּמִים (v.36) and עוֹד לְעוֹלָם (v.37). And finally, (6) the prolific use of ע֖וֹד throughout the passage (i.e., 5x) exemplifies its literary unity.

Having examined the broader literary unit of 31:27-40, this paper will now narrow its focus to examining specifically unit 2, vv.31-34.

Immediate Context

Literary

As noted above, Jer 31:31-34 occurs within the second section (31:27-40) of what is often called ‘The Book of Consolation’ (Jer 30-31), which has as its subject matter the future restoration of Israel and Judah. The four parts of this second section comprise a unified literary unit; and each intersects with 31:31-34’s new covenant theme. Vv.27-30 anticipate the “re-sowing” of exiles. Vv.29-30’s expectation of a focus on individual responsibility parallels 31:34’s concern with individual and unmediated knowledge of YHWH. Vv.35-37 present the enduring commitment of YHWH, a commitment to be formalized and expressed in the new covenant of vv.31-34. Finally, vv.38-40 refer to the new Jerusalem, a prophetic hope that is to be associated with the enactment of a new covenant.

Historical

Jer 30-31 addresses a Judahite audience and has as its historical background the fall and exile of both Israel and Judah. Because of this subject matter, Bullock locates the time of writing to the period just after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC.[7] On the other hand, Lundbom suggests a time just prior to Jerusalem’s destruction.[8] Both options are plausible. Allen argues that the use of the exilic proverb (Jer 31:29; cf. Ezek 18:2) reflects an exilic setting.[9] However, although this may reflect the time of the exile, Jeremiah did not go into exile, but remained at Mizpah (Jer 40:1-6) until be forced to relocate to Egypt (Jer 42-44). Thus, in conclusion, Jer 30-31 was most likely written in response to and around the time of the fall of Jerusalem, either following that event or anticipating it.

Form

Micro-Structure

As noted, this section divides into two subsections marked off by נְאֻם־יְהוָה formulas, the former (vv.31-32) stating what the covenant will not be like, the latter (vv.33-34) what it will be like. Each centers on the covenant that will be cut (כָּרַת + בְּרִית) and involves an identification of its recipient (see __ אֶת־בֵּ֨ית occurrences; vv.31, 33). In the first section, this covenant is described by a negative modifier (לֹא כַבְּרִית), which is further modified by two relative clauses (see uses of אֲשֶׁר). The second section begins and closes with contrastive כִּי phrases, which mark off vv.33-34 as a contrast to vv.31-32. The covenant is introduced in v.33 and then described with two positive affirmations (v.33) and two negative denials (v.34). The negative denials are both marked by עוֹד … לֹא in chiastic structure.

Genre

A distinction in genre parallels the distinction of subsections. Vv.31-33 is composed of prose while vv.33-34 is predominantly poetry (see appendix).[10] One can note the obvious parallelisms and chiasms throughout vv.33-34.

Detail Analysis

Besides being future, the timeframe of this covenant-making is left unspecified (הִנֵּ֛ה יָמִ֥ים בָּאִ֖ים). The participants of this covenant are marked out by the direct objects אֶת־בֵּ֧ית יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל וְאֶת־בֵּ֥ית יְהוּדָ֖ה and the first person pronouns (=YHWH) littered throughout vv.31-34. This excessive use of first person pronouns draws attention to the divine initiative and involvement in these affairs.[11] The identification of both Israel and Judah as members of this covenant[12] is in effect an implicit promise of a united kingdom (explicit in Jer 3:18; 50:4-5; Ezek 37:21, 22; Hos 1:11). At the same time, it is a painful admission of a history characterized by division. In light of the reference to both kingdoms in v.31, the use of “Israel” without mention of Judah in v.33 should be understood as either a rhetorical abbreviation for both[13] or as a reversion to its original theocratic sense with its immediate referent here being this new, united, eschatological people.[14]

Jeremiah describes this covenant as new. חָדָשׁ is used throughout the prophets to denote the future, eschatological, saving work of God (e.g., Isa 42:9; 43:19; 62:2; Ezek 11:19; 18:31; 36:26). Here it is a newness that is relative to the oldness of a now antecedent covenant. This newness has typological dimensions since that which is new exists on a trajectory established by the pattern of the old (cf. Isa 65:17; 66:22).

That the old covenant is the Mosaic covenant is made clear by the reference to the exodus (לְהוֹצִיאָ֖ם מֵאֶ֖רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם) and אֲבוֹתָ֔ם, i.e., the exodus generation. This covenant is described by two relative clauses that function not only to identify the covenant but also to expose the heinousness of Israel’s rebellion.[15] First, it was made בְּיוֹם֙ הֶחֱזִיקִ֣י בְיָדָ֔ם, a figure of speech used elsewhere to express strengthening, equipping, or making able (see 1 Sam 23:16-17; Neh 2:18; 6:9). In other words, the exodus was not accomplished by their own strength or wit, but by YHWH’s might. Second, this covenant was broken or breached (most likely a specific historical event is not in view, but rather Israel and Judah’s rebellion generally).[16] It was broken although (=concessive waw) בָּעַ֥לְתִּי בָ֖ם. בָּעַל can mean (1) to marry or be husband to or (2) to rule or be lord. Here it most likely means to be husband, with a particular emphasis on the authority of the husband over the bride.[17] A marriage metaphor suits the covenant-theme in which apostasy is often depicted as adultery (Jer 3:1-3, 6-14; Ezek 16; Hos 1-3).[18] Furthermore, Jeremiah makes use of the marriage metaphor elsewhere (2:2; 3:1-3, 6-14, see especially בָּעַל in 3:14).[19]

The referent of the “days” in v.33 cannot be identical with that of v.31 since vv.31-32 and vv.33-34 refer to the same covenant-making (כָּרַת + בְּרִית). Rather, “days” in v.33 most likely refers to the time of God’s judgment.[20] However, both phrases (יָמִ֥ים בָּאִ֖ים [v.31] and אַחֲרֵ֨י הַיָּמִ֤ים הָהֵם֙ [v.33]) refer to a time when that judgment is complete.

When in v.33 Jeremiah sets out to affirm what the covenant is (כִּ֣י זֹ֣את הַבְּרִ֡ית אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֶכְרֹת֩), one expects a list of obligations, conditions, curses, etc. But to the audience’s surprise, one only finds promises.[21] First, using the imagery drawn from God’s writing his law on stone tablets (Ex 32:15-16), YHWH promises to engrave his moral instruction and guidance (תּוֹרָה) on his people’s hearts (note the reversal of Jer 17:1; cf. the heart’s wickedness in 3:17; 5:23; 17:9), to make his law a part of their very constitution[22] such that covenant faithfulness will be a natural consequence (cf. Ps 37:31; 40:8; 119:11). Second, the new covenant will mean the realization of the common covenant formula וְהָיִ֤יתִי לָהֶם֙ לֵֽאלֹהִ֔ים וְהֵ֖מָּה יִֽהְיוּ־לִ֥י לְעָֽם, which expresses the ultimate aim of God’s covenant purposes—mutual commitment and faithfulness.[23] Third, whereas the Mosaic covenant instructed the people to teach the law to their children (Deut 6:4–9; 11:18-20) and involved constant reminders to the people to remain faithful to their covenant and God (Deut 4:23; 5:1, 32; 6:3, 12, 35; 8:11), the new covenant will make void such things because כוּלָּם֩ יֵדְע֨וּ אוֹתִ֜י. This is an apparent result of the internalization of YHWH’s law (cf. Hos 4:6). Knowledge of YHWH, according to Jeremiah, involves apprehension of his character and a commitment to his will (Jer 2:8; 4:22; 9:23-24; 22:15-16; 24:7). This knowledge will remedy the failure of the leaders-teachers of Israel to tell their fellow Israelites, “Know YHWH!” (see Jer 2:8; 8:8; 23; cf. Hos 4:4-6). The expanse of such knowledge is described as לְמִקְטַנָּ֤ם וְעַד־גְּדוֹלָם, a merism that shows the universal extent of this knowledge (note the reversal of Jer 6:13; 8:10).[24] And finally, the grounds for this covenant will be the forgiveness of sins. “The LORD will write the torah (‘instruction, law’) on a heart polished smooth by forgiveness. . . .”[25] זכר (to remember) often implies taking appropriate action based ‘memory’ (e.g., Ex 2:24; Lev 26:44-45; Hos 7:1-2l 8:13).[26] Thus, to remember sins no more is to eliminate any grounds for punishment (note the reversal of Jer 5:7; 14:10).

Synthesis

In Jer 31:31-34 Jeremiah promises a fundamentally new relationship between YHWH and his people formalized in a new, eschatological covenant. Jeremiah presents three features of this new covenant that demonstrate its “not-like-ness” (vv.33-34) in comparison to the old covenant. (1) The internalization of God’s law. In the old covenant, God’s law was written on tablets of stone (see Ex 24:7, 12; 31:18; 34:27-29; Deut 4:13; 5:22; 10:1-4; 31:9-13). In other words, it was exterior to the people and thus unable to produce the obedience it demanded (cf. Rom 7:4-25; 2 Cor 3:6-8). In the new covenant, God’s instruction will be impressed upon the inner intentionality of his people, resulting in their willful obedience (cf. Rom 2:25-29; 7:4-6; 8:1-4; 2 Cor 3:1-18). (2) Universal knowledge of God among his people (Isa 54:13; Jer 24:7; Hos 2:20). This implies a change from the mediatorial structure of the Mosaic covenant (cf. 31:29-30). Knowledge of God will no longer be mediated through uniquely appointed individuals but will be immediate and personal among all (cf. Mt 23:8-10; 1 Jn 2:27). And (3) its grounds—forgiveness of sins. The new covenant offers a forgiveness of sins that the old covenant could not ultimately provide (cf. Heb 9:11-15; 10:1-18).

Canonical Considerations

Precedence

Prior to its explicit prediction in Jer 31, many antecedent texts established a trajectory, a divine-aim, that anticipates what the new covenant will eventually bring about (Deut 6:6; 10:16; 11:18; cf. Jer 4:4). And as far back as the Pentateuch the inadequacy of the Mosaic covenant and the need for a future work of God’s grace was already recognized (Deut 29:4; 30:1-10).

Parallels

Although Jer 31:31 contains the only occurrence “new covenant” in the OT, many other OT passages also speak of this covenant in similar terms (Isa 42:6; 49:8; 54:10; 55:3; 59:21; 61:8; Jer 32:40; 50:4; Ezek 16:60-63; 34:25; 37:26; Hos 2:18-23), anticipate its content (e.g., Isa 43:25; 51:7; Ezek 16:63; 37:23-25; Hos 2:16-17), or speak of new eschatological realities that are to be associated with this new covenant such as a new exodus (e.g., Jer 31:27-30; 50:4-5; Ezek 11:16-18; 37:21, 25-26; Hos 2:14-15), a new David (e.g., Ezek 34:23-23; Ezek 27:22, 24-25), and a new Jerusalem (e.g., Isa 65:17-25; Jer 31:38-40; Ezek 37:26-28). Especially noteworthy is the promise of a new Spirit to create within the people a new heart that beats after God’s will (Isa 44:3; 59:21; Jer 24:7; 32:39-40; 37:14; Ezek 11:19-20; 18:31; 36:25-27; cf. Joel 2:28-29)—a promise that has a cause-to-effect relationship with Jeremiah’s promise of the internalization of God’s law.

Fulfillment

The NT identifies the ratification of this new covenant with the death of Jesus (Mt 26:28; Ml 14:24; Lk 22:20; 1 Cor 11:25; Heb 9:18). He is the mediator of this better covenant (Heb 7:22; 8:6-13; 9:15). In him its promises are realized (e.g., Acts 2:33; Rom 7:4-6; 8:1-4; 2 Cor 3; Heb 7-10). Yet, it should be noted that this realization is not yet a full realization. The fulfillment of the new covenant falls within the “already/not yet” framework.

Recipient

Whereas the NT reveals the Church to be the recipient of the new covenant, Jeremiah identifies the subject of these promises as Israel and Judah (31:31, 33). Yet, even within its immediate OT context, one should not view “the house of Israel and the house of Judah” (Jer 31:31) as demanding exclusivity. Many OT texts anticipate that gentiles will also be included within this eschatological Israel of which Jeremiah speaks (e.g., Ps 87; Isa 19:19-25; 49:6; Zech 8:20-23), an expectation that finds its realization in the Church (e.g., Rom 4:9-17; 11:17-24; 1 Cor 11:25; 2 Cor 7:1; Gal 3:8-9, 14, 26-29; 6:15-16; Eph 2:11-3:6; Phil 3; Heb 8:6-13; 9:15; 10:16-17; etc.). Thus, the NT’s identification of the Church as the new covenant community, the eschatological Israel, should not be viewed as nullifying OT promises to ethnic Israel (see Rom 11:26-27), but as expanding and developing them.

Discontinuity and Continuity

Much debate centers around the question of whether this passage depicts a renewed or fundamentally new covenant. And if new, in what sense? What is the newness of the new covenant? Is the new covenant quantitatively or qualitatively different from the Mosaic covenant? One’s answer to these questions has significant theological implications.[27]

A variety of reasons indicate that the new covenant should be viewed as a fundamentally new and qualitatively different covenant, one that supersedes the Mosaic covenant. (1) Most obviously, Jeremiah stresses the discontinuity between these covenants. This new covenant is “not like” the Mosaic covenant (v.32).[28] (2) Jeremiah’s language indicates that he is referring to two distinct covenants, not merely one covenant that is to be renewed (see, “But this is the covenant. . . .” [v.33] in distinction from the other covenant in v.32). (3) If Wellum and Gentry’s case holds true that כרת ברית always refers to the initiation or ratification of a covenant, which it appears it does,[29] then the use of כרת ברית in v.31 indicates the making of a distinctively new covenant. (4) The text’s implicit affirmation of the Mosaic covenant’s inadequacy, as indicated by its brokenness (v.32) and the very need for a new covenant (vv.33-34), suggests that a mere renewal of a covenant of the same kind would be equally inadequate.[30] And (5), the NT apparently understands the new covenant to be one that supersedes and is fundamentally different from the old (e.g., 2 Cor 3:7-11; Heb 8:13).

Nonetheless, an important point of continuity should be noted. The תּוֹרָה, which is to be engraved on the heart, has as its most obvious referent the Mosaic תּוֹרָה. Thus, (at least to some degree and in some sense—something to be worked out in more detail in the NT) what does not change in the change of covenants is the instruction and moral obligations of God.

Pastoral Reflection

In closing, the following pastoral reflections on this passage can be made: (1) This text confronts its audience with the inability and impotency of sinful humanity. Israel’s condition is humanity’s condition. And Israel’s condition under the Mosaic covenant was such that it demanded a new covenant that would actually concern itself with addressing that condition. (2) Salvation is not a human invention or solution devised by man, but is of God’s initiative. The new covenant stands in contrast to the covenant renewals throughout Israel’s history in which men and women sought to muster faithfulness through their own initiative. The new covenant is a promise originating from the plan of God. (3) This passage, especially in its redemptive historical context, makes clear that faithfulness, obedience, and forgiveness are divine gifts, not human achievements. And (4) the new covenant, and its associative eschatological realities, presents the fullness and breadth of the extent of God’s salvation. Its breadth counters any tendency towards unbiblical narrowness in one’s conception of the Gospel.


Appendix: A Translation of Jeremiah 31:27-40

A Reversal of Exile Resulting from Past Sins

27 “Behold, days are coming”—a declaration of YHWH—“when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah [with] the seed of humanity and the seed of animals. 28 And it shall be that as I watched over them to uproot and to tear down and to throw drown, and to destroy and to bring calamity, so I will watch over them to build up and to plant”—a declaration of YHWH.

29 “In those days, they shall no longer say,
‘The fathers have eaten unripe fruit;
and the children’s teeth have become blunt.’

30 But each shall die for his own iniquity. Everyone who eats unripe fruit, his teeth shall become blunt.”

A New Covenant

31 “Behold, days are coming”—a declaration of YHWH—“when I will cut with the house of Israel and the house of Judah a new covenant, 32 not like the covenant that I cut with their fathers in the day when I strengthened their hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, that covenant of mine that they broke although I myself was a husband to them”—a declaration of YHWH.

33 “But this is the covenant that I will cut with the house of Israel after those days”—a declaration of YHWH:

“I will put my law [or: instruction] in their inner being;
and on their heart I will write it. [*Chiasm]
And I myself will be their God;
and they themselves will be my people.
34 And they shall no longer teach each one his neighbor
and each one his brother, saying, [*Chiasm]
‘Know YHWH,’
for all of them shall know me,
from the least of them to the greatest of them”
—a declaration of YHWH.
“But I will forgive their iniquity;
and their sin I will no longer remember.” [*Chiasm]

YHWH’s Enduring Commitment

35 Thus says YHWH,

who gives the sun for light by day,
the ordinances of the moon and the stars for light by night,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar
—YHWH of hosts is his name.
36 “If these ordinances cease,
from before me”—a declaration of YHWH—
“then will of the seed of Israel cease
from being a nation before me for all days.”

37 Thus says YHWH,

“If the heavens above can be measured,
and the foundations of the earth below can be explored,
then I will reject all the seed of Israel
for of all that they have done”
—a declaration of YHWH.

A New Jerusalem

38 “Behold, days are coming”—a declaration of YHWH—“when the city shall be built for YHWH from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39 And the measuring line will go out farther, straight to the high of Gareb; and it shall turn to Goah.

40 And the whole valley of corpses and ashes, and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east shall be holy unto YHWH. It shall neither be uprooted nor thrown down for all times.”


Bibliography

Allen, Leslie C. Jeremiah: A Commentary. The Old Testament Library. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2008.

Bullock, C. Hassell. An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophetic Books. Kindle Electronic Edition. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2007.

Dearman, J. Andrew. Jeremiah and Lamentations. The NIV Application Commentary Series. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002.

Francis Brown, Samuel Rolles Driver, and Charles Augustus Briggs. Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Logos Research Systems, 2001.

Gentry, Peter J., and Stephen J. Wellum. Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012.

Harrison, R. K. Jeremiah and Lamentations: an Introduction and Commentary. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1973.

Harris, R. Laird, Gleason L. Archer, and Bruce K. Waltke. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1980.

Holladay, William Lee. A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, Based Upon the Lexical Work of Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1971.

———. Jeremiah 2: A Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, Chapters 26-52. Hermeneia–A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1989

Huey, F. B. Jeremiah, Lamentations. The New American Commentary. Vol. 16. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1993.

Keown, Gerald L., Pamela J. Scalise, and Thomas G. Smothers. Jeremiah 26-52. Vol. 2. Word Biblical Commentary. Dallas, TX: Word Books, 1991.

Lundbom, Jack R. Jeremiah 21-36: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. The Anchor Bible. Vol. 21B. New York: Doubleday, 2004.

McConville, Gordon. “Jeremiah.” New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition. Edited by D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, and G. J. Wenham. 4th ed. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994.

Thompson, J. A. The Book of Jeremiah. The New International Commentary on the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1980.


Notes

[1] 31:38 lacks בָּאִים; but note that it is supplied as a Qere in the MT (see also the BHS’s text critical note 38 a). At minimum, הִנֵּה יָמִים נְאֻם־יְהוָה in 31:38 is still an obvious variation of הִנֵּה יָמִים בָּאִים נְאֻם־יְהוָה elsewhere.

[2] As Leslie C. Allen notes, כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָ֗ה should be understood to be a stylistic variant of הִנֵּה יָמִים בָּאִים נְאֻם־יְהוָה used elsewhere (Jeremiah: A Commentary, The Old Testament Library [Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2008], 354). This variation may be due to vv.35-37’s poetic form in which הִנֵּה יָמִים בָּאִים נְאֻם־יְהוָה followed by a waw-perfect would not be fitting.

[3] The following modified points were influenced by observations made be Allen (Ibid., 353) and Jack R. Lundbom (Jeremiah 21-36: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, The Anchor Bible, Vol. 21B [New York: Doubleday, 2004], 453–458).

[4] The following observations were spurred on by Allen’s noting the use ofעוֹד … לֹא (“no longer”) in this section (Jeremiah, 353).

[5] Interestingly, the placement of a Setuma after v.36 divides what I have proposed to be unit (vv.35-37). However, this placement of the Setuma seems to indicate recognition of the two-part structure of vv.35-37 (although the Masoretes have not marked off the two-part structures of the other units as I have identified them).

[6] However, note the use of a nearly identical phrase, בֵית־יִשְׂרָאֵל וּבֵית יְהוּדָה, in Jer 5:11, 11:10, and 11:17.

[7] C. Hassell Bullock, An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophetic Books (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2007), Kindle Electronic Edition, Chapter 9: Jeremiah, Locations 4473-4476.

[8] Lundbom, Jeremiah 21-36, 471.

[9] Allen, Jeremiah, 353.

[10] I am indebted to William Lee Holladay for this observation (Jeremiah 2: A Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, Chapters 26-52, Hermeneia–A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible [Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1989], 197).

[11] F. B. Huey, Jeremiah, Lamentations, The New American Commentary, Vol. 16 (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1993), 284.

[12] Some suggest removing וְאֶת־בֵּ֥ית יְהוּדָ֖ה since it does not appear in v.33. However, there is no textual support for its exclusion. And, in fact, its inclusion in v.27 supports its inclusion in v.31.

[13] Lundbom, Jeremiah 21-36, 466.

[14] This idea was inspired by Holladay (Jeremiah 2, 198) and Allen (Jeremiah, 356).

[15] Allen, Jeremiah, 356.

[16] Interestingly, in Jer 14:19-22 the people plead with YHWH not to break covenant, whereas here it is the people who have broken covenant.

[17] Lundbom notes that the meanings to be lord and to be husband were “largely interchangeable in ancient culture, especially when used metaphorically” (Jeremiah 21-36, 467).

[18] Gerald L. Keown, Pamela J. Scalise, and Thomas G. Smothers, Jeremiah 26-52, vol. Vol. 2, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas, TX: Word Books, 1991), 132.

[19] Interestingly, the LXX [38:32] has καὶ ἐγὼ ἠμέλησα αὐτῶν (“and I loathed them”) which would read בעלתי as נעלתי (I neglected or I repudiated). This reading is represented in Heb 8:9.

[20] Keown, Scalise, and Smothers, Jeremiah 26-52, 132.

[21] Ibid., 133.

[22] Or as one might say today, God will download his תּוֹרָה onto the hard drives of his people.

[23] See uses elsewhere: Ex 6:7; Lev 26:11-12; Deut 26:16-19; 29:10-13; Jer 7:23; 11:4; 24:7; 30:22; 31:1, 9; 32:38; Ezek 11:20; 14:11; 24:30-31; 36:28; 37:23, 27; Hos. 2:23; Zech. 8:8; 13:9; 2 Cor 6:16; Rev. 21:3, 7.

[24] Difficulty exists as to whether this phrase has age or status in view. Holladay summarizes well: “The phrase appears in 6:13 in the context of a listing of the population from children to aged (6:11), and the implication of ‘teaching’ in Deuteronomy is that of teaching one’s children. On the other hand, the context of a similar contrast in 5:4–5 (where the word ‘great’ is identical, but ‘poor’ appears instead of ‘least’) is that of social class (one notes that that passage deals with ‘knowing the way of Yahweh’).” (Jeremiah 2, 198–199). See also 2 Kgs 23:2.

[25] Keown, Scalise, and Smothers, Jeremiah 26-52, 135.

[26] R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1980), 241.

[27] For example, the key difference between the Reformed and the Reformed Baptists centers on differing views concerning the relationship between the old and new covenants. Covenant Theology, from its view that there exists a fundamental structural continuity between the covenants of grace, advocates a paedobaptism corresponding to the rite of circumcision under the Mosaic covenant and a “mixed membership” (i.e., the covenant community being composed of regenerate and unregenerate alike) paralleling the Mosaic community. Reformed Baptists, on the other hand, who stress a discontinuity and newness to the new covenant, hold to credobaptism and an all-regenerate church membership.

[28] Reference the three features of discontinuity presented under “Synthesis” above.

[29] Peter J. Gentry and Stephen J. Wellum, Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012).

[30] As F. B. Huey notes, there had been several covenant renewals throughout Israel’s history. What was needed was not a renewed covenant but a fundamentally new and different covenant. (Jeremiah, Lamentations, The New American Commentary v.16 [Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1993], 280.)

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