Promises of Hope
1These are the words that the Lord spoke to Jeremiah. 2The Lord, the God of Israel, said: “Jeremiah, write in a book all the words I have spoken to you. 3The days will come when I will bring Israel and Judah back from captivity,” says the Lord. “I will return them to the land I gave their ancestors, and they will own it!” says the Lord.
4The Lord spoke this message about the people of Israel and Judah: 5This is what the Lord said:
“We hear people crying from fear.
They are afraid; there is no peace.
6Ask this question, and consider it:
A man cannot have a baby.
So why do I see every strong man
holding his stomach in pain like a woman having a baby?
Why is everyone’s face turning white like a dead man’s face?
7This will be a terrible day!
There will never be another time like this.
This is a time of great trouble for the people of Jacob,
but they will be saved from it.”
8The Lord All-Powerful says, “At that time
I will break the yoke from their necks
and tear off the ropes that hold them.
Foreign people will never again make my people slaves.
9They will serve the Lord their God
and David their king,
whom I will send to them.
10“So people of Jacob, my servants, don’t be afraid.
Israel, don’t be frightened,” says the Lord.
“I will soon save you from that faraway place where you are captives.
I will save your family from that land.
The people of Jacob will be safe and have peace again;
there will be no enemy to frighten them.
11I am with you and will save you,”
says the Lord.
“I will completely destroy all those nations
where I scattered you,
but I will not completely destroy you.
I will punish you fairly,
but I will still punish you.”
12This is what the Lord said:
“You people have a wound that cannot be cured;
your injury will not heal.
13There is no one to argue your case
and no cure for your sores.
So you will not be healed.
14All those nations who were your friends have forgotten you.
They don’t care about you.
I have hurt you as an enemy would.
I punished you very hard,
because your guilt was so great
and your sins were so many.
15Why are you crying out about your injury?
There is no cure for your pain.
I did these things to you because of your great guilt,
because of your many sins.
16But all those nations that destroyed you will now be destroyed.
All your enemies will become captives in other lands.
Those who stole from you will have their own things stolen.
Those who took things from you in war will have their own things taken.
17I will bring back your health
and heal your injuries,” says the Lord,
“because other people forced you away.
They said about you, ‘No one cares about Jerusalem!’ ”
18This is what the Lord said:
“I will soon make the tents of Jacob’s people as they used to be,
and I will have pity on Israel’s houses.
The city will be rebuilt on its hill of ruins,
and the king’s palace will stand in its proper place.
19People in those places will sing songs of praise.
There will be the sound of laughter.
I will give them many children
so their number will not be small.
I will bring honor to them
so no one will look down on them.
20Their descendants will be as they were in the old days.
I will set them up as a strong people before me,
and I will punish the nations who have hurt them.
21One of their own people will lead them;
their ruler will come from among them.
He will come near to me when I invite him.
Who would dare to come to me uninvited?” says the Lord.
22“So you will be my people,
and I will be your God.”
23Look! It is a storm from the Lord!
He is angry and has gone out to punish the people.
Punishment will come like a storm
crashing down on the evil people.
24The Lord will stay angry
until he finishes punishing the people.
He will stay angry
until he finishes the punishment he planned.
When that day comes,
you will understand this.
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