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Jeremiah 31:19 English Standard Version

For after I had turned away, I relented, and after I was instructed, I struck my thigh; I was ashamed, and I was confounded, because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’

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Who is the “I” in Jeremiah 31:19? Why did he strike his thigh?

Jeremiah 31:17-19 (ESV)

17 There is hope for your future, declares the Lord, and your children shall come back to their own country. 18 I have heard Ephraim grieving, ‘You have disciplined me, and I was disciplined, like an untrained calf; bring me back that I may be restored, for you are the Lord my God. 19 For after I had turned away, I relented, and after I was instructed, I struck my thigh;I was ashamed, and I was confounded, because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’

"I" refers to the exile Israelites spoken collectively as Ephraim, Vs 18 and Vs 19

The people came to their senses in captivity by the Assyrians and were moved to repentance. " I became ashamed, and I also felt humiliated.” (Verse 19) The people felt sorry because they had sinned. They accepted the blame and admitted their guilt. As if beating their breast, they also felt disgraced and cast down.

Under the feeling of unusual grief or contrition, one might beat the breast in grief or slap the thigh for regret, shame, and humiliation or mourning.

Ezekiel 21:12 (ESV)

12 Cry out and wail, son of man, for it is against my people. It is against all the princes of Israel. They are delivered over to the sword with my people. Strike therefore upon your thigh.

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  • Up-voted +1. Why do you think that Ephraim is chosen as the tribe in which to express the feelings of all Israel. Because of its size, or do you think another reason ?
    – Nigel J
    Nov 20 '20 at 23:58
  • Nigel J: Yes but also ,in blessing Ephraim and Manasseh, the patriarch Jacob gave the preference to Ephraim and prophetically indicated that he would become the greater.​—Gen. 48:13-20. Nov 21 '20 at 9:45

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