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Hope for Restoration

31 “In that day,” says the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people. This is what the Lord says:

“Those who survive the coming destruction
    will find blessings even in the barren land,
    for I will give rest to the people of Israel.”

Long ago the Lord said to Israel:
“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.
    With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.
I will rebuild you, my virgin Israel.
    You will again be happy
    and dance merrily with your tambourines.
Again you will plant your vineyards on the mountains of Samaria
    and eat from your own gardens there.
The day will come when watchmen will shout
    from the hill country of Ephraim,
‘Come, let us go up to Jerusalem[a]
    to worship the Lord our God.’”

Now this is what the Lord says:
“Sing with joy for Israel.[b]
    Shout for the greatest of nations!
Shout out with praise and joy:
‘Save your people, O Lord,
    the remnant of Israel!’
For I will bring them from the north
    and from the distant corners of the earth.
I will not forget the blind and lame,
    the expectant mothers and women in labor.
    A great company will return!
Tears of joy will stream down their faces,
    and I will lead them home with great care.
They will walk beside quiet streams
    and on smooth paths where they will not stumble.
For I am Israel’s father,
    and Ephraim is my oldest child.

10 “Listen to this message from the Lord,
    you nations of the world;
    proclaim it in distant coastlands:
The Lord, who scattered his people,
    will gather them and watch over them
    as a shepherd does his flock.
11 For the Lord has redeemed Israel
    from those too strong for them.
12 They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem.
    They will be radiant because of the Lord’s good gifts—
the abundant crops of grain, new wine, and olive oil,
    and the healthy flocks and herds.
Their life will be like a watered garden,
    and all their sorrows will be gone.
13 The young women will dance for joy,
    and the men—old and young—will join in the celebration.
I will turn their mourning into joy.
    I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing.
14 The priests will enjoy abundance,
    and my people will feast on my good gifts.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!”

Rachel’s Sadness Turns to Joy

15 This is what the Lord says:

“A cry is heard in Ramah—
    deep anguish and bitter weeping.
Rachel weeps for her children,
    refusing to be comforted—
    for her children are gone.”

16 But now this is what the Lord says:
“Do not weep any longer,
    for I will reward you,” says the Lord.
“Your children will come back to you
    from the distant land of the enemy.
17 There is hope for your future,” says the Lord.
    “Your children will come again to their own land.
18 I have heard Israel[c] saying,
‘You disciplined me severely,
    like a calf that needs training for the yoke.
Turn me again to you and restore me,
    for you alone are the Lord my God.
19 I turned away from God,
    but then I was sorry.
I kicked myself for my stupidity!
    I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days.’

20 “Is not Israel still my son,
    my darling child?” says the Lord.
“I often have to punish him,
    but I still love him.
That’s why I long for him
    and surely will have mercy on him.
21 Set up road signs;
    put up guideposts.
Mark well the path
    by which you came.
Come back again, my virgin Israel;
    return to your towns here.
22 How long will you wander,
    my wayward daughter?
For the Lord will cause something new to happen—
    Israel will embrace her God.[d]

23 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “When I bring them back from captivity, the people of Judah and its towns will again say, ‘The Lord bless you, O righteous home, O holy mountain!’ 24 Townspeople and farmers and shepherds alike will live together in peace and happiness. 25 For I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing.”

26 At this, I woke up and looked around. My sleep had been very sweet.

27 “The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will greatly increase the human population and the number of animals here in Israel and Judah. 28 In the past I deliberately uprooted and tore down this nation. I overthrew it, destroyed it, and brought disaster upon it. But in the future I will just as deliberately plant it and build it up. I, the Lord, have spoken!

29 “The people will no longer quote this proverb:

‘The parents have eaten sour grapes,
    but their children’s mouths pucker at the taste.’

30 All people will die for their own sins—those who eat the sour grapes will be the ones whose mouths will pucker.

31 “The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. 32 This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the Lord.

33 “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the Lord. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”

35 It is the Lord who provides the sun to light the day
    and the moon and stars to light the night,
    and who stirs the sea into roaring waves.
His name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
    and this is what he says:
36 “I am as likely to reject my people Israel
    as I am to abolish the laws of nature!”
37 This is what the Lord says:
“Just as the heavens cannot be measured
    and the foundations of the earth cannot be explored,
so I will not consider casting them away
    for the evil they have done.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!

38 “The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when all Jerusalem will be rebuilt for me, from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39 A measuring line will be stretched out over the hill of Gareb and across to Goah. 40 And the entire area—including the graveyard and ash dump in the valley, and all the fields out to the Kidron Valley on the east as far as the Horse Gate—will be holy to the Lord. The city will never again be captured or destroyed.”

Jeremiah’s Land Purchase

32 The following message came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of the reign of Zedekiah,[e] king of Judah. This was also the eighteenth year of the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar.[f] Jerusalem was then under siege from the Babylonian army, and Jeremiah was imprisoned in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace. King Zedekiah had put him there, asking why he kept giving this prophecy: “This is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will take it. King Zedekiah will be captured by the Babylonians[g] and taken to meet the king of Babylon face to face. He will take Zedekiah to Babylon, and I will deal with him there,’ says the Lord. ‘If you fight against the Babylonians, you will never succeed.’”

At that time the Lord sent me a message. He said, “Your cousin Hanamel son of Shallum will come and say to you, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth. By law you have the right to buy it before it is offered to anyone else.’”

Then, just as the Lord had said he would, my cousin Hanamel came and visited me in the prison. He said, “Please buy my field at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. By law you have the right to buy it before it is offered to anyone else, so buy it for yourself.” Then I knew that the message I had heard was from the Lord.

So I bought the field at Anathoth, paying Hanamel seventeen pieces[h] of silver for it. 10 I signed and sealed the deed of purchase before witnesses, weighed out the silver, and paid him. 11 Then I took the sealed deed and an unsealed copy of the deed, which contained the terms and conditions of the purchase, 12 and I handed them to Baruch son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah. I did all this in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, the witnesses who had signed the deed, and all the men of Judah who were there in the courtyard of the guardhouse.

13 Then I said to Baruch as they all listened, 14 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Take both this sealed deed and the unsealed copy, and put them into a pottery jar to preserve them for a long time.’ 15 For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Someday people will again own property here in this land and will buy and sell houses and vineyards and fields.’”

Jeremiah’s Prayer

16 Then after I had given the papers to Baruch, I prayed to the Lord:

17 “O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you! 18 You show unfailing love to thousands, but you also bring the consequences of one generation’s sin upon the next. You are the great and powerful God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 19 You have all wisdom and do great and mighty miracles. You see the conduct of all people, and you give them what they deserve. 20 You performed miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt—things still remembered to this day! And you have continued to do great miracles in Israel and all around the world. You have made your name famous to this day.

21 “You brought Israel out of Egypt with mighty signs and wonders, with a strong hand and powerful arm, and with overwhelming terror. 22 You gave the people of Israel this land that you had promised their ancestors long before—a land flowing with milk and honey. 23 Our ancestors came and conquered it and lived in it, but they refused to obey you or follow your word. They have not done anything you commanded. That is why you have sent this terrible disaster upon them.

24 “See how the siege ramps have been built against the city walls! Through war, famine, and disease, the city will be handed over to the Babylonians, who will conquer it. Everything has happened just as you said. 25 And yet, O Sovereign Lord, you have told me to buy the field—paying good money for it before these witnesses—even though the city will soon be handed over to the Babylonians.”

A Prediction of Jerusalem’s Fall

26 Then this message came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 27 “I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me? 28 Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I will hand this city over to the Babylonians and to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and he will capture it. 29 The Babylonians outside the walls will come in and set fire to the city. They will burn down all these houses where the people provoked my anger by burning incense to Baal on the rooftops and by pouring out liquid offerings to other gods. 30 Israel and Judah have done nothing but wrong since their earliest days. They have infuriated me with all their evil deeds,” says the Lord. 31 “From the time this city was built until now, it has done nothing but anger me, so I am determined to get rid of it.

32 “The sins of Israel and Judah—the sins of the people of Jerusalem, the kings, the officials, the priests, and the prophets—have stirred up my anger. 33 My people have turned their backs on me and have refused to return. Even though I diligently taught them, they would not receive instruction or obey. 34 They have set up their abominable idols right in my own Temple, defiling it. 35 They have built pagan shrines to Baal in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing. What an incredible evil, causing Judah to sin so greatly!

A Promise of Restoration

36 “Now I want to say something more about this city. You have been saying, ‘It will fall to the king of Babylon through war, famine, and disease.’ But this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 37 I will certainly bring my people back again from all the countries where I will scatter them in my fury. I will bring them back to this very city and let them live in peace and safety. 38 They will be my people, and I will be their God. 39 And I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants. 40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me. 41 I will find joy doing good for them and will faithfully and wholeheartedly replant them in this land.

42 “This is what the Lord says: Just as I have brought all these calamities on them, so I will do all the good I have promised them. 43 Fields will again be bought and sold in this land about which you now say, ‘It has been ravaged by the Babylonians, a desolate land where people and animals have all disappeared.’ 44 Yes, fields will once again be bought and sold—deeds signed and sealed and witnessed—in the land of Benjamin and here in Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the hill country, in the foothills of Judah[i] and in the Negev, too. For someday I will restore prosperity to them. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

Promises of Peace and Prosperity

33 While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the Lord gave him this second message: “This is what the Lord says—the Lord who made the earth, who formed and established it, whose name is the Lord: Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: You have torn down the houses of this city and even the king’s palace to get materials to strengthen the walls against the siege ramps and swords of the enemy. You expect to fight the Babylonians,[j] but the men of this city are already as good as dead, for I have determined to destroy them in my terrible anger. I have abandoned them because of all their wickedness.

“Nevertheless, the time will come when I will heal Jerusalem’s wounds and give it prosperity and true peace. I will restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel and rebuild their towns. I will cleanse them of their sins against me and forgive all their sins of rebellion. Then this city will bring me joy, glory, and honor before all the nations of the earth! The people of the world will see all the good I do for my people, and they will tremble with awe at the peace and prosperity I provide for them.

10 “This is what the Lord says: You have said, ‘This is a desolate land where people and animals have all disappeared.’ Yet in the empty streets of Jerusalem and Judah’s other towns, there will be heard once more 11 the sounds of joy and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will be heard again, along with the joyous songs of people bringing thanksgiving offerings to the Lord. They will sing,

‘Give thanks to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
    for the Lord is good.
    His faithful love endures forever!’

For I will restore the prosperity of this land to what it was in the past, says the Lord.

12 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: This land—though it is now desolate and has no people and animals—will once more have pastures where shepherds can lead their flocks. 13 Once again shepherds will count their flocks in the towns of the hill country, the foothills of Judah,[k] the Negev, the land of Benjamin, the vicinity of Jerusalem, and all the towns of Judah. I, the Lord, have spoken!

14 “The day will come, says the Lord, when I will do for Israel and Judah all the good things I have promised them.

15 “In those days and at that time
    I will raise up a righteous descendant[l] from King David’s line.
    He will do what is just and right throughout the land.
16 In that day Judah will be saved,
    and Jerusalem will live in safety.
And this will be its name:
    ‘The Lord Is Our Righteousness.’[m]

17 For this is what the Lord says: David will have a descendant sitting on the throne of Israel forever. 18 And there will always be Levitical priests to offer burnt offerings and grain offerings and sacrifices to me.”

19 Then this message came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 20 “This is what the Lord says: If you can break my covenant with the day and the night so that one does not follow the other, 21 only then will my covenant with my servant David be broken. Only then will he no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne. The same is true for my covenant with the Levitical priests who minister before me. 22 And as the stars of the sky cannot be counted and the sand on the seashore cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of my servant David and the Levites who minister before me.”

23 The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 24 “Have you noticed what people are saying?—‘The Lord chose Judah and Israel and then abandoned them!’ They are sneering and saying that Israel is not worthy to be counted as a nation. 25 But this is what the Lord says: I would no more reject my people than I would change my laws that govern night and day, earth and sky. 26 I will never abandon the descendants of Jacob or David, my servant, or change the plan that David’s descendants will rule the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Instead, I will restore them to their land and have mercy on them.”

Footnotes

  1. 31:6 Hebrew Zion; also in 31:12.
  2. 31:7 Hebrew Jacob; also in 31:11. See note on 5:20.
  3. 31:18 Hebrew Ephraim, referring to the northern kingdom of Israel; also in 31:20.
  4. 31:22 Hebrew a woman will surround a man.
  5. 32:1a The tenth year of Zedekiah’s reign and the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign was 587 B.c.
  6. 32:1b Hebrew Nebuchadrezzar, a variant spelling of Nebuchadnezzar; also in 32:28.
  7. 32:4 Or Chaldeans; also in 32:5, 24, 25, 28, 29, 43.
  8. 32:9 Hebrew 17 shekels, about 7 ounces or 194 grams in weight.
  9. 32:44 Hebrew the Shephelah.
  10. 33:5 Or Chaldeans.
  11. 33:13 Hebrew the Shephelah.
  12. 33:15 Hebrew a righteous branch.
  13. 33:16 Hebrew Yahweh Tsidqenu.

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