31 The Lord says, “At that time I will be God of all Israel’s family groups. And they will be my people.”
2 This is what the Lord says:
“Some of the people were not killed by the enemy’s sword. Those people will find help in the desert. I have come to give rest to Israel.”
3 And from far away the Lord appeared to his people. He said,
“I love you people with a love that will last forever. I became your friend because of my love and kindness. 4 People of Israel, I will build you up again, and you will be rebuilt. You will pick up your tambourines again. You will dance with those who are joyful. 5 You will plant vineyards again on the hills around Samaria. The farmers will plant them and enjoy their fruit. 6 There will be a time when watchmen in the mountains of Ephraim shout this message: ‘Come, let’s go up to Jerusalem to worship the Lord our God!’”
7 This is what the Lord says:
“Be happy and sing for the people of Jacob. Shout for Israel, the greatest of the nations. Sing your praises and shout this: ‘Lord, save your people! Save those who are left alive from the nation of Israel!’ 8 Look, I will bring Israel from the country in the north. I will gather them from the faraway places on earth. Some of the people are blind and crippled. Some of the women will be pregnant and ready to give birth. A great many people will come back. 9 Those people will be crying as they come back. But they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead those people by streams of water. I will lead them on an even road where they will not stumble. This is because I am Israel’s father. And Israel is my firstborn son.
10 “Nations, listen to the message from the Lord. Tell this message in the faraway lands by the sea: ‘The one who scattered the people of Israel will bring them back together. And he will watch over his people like a shepherd.’ 11 The Lord will bring the people of Jacob back. The Lord will buy them back from people stronger than they were. 12 The people of Israel will come to the high points of Jerusalem. There they will shout for joy. Their faces will shine with happiness about all the good things from the Lord: the grain, new wine, oil, young sheep and cows. They will be like a garden that has plenty of water. And the people of Israel will not be troubled anymore. 13 Then young women of Israel will be happy and dance. The young men and old men will also dance. I will change their sadness into happiness. I will give them comfort and joy instead of sadness. 14 The priests will have more than enough sacrifices. And my people will be filled with the good things I give them!” says the Lord.
15 This is what the Lord says:
“A sound was heard in Ramah. It was painful crying and much sadness. Rachel cries for her children. And she cannot be comforted, because her children are dead!”
16 But this is what the Lord says:
“Stop crying. Don’t let your eyes fill with tears. You will be rewarded for your work!” says the Lord. “The people will come back from their enemy’s land. 17 So there is hope for you!” says the Lord. “Your children will come back to their own land.
18 “I have heard Israel moaning: ‘Lord, you punished me, and I have learned my lesson. I was like a calf that had never been trained. Take me back, and I will come back. You truly are the Lord my God. 19 Lord, I wandered away from you. But I changed my heart and life. Once I understood, I beat my breast with sorrow. I am ashamed and disgraced because of the foolish things I did when I was young.’
20 “You know that Israel is my dear son. I love that child. Yes, I often speak against Israel, but I still remember him. I love him very much. And I want to comfort him,” says the Lord.
21 “People of Israel, fix the road signs. Put up the signs that show you the way home. Watch the road. Pay attention to the road on which you travel. People of Israel, come home. Come back to your towns. 22 You are an unfaithful daughter. How long will you wander before you come home? The Lord will make something new happen in the land: A woman will go seeking a man.”
23 The Lord of heaven’s armies, the God of Israel, says: “I will again do good things for the people of Judah. At that time the people in the land of Judah and its towns will again say: ‘May the Lord bless you. You are a righteous dwelling. You are a holy mountain.’ 24 People in all the towns of Judah will live together in peace. Farmers and those who move around with their flocks will live together in peace. 25 I will give rest and strength to those who are weak and tired.”
26 After hearing that, I, Jeremiah, woke up and looked around. My sleep had been very pleasant.
27 The Lord says, “The days are coming when I will help the families of Israel and Judah to grow. I will help their children and animals to grow, too. It will be like planting and caring for a plant. 28 In the past I watched over Israel and Judah, but I watched for the time to pull them up. I tore them down. I destroyed them. I brought disaster to them. But now I will watch over them to build them up and make them strong,” says the Lord.
29 “At that time people will no longer say:
‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes. And that caused the children to grind their teeth from the sour taste.’
30 But each person will die for his own sin. The person who eats sour grapes will grind his own teeth.
The New Agreement
31 “Look, the time is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new agreement. It will be with the people of Israel and the people of Judah. 32 It will not be like the agreement I made with their ancestors. That was when I took them by the hand to bring them out of Egypt. I was a husband to them, but they broke that agreement,” says the Lord. 33 “I will make this agreement with the people of Israel,” says the Lord. “I will put my teachings in their minds. And I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 People will no longer have to teach their neighbors and relatives to know the Lord. This is because all people will know me, from the least to the most important,” says the Lord. “I will forgive them for the wicked things they did. I will not remember their sins anymore.”
The Lord Will Never Leave Israel
35 This is what the Lord says:
“The Lord makes the sun shine in the day. And he makes the moon and stars shine at night. He stirs up the sea so that its waves crash on the shore. The Lord of heaven’s armies is his name. 36 “Only if these laws should ever fail,” says the Lord, “will Israel’s descendants stop being a nation before me.”
37 This is what the Lord says:
“There’s only one way I will reject all the descendants of Israel. That is if people can measure the sky above. It is if they can learn the secrets of the earth below. Then I will reject them because of what they have done,” says the Lord.
The New Jerusalem
38 The Lord says, “The days are coming when Jerusalem will be rebuilt for me. Everything from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate will be rebuilt. 39 The measuring line will stretch from the Corner Gate straight to the hill of Gareb. Then it will turn to the place named Goah. 40 There is the whole valley where dead bodies and ashes are thrown. It will be holy to the Lord. And all the terraces out to the Kidron Valley will be included. They are on the east as far as the corner of the Horse Gate. All that area will be holy to the Lord. The city of Jerusalem will never again be torn down or destroyed.”
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