Jeremiah received a “word”or message from YHWH (30:1 [37:1, LXX], the “God of Israel,” instructing him to “write” on a scroll “all the words” that he had spoken to him. (30:2 [37:2, LXX]) YHWH revealed to Jeremiah that “days” (or the time) would come when he would “restore the captivity [fortunes (in numerous modern translations)] of [his] people, Israel and Judah” (or liberate the people of the former ten-tribe kingdom of Israel and the people in the realm of the kingdom of Judah from their captive state in exile), and “bring them back to the land” that he had given to “their fathers” or ancestors, and the restored people would take possession of (have rulership or dominion over (LXX)] the land. (30:3 [37:3, LXX])
“And these [are] the words that YHWH spoke to [or regarding] Israel and to [or regarding] Judah (to or concerning all of his people). (30:4 [37:4, LXX]) According to verse 9, God’s people would serve him and “David their king.” After their return from Babylonian exile to their own land, the people did not have any king from the royal line of David reign over them. Therefore, it appears that the “words of YHWH” relate to a distant future time, with “David their king” designating the Anointed One, the Messiah, or Christ. The “sound of trembling” (“sound of fear” [LXX]) ― or the cry of the people that would accompany their fearful trembling and which cry could be heard at a distance ― the terror, and the absence of peace (or the absence of security and well-being) seemingly describe developments among the people of all the nations when having to face judgment prior to the start of Christ’s rule without the presence of any competing powers. (30:5 [37:5, LXX]; compare Zephaniah 1:14-18; Luke 21:26; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10.)
The great distress to befall peoples everywhere would be comparable to that of a woman in labor. YHWH is quoted as saying, “Ask now, and see, Can a man give birth? Why then do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labor, and why have all faces turned pale [probably from fright]?” (30:6 [37:6, LXX]; see the Notes section.)
The “great day” that would be like no other was foretold to bring “distress” on Jacob. If this “day” is associated with the time of the future “David” (verse 9), this would indicate that the reign of the Anointed One, Messiah, or Christ without the existence of any competing dominions would be preceded by a distressing or difficult time for “Jacob.” He, however, as the one who represents all the members of the true Israel or God’s people, would be saved or delivered from the “distress.” This would point to a development that is still future and apparently relates to the deliverance from tribulation referred to in 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10. (30:7 [37:7, LXX])
YHWH promised to break the yoke from off the neck of Jacob and tear the bands that held this yoke in place, freeing his people from affliction and oppression. No longer would they be subjected to the suffering that “strangers,” or those who were hostile to them, inflicted upon them as if they were slaves. According to the Septuagint rendering, they would no longer “work for foreigners.” (30:8 [37:8, LXX]) As a liberated people, “they will serve YHWH [will work for the Lord (LXX)] their God and David their king whom [YHWH] will raise up for them.” This would take place after the promised Anointed One, Messiah, or Christ delivers from distress all those whom he and his God and Father recognize as being in an approved relationship with them. (30:9 [37:9, LXX]; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10)
The prophetic words apparently apply to the return of God’s people from exile. They are here represented as “Jacob,” their forefather whose name was changed to “Israel” after he had wrestled with an angel. The encouragement directed to YHWH’s servant “Jacob” was for him not to fear, for “Israel” not to be dismayed or terrified. This was because the exile would end. From afar, YHWH would save or deliver “Jacob” or “Israel” and his “seed” or offspring “from the land of their captivity.” “Jacob,” or the people whom he represented, would enjoy “quiet” and be undisturbed, finding themselves in a state of security and well-being. There would be no one who would make the people tremble in fear. (30:10; see the Notes section.)
YHWH promised to be with “Jacob” or with the people who were his descendants. His being with them included his saving or delivering them from exile when he determined to do so. YHWH purposed to bring to their end “all the nations” among whom he had scattered his people, but promised not to bring his people to their end. He determined to discipline them in keeping with “judgment” or according to what was just and needed to accomplish his purpose respecting them. They had sinned grievously and would not be left unpunished. (30:11; see the Notes section.)
At that time, the people found themselves in a broken, crushed, or injured state that was incurable. According to the Septuagint, God “raised up a breakdown” or a fracture. The blow that had been dealt to the people reduced them to a weak or sick condition, for the kingdom of Judah was but a shadow of what it had been in much earlier times. King Nebuchadnezzar had already exiled King Jehoiachin, members of the royal household, prominent ones of the nation, and skilled craftsmen, and considerable wealth had been taken from the realm (first by Pharaoh Nechoh [Necho, Neco] and then by Nebuchadnezzar). Additionally, the moral state of the people proved to be like an incurable wound. (30:12 [37:12, LXX])
In their subservient position to King Nebuchadnezzar, the people had no one who could plead or uphold their cause. There were no cures for the wound with which they had been afflicted, leaving them in a helpless state. No “healing” existed for them. According to the Septuagint, the medical treatment led to pain, and there was no help for the people. (30:13 [37:13, LXX]) All former lovers or allies had “forgotten” them, not being there for them in their time of greatest need. Those former allies did not “search” for them or have any concern for them. YHWH is quoted as saying that he was the one who had struck the people with the “stroke of an enemy,” dealing out “discipline” or punishment to them like that of someone cruel. This was because the “guilt” of the people was “great” and their “sins” were “numerous.” (30:14 [37:14, LXX]; see the Notes section.)
The rhetorical question directed to the people was, “Why do you cry out over your fracture [or broken, crushed, or shattered condition]?” The question suggests that the people felt that what had befallen them was unjustified and that they should have been shielded from suffering. YHWH’s answer to the complaint of the people (the complaint implied in the rhetorical question) was that their “incurable pain” had resulted from their “great guilt,” their “numerous sins.” Therefore, he had punished them (literally, “I have done these things to you”) for their serious wrongdoing. (30:15; see the Notes section.)
Enemy powers that acted like predatory beasts toward YHWH’s people would themselves be “devoured” or come to their end. All the foes of his people would go into captivity. According to the Septuagint, these enemies would eat their own “flesh.” Those who despoiled his people would themselves become spoil for others. As to those who plundered them, YHWH would make them plunder to be seized. (30:16)
YHWH promised his people that he would effect their recuperation and that he would heal the wounds (or blows) that had been inflicted on them. In view of the calamity that the people had experienced, others called Zion (as representing the people) an outcast. They referred to Zion or Jerusalem as not being searched for or not being the object of anyone’s concern or care. The Septuagint does not mention Zion or Jerusalem, but the implication is that Zion or Jerusalem would be called “painful blow” or wound. She was called “dispersed” or “scattered” one. Her foes would say, “She is your prey, for no one is seeking [or searching for] her.” (30:17 [37:17, LXX])
YHWH declared that he would gather the “captivity [fortunes (in numerous modern translations)] of the tens of Jacob” (his people who were in captivity and who formerly were dwelling in “tents” or residences in the land that he had promised to give to their forefather Jacob). For those tabernacles or dwelling places (for Jacob’s “captivity” [LXX]), YHWH would have compassion, not leaving them in a deserted and desolated condition. The “city” (either Jerusalem or all cities collectively) would be “rebuilt on her mound,” and the “citadel,” fortress, or palace complex (or all citadels collectively [“the temple” (LXX)]) would stand as it did formerly (literally, to its judgment [or plan]). (30:18 [37:18, LXX])
Restoration from the desolate condition would occasion expressions of thanksgiving among the people. The Septuagint says that “singers” would come. On account of the joy of the people, the “sound of laughing” would be heard. YHWH promised to cause the number of the people to increase. They would not become few. YHWH would “honor” his people (literally, make them heavy or weighty), and they would not be small or insignificant. (30:19 [37:19, LXX]; see the Notes section.)
The “sons” or descendants of Jacob would come to be as in the former time, apparently when they were numerous, and the “congregation” of Israel would be firmly established or in a secure position. YHWH would “visit,” give attention to, or meet out punishment to all who had oppressed his people. (30:20 [37:20, LXX]; see the Notes section.)
Jacob’s “noble one” and the “ruler” referred to as coming forth from him (the people who descended from Jacob) apparently designate the earlier mentioned “David” (30:9), the Anointed One, Messiah, or Christ. The intimacy with YHWH that he would enjoy is indicated by his being granted the privilege of coming near to him or having ready approach to him. Others would not be able to gain such access. This is emphasized with the question as to who would dare to approach YHWH (literally, “give his heart in pledge to approach me, says YHWH”). (30:21 [37:21, LXX]; see the Notes section.)
The repentant ones of Jacob, true Israelites, would be YHWH’s people. He would acknowledge them as his own, and he would be their God to whom they would be exclusively devoted. (30:22; see the Notes section.)
The introductory word “look” serves to focus attention on what is next said. The implication is that the enemies of God’s people would not be exempt from severe punishment. YHWH’s wrath is represented as going forth like a fierce tempest. This tempest would “whirl [or burst] upon the head of the wicked,” bringing them to their end. According to the Septuagint, the Lord’s “turning [or whirling] anger” would come “upon the impious ones.” (30:23 [37:23, LXX]; see the Notes section.) YHWH’s burning or fierce anger would “not turn back” until he had accomplished his purpose (literally, the “thoughts of his heart”). “In the latter days,” or at a much later time in the future, God’s people would “understand this,” possibly meaning that they would understand all that YHWH had done, including his not holding back in expressing his anger against the wicked. (30:24 [37:24, LXX]; see the Notes section.)
The Septuagint rendering of the wording of verse 6 in chapter 37 differs somewhat from the Hebrew text of verse 6 in chapter 30. “Ask, and see if a man gave birth, and concerning fear with which they will hold fast to loin and deliverance, for I have seen every man and his hands on his loin [or his waist]. [Their] faces were turned; to jaundice, they have become.”
In the Septuagint, there is no corresponding wording for the Hebrew text of verses 10 and 11. The Hebrew text of verses 10 and 11 is almost the same as that of verse 27 and 28 of chapter 46 and verses 27 and 28 of chapter 26 in the Septuagint.
In verse 14 of chapter 37, the Septuagint rendering differs somewhat from the Hebrew text of verse 14 of chapter 30. “All your friends [or lovers] forgot you. By no means will they ask [or inquire about you], for I struck you a blow of an enemy, [with] severe discipline. Your sins multiplied over all your iniquity [or injustice].”
There is no corresponding wording in the Septuagint for the Hebrew text of verse 15. Certain modern translations include the reference to the “pain,” “wound” or “sore” as part of the rhetorical question, but others do not. “Why do you cry out over your wound, your pain that has no cure?” (NIV) “Why do you protest your punishment — this wound that has no cure?” (NLT) “Why complain of your injury, that your sore cannot be healed?” (REB) “Why do you cry out over your hurt? Your pain is incurable.” (NRSV) “Why cry out about your wound? Your pain is incurable!” (NJB) “Why cry out over your wound? your pain is without relief.” (NAB)
Verse 19 of chapter 37 in the Septuagint contains no reference to being “honored.” The concluding compound sentence that mentions this in the Hebrew text of verse 19 in chapter 30 is omitted in the Septuagint.
In verse 20 of chapter 37, the Septuagint rendering is, “And their sons will enter as formerly, and their testimonies will be upright before my face [or me], and I will visit the ones afflicting them.”
The wording of verse 21 of chapter 37 in the Septuagint differs from that of the Hebrew text. It says, “And his stronger ones [those of Jacob or of the people of Israel] will be over them, and his ruler will come forth from him. And I will gather them, and they will return to me. For who is this who gave his heart to return to me? says the Lord.”
The Septuagint does not contain any corresponding wording for the Hebrew text of verse 22.
The wording of the Hebrew text of verses 23 and 24 is nearly identical to that of verses 19 and 20 of chapter 23.