The Blessing of Restoration
Verse one belongs with the end of chapter 30. When Yahweh declared the Babylonian exile would make sense only in the "later days" after the Holy Spirit had been poured out, He also declared that then Israel would truly be His people. Only as the Holy Spirit would show them Christ and His crucifixion could people know their sin and their need of a Savior and then become Yahweh's people (1).
The Eight Blessings of Restoration (2-40)
Yahweh continues His promise of restoration and in this chapter reveals "Eight Blessings," which would follow Yahweh's people as they returned and became His people.
Blessing One: Everlasting Love (2-3)
Those who survived the sword of Babylon found grace in the wilderness of their exile. In Babylon they experienced a touch of presence and peace as Yahweh came and appeared to them. Yahweh loved Israel in their exile. He continued to be faithful to His adulterous bride and continued to woo her as though she were His pure wife, even when she was imprisoned in Babylon for being unfaithful (2-3).
Blessing Two: Spirit of Joy and Celebration (4)
Somehow Yahweh would give Israel her purity back, and she would clothe herself with joy and celebration and would sing for gladness. She would be glad, for her devotion to her Lover had been restored (4).
Blessing Three: Home Again (5)
Israel would return home, rebuild their houses, and replant their fields and orchards. They would once again enjoy the fruit of their hands (5).
Blessing Four: National Division Dissolved (6)
Those who watched over the city would call up to the hill country of Ephraim. Ephraim was to the north where the northern kingdom of Israel had lapsed into deep idolatry in the former times. The watchmen would call for them to come, to rise, return, and worship in Zion (6). There would be no division in the nation—no more northern and southern kingdom with two different worship systems. Those in the north would possess no golden calves; they would all arise and go to Zion to worship Yahweh.
Blessing Five: Restoration of Worship (7-9)
In Jacob or Israel there would be a restoration of loud singing and gladness of worship.
Part of their worship music would be to the kings of the nations, calling them to arise and give praise.
Some of their songs would be about Yahweh's saving the remnant of His people Israel (7).
Worshipers would come from all over, from the north, meaning Babylon, but also from beyond Babylon. The call of worship would reach those living in remote places. Those discarded and broken would not be left out. Women in labor would feel a tug to commit to worship even while in the midst of labor pains, along with the women in the middle of the discomfort of their pregnancy (8).
They would come weeping for mercy, confident in Yahweh's grace. They would come and find Yahweh their Shepherd as He would be tending to their needs, putting them on the right path—paths by refreshing brooks, paths where they would no more stumble over their lusts. Yahweh would restore them to their firstborn relationship (9). All of this, of course, would happen through His true firstborn, Jesus.
Blessing Six: The Blessing of Redemption (10-14)
Those scattered to the far away regions of the earth would return to Yahweh and His shepherding love. Yahweh would pay whatever price necessary to rip Israel out of the grip of those powers stronger than Israel (10-11). They would be absolutely changed, singing in Yahweh's presence (Zion) and glowing with Yahweh's goodness. They would be lavish with their sacrifices, for sacrificial provision would be great. Their lives would be marked by plenty; their lives would be like living in a well-watered resort, their bodies pulsing with health, no one feeble among them (12).
There would be wedding-like celebrations, and their funerals would bust into festivals (13).
The entire nation of them would become priests and possess an abundance of contentment and a great supply of Yahweh's goodness (14).
Blessing Seven: The Blessing of Rachel's Comfort (15-17)
Rachel's comfort was an odd blessing and would require Matthew, years later, to interpret the meaning (Matthew 2:17-28).
There would be heard in Ramah the lamentation and bitter weeping of the descendants of Rachel. Benjamin would weep for their slain children. Those descendants of Rachel and Benjamin could not be consoled, for their boys were taken from them, butchered ruthlessly, and then hopelessly no more (15).
Jeremiah encouraged those moms that their uncontrollable weeping would come to an end, for a great reward was coming their way.
Most of these blessings being listed here are New-Heaven and New-Earth blessings. They will find their ultimate fulfillment when Christ appears again. Those women who were the first to lose their children for the cause of Christ in and around Bethlehem, when Herod had the male babies killed, would be resurrected in the land where they’d been slain. Not one mom had suffered in vain. There was hope in their future—the redemption of their slain children was coming.
Canaan had been a down payment to Israel of the real inheritance coming (Hebrews 11:14-16), the New Heaven and the New Earth and the resurrection of those who have died in Christ (16-17). This is one of the greatest of blessings for those who have been slain at the hands of oppression or the “civilized” knife of execution.
Blessing Eight: The Blessing of Discipline (18-22)
Israel, in the midst of her discipline, came to her senses and realized what was going on. Ephraim, which is another name for Israel, had been disciplined like a stubborn calf. In the middle of being disciplined, Israel woke up and realized the discipline was not to destroy her but to bring her back to Yahweh (18).
Once Yahweh's discipline had finally gotten through Israel's thick head, she began to repent and then kick herself for being so stupid. Israel, finally, had restored to her the embarrassment she had lost. Again she could feel the shame of the adolescent sinful nonsense to which she had devoted herself (19).
Ephraim/Israel had remained His son by Yahweh's will, even through all the discipline, and not only just His son, but the son in whom Yahweh found great delight. Every single prophecy against Israel was never separated from Yahweh's great longing to always lavish her with mercy (20).
Blessing Nine: the Blessing of Return (21-22)
On their way into captivity, no matter where they were taken, Israel was to mark their journey in such a way that their descendants could be guided back into the land. They were to make a highway out of their trip to Babylon, for it would bring them home again. They were to return to their cities as pure virgins in love with their one Husband, Yahweh (21). When the chance to leave their captive nations awakened into a full invitation, they were to jump at the chance. They were to end their faithless ways by returning to their inheritance, for in their return to the promised land, Yahweh would create a new thing. He would cause a woman to encircle a man. This, of course, is an allusion to the virgin birth of the coming of Messiah, Jesus. They were to go home and get ready to receive their Messiah (22).
It makes the mind wonder what would have happened had Israel followed Yahweh's instructions and come back and given their hearts to receiving Yahweh.