After God performs the intents of His heart, as it says at the end of the previous chapter, and His wrath has consumed those He will consume, then peace in the relationship between Israel and God becomes possible because all of those who declared war on God through their conduct are dead. God does not believe in "peace at any price." He works toward repentance, but if there is no repentance, the only solution is to destroy those in rebellion against Him. Yet, after the destruction, He promises once again to be the God of all of Israel, and Israel will again be His people.
Verse 2 provides the qualifier that the remnant will be those who have survived the sword. Ezekiel 5:1-4 illustrates this time:
And you, son of man, take a sharp sword, take it as a barber's razor, and pass it over your head and your beard; then take scales to weigh and divide the hair. You shall burn with fire one-third in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are finished; then you shall take one-third and strike around it with the sword, and one-third you shall scatter in the wind: I will draw out a sword after them. You shall also take a small number of them and bind them in the edge of your garment. Then take some of them again and throw them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire. From there a fire will go out into all the house of Israel.
From these verses and the remainder of Ezekiel 5, it is evident that a great deal of violence will be done to the peoples of Israel, but when it is over, God will give them rest (Jeremiah 31:2). The people who survive the sword will find grace. God begins to demonstrate His lovingkindness and to rebuild and restore Israel. Jeremiah 31:4 contains the imagery of a festive occasion with dancing, something that the Israelites probably will not have felt like doing for quite some time. There will be food in abundance, and the time of famine will be over (verse 5). On all counts, Israel's outlook is brightening.
David C. Grabbe
The Second Exodus (Part Two)