Jeremiah 31:9

They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.

They shall come with weeping,.... For joy, as Kimchi and Ben Melech observe; of which there are instances, Genesis 29:11; so the Jews will come to Christ, and to the Gospel church, as well as into their own land, with joy that they have found the Messiah, and are brought under his government, and into the enjoyment of the privileges of the Gospel, and the possession of their own land; or with tears of repentance for all their sins, original and actual, especially for their sin of unbelief, and rejection of the Messiah; they shall look upon him whom they have pierced, and mourn, when a spirit of grace and supplication is poured out upon them, Zechariah 12:10; with which agrees what follows:

and with supplications will I lead them; to Christ, and his church; and being drawn by the Father, and led by the Spirit, they will come to him with supplications and entreaties for mercy to be showed unto them; particularly for pardoning grace and mercy, and for salvation by him, which they will now see they stand in need of. Some render it, "with favours" {n}, or mercies; blessings of grace bestowed on them; as a justifying righteousness; remission of sins; adoption; sanctifying grace; a right and title and meetness for eternal life; which are all owing to the free favour and grace of God:

I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters; or, "to rivers of waters" {o}; to God himself, the fountain of living waters; and his everlasting love, that river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God; and to Christ, the fountain of gardens, and well of living waters; and to those wells of salvation, and fulness of grace, that are in him; and to the Gospel, its doctrines and ordinances, which are the still waters to it, by which the great Shepherd leads his flock. These rivers of waters may denote the blessings of grace which spring from the love of God, and flow through Christ in his word and ordinances, in great abundance; and it is very pleasant and profitable walking by these:

in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble; in a direct way to Christ, without going round about, by works of righteousness done by them, to render them acceptable to him; but they shall go directly to him as they are; or in a plain way, as it is to them that understand it, and in which men, though fools, shall not err: or in a righteous way, a way of righteousness; in a way that leads to Christ for righteousness; and in which men are taught to live soberly, righteously, and godly; and in which, though they may stumble and fall into sin, for "in many things we all offend", James 3:2; yet not stumble at the word, as some do; or at the stumbling stone, Christ, as the Jews' forefathers did; or so as to fall, be broken, and perish, Isaiah 8:14;

for am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn; and so very dear to him, as in Jeremiah 31:20. So the Targum,

"and Ephraim is beloved before me;''

all the blessings of grace which God bestows upon men, whether Jews or Gentiles, all flow from a prior relation he stands in to them; he first takes them into the relation of children, is a father to them in covenant; and then bestows children's blessings and covenant mercies on them. The allusion, perhaps, is to Joseph's having the birthright, and whose younger son, Ephraim, was preferred to Manasseh the elder, 1 Chronicles 5:2. Ephraim intends the same as Israel, the ten tribes, and includes the whole body of the Jewish nation.

{n} Mynwnxtb "cum beneficientiis", Tigurine version, Gataker; so Kimchi and Ben Melech.
{o} Mym ylxn la "ad torrentes, vel fluvios aquarum", Munster, Tigurine version, Calvin, Cocceius; "ad fontes aquarum", Schmidt.