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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(38) From the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner.—There seems to us something almost like an anti-climax in this sudden transition from the loftiest Gospel promises to the obscure localities of the ancient Jerusalem. With Jeremiah, however, as before with Isaiah (Isaiah 65:17-25), and on a much larger scale with Ezekiel (Ezekiel 40-48), this was the natural outgrowth of the vividness with which the restored city came before his mental vision. He saw a goodly city rise as from the ruins of the old, truly and not in name only consecrated to Jehovah, and describes, as best he can, how it differed from them. The tower of Hananeel appears from Nehemiah 3:1; Nehemiah 12:39, to have been identical, or connected, with the tower of Meah, and to have been between the fish-gate and the sheep-gate, at the north-east corner of the city walls. It is named again, as one of the conspicuous landmarks of the city, in Zechariah 14:10. The “corner-gate” at the north-west corner, and near the present Jaffa-gate, appears in 2Kings 14:13; 2Chronicles 26:9; Zechariah 14:10; Nehemiah 3:24; Nehemiah 3:32. The wall in this quarter had apparently been battered during the siege of Jerusalem, and the prophet naturally sees the rebuilding of the wall as among the first-fruits of the restoration.

Jeremiah 31:38-40. Behold, the days come, that the city shall be built to the Lord — Or, for the Lord, namely, for his use and service. Blaney renders it, Under the direction of the Lord, from the tower of Hananeel, &c. — “Here follows a description of the circumference of a new city to be built on the site of Jerusalem; but that it does not mean the city which was rebuilt after the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity is evident from two principal circumstances; first, because the limits are here extended farther, so as to include a greater space than was contained within the walls at that time; and secondly, it is here said, that it should never be razed or destroyed any more. This new city, therefore, must be referred to those after-times when the general restoration of Israel is appointed to take place.” Thus Blaney, with whom many other commentators agree. That this prophecy “was not fulfilled,” says Dr. Dodd, “from the return out of Babylon to the days of Christ, we are assured from sacred history; where we read that mount Goath, or Golgotha, (which word in Hebrew signifies the heap of Gotha,) was situated without Jerusalem. The same may be said of the valley of dead bodies and of the ashes,” namely, the valley of Hinnom, so described, from its having been made a common burying place, and a receptacle for the rubbish and filth of the city. “As to Gareb we know nothing certain. We may also add, that the last clause of this chapter, it shall not be plucked up, &c., any more for ever, cannot refer to the Jerusalem which was rebuilt after the captivity, and which was plucked up and thrown down by the Romans. We must necessarily recur, therefore, either to some future building of that city, or to the church of Christ, against which we are assured the gates of hell shall never prevail,” and which is elsewhere called the city of God, and the new Jerusalem. Taking the passage in this mystical sense, as a description of the church, in its most enlarged and perfect state, in the latter days: we can be at no loss to explain the clause in the last verse which expresses that all parts of the city, even the valley of Hinnom, and all the fields, unto the brook Kidron, &c., shall be holy unto the Lord. For, undoubtedly, at this time the church shall be thoroughly purged from all corruption, both with regard to the doctrine taught in it, and the principles and practices of its members, who shall all be both well instructed in divine things, and truly holy in their hearts and lives.

31:35-40 As surely as the heavenly bodies will continue their settled course, according to the will of their Creator, to the end of time, and as the raging sea obeys him, so surely will the Jews be continued a separate people. Words can scarcely set forth more strongly the restoration of Israel. The rebuilding of Jerusalem, and its enlargement and establishment, shall be an earnest of the great things God will do for the gospel church. The personal happiness of every true believer, as well as the future restoration of Israel, is secured by promise, covenant, and oath. This Divine love passes knowledge; and to those who take hold upon it, every present mercy is an earnest of salvation.To the Lord - Or, for Yahweh: for His dwelling in the hearts of a people prepared to be His temple. 38. tower of Hananeel—The city shall extend beyond its former bounds (Ne 3:1; 12:39; Zec 14:10).

gate of … corner—(2Ki 14:13; 2Ch 26:9).

That is, it shall be built round, as largely as ever. We read of this

tower of Hananeel, Nehemiah 3:1 12:39 Zechariah 14:10; it was in the south, or rather the eastern part of the city. We read of the

gate of the corner, 2 Kings 14:13 Zechariah 14:10; most agree that it is in the north-cast part of the city.

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord,.... 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. Jarchi says this prophecy refers to future times in the latter redemption, and never was fulfilled in the second temple; and indeed, under the figure of rebuilding Jerusalem, seems to be intended the building of the Gospel church, which was to continue to the end of time; for both holiness and perpetuity are ascribed to it:

that the city shall be built to the Lord; the city of Jerusalem; which was to be rebuilt upon the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, as by the order, and under the direction and protection of the Lord, so for his service and worship; the temple in it should be built up again, and divine worship restored; and both that and the city, with the inhabitants of it, be devoted to his service; a type of the Gospel church, built up an habitation for God, where he is worshipped, feared, and glorified:

from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner; of the tower of Hananeel mention is made in Nehemiah 3:1. The Targum calls it the tower of Pikkus. Lightfoot places it on the south side of the city, bending to the east; but most place it on the east side of it: here probably the building of the city began in Nehemiah's time, and proceeded to the gate of the corner, which lay northeast; of which see 2 Kings 14:13; Jerom interprets the tower of Hananeel the tower of obedience, or of the grace and gifts of God, which latter is not much amiss; since the word "Hansheel" may be interpreted "God gives grace"; and the spiritual building of the church proceeds from the grace of God, upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ being the chief corner stone, Ephesians 2:20.

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the {o} city shall be built to the LORD from the tower of Hananeel to the gate of the corner.

(o) As it was performed, Neh 3:1. By this description he shows that the city would be as ample and beautiful as it ever was: but he alludes to the spiritual Jerusalem whose beauty would be incomparable.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
38. Behold, the days come] The word come is omitted in the earliest form of the Heb. text, but probably by an error in copying, as the phrase is a favourite one with Jeremiah. See note on Jeremiah 23:5.

that the city shall be built] The words which follow no doubt express an enlargement of the bounds of the city, but from our ignorance of the exact position of the places named, we cannot speak more definitely. From the mention made of “the tower of Hananel” in Nehemiah 3:1; Nehemiah 12:39; and of “the corner-gate” in 2 Kings 14:13; 2 Chronicles 26:9 (cp. Zechariah 14:10 for both places) we find that the former was at or near the N.E. and the latter the N.W. corner of the city wall.

to the Lord] for His honour.

38–40. These vv. may safely be assumed to belong to post-exilic days, when topographical questions connected with the extent of the city assumed importance. Cp. Zechariah 14. For the position of places here mentioned, see Quart. Statement of Pal. Explor. Fund, Jan. 1912, p. 28.

Verses 38-40. - The connection is not very clear. The main point of these verses is that Jerusalem, when rebuilt, shall be altogether "the Lord's." Its circumference shall even be extended with the single object of including spots at present unclean, but then to become holy like the rest of the city. According to Hengstenberg and Keil, Jerusalem is here a figure of the kingdom of God in the latter days. Verse 38. - The tower of Hananeel. This lay at the northeast corner of the city (Nehemiah 3:1; Nehemiah 12:39). The gate of the corner. At the north, west corner (2 Kings 14:13; 2 Chronicles 26:9). Both this and the tower of Hananeel are mentioned together again in the prophecy of the glorification of Jerusalem, in Zechariah 14:10. Jeremiah 31:38Then shall Jerusalem be built up as a holy city of God, and be no more destroyed. After ימים, the Masoretic text wants בּאים, which is supplied in the Qeri. Hengstenberg is of opinion that the expression was abbreviated here, inasmuch as it has already occurred before, several times, in its full form (Jeremiah 31:27 and Jeremiah 31:31); but Jeremiah does not usually abbreviate when he repeats an expression, and באים has perhaps been dropped merely through an error in transcription. "The city shall be built for Jahveh," so that it thenceforth belongs to Him, is consecrated to Him. The extent of the new city is described as being "from the tower of Hananeel to the gate of the corner." The tower of Hananeel, according to Nehemiah 3:1 and Zechariah 4:10, was situated on the north-east corner of the city wall; the gate of the corner was at the north-west corner of the city, to the north or north-west of the present "Jaffa Gate;" see on 2 Kings 14:13; 2 Chronicles 26:9; cf. Zechariah 14:10. This account thus briefly describes the whole north side. Jeremiah 31:39. The measuring-line (קוה as found here, 1 Kings 7:23 and Zechariah 1:16, is the original form, afterwards shortened into קו, the Qeri) further goes out נגדּו, "before itself," i.e., straight out over the hill Gareb. על does not mean "away towards, or on" (Hitzig); nor is the true reading עד, "as far as, even to," which is met with in several codices: the correct rendering is "away over," so that a part, at least, of the hill was included within the city bounds. "And turns towards Goah." These two places last named are unknown. From the context of the passage only this much is clear, that both of them were situated on the west of the city; for the starting-point of the line spoken of is in the north-west, and the valley of Ben-hinnom joins in at the end of it, in the south, Jeremiah 31:40. גּרב means "itching," for גּרב in Leviticus 21:20; Leviticus 22:22 means "the itch;" in Arabic also "the leprosy." From this, many expositors infer that the hill Gareb was the hill where lepers were obliged to dwell by themselves, outside the city. This supposition is probable; there is no truth, however, in the assumption of Schleussner, Krafft (Topogr. von Jerus. S. 158), Hitzig, and Hengstenberg, that the hill Bezetha, included within the city bounds by the third wall of Agrippa, is the one meant; for the line described in Jeremiah 31:39 is not to be sought for on the north side of the city. With Graf, we look for the hill Gareb on the mount which lies westward from the valley of Ben-hinnom and at the end of the valley of Rephaim, towards the north (Joshua 15:8; Joshua 18:16), so that it is likely we must consider it to be identical with "the top of the mountain" mentioned in these passages. This mountain is the rocky ridge which bounds the valley of Ben-hinnom on the west, and stretches northwards, on the west side of the valley of Gihon and the Lower Pool (Birket es Sultn), to near the high road to Jaffa, where it turns off towards the west on the under (i.e., south) side of the Upper Pool (Birket el Mamilla); see on Joshua 15:8. It is not, as Thenius supposes (Jerusalem before the Exile, an appendix to his commentary on the Books of Kings), the bare rocky hill situated on the north, and overhanging the Upper Pool; on this view, Goah could only be the steep descent from the plateau into the valley of Kidron, opposite this hill, towards the east. Regarding Goah, only this much can be said with certainty, that the supposition, made by Vitringa and Hengstenberg, of a connection between the name and Golgotha, is untenable; lexical considerations and facts are all against it. Golgotha was situated in the north-west: Goah must be sought for south-west from Jerusalem. The translation of the Chaldee, "cattle-pond," is a mere inference from גּעה, "to bellow." But, in spite of the uncertainty experienced in determining the positions of the hill Gareb and Goah, this much is evident from the verse before us, that the city, which is thus to be built anew, will extend to the west beyond the space occupied by old Jerusalem, and include within it districts or spots which lay outside old (i.e., pre-and post-exile) Jerusalem, and which had been divided off from the city, as unclean places.
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