Jeremiah 30-33
(A New Jerusalem)
August 13th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

"Thus says the LORD:
See! I will restore the fortunes of Jacob's tents,
on his dwellings I will have compassion;
A city shall be rebuilt upon its own ruins,
a citadel restored where it should be."
- Jeremiah 30:18 (NAB)

Summary of Chapters

Chapters 30-33 center on a theme of consolation. One commentator, Lawrence Boadt, says that these chapters contain "... the greatest concentration of salvation oracles in the book of Jeremiah. But that they are by no means all the same." Boadt explains that we will find "short bursts of poetic exaltation (e.g. Jer 30:20-11)," while others will contrast judgment and hope (e.g. Jer 31:15-22), and some are lengthy prayers (e.g. Jer 32:6-15)(1).

Chapter 30 describes the future restoration of Israel, viewed from the perspective of the Israelis during their time in exile. The LORD recognizes the heartfelt cries of his people and declares that one day they will be free again - free to serve him. The LORD reminds the people that they are suffering because of their sins (and sins of their father), but soon the tables will be reversed:

The LORD explains that Jerusalem will be rebuilt on top of the ruins of the city and they will have a new leader - one who is loyal to God.

Chapter 31 begins with a group of passages that one commentator says "is among the most powerful passages in Jeremiah (2)." These passages (verses 2-6) describe God's everlasting love and a vision of restoration for the northern kingdom (Ephraim) and the southern kingdom of Judah. Jeremiah describes the joy that will erupt when they return - everyone will dance and sorrow will be replaced with joy:

In subsequent verses, the LORD refers to Rachel, the matriarch of Ephraim and other tribes, who wept over her lost children. She represents all of Israel because of her grief over her long-awaited children as described in Genesis. One of these verses describing Rachel's weeping was referenced by Matthew when Herod initiated his murderous rampage:

In Jeremiah, the LORD reassures Rachel that she can cease her weeping because "There is hope for your future—oracle of the LORD—your children shall return to their own territory (Jer 31:17 - NAB)." Later in the chapter we read a verse that is often referred to as the depiction of a new relationship (covenant) with the LORD: "No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me. (31:34 - NIV)."

In the final verses, the LORD describes the expanded boundaries of the future Jerusalem and the re-sanctification of a valley formerly filled with dead bodies and ashes. He promises to never again allow the city to be demolished.

In chapter 32, the LORD instructs Jeremiah to buy a field as a sign of faith in the future restoration of the nation. The siege of Jerusalem is underway, but the LORD explains that one day Judah will be restored, and people will once again buy and sell land according to Jewish law and custom and plant vineyards.

Chapter 33 is a promise for restoration. In this chapter Jeremiah shares the word of the LORD regarding the future of Jerusalem. The land that was desolate after the Babylonian siege will once again bear fruit and serve as pastures for flocks of sheep.

The LORD also commits to having a descendent of David rule over Judah and Jerusalem. He said that his covenant with the line of David and the Levite priests is as fixed as the cycles of day and night. " 'I will make descendents of David my servant and the Levites who minister to me as countless as the stars of the sky and as measureless as the sand on the seashore' (33:22 - NIV)."

Reflection and Application

The Jewish theologian Abraham Heschel notes that the climax of Jeremiah's prophecies occurs in the last chapter of today's study. There is a promise of a new covenant which includes complete forgiveness of sins and the rebuilding of Jerusalem(3):

Perhaps these are good chapters to read when we feel that our spirit has been destroyed and when we are in exile from the type of lives that we would like to live. In these circumstances we should know that the LORD hears our cries, and we may want to reflect on how our own actions might have got us into our current mess.

In some cases, we may be suffering because of someone else's sins, just as the children of Israel suffered for their forefathers' sins. Whatever the original cause of our suffering, the LORD promises that he can re-build our lives. Just as Jerusalem was rebuilt on top of the ruins of the previous version, the LORD can re-make us. When Jerusalem was re-built, it was expanded to cover new ground – bigger and better than before. God can do the same with our lives. When we rebound from our own disasters he can make us bigger and better than before, a veritable version 2.0 of ourselves - if we trust in him.

When we are restored, let us dance and replace our sorrow with joy. When we get to this point (which could be today, tomorrow, or some other day), the LORD does not want us to dwell any longer on the suffering of the past, but to remember who saved us and to center our future lives on serving and worshipping him.

In the sequence of events leading to the exile and the return of the people, the LORD demonstrated his complete control over the events of the earth. From that point forward, he expected that we would know him in our hearts. The new covenant following the time of exile incorporated a level of grace that was not part of the covenant described in Exodus.

God gave Jeremiah a lot of assignments that may have seemed odd to him. For example, we read in earlier chapters about situations where God told him to buy a belt and bury it, visit a potter, buy a pot and smash it, and observe baskets of figs. In chapter 32, he instructs Jeremiah to buy a plot of land from his cousin. At this point in time the land was under siege. Most likely, soldiers were foraging and taking whatever they wanted from each farm, rendering the land useless. The real estate market at that time may have been comparable to many regions of the US during 2008 and subsequent months when it seemed as if entire neighborhoods were in foreclosure. There were no comparable values to use as benchmarks to value other homes and no hope of any demand or value any time in the future.

Jeremiah's purchase of his cousin's property during the siege at this time would be comparable to someone in our era paying cash to buy one of those foreclosed properties at a premium value. Yet Jeremiah followed God's command, paying with silver pieces in a business deal that made no sense to man, but was part of God's uncommon plan.

Jeremiah may not have lived to see his property restored, but trusted that God would use his purchase for his glory. The LORD would restore the land and a line of governmental and religious leaders. He controls all events and can rule over any earthly leader in his own time and way.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

Related Questions

  1. What is your favorite dance?
  2. In what ways would you like your life to be restored?
  3. What is the next step that we need to do to more fully know God and allow him to restore us?

Recommended Prayer
Father in heaven, your plan is perfect in its justice and mercy. Help us to take the next step that you have planned for us.

Suggested Prayer Concerns
People who work underground in our cities


(1) Boadt, Lawrence, Jeremiah 26-52, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Nahum, Wipf and Stock Publishers, Eugene Oregon, 1982, p.35
(2) IBID, p36
(3) Heschel, Abraham Joshua, The Prophets, Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2001, New York (originally published by Harper & Row in 1962) p 165

Looking Ahead

Tomorrow's reading: Jeremiah 34-36 (Are You Sure?)

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