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31
Hope for Restoration
1“In that day,” says the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people. 2This 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.”
3Long 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.
4I will rebuild you, my virgin Israel.
You will again be happy
and dance merrily with your tambourines.
5Again you will plant your vineyards on the mountains of Samaria
and eat from your own gardens there.
6The day will come when watchmen will shout
from the hill country of Ephraim,
‘Come, let us go up to Jerusalem#31:6 Hebrew Zion; also in 31:12.
to worship the Lord our God.’”
7Now this is what the Lord says:
“Sing with joy for Israel.#31:7 Hebrew Jacob; also in 31:11. See note on 5:20.
Shout for the greatest of nations!
Shout out with praise and joy:
‘Save your people, O Lord,
the remnant of Israel!’
8For 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!
9Tears 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.
11For the Lord has redeemed Israel
from those too strong for them.
12They 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.
13The 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.
14The priests will enjoy abundance,
and my people will feast on my good gifts.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”
Rachel’s Sadness Turns to Joy
15This 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.”
16But 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.
17There is hope for your future,” says the Lord.
“Your children will come again to their own land.
18I have heard Israel#31:18 Hebrew Ephraim, referring to the northern kingdom of Israel; also in 31:20. 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.
19I 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.
21Set 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.
22How long will you wander,
my wayward daughter?
For the Lord will cause something new to happen—
Israel will embrace her God.#31:22 Hebrew a woman will surround a man.
23This 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!’ 24Townspeople and farmers and shepherds alike will live together in peace and happiness. 25For I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing.”
26At 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. 28In 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.’
30All 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. 32This 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. 34And 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.”
35It 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!”
37This 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. 39A measuring line will be stretched out over the hill of Gareb and across to Goah. 40And 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.”
31
1 "In that time, says the Lord, I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people."
2 Thus says the Lord: "The people who had remained after the sword, found grace in the desert. Israel will go to his rest."
3 The Lord appeared to me from a distance: "And I have loved you in perpetual charity. Therefore, showing pity, I have drawn you.
4 And I will build you up again. And you shall be built up, O virgin of Israel. Still shall you be adorned with your timbrels, and still shall you go forth to the singing of those who play.
5 Still shall you plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria. The planters will plant, and they will not gather the vintage until the time arrives.
6 For there will be a day on which the guardians on mount Ephraim will cry out: 'Arise! And let us ascend on Zion to the Lord our God!' "
7 For thus says the Lord: "Exult in the joy of Jacob, and neigh before the head of the Gentiles. Shout, and sing, and say: 'O Lord, save your people, the remnant of Israel!'
8 Behold, I will lead them from the land of the north, and I will gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame, she who is with child, together with she who is giving birth: a great assembly returning to this place.
9 They will approach with weeping. And I will lead them back with mercy. And I will lead them through the torrents of water, by an upright way, and they will not stumble in it. For I have become Father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn."
10 Listen to the word of the Lord, O Gentiles, and announce it amid the islands that are far away, and say: "Whoever has scattered Israel will gather him, and he will guard him as a shepherd guards his flock."
11 For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and he has freed him from the hand of one more powerful.
12 And they will arrive and give praise on Mount Zion. And they will flow together, to the good things of the Lord, over grain, and wine, and oil, and the offspring of cattle and herds. And their soul will be like an irrigated garden, and they will no longer be hungry.
13 Then the virgin will rejoice with singing, the young and the old together, and I will turn their mourning into gladness, and I will console them and gladden them after their sorrow.
14 And I will inebriate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people will be filled with my good things, says the Lord."
15 Thus says the Lord: "A voice has been heard on high: of lamentation, mourning, and weeping; of Rachel crying for her sons and refusing to be consoled over them, because they are not."
16 Thus says the Lord: "Let your voice cease from crying and your eyes from tears. For there is a reward for your work, says the Lord. And they will return from the land of the enemy.
17 And there is hope for your very end, says the Lord. And the sons will return to their own borders.
18 Listening, I heard Ephraim going into captivity: 'You have chastised me, and I was instructed, like a young untamed bull. Convert me, and I shall be converted. For you are the Lord my God.
19 For after you converted me, I did penance. And after you revealed to me, I struck my thigh. I am confounded and ashamed. For I have endured the disgrace of my youth.'
20 Certainly, Ephraim is an honorable son to me; surely, he is a tender child. For I will still remember him, as in the time when I first spoke about him. Because my heart is stirred up over him, surely I will take pity on him, says the Lord.
21 Establish a watchtower for yourself. Place yourself in bitterness. Direct your heart into the upright way, in which you used to walk. Return, return, O virgin of Israel, to these your cities!
22 How long will you be absorbed in delights, O wandering daughter? For the Lord has created something new upon the earth: a woman will encompass a man."
23 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: "Still they will speak this word in the land of Judah, and in its cities, when I will convert their captivity: 'May the Lord bless you, the beauty of justice, the holy mountain.'
24 And they will live in it: Judah together with all its cities, the farmer and those who drive the flocks.
25 For I have inebriated the weary soul, and I have satisfied every hungry soul.
26 Over this, I was awakened, as if from a deep sleep. And I saw, and my sleep became sweet to me.
27 Behold, the days are approaching, says the Lord, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the offspring of men and with the offspring of cattle.
28 And just as I have watched over them, so that I may root up, and tear down, and scatter, and destroy, and afflict, so will I watch over them, so that I may build and plant them, says the Lord.
29 In those days, they will no longer say: 'The fathers ate a bitter grape, and the teeth of the sons have been affected.'
30 Instead, each one will die for his own iniquity. Each man who will have eaten a bitter grape, his own teeth will be affected.
31 Behold, the days are approaching, says the Lord, when I will form a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,
32 not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, in the day when I took them by the hand, so as to lead them away from the land of Egypt, the covenant which they nullified, though I was the ruler over them, says the Lord.
33 But this will be the covenant that I will form with the house of Israel, after those days, says the Lord: I will give my law to their inner most being, and I will write it upon their heart. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 And they will no longer teach, a man his neighbor, and a man his brother, saying: 'Know the Lord.' For all will know me, from the littlest of them even to the greatest, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will no longer remember their sin.
35 Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun as the light of the day, who puts the moon and the stars in order as the light of the night, who stirs up the sea and makes its waves roar: the Lord of hosts is his name.
36 If these laws fail in my sight, says the Lord, then the offspring of Israel will also fail, so that they will not be a people in my sight for all time."
37 Thus says the Lord: "If the heavens above are able to be measured, and if the foundations of the earth beneath can be examined, I also will cast aside all the offspring of Israel, because of all that they have done, says the Lord.
38 Behold, the days are approaching, says the Lord, when a city will be built for the Lord from the tower of Hananel, even to the Gate of the Corner;
39 and the measuring line will go on even further in his sight, over the hill of Gareb, and it will encircle Goah
40 and the entire Valley of dead bodies and ashes, and the entire region of death, even to the torrent of Kedron, and to the corner of the Horse Gate to the east. All this will be the holy place of the Lord. It will not be rooted up, and it will not be torn down, anymore, forever."