HOME CHAT NAB PRAYERS FORUMS COMMUNITY RCIA MAGAZINE CATECHISM LINKS CONTACT
 CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC DICTIONARY  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Home
 
Bible
 
Catechism
 
Chat
 
Catholic Encyclopedia
 
Church Fathers
 
Classics Library
 
Church Documents
 
Discussion
 
Mysticism
 
Prayer
 
Prayer Requests
 
RCIA
 
Vocations
 
Ray of Hope
 
Saints
 
Social Doctrine
 
Links
 
Contact
 







Christ In Type And Prophecy: Volumes 1&2 by Rev. A.J. Maas S.J.

JER. 31:15–26

1. CONNECTION OF THE PROPHECY WITH ITS CONTEXT.—Up to chapter 30. Jeremias has accomplished the first part of his calling, which is described in 1:10: “Lo I have set thee this day over the nations, and over kingdoms, to root up, and to pull down, and to waste and to destroy.” Though he gives us even in this part of his book glimpses of a brighter future (cf. 3:14–18; 5:18; 23:3–8), still he does not fully accomplish the second part of his mission, which is “to build and to plant.” Chapters 30–33 are wholly devoted to this easier and more congenial task. They may be conceived as consisting of three parts. The restoration is predicted and described in chapters 30 and 31; in chapter 32 the promise is confirmed by a symbolical action; in chapter 33 finally we find another verbal confirmation of the same prediction.

Since the present prophecy is contained in the first of the above three parts, we may confine our attention to the consideration of chapters 30 and 31. They contain the following divisions: a. 30:1–3 is the introduction to the whole; b. after the general introduction promising freedom and restoration, the prophet describes these gifts in four stanzas, representing the promised blessings under ever varying aspects: 30:4–11, the national calamity may resemble the pangs of child-birth, but the Lord will break the yoke of his people, and restore David’s royal rule; 30:12–22, though the wounds of the people are incurable by human means, the Lord himself will heal them, restoring the nation and the state, and sending the Messianic king and priest; 30:23–31:14, though the Lord’s whirlwind will go forth and exercise its fury against the wicked, God will be mindful of his eternal promises to Israel, the city will be rebuilt, and the land of the covenant will be again the Israelites’ possession; 31:15–26, Rachel may now weep over the unhappy lot of her children, but their return is certain; they have already given signs of repentance. c. After the fourfold description of Israel’s deliverance follow four predictions of future blessings: 31:27–30 the Lord promises a great increase of numbers in the land; 31:31–34, a new covenant is promised to the returning exiles; 31:35–37, the Lord assures his people that his promises are as unfailing as the laws of nature; 31:38–40, an accurate description of the future city limits is given. Our prophecy is then identical with the fourth stanza, which describes the restoration of Israel.

2. TIME OF THE PROPHECY.—From 32:2 and 33:1 it follows that those two chapters belong to the period of the prophet’s honorable detention in the “court of the prison.” Now this occurred in Sedecias’ tenth year, during the second part of the siege, which had been interrupted by a temporary withdrawal of the Chaldeans, who attacked the Egyptian armies that had been sent to rescue Jerusalem. Chapters 32 and 33 belong therefore to the year 589 B.C. Since chapters 30 and 31 constitute a continuous whole with the following two chapters, they too must have been uttered about the same time, though from 30:2 it is probable that the contents were uttered before they were committed to writing. The words “at that time” of 32:2 furnish another proof that the prophecies were not written till after Jerusalem had fallen into the hands of the Chaldeans.

3. EXPLANATIONS OF RACHEL’S WEEPING IN RAMA.—a. The Hebrew word “Rama” must be rendered “on high,” so that we find the right translation in the Vulgate and the English text. α. But in the Greek text (excepting A and S) the word has been taken as a proper name. β. Besides, there is hardly a satisfactory reason assignable why Rachel should weep “on high;” for the circumstance that from such a place her lamentation could be heard farther, or that she could observe her children going into captivity from such a position is no sufficient reason for the prophet’s language.

b. Other authors render the word “Rama” as a proper name, maintaining that in Rama is Rachel’s tomb, and that she is therefore rightly represented as weeping in Rama. From Gen. 35:19, and from the testimony of travellers, it is clear that Rachel’s tomb is near Bethlehem; 1 Kings 10:2 is rightly explained by de Hummelauer, Comment., p. 112.

c. Rachel is said to weep in Rama because the latter is situated on the limits of the two kingdoms, so that her voice can be heard in both (Keil, Schneedorfer), or because Rama is the Israelite city nearest to Jerusalem, so that Rachel’s lamentations over the captivity of the Israelite tribes can be heard by Jehovah residing in Jerusalem (Scholz). The principal reasons on which this opinion rests are reduced to the assumption that Rachel must have wept over the fate of the ten tribes alone (Jerome, Calmet, Trochon), and to the difficulty of finding a more satisfactory solution.

d. Rachel weeps in Rama for the reason assigned in Jer. 40:1: “The word that came.…” This and the testimony of Josephus (Antiq. VIII. xii. 3) show that the Jewish captives were reviewed in Rama previously to their being taken to Babylon, and that all such as were unequal to the journey were there put to death. Being the mother of Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasses, Rachel is regarded as the mother of the twelve tribes, the ruin of which became complete when even the southern kingdom was destroyed, and when its king and nobles were led into captivity (Ephrem, Sa, Sanchez, Maldonatus, Mariana). That this is the right explanation of the passage may be seen from the context. In 30:4 both Juda and Israel are addressed; 31:5, 9 contains promises given to Ephraim, but 31:6, 12 contains promises for Juda; again, the promises made to Ephraim (31:18, 20) are closely connected with Juda’s promises (31:23, 24). Since then both kingdoms are remembered in the promises, what prevents us from seeing in the lamentation of Rachel her grief over the ruin of both kingdoms?

4. MESSIANIC CHARACTER OF THE PROPHECY.—St. Matt. 2:18 applies the present prophecy concerning Rachel’s weeping to the slaughter of the Holy Innocents. In this the Evangelist furnishes us a beautiful commentary on the prophet. According to the literal sense of the latter, Rachel weeps over the ruin of her children’s kingdoms, brought on by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. But the true and final ruin of Israel will follow the nation’s rejection of the Messias. If then Rachel weeps over the temporary downfall of Juda and Israel, she weeps with much more reason over their lasting destruction. Now the beginning of the Messias’ rejection by the Jewish nation is manifested in his first persecution, when his life is sought that he may not become the king of Israel. Hence the Evangelist beautifully shows the true fulfilment of Jeremias’ prediction regarding Rachel’s lamenting the ruin of the nation, representing it as mingled with the weeping of the mothers whose innocent children are slain in the Messias’ first deadly persecution.

JER. 31:15–26

Thus saith the Lord: A voice was heard on high of lamentation, of mourning and weeping, of Rachel weeping for her children, and refusing to be comforted for them, because they are not. Thus saith the Lord: Let thy voice cease from weeping, and thy eyes from tears, for there is a reward for thy work, saith the Lord, and they shall return out of the land of the enemy. And there is hope for thy last end, saith the Lord, and the children shall return to their own borders. Hearing I heard Ephraim when he went into captivity: Thou hast chastised me, and I was instructed, as a young bullock unaccustomed to the yoke; convert me, and I shall be converted, for thou art the Lord my God. For after thou didst convert me, I did penance, and after thou didst show unto me, I struck my thigh. I am confounded and ashamed, because I have born the reproach of my youth. Surely Ephraim is an honorable son to me, surely he is a tender child; for since I spoke to him I will still remember him. Therefore are my bowels troubled for him; pitying I will pity him, saith the Lord. Set thee up a watchtower, make to thee bitterness, direct thy heart into the right way, wherein thou hast walked: return, O virgin of Israel, return to these thy cities. How long wilt thou be dissolute in deliciousness, O wandering daughter? for the Lord hath created a new thing upon the earth: A woman shall compass a man. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: As yet shall they say this word in the land of Juda, and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring back their captivity: The Lord bless thee, the beauty of justice, the holy mountain. And Juda and all his cities shall dwell therein together, the husbandman and they that drive the flocks. For I have inebriated the weary soul, and I have filled every hungry soul. Upon this I was as it were awaked out of sleep, and I saw, and my sleep was sweet to me.

1. It follows from what has been said that Jeremias’ prophecy in its literal sense does not refer to the slaughter of the Holy Innocents. But, on the other hand, it cannot be said that the prophet’s words can be understood of the Holy Innocents only by way of accommodation. For as we have seen, Rachel weeps over the destruction of her people, brought about by the Assyrian and the Babylonian captivities. Now this ruin was only a type of the future ruin that was to follow Israel’s rejection of its Messias. The latter ruin began, therefore, with the slaughter of the Holy Innocents, since with this began the outward rejection of the Messias. Rachel, therefore, is really weeping and wailing over the fate of her people in the lamentations of the Bethlehemite women.

2. Since the words, “a woman shall compass a man,” refer to the Blessed Virgin’s conception of the Word Incarnate, and since the same are said to describe “a new thing upon the earth,” it follows that the Word’s conception will be brought about in an extraordinary manner. Isaias predicted that the mother would be a virgin; Micheas too calls the Messias’ mother a virgin, but Jeremias describes her conceiving as miraculous. The meaning of these predictions was not fully determined till the angel said to Mary: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee” (Luke 1:35).








Copyright ©1999-2018 e-Catholic2000.com