The New Israel 31 1The Lord says, “At that time I will be God of all Israel’s family groups, and they will be my people.” 2This is what the Lord says:   “The people who were not killed by the enemy’s sword found help in the desert. I came to give rest to Israel.”   3And from far away the Lord appeared to his people and said,   “I love you people with a love that will last forever. That is why I have continued showing you kindness. 4People of Israel, I will build you up again, and you will be rebuilt. You will pick up your tambourines again and dance with those who are joyful. 5You will plant vineyards again on the hills around Samaria. The farmers will plant them and enjoy their fruit. 6There 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!’ ”   7This 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, those who are left alive from the nation of Israel!’ 8Look, I will soon bring Israel from the country in the north, and I will gather them from the faraway places on earth. Some of the people are blind and crippled. Some of the women are pregnant, and some are ready to give birth. A great many people will come back. 9They will be crying as they come, but they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead those people by streams of water on an even road where they will not stumble. 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, and he will watch over his people like a shepherd.’ 11The Lord will pay for the people of Jacob and will buy them back from people stronger than they were. 12The people of Israel will come to the high points of Jerusalem and 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 young cows. They will be like a garden that has plenty of water, and they will not be troubled anymore. 13Then young women of Israel will be happy and dance, the young men and old men also. I will change their sadness into happiness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sadness. 14The priests will have more than enough sacrifices, and my people will be filled with the good things I give them!” says the Lord.   15This is what the Lord says:   “A voice was heard in Ramah of painful crying and deep sadness: Rachel crying for her children. She refused to be comforted, because her children are dead!”   16But 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 return from their enemy’s land. 17So there is hope for you in the future,” says the Lord. “Your children will return 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 so that I may come back. You truly are the Lord my God. 19Lord, after I wandered away from you, I changed my heart and life. After I understood, I beat my breast with sorrow. I was ashamed and disgraced, because I suffered for the foolish things I did when I was young.’   20“You know that Israel is my dear son, The child I love. 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 signs to 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. 22You are an unfaithful daughter. How long will you wander before you come home? The Lord has made something new happen in the land: A woman will go seeking a man.”   23The Lord All-Powerful, 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 use these words: ‘May the Lord bless you, home of what is good, holy mountain.’ 24People 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. 25I will give rest and strength to those who are weak and tired.” 26After hearing that, I, Jeremiah, woke up and looked around. My sleep had been very pleasant. 27The Lord says, “The time is coming when I will help the families of Israel and Judah and their children and animals to grow. 28In the past I watched over Israel and Judah, to pull them up and tear them down, to destroy them and bring them disaster. 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 parents have eaten sour grapes, and that caused the children to grind their teeth from the sour taste.’ 30Instead, 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 with the people of Israel and the people of Judah. 32It will not be like the agreement I made with their ancestors 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“This is the agreement I will make with the people of Israel at that time,” says the Lord: “I will put my teachings in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34People will no longer have to teach their neighbors and relatives to know the Lord, 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, and I will not remember their sins anymore.”   The Lord Will Never Leave Israel   35The Lord makes the sun shine in the day and the moon and stars to 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“Only if these laws should ever fail,” says the Lord, “will Israel’s descendants ever stop being a nation before me.”   37This is what the Lord says:   “Only if people can measure the sky above and learn the secrets of the earth below, will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of what they have done,” says the Lord.   The New Jerusalem   38The Lord says, “The time is coming when Jerusalem will be rebuilt for me— everything from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39The measuring line will stretch from the Corner Gate straight to the hill of Gareb. Then it will turn to the place named Goah. 40The whole valley where dead bodies and ashes are thrown, and all the terraces out to the Kidron Valley 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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