The New Israel
This is what the LORD said, “At that time I will be the God of all the tribes of Israel. And they will be my people.”
This is what the LORD says:
The people who escaped the enemy’s sword will find comfort in the desert.
Israel will go there looking for rest.”
From far away, the LORD
will appear to his people.
The Lord says, “I love you people with a love that continues forever.
That is why I have continued showing you kindness.
Israel, my bride, I will rebuild you.
You will be a country again.
You will pick up your tambourines again.
You will dance with all the other people who are having fun.
You farmers of Israel will plant vineyards again.
You will plant the vineyards on the hills around the city of Samaria.
The farmers will enjoy the fruit from the vineyards.
There will be a time when watchmen* shout this message:
Come, let’s go up to Zion to worship the LORD our God!’
Even the watchmen in the hill country of Ephraim will shout that message.”
This is what the LORD says:
Be happy and sing for Jacob!
Shout for Israel, the greatest of the nations!
Sing your praises and shout:
LORD, save your people!
Save those who are left alive from the nation of Israel.’
Remember, I will bring Israel
from that country in the north.
I will gather the people of Israel
from the faraway places on earth.
Some of the people will be blind and crippled.
Some of the women will be pregnant and ready to give birth.
But many people will come back.
They will come back crying,
but I will lead them and comfort them.
I will lead them by streams of water.
I will lead them on an easy road,
where they will not stumble.
I will lead them in that way because I am Israel’s father.
And Ephraim is my firstborn son.
10 Nations, listen to this message from the LORD!
Tell this message in the faraway lands by the sea:
God scattered the people of Israel,
but he will bring them back together.
And he will watch over his flock like a shepherd.’
11 The LORD will bring Jacob back.
He will save his people from those who are stronger.
12 The people of Israel will come to the top of Zion,
and they will shout with joy.
Their faces will shine with happiness about the good things the LORD gives them.
He will give them grain, new wine, olive oil, young sheep and cattle.
They will be like a garden that has plenty of water.
And the people of Israel will not be troubled anymore.
13 Then the young women of Israel will be happy and dance.
And the men, young and old, will join in the dancing.
I will change their sadness into happiness.
I will comfort my people, making them happy instead of sad.
14 I will give the priests plenty of food.
And my people will be filled and satisfied with the good things I give them.”
This message is from the LORD.
15 This is what the LORD says:
A sound is heard in Ramah
bitter crying and great sadness.
Rachel§ cries for her children,
and she refuses to be comforted,
because her children are gone.”
16 But the LORD says, “Stop crying.
Don’t fill your eyes with tears.
You will be rewarded for your work.”
This message is from the LORD.
The people of Israel will come back from their enemy’s land.
17 Israel, there is hope for you.”
This message is from the LORD.
Your children will come back to their own land.
18 I have heard Ephraim crying:
Lord, you punished me, and I learned my lesson.
I was like a calf that was never trained.
Please stop punishing me,
and I will come back to you.
You really are the LORD my God.
19 I wandered away from you.
But I finally realized how wrong I was.
So I changed my heart and life.
I am ashamed and embarrassed
about the foolish things I did when I was young.’ ”
20 The LORD says,
You know that Ephraim is my dear son.
I love that child.
Yes, I often criticized Ephraim,
but I still think about him.
I love him very much,
and I really do want to comfort him.
21 People of Israel, repair the road signs.
Put up signs that show the way home.
Watch the road.
Remember the road you are leaving on.
Israel, my bride, come home.
Come back to your towns.
22 Unfaithful daughter,
how long will you wander around?
The LORD has created something new in the land:
A woman surrounding a man.*
23 This is what the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: “I will again do good things for the people of Judah. I will bring back those who were taken away as prisoners. At that time the people in the land of Judah and in its towns will once again use these words: ‘May the LORD bless you, good home and 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 peacefully together in Judah. 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 was very pleasant.
27 The days are coming,” says the LORD, “when I will help the family 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 gave many troubles to them. But now I will watch over them to build them up and make them strong.” This message is from the LORD.
29 People will not use this saying anymore:
The parents ate the sour grapes,
but the children got the sour taste.’
30 No, people will die for their own sins. Those who eat sour grapes will get the sour taste.”
The New Agreement
31 This is what the LORD said, “The time is coming when I will make a new agreement with the family of Israel and with the family of Judah. 32 It will not be like the agreement I made with their ancestors. I made that agreement when I took them by the hand and brought them out of Egypt. I was their master, but they broke that agreement.” This message is from the LORD.
33 In the future I will make this agreement with the people of Israel.” This message is from 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 not have to teach their neighbors and relatives to know the LORD, because all people, from the least important to the most important, will know me.” This message is from the LORD. “I will forgive them for the evil things they did. I will not remember their sins.”
The Lord Will Never Leave Israel
35 He makes the sun shine in the day,
and he makes the moon and the stars shine at night.
He stirs up the sea so that its waves crash on the shore.
The LORD All-Powerful is his name.
This is what the LORD says:
36 The descendants of Israel will never stop being a nation.
That would happen only if I lost control of the sun, moon, stars, and sea.”
37 The LORD says, “I will never reject the descendants of Israel.
That would happen only if people could measure the sky above,
and learn all the secrets of the earth below.
Only then would I reject them for the bad things they have done.”
This message is from the LORD.
The New Jerusalem
38 This message is from the LORD, “The days are coming when the city of Jerusalem will be rebuilt for the LORD. The whole city will be rebuiltfrom the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39 The measuring line§ will stretch from the Corner Gate straight to the hill of Gareb and then turn to the place named Gorah. 40 The whole valley where dead bodies and ashes are thrown and all the terraces down to the bottom of Kidron Valley all the way to the corner of Horse Gate will be holy to the LORD. The city of Jerusalem will never again be torn down or destroyed.”
* 31:6 watchmen This usually means a guard who stands on the city walls watching for people coming to the city. Here, it probably means the prophets. 31:6 hill country of Ephraim This was the central part of the land that had been the northern kingdom of Israel. 31:7 LORD, save your people Or “LORD has saved his people!” This is often a shout of victory. § 31:15 Rachel Jacob’s wife. Here, this means all the women who are crying for their husbands and children who have died in the war with Babylon. * 31:22 A woman surrounding a man The Hebrew text here is hard to understand. It might be part of some saying that was familiar to the people in Jeremiah’s time. 31:23 good home and holy mountain This was a blessing for the Temple and for Mount Zion, the mountain the Temple was built on. 31:29 The parents … sour taste This means the children were suffering for things their parents did. § 31:39 measuring line A rope or chain for measuring property lines.