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The Lord Will Rescue Israel and Judah

30 1-2 The Lord God of Israel said, “Jeremiah, get a scroll[a] and write down everything I have told you. Someday I will let my people from both Israel[b] and Judah return to the land I gave their ancestors.”

4-5 Then the Lord told me to say to Israel and Judah:

I, the Lord, hear screams
of terror,
    and there is no peace.
Can men give birth?
Then why do I see them
    looking so pale
and clutching their stomachs
    like women in labor?
My people, soon you will suffer
worse than ever before,
    but I will save you.

Now you are slaves
    of other nations,
but I will break the chains
and smash the yokes[c]
    that keep you in slavery.
Then you will be my servants,
and I will choose a king for you
    from the family of David.

10 Israel,[d] you belong to me,
    so don’t be afraid.
You deserved to be punished;
that’s why I scattered you
    in distant nations.
But I am with you,
and someday I will destroy
    those nations.
11 Then I will bring you
and your descendants
    back to your land,
where I will protect you
    and give you peace.
Then your fears will be gone.
    I, the Lord, have spoken.

The Lord Will Heal Israel and Judah

12 The Lord said:

My people, you are wounded
    and near death.
13 You are accused of a crime
    with no one to defend you,
and you are covered with sores
    that no medicine can cure.
14 Your friends have forgotten you;
    they don’t care anymore.
Even I have acted like an enemy.
And because your sins
    are horrible and countless,
I will be cruel
    as I punish you.
15 So don’t bother to cry out
    for relief from your pain.

16 But if your enemies try to rob
    or destroy you,
I will rob and destroy them,
and they will be led as captives
    to foreign lands.
17 No one wants you as a friend
    or cares what happens to you.
But I will heal your injuries,
    and you will get well.

The Lord Will Rescue Israel and Judah

18 The Lord said:

Israel, I will be kind to you
    and let you come home.
Jerusalem now lies in ruins,
but you will rebuild it,
    complete with a new palace.[e]
19 Other nations will respect
    and honor you.
Your homes will be filled
    with children,
and you will celebrate,
    singing praises to me.

20 It will be just like old times.
Your nation will worship me,
    and I will punish anyone
    who abuses you.
21 One of your own people
    will become your ruler.
And when I invite him
    to come near me
at the place of worship,
    he will do so.
No one would dare to come near
    without being invited.
22 You will be my people,
and I will be your God.
    I, the Lord, have spoken.

23 I am furious!
And like a violent storm
    I will strike those
    who do wrong.
24 I won’t calm down
until I have finished
    what I have decided to do.
Someday, you will understand
    what I mean.

Israel Will Return to God

31 The Lord said:

Israel, I promise
    that someday all your tribes
will again be my people,
    and I will be your God.
In the desert I was kind
    to those who escaped death.
I gave them peace,
    and when the time is right,
I’ll do the same for you.[f]
    I, the Lord, have spoken.

The Lord Will Rebuild Israel

Some time ago, the Lord appeared to me[g] and told me to say:

Israel, I will always love you;
that’s why I’ve been so patient
    and kind.
You are precious to me,
and so I will rebuild
    your nation.
Once again you will dance for joy
    and play your tambourines.
You will plant vineyards
on the hills of Samaria
    and enjoy the grapes.
Someday those who guard
    the hill country of Ephraim
will shout, “Let’s go to Zion
and worship the Lord our God.”

Israel Will Return to Its Own Land

The Lord says:

Celebrate and sing for Israel,
    the greatest of nations.
Offer praises and shout,
    “Come and rescue
    your people, Lord!
Save what’s left of Israel.”

I, the Lord, will bring
my people back from Babylonia[h]
    and everywhere else on earth.
The blind and the lame
    will be there.
Expectant mothers
    and women about to give birth
will come and be part
    of that great crowd.
They will weep and pray
    as I bring them home.
I will lead them
    to streams of water.
They will walk on a level[i] road
    and not stumble.
I am a father to Israel,[j]
    my favorite children.

10 Listen to me, you nations
    nearby or across the sea.
I scattered the people of Israel,
    but I will gather them again.
I will protect them like a shepherd
    guarding a flock;
11 I will rescue them from enemies
    who could overpower them.
12 My people will come
    to Mount Zion
    and celebrate;
their faces will glow
    because of my blessings.
I’ll give them grain, grapes,
and olive oil,
    as well as sheep and cattle.
Israel will be prosperous
and grow
like a garden
    with plenty of water.
13 Young women and young men,
together with the elderly,
    will celebrate and dance,
because I will comfort them
and turn their sorrow
    into happiness.
14 I will bless my people
with more food
    than they need,
and the priests will enjoy
    the choice cuts of meat.
I, the Lord, have spoken.

The Lord Offers Hope

15 In Ramah[k] a voice is heard,
    crying and weeping loudly.
Rachel mourns for her children[l]
and refuses to be comforted,
    because they are dead.
16 But I, the Lord, say
    to dry your tears.
Someday your children
will come home
    from the enemy’s land.
Then all you have done for them
    will be greatly rewarded.
17 So don’t lose hope.
    I, the Lord, have spoken.

18 The people of Israel[m] moan
    and say to me,
“We were like wild bulls,
but you, Lord, broke us,
    and we learned to obey.
You are our God—
    please let us come home.
19 When we were young,
    we strayed and sinned,
but then we realized
    what we had done.
We are ashamed and disgraced
    and want to return to you.”

20 People of Israel,
you are my own dear children.
    Don’t I love you best of all?
Though I often make threats,
I want you to be near me,
    so I will have mercy on you.
I, the Lord, have spoken.

21 With rock piles and signposts,
mark the way home,
    my dear people.
It is the same road
    by which you left.
22 Will you ever decide
    to be faithful?
I will make sure that someday
    things will be different,
as different as a woman
    protecting a man.[n]

The Lord Will Bring Judah Home

23 The Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, said:

I promise to set the people of Judah free and to lead them back to their hometowns. And when I do, they will once again say,

“We pray that the Lord
    will bless his home,
the sacred hill in Jerusalem
    where his temple stands.”

24 The people will live in Jerusalem and in the towns of Judah. Some will be farmers, and others will be shepherds. 25 Those who feel tired and worn out will find new life and energy, 26 and when they sleep, they will wake up refreshed.[o]

27 Someday, Israel and Judah will be my field where my people and their livestock will grow. 28 In the past, I took care to uproot them, to tear them down, and to destroy them. But when that day comes, I will take care to plant them and help them grow. 29 No longer will anyone go around saying,

“Sour grapes eaten by parents
leave a sour taste in the mouths
    of their children.”

30 When that day comes, only those who eat sour grapes will get the sour taste, and only those who sin will be put to death.

The New Agreement with Israel and Judah

31 The Lord said:

The time will surely come when I will make a new agreement with the people of Israel and Judah. 32 It will be different from the agreement I made with their ancestors when I led them out of Egypt. Although I was their God, they broke that agreement.

33 Here is the new agreement that I, the Lord, will make with the people of Israel:

“I will write my laws
    on their hearts and minds.
I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.

34 “No longer will they have to teach one another to obey me. I, the Lord, promise that all of them will obey me, ordinary people and rulers alike. I will forgive their sins and forget the evil things they have done.”

35 I am the Lord All-Powerful.
I command the sun
    to give light each day,
the moon and stars
to shine at night,
    and ocean waves to roar.
36 I will never forget
    to give those commands,
and I will never let Israel
    stop being a nation.
I, the Lord, have spoken.

37 Can you measure the heavens?
Can you explore
    the depths of the earth?
That’s how hard it would be
for me to reject Israel forever,
    even though they have sinned.
I, the Lord, have spoken.

Jerusalem Will Be Rebuilt

38 The Lord said:

Someday, Jerusalem will truly belong to me. It will be rebuilt with a boundary line running from Hananel Tower to Corner Gate. 39 From there, the boundary will go in a straight line to Gareb Hill, then turn toward Goah. 40 Even that disgusting Hinnom Valley[p] will be sacred to me, and so will the eastern slopes that go down from Horse Gate into Kidron Valley. Jerusalem will never again be destroyed.

Footnotes

  1. 30.1,2 scroll: A roll of paper or special leather used for writing on.
  2. 30.3 Israel: The northern kingdom.
  3. 30.8 yokes: See the note at 27.1,2.
  4. 30.10 Israel: The people of the northern and southern kingdoms.
  5. 30.18 Jerusalem. . . palace: Or “Your towns lie in ruins, but you will rebuild them, and your homes will be where they were before.”
  6. 31.2 In the desert. . . same for you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  7. 31.3 Some time. . . me: Or “The Lord appeared to me from far away.”
  8. 31.8 Babylonia: The Hebrew text has “that country in the north,” referring to Babylonia.
  9. 31.9 level: Or “straight.”
  10. 31.9 Israel: The Hebrew text also has “Ephraim,” the leading tribe of the northern kingdom of Israel, which sometimes stands for the whole northern kingdom.
  11. 31.15 In Ramah: Or “In the hills.”
  12. 31.15 Rachel. . . children: Rachel was one of the wives of Jacob, the ancestor of the nation of Israel. She was the mother of Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph’s two sons Ephraim and Manasseh were the ancestors of the leading tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel.
  13. 31.18 Israel: Hebrew “Ephraim” (see the note at 31.9).
  14. 31.22 I will make sure. . . a woman protecting a man: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  15. 31.26 and when they sleep. . . refreshed: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  16. 31.40 that disgusting Hinnom Valley: The Hebrew text has “the whole valley of the dead bodies and of the fatty ashes,” which probably refers to Hinnom Valley, just southwest of Jerusalem, where human sacrifices had been offered to foreign gods.

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