Translation commentary on Jeremiah 31:8

Behold: See 1.6. There may be some difficulty in rendering verses 7 and 8 so that the hearer can understand who is speaking, since verse 7 opens with the LORD’s command for Israel to sing with joy, which is then followed by the content of that song. Then verse 8 switches back to a statement by the LORD himself. Many translators find that retaining Behold at the beginning of the text is more helpful in solving this problem than dropping it as Good News Translation does. Some have “See” or “Watch,” for example. Bible en français courant adds at the end of verse 7 “Here in effect is what the Lord declares.”

In many languages the word bring requires that the location or direction to which the people are being brought is made clear, as for example in “bring them back to their land,” or simply “bring them back here.” Similarly, gather them can be “bring them together.”

North: See 1.13; the phrase the north country first appears in 3.18, where Revised Standard Version has “the land of the north.”

From the farthest parts of the earth: See also 6.22; 25.32; 50.41.

The homecoming will be so great that even the blind and the lame, pregnant women, and those in labor will be included. These categories are mentioned, for they represent persons who are least likely to be able to undertake the journey.

A great company probably means “an immense throng” (New American Bible), “a mighty crowd” (Die Bibel im heutigen Deutsch), or simply “a large number of people,” rather than “a great nation” (Good News Translation).

Quoted with permission from Newman, Barclay M. and Stine, Philip C. A Handbook on Jeremiah. (UBS Helps for Translators). New York: UBS, 2003. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .