Jeremiah 31 The Message (MSG)
31 “And when that happens”—God’s Decree—
“it will be plain as the sun at high noon:
I’ll be the God of every man, woman, and child in Israel
and they shall be my very own people.”
2-6 This is the way God put it:
“They found grace out in the desert,
these people who survived the killing.
Israel, out looking for a place to rest,
met God out looking for them!”
God told them, “I’ve never quit loving you and never will.
Expect love, love, and more love!
And so now I’ll start over with you and build you up again,
dear virgin Israel.
You’ll resume your singing,
grabbing tambourines and joining the dance.
You’ll go back to your old work of planting vineyards
on the Samaritan hillsides,
And sit back and enjoy the fruit—
oh, how you’ll enjoy those harvests!
The time’s coming when watchmen will call out
from the hilltops of Ephraim:
‘On your feet! Let’s go to Zion,
go to meet our God!’”
7 Oh yes, God says so:
“Shout for joy at the top of your lungs for Jacob!
Announce the good news to the number-one nation!
Raise cheers! Sing praises. Say,
‘God has saved his people,
saved the core of Israel.’
8 “Watch what comes next:
“I’ll bring my people back
from the north country
And gather them up from the ends of the earth,
gather those who’ve gone blind
And those who are lame and limping,
gather pregnant women,
Even the mothers whose birth pangs have started,
bring them all back, a huge crowd!
9 “Watch them come! They’ll come weeping for joy
as I take their hands and lead them,
Lead them to fresh flowing brooks,
lead them along smooth, uncluttered paths.
Yes, it’s because I’m Israel’s Father
and Ephraim’s my firstborn son!
10-14 “Hear this, nations! God’s Message!
Broadcast this all over the world!
Tell them, ‘The One who scattered Israel
will gather them together again.
From now on he’ll keep a careful eye on them,
like a shepherd with his flock.’
I, God, will pay a stiff ransom price for Jacob;
I’ll free him from the grip of the Babylonian bully.
The people will climb up Zion’s slopes shouting with joy,
their faces beaming because of God’s bounty—
Grain and wine and oil,
flocks of sheep, herds of cattle.
Their lives will be like a well-watered garden,
never again left to dry up.
Young women will dance and be happy,
young men and old men will join in.
I’ll convert their weeping into laughter,
lavishing comfort, invading their grief with joy.
I’ll make sure that their priests get three square meals a day
and that my people have more than enough.’” God’s Decree.
15-17 Again, God’s Message:
“Listen to this! Laments coming out of Ramah,
wild and bitter weeping.
It’s Rachel weeping for her children,
Rachel refusing all solace.
Her children are gone,
gone—long gone into exile.”
But God says, “Stop your incessant weeping,
hold back your tears.
Collect wages from your grief work.” God’s Decree.
“They’ll be coming back home!
There’s hope for your children.” God’s Decree.
18-19 “I’ve heard the contrition of Ephraim.
Yes, I’ve heard it clearly, saying,
‘You trained me well.
You broke me, a wild yearling horse, to the saddle.
Now put me, trained and obedient, to use.
You are my God.
After those years of running loose, I repented.
After you trained me to obedience,
I was ashamed of my past, my wild, unruly past.
Humiliated, I beat on my chest.
Will I ever live this down?’
20 “Oh! Ephraim is my dear, dear son,
my child in whom I take pleasure!
Every time I mention his name,
my heart bursts with longing for him!
Everything in me cries out for him.
Softly and tenderly I wait for him.” God’s Decree.
21-22 “Set up signposts to mark your trip home.
Get a good map.
Study the road conditions.
The road out is the road back.
Come back, dear virgin Israel,
come back to your hometowns.
How long will you flit here and there, indecisive?
How long before you make up your fickle mind?
God will create a new thing in this land:
A transformed woman will embrace the transforming God!”
23-24 A Message from Israel’s God-of-the-Angel-Armies: “When I’ve turned everything around and brought my people back, the old expressions will be heard on the streets: ‘God bless you!’ . . . ‘O True Home!’ . . . ‘O Holy Mountain!’ All Judah’s people, whether in town or country, will get along just fine with each other.
25 I’ll refresh tired bodies;
I’ll restore tired souls.
26 Just then I woke up and looked around—what a pleasant and satisfying sleep!
27-28 “Be ready. The time’s coming”—God’s Decree—“when I will plant people and animals in Israel and Judah, just as a farmer plants seed. And in the same way that earlier I relentlessly pulled up and tore down, took apart and demolished, so now I am sticking with them as they start over, building and planting.
29 “When that time comes you won’t hear the old proverb anymore,
Parents ate the green apples,
their children got the stomachache.
30 “No, each person will pay for his own sin. You eat green apples, you’re the one who gets sick.
31-32 “That’s right. The time is coming when I will make a brand-new covenant with Israel and Judah. It won’t be a repeat of the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took their hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant even though I did my part as their Master.” God’s Decree.
33-34 “This is the brand-new covenant that I will make with Israel when the time comes. I will put my law within them—write it on their hearts!—and be their God. And they will be my people. They will no longer go around setting up schools to teach each other about God. They’ll know me firsthand, the dull and the bright, the smart and the slow. I’ll wipe the slate clean for each of them. I’ll forget they ever sinned!” God’s Decree.
If This Ordered Cosmos Ever Fell to Pieces
35 God’s Message, from the God who lights up the day with sun and
brightens the night with moon and stars,
Who whips the ocean into a billowy froth,
whose name is God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
36 “If this ordered cosmos ever fell to pieces,
fell into chaos before me”—God’s Decree—
“Then and only then might Israel fall apart
and disappear as a nation before me.”
37 God’s Message:
“If the skies could be measured with a yardstick
and the earth explored to its core,
Then and only then would I turn my back on Israel,
disgusted with all they’ve done.” God’s Decree.
38-40 “The time is coming”—it’s God’s Decree—“when God’s city will be rebuilt, rebuilt all the way from the Citadel of Hanamel to the Corner Gate. The master plan will extend west to Gareb Hill and then around to Goath. The whole valley to the south where incinerated corpses are dumped—a death valley if there ever was one!—and all the terraced fields out to the Brook Kidron on the east as far north as the Horse Gate will be consecrated to me as a holy place.
“This city will never again be torn down or destroyed.”
Jeremiah 31 New International Version (NIV)
31 “At that time,” declares the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people.”
2 This is what the Lord says:
“The people who survive the sword
will find favor in the wilderness;
I will come to give rest to Israel.”
3 The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
4 I will build you up again,
and you, Virgin Israel, will be rebuilt.
Again you will take up your timbrels
and go out to dance with the joyful.
5 Again you will plant vineyards
on the hills of Samaria;
the farmers will plant them
and enjoy their fruit.
6 There will be a day when watchmen cry out
on the hills of Ephraim,
‘Come, let us go up to Zion,
to the Lord our God.’”
7 This is what the Lord says:
“Sing with joy for Jacob;
shout for the foremost of the nations.
Make your praises heard, and say,
‘Lord, save your people,
the remnant of Israel.’
8 See, I will bring them from the land of the north
and gather them from the ends of the earth.
Among them will be the blind and the lame,
expectant mothers and women in labor;
a great throng will return.
9 They will come with weeping;
they will pray as I bring them back.
I will lead them beside streams of water
on a level path where they will not stumble,
because I am Israel’s father,
and Ephraim is my firstborn son.
10 “Hear the word of the Lord, you nations;
proclaim it in distant coastlands:
‘He who scattered Israel will gather them
and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.’
11 For the Lord will deliver Jacob
and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they.
12 They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion;
they will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord—
the grain, the new wine and the olive oil,
the young of the flocks and herds.
They will be like a well-watered garden,
and they will sorrow no more.
13 Then young women will dance and be glad,
young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into gladness;
I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
14 I will satisfy the priests with abundance,
and my people will be filled with my bounty,”
declares the Lord.
15 This is what the Lord says:
“A voice is heard in Ramah,
mourning and great weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”
16 This is what the Lord says:
“Restrain your voice from weeping
and your eyes from tears,
for your work will be rewarded,”
declares the Lord.
“They will return from the land of the enemy.
17 So there is hope for your descendants,”
declares the Lord.
“Your children will return to their own land.
18 “I have surely heard Ephraim’s moaning:
‘You disciplined me like an unruly calf,
and I have been disciplined.
Restore me, and I will return,
because you are the Lord my God.
19 After I strayed,
after I came to understand,
I beat my breast.
I was ashamed and humiliated
because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’
20 Is not Ephraim my dear son,
the child in whom I delight?
Though I often speak against him,
I still remember him.
Therefore my heart yearns for him;
I have great compassion for him,”
declares the Lord.
21 “Set up road signs;
put up guideposts.
Take note of the highway,
the road that you take.
Return, Virgin Israel,
return to your towns.
22 How long will you wander,
unfaithful Daughter Israel?
The Lord will create a new thing on earth—
the woman will return to the man.”
23 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “When I bring them back from captivity, the people in the land of Judah and in its towns will once again use these words: ‘The Lord bless you, you prosperous city, you sacred mountain.’ 24 People will live together in Judah and all its towns—farmers and those who move about with their flocks. 25 I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”
26 At this I awoke and looked around. My sleep had been pleasant to me.
27 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will plant the kingdoms of Israel and Judah with the offspring of people and of animals. 28 Just as I watched over them to uproot and tear down, and to overthrow, destroy and bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant,” declares the Lord. 29 “In those days people will no longer say,
‘The parents have eaten sour grapes,
and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’
30 Instead, everyone will die for their own sin; whoever eats sour grapes—their own teeth will be set on edge.
31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,”
declares the Lord.
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
34 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.”
35 This is what the Lord says,
he who appoints the sun
to shine by day,
who decrees the moon and stars
to shine by night,
who stirs up the sea
so that its waves roar—
the Lord Almighty is his name:
36 “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,”
declares the Lord,
“will Israel ever cease
being a nation before me.”
37 This is what the Lord says:
“Only if the heavens above can be measured
and the foundations of the earth below be searched out
will I reject all the descendants of Israel
because of all they have done,”
declares the Lord.
38 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when this city will be rebuilt for me from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39 The measuring line will stretch from there straight to the hill of Gareb and then turn to Goah. 40 The whole valley where dead bodies and ashes are thrown, and all the terraces out to the Kidron Valley on the east as far as the corner of the Horse Gate, will be holy to the Lord. The city will never again be uprooted or demolished.”