I Have Loved You With An Everlasting Love: What Does Jeremiah 31:3 Mean?


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.” (King James Version)

TranslationJeremiah 31:3
NIVThe LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
NLTLong ago the LORD said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.
ESVthe LORD appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
NASBThe LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.

Also see the meaning of I Knew You Before You Were Born

I Have Loved You With An Everlasting Love: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

31:1-9 God assures his people that he will again take them into covenant relation to himself. When brought very low, and difficulties appear, it is good to remember that it has been so with the church formerly.

But it is hard under present frowns to take comfort from former smiles; yet it is the happiness of those who, through grace, are interested in the love of God, that it is an everlasting love, from everlasting in the counsels, to everlasting in the continuance.

Those whom God loves with this love, he will draw to himself, by the influences of his Spirit upon their souls. When praising God for what he has done, we must call upon him for the favours his church needs and expects. When the Lord calls, we must not plead that we cannot come; for he that calls us, will help us, will strengthen us.

The goodness of God shall lead them to repentance. And they shall weep for sin with more bitterness, and more tenderness, when delivered out of their captivity, than when groaning under it. If we take God for our Father, and join the church of the first-born, we shall want nothing that is good for us.

These predictions doubtless refer also to a future gathering of the Israelites from all quarters of the globe. And they figuratively describe the conversion of sinners to Christ, and the plain and safe way in which they are led.

Also see the meaning of When the Enemy Comes in Like a Flood

Jeremiah 31:3 | Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

3. Israel gratefully acknowledges in reply God’s past grace; but at the same time tacitly implies by the expression “of old,” that God does not appear to her now. “God appeared to me of old, but now I am forsaken!”

God replies, Nay, I love thee with the same love now as of old. My love was not a momentary impulse, but from “everlasting” in My counsels, and to “everlasting” in its continuance; hence originated the covenant whereby I gratuitously adopted thee (Mal 1:2; Ro 11:28, 29).

Margin translates, “from afar,” which does not answer so well as “of old,” to “in the wilderness” (Jer 31:2), which refers to the olden times of Israel’s history.

with loving kindness … drawn—(Ho 11:4). Rather, “I have drawn out continually My loving kindness toward thee.” So Ps 36:10, “Continue (Margin, ‘Draw out at length’) Thy loving kindness.” By virtue of My everlasting love I will still extend My loving kindness to thee. So Isa 44:21, “O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of Me.”

Also see the meaning of The Blessing of the Lord Maketh Rich

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