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.
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