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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Jeremiah 31

 

 

Verse 1

Jeremiah 31:1 At the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.

Ver. 1. At the same time,] i.e., In the beginning of Zedekiah’s reign, as before, was this word uttered. Or rather, in those latter times forementioned, [Jeremiah 30:24] after the return from Babylon, but especially in the days of the Messiah. The modern Jews vainly apply it to the coming of their Messiah, quem tantis etiamnum ululatibus exposcunt, whom they yet expect, but to no purpose.


Verse 2

Jeremiah 31:2 Thus saith the LORD, The people [which were] left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; [even] Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.

Ver. 2. The people that were left of the sword.] Of Pharaoh’s sword, who pursued them; and though he smote them not, because the Lord kept him off, yet he is said to have done it: (a) like as Balak afterwards "arose and fought against Israel," [Joshua 24:9] he had a mind so to have done, but that he was overawed: he did not indeed, because he dared not.

When I went to bring him to rest,] i.e., To the land of Canaan, after so long trouble and travel. I effected that then, though it were held improbable or impossible: so will I do this promised reduction of my people from Babylon.


Verse 3

Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, [saying], Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

Ver. 3. The Lord hath appeared of old unto me.] This seemeth to be the people’s objection. (a) You tell us what was done of old; but these are ancient things, and little pertaining to us, who are now under a heavy captivity; iam refrixit et obsoleta videtur Dei beneficentia. Hereunto is answered,

Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love.] I am one and the same. I am Jehovah that change not, whatever thou mayest think of me, because I seem angry at thy misdoings.

Therefore with lovingkinduess have I drawn thee.] Or, Therefore will I draw out lovingkindness towards thee. {as Psalms 36:10} {See Trapp on "Psalms 36:10"}


Verse 4

Jeremiah 31:4 Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.

Ver. 4. Again I will build thee.] See Jeremiah 34:18.

Thou shalt be adorned with thy tabrets.] All shall be hail and merry with thee as heretofore: yea, thou shalt have spiritual joy, which is res severa, severe and solid, such as doth not only smoothe the brow, but fill the breast.


Verse 5

Jeremiah 31:5 Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and shall eat [them] as common things.

Ver. 5. Thou shalt yet plant vines.] Profunda pax erit: nemo te perterrefaciet. Thou shalt have plenty, peace, and security.

The planters shall plant them, and shall eat them as common things,] i.e., Shall have God’s good leave and liking so to do. Heb., Shall profane them, i.e., not abuse them, but use them freely, even to an honest affluence. See Leviticus 19:23. {See Trapp on "Leviticus 19:23"}


Verse 6

Jeremiah 31:6 For there shall be a day, [that] the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the LORD our God.

Ver. 6. The watchmen upon the mount Ephraim.] Such as are set to keep those vineyards. [Jeremiah 31:5]

Shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion.] As the ten tribes first made defection, so shall they be forwardest in the reformation. England was the like alate.


Verse 7

Jeremiah 31:7 For thus saith the LORD Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel.

Ver. 7. Shout among the chief of the nations.] Heb., Neigh unto the heads of the nations, ut illa vobis adhinniant et pariter in Christi fide iubilent, that they may join joys with you, and help to make up the choir.

Publish ye, and praise ye, and say, O Lord, save.] The saints have never so much matter of praise, but that they may at the same time find cause enough to pray for more mercy. [Psalms 18:3]


Verse 8

Jeremiah 31:8 Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, [and] with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither.

Ver. 8. Behold, I will bring them.] Here is a present answer to such a prayer; and this promise hath its performance chiefly in the kingdom of Christ, who will not suffer the least or the weakest of his to miscarry. See Isaiah 35:5-6.


Verse 9

Jeremiah 31:9 They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim [is] my firstborn.

Ver. 9. They shall come with weeping.] Prae gaudio, inquit, flebunt, before happiness, it is said, they were weeping, they shall weep for joy, having first soaked themselves in godly sorrow by the spirit of grace and of supplications or deprecations poured upon them, [Zechariah 12:10] being solicitous about their salvation.

And I will make them to walk by the rivers of waters.] Heb., To the brooks of waters, i.e., to the holy ordinances. {as Psalms 23:3}

For I am a Father to Israel.] I do all of free grace.

Ephraim is my firstborn.] And therefore higher than the kings of the earth. [Psalms 89:27]


Verse 10

Jeremiah 31:10 Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare [it] in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd [doth] his flock.

Ver. 10. Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations.] Hear and bear witness of the gracious promises that I make to my people; for I would have them noted and noticed.


Verse 11

Jeremiah 31:11 For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of [him that was] stronger than he.

Ver. 11. For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob.] Redemption is a voluminous mercy, an accumulative blessing.

From the hand of him that was stronger than he,] scil., The Chaldean, but especially from Satan. [Matthew 12:29 John 12:31]


Verse 12

Jeremiah 31:12 Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all.

Ver. 12. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion,] i.e., In the temple shall they celebrate that singular mercy, in the congregation of the faithful.

And shall flow together,] i.e., Flock together by troops and caravans; flock thither by shoals.

To the goodness of the Lord.] Or, To the goods of the Lord, such as here instanced, wheat, wine, and oil; whereby also better things are figured. A confluence of inward and outward mercies is here assured the saints.

And their soul shall be as a watered garden.] Where every good thing comes forward amain mens faecundata est rore coelesti. See Isaiah 58:11.

And they shall not sorrow any more at all.] As those do who have not this contented godliness, but serve various lusts, to their great vexation.


Verse 13

Jeremiah 31:13 Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.

Ver. 13. And make them rejoice from their sorrow.] Or, After their sorrow. I will turn all their sadness into gladness, their sighing into singing, their tears into triumphs, &c.


Verse 14

Jeremiah 31:14 And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the LORD.

Ver. 14. And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness,] i.e., Provide liberally for my ministers; [Isaiah 66:21] they and theirs shall be well maintained. Terms taken from the good and fat parts of the sacrifices, which were allotted for the priests.


Verse 15

Jeremiah 31:15 Thus saith the LORD A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, [and] bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they [were] not.

Ver. 15. A voice was heard in Ramah.] It was once, when the poor captives were carried that way to Babylon, the mothers bitterly bewailing their Luctuosam faeunditatem. It was also another time, when Herod barbarously butchered the babes of Bethlehem. [Matthew 2:16-18] But now the case is altered, joy is restored, &c.

Rachel weeping for her children.] An elegant personification. {See Trapp on "Matthew 2:18"}


Verse 16

Jeremiah 31:16 Thus saith the LORD Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the LORD and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.

Ver. 16. Refrain thy voice from weeping.] Take up in time, O Rachel, and the rest; God comforteth the abject, [2 Corinthians 7:7] he restoreth comfort to his mourners. [Isaiah 57:18]


Verse 17

Jeremiah 31:17 And there is hope in thine end, saith the LORD, that thy children shall come again to their own border.

Ver. 17. And there is hope in the end.] Or, For thy posterity. Tribulation causeth patience, and patience experience, and experience hope; lively hope, such as maketh not ashamed, is not disappointed, Spes in fundo. Hope in the depths. God can recompense his people’s patience and obedience, in their heirs and executors.


Verse 18

Jeremiah 31:18 I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself [thus]; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed [to the yoke]: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou [art] the LORD my God.

Ver. 18. I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself.] Heb., Hearing I have heard; his moans and laments have rung in mine ears. So Hosea 14:8, "I have heard him, and observed him." This is God’s speech concerning the Christian Church of the Jews; for in this sermon we may easily observe a frequent change of persons, tanquam in opere dramatico, as in an interlude.

Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised,] i.e., I was chastised to good purpose, taught my duty. {as Psalms 94:12}

Turn thou me.] Give me the whole turn, that I be not as an untamed sturdy heifer, or as a cake half baked.


Verse 19

Jeremiah 31:19 Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon [my] thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth.

Ver. 19. Surely after that I was turned, I repented.] After that I had turned short again upon myself, as those penitents, [1 Kings 8:47] as Manasseh, the publican, [Luke 18:13] and that prodigal. [Luke 15:17]

And after that I was instructed.] Postquam ostensum fuerit mihi. (a) After that I knew myself, or rather was made known to myself - scil., by mine afflictions sanctified; for Schola crucis, schola lucis. The followers of the cross are the followers of light. Afflictions are those pillulae lucis, that serve notably to clear the soul’s eye sight.

I smote upon my thigh,] (b) Sicut mulierculae in puerperio facere solent, saith Luther, as travailing women use to do. It is a token of greatest grief. See Ezekiel 21:12.

I was ashamed, yea, even confounded.] Abashed and abased to the utmost; my sorrow was deep and downright.

Because I did bear the reproach of my youth,] i.e., The brunt and burden of my reproachful practices in my youth. See Job 13:26, Psalms 25:7.


Verse 20

Jeremiah 31:20 [Is] Ephraim my dear son? [is he] a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the LORD.

Ver. 20. Is Ephraim a dear son? is he a pleasant child?] q.d., Ay sure he is; and never more dear and pleasant than when thus beblubbered; like as some faces appear most oriently beautiful when they are most enstamped with sorrow. Heb., Is he a child of delight? q.d., He may seem to be otherwise by my hard dealing with him; but so he is assuredly - "Behold, he whom thou lovest is sick." [John 11:3]

For since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still.] Or, So oft as I speak of him, I am mindful still of him. See Isaiah 49:14; Isaiah 49:16.

Therefore my bowels are troubled for him.] Perstrepunt viscera mea. My bowels work, as that mother’s did toward her child; [1 Kings 3:26] as Croesus’ dumb son’s did, when seeing a fellow ready to kill his father, he burst out into, Kill not king Croesus. (a) See Hosea 11:8. {See Trapp on "Hosea 11:8"}


Verse 21

Jeremiah 31:21 Set thee up waymarks, make thee high heaps: set thine heart toward the highway, [even] the way [which] thou wentest: turn again, O virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities.

Ver. 21. Set thee up waymarks.] Statue tibi statuas Mercuriales - q.d., I will surely bring thee back by the same way thou wentest hence into captivity; therefore take good notice of the way now, that thou mayest know it again another time. This God saith to quicken their faith, and to ascertain them of his love and favour; which is not like the winter sun, which casteth a goodly countenance when it shineth, but giveth little heat and comfort, &c. We must also set up waymarks, observe how we fell from the Lord, repent and do our first works.

Set thine heart towards the highway.] This is done, saith Augustine, when God is sought for God’s sake. Sed vix diligitur Iesus propter Iesum, saith the same Father; but this is rarely done.


Verse 22

Jeremiah 31:22 How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man.

Ver. 22. How long will thou go about?] Hunting after human helps, and - refusing to set thy heart on the right straight way [Jeremiah 31:21] - fetch a compass, to thy loss of time and labour.

O thou backsliding daughter.] Who wast at times O virgin of Israel. [Jeremiah 31:21]

For the Lord hath created a new thing in the earth.] Or, Will create; he is even about it.

A woman shall compass a man.] i.e., Say some, the Jews (who are now looked upon as weak women, and may say Imbelles damae, quid nisi turba sumus?). shall compass about, and conquer the Chaldees, those men of might - Sicut hostis circundat hostem. Or, As others sense it, the Church Christian, how weak soever at first it may seem, and inconsiderable, yet shall be able, by the confession of her faith, to resist her most potent persecutors, and by faith to overcome them, [1 John 5:4] as she did in the apostles, [Acts 4:13-14; Acts 4:33; Acts 5:18-19; Acts 5:38-42] in the noble army of martyrs and confessors. The text is generally understood to be Christ’s wonderful conception in the womb of his virgin mother.


Verse 23

Jeremiah 31:23 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; As yet they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity; The LORD bless thee, O habitation of justice, [and] mountain of holiness.

Ver. 23. Thus saith the Lord of hosts.] Et haec pertinent ad regnum Christi propriissime. These words also, to the end of the chapter, do most properly pertain to the kingdom of Christ, saith Oeecolampadius.

As yet.] Or, Yet again. {as Jeremiah 31:5}

The Lord bless thee.] This prayer is daily made for the Church by all her children.


Verse 24

Jeremiah 31:24 And there shall dwell in Judah itself, and in all the cities thereof together, husbandmen, and they [that] go forth with flocks.

Ver. 24. Husbandmen, and those that go out with flocks.] Agricolae et pecuarii; the citizens of the Church shall be plain hearted and profitable persons, living together in amity, and not jarring, as husbandmen and shepherds oft do; Cain and Abel for instance.


Verse 25

Jeremiah 31:25 For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.

Ver. 25. For I have satiated the weary soul.] Or, I will satiate, fill them with my fulness, so that they shall have enough for their own, and not emulate others. A good man shall be satisfied from himself, [Proverbs 14:14] as knowing within himself that, whatever he hath here, little or much, he hath in heaven a better and more enduring substance. [Hebrews 10:34]


Verse 26

Jeremiah 31:26 Upon this I awaked, and beheld; and my sleep was sweet unto me.

Ver. 26. Upon this I awaked.] Out of my prophetic dream.

And my sleep was sweet unto me,] i.e., The promises (Christ in the promises) were sweet unto me, and I was as much refreshed therewith, as with sound sleep after hard toil or travel.


Verse 27

Jeremiah 31:27 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast.

Ver. 27. I will sow the house of Israel.] I will repeople the country, and raise up many believers to Christ.


Verse 28

Jeremiah 31:28 And it shall come to pass, [that] like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the LORD.

Ver. 28. Like as I have watched over them.] I have been sedulous and assiduous.

To pluck up and break down, &c.] See Jeremiah 1:10-11; Jeremiah 10:12; Jeremiah 18:7.

So I will watch.] I will make them a plentiful amends.


Verse 29

Jeremiah 31:29 In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.

Ver. 29. In those days they shall say no more.] There shall be rectius de operibus Dei iudicium, a more correct judgment passed upon God’s proceedings. See about this byword, Ezekiel 18:2.


Verse 30

Jeremiah 31:30 But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.

Ver. 30. But every one shall die for his own iniquity,] i.e., Every unbeliever shall: neither shall the gospel save him.


Verse 31

Jeremiah 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

Ver. 31. I will make a new covenant.] The same for substance with the former made with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and the Israelites in the wilderness; but new in respect of the form thereof, the manner of dispensing it - viz., more clearly, freely, effectually, and spiritually now under the gospel, than in those days of yore, when they saw the face of God only in that dark glass of the ceremonies; whereas we, with open face, &c. [2 Corinthians 3:18]


Verse 32

Jeremiah 31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day [that] I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:

Ver. 32. Not according to the covenant.] Not so, but a great deal better, in regard of larger measures of the Spirit now poured out upon all flesh: together with the efficacy thereof in the hearts of God’s covenanters, who have a duplicate of God’s law written within them. [Jeremiah 31:33] Lex iubet, gratia iuvat: hence it is an "everlasting covenant," and the fruits of it are "sure mercies," "compassions that fail not," as is here set forth.


Verse 33

Jeremiah 31:33 But this [shall be] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Ver. 33. I will put my law in their inward parts.] This the apostle calleth the "law in their minds," opposed to the "law of their members"; [Romans 7:23] for the natural man is inversus decalogus, oposed to the law, "he is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." But God putteth into the hearts of his people the counterpart of his holy law; he stamps, as it were, a decalogue upon their spirits; he puts into them an inward aptness, answering the law of God without, as the lead answereth the mould, wax the seal, as tally answereth tally: or as indenture indenture.

And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.] This promise is divini mellis alveare, as one calleth it, The hive of heavenly honey.


Verse 34

Jeremiah 31:34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Ver. 34. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour.] Deest coactio, non deerit cohortatio. (a) Men shall learn with much less ado, because "taught of God," and lively illightened by his Holy Spirit: et quando Christus magister, quam cito discitur quod doeetur? saith Augustine; when Christ becomes a man’s teacher, he must needs be a forwardly scholar. Some make this to be the sense of the words, that in gospel times the truths of Christ, and the knowledge of the Son of God, should be so evident, that men might get more of themselves without a teacher, than with one in the legal administrations; as Paul also showeth, 2 Cor. iii. Not that men should have no need of teaching at all in those times; for the best know but in part, and must daily grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. [2 Peter 3:18]

For they shall all know me.] All mine elect shall know me in some competent measure: know the principles, [Hebrews 6:1-2] and go on unto perfection, ib.

For I will forgive their iniquities.] In heaven, and in their own consciences also, [Zechariah 3:4] provided that they put this and the like promises in suit by their prayers. [Malachi 3:16] Augustine, Mr Perkins, and Archbishop Ussher expired with crying for mercy and forgiveness.


Verse 35

Jeremiah 31:35 Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, [and] the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts [is] his name:

Ver. 35. Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun, &c.] For their better security and settlement; he borroweth a comparison from the surest things, sun, sea, &c.

Which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar.] Or, Who when I trouble the sea, the waves thereof roar, but cannot pass their bound which I have set them. See Isaiah 51:15.


Verse 36

Jeremiah 31:36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, [then] the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.

Ver. 36. If those ordinances depart from before me.] If they alter their constant course.

Then shall the seed of Israel cease.] Then shall the faithful fail, and the Israelitish nation be utterly abolished.


Verse 37

Jeremiah 31:37 Thus saith the LORD If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.

Ver. 37. If heaven above can be measured.] By man; for God measureth it with his span. [Isaiah 40:12]

And the foundations of the earth be searched out.] If any man can dig or dive to the centre.


Verse 38

Jeremiah 31:38 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the city shall be built to the LORD from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner.

Ver. 38. Behold the days come, saith the Lord, &c] The word come is not in the text; it is read, but not written. The vowel points are in the text, but not the letters; which those, who are against the antiquity of the points, would do well to consider; since the Jews never suffered any additions to the Bible. {Hebrew Text Note}

That the city shall be built to the Lord.] Jerusalem shall be re-edified, the Church eternally re-established by Christ.

From the tower of Hananeel.] Nehemiah 3:1; Nehemiah 12:39, Zechariah 14:10.

Unto the gate of the corner.] 2 Kings 14:13, Zechariah 14:10.


Verse 39

Jeremiah 31:39 And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it upon the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath.

Ver. 39. Upon the hill Gareb.] Versus collem scabiosi, toward the hill of the scabby, so Tremellius rendereth it; and Junius thinks it was so called because thither they used to send their lepers and lazars. {poor and diseased person} At Geneva in times of Popery there, they had in an empty place certain cottages set up whereunto they sent their lepers, wherewith that city then abounded, through the horrible filthiness that was there in those days committed. But from the year 1535, wherein they embraced the purity of the gospel, there hath been not above one leper seen in that city. So testifieth Matthaeus Cottherius in his Exposition of the Revelation, printed at Sedan in France, A.D. 1625.

And shall compass about to Goath,] alias Golgotha, as some think, but these places here mentioned, as also those Zechariah 8:3; Zechariah 14:4, as they were known to the ancients, so to us at this day they are unknown. Travellers tell us that Jerusalem is now a poor obscure place, governed by a Turkisk Sanzak, and that Golgotha, or Calvary, is in the very midst of the town.


Verse 40

Jeremiah 31:40 And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, [shall be] holy unto the LORD it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever.

Ver. 40. And the whole valley of the dead bodies.] Of Rephaim, say some; of Tophet, say others. See on Jeremiah 31:39.

Shall be holy unto the Lord.] So is the holy Catholic Church, the New Jerusalem which is above especially.

It shall not be plucked up nor thrown down any more for ever.] This cannot be applied to the earthly Jerusalem, which was plucked up and thrown down by the Romans once and again; but especially by Aelius Hadrian the emperor, who laid the whole country waste almost, drove the Jews utterly out of it, set a sow of white marble over the chief gate of Jerusalem in reproach of their religion, and called the city by his own name, Aelia, commanding the Jews not once to look towards it from any tower or hill. It must be therefore meant to be the Church, which cannot be ruined.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 31:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/jeremiah-31.html. 1865-1868.

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Sunday, October 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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