Israel Will Return to God
1The Lord said:
Israel, I promise
that someday all your tribes
will again be my people,
and I will be your God.
2In the desert I was kind
to those who escaped death.
I gave them peace,
and when the time is right,
I'll do the same for you.#31.2 In the desert … same for you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
I, the Lord, have spoken.
The Lord Will Rebuild Israel
3Some time ago, the Lord appeared to me#31.3 Some time … me: Or “The Lord appeared to me from far away.” and told me to say:
Israel, I will always love you;
that's why I've been so patient
and kind.
4You are precious to me,
and so I will rebuild
your nation.
Once again you will dance for joy
and play your tambourines.
5You will plant vineyards
on the hills of Samaria
and enjoy the grapes.
6Someday those who guard
the hill country of Ephraim
will shout, “Let's go to Zion
and worship the Lord our God.”
Israel Will Return to Its Own Land
7The Lord says:
Celebrate and sing for Israel,
the greatest of nations.
Offer praises and shout,
“Come and rescue
your people, Lord!
Save what's left of Israel.”
8I, the Lord, will bring
my people back from Babylonia#31.8 Babylonia: The Hebrew text has “that country in the north,” referring to Babylonia.
and everywhere else on earth.
The blind and the lame
will be there.
Expectant mothers
and women about to give birth
will come and be part
of that great crowd.
9They will weep and pray
as I bring them home.
I will lead them
to streams of water.
They will walk on a level#31.9 level: Or “straight.” road
and not stumble.
I am a father to Israel,#31.9 Israel: The Hebrew text also has “Ephraim,” the leading tribe of the northern kingdom of Israel, which sometimes stands for the whole northern kingdom.
my favorite children.
10Listen to me, you nations
nearby or across the sea.
I scattered the people of Israel,
but I will gather them again.
I will protect them like a shepherd
guarding a flock;
11I will rescue them from enemies
who could overpower them.
12My people will come
to Mount Zion
and celebrate;
their faces will glow
because of my blessings.
I'll give them grain, grapes,
and olive oil,
as well as sheep and cattle.
Israel will be prosperous
and grow like a garden
with plenty of water.
13Young women and young men,
together with the elderly,
will celebrate and dance,
because I will comfort them
and turn their sorrow
into happiness.
14I will bless my people
with more food
than they need,
and the priests will enjoy
the choice cuts of meat.
I, the Lord, have spoken.
The Lord Offers Hope
15 # Gn 35.16-19 Mt 2.18 In Ramah#31.15 In Ramah: Or “In the hills.” a voice is heard,
crying and weeping loudly.
Rachel mourns for her children#31.15 Rachel … children: Rachel was one of the wives of Jacob, the ancestor of the nation of Israel. She was the mother of Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph's two sons Ephraim and Manasseh were the ancestors of the leading tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel.
and refuses to be comforted,
because they are dead.
* 16But I, the Lord, say
to dry your tears.
Someday your children
will come home
from the enemy's land.
Then all you have done for them
will be greatly rewarded.
17So don't lose hope.
I, the Lord, have spoken.
18The people of Israel#31.18 Israel: Hebrew “Ephraim” (see the note at 31.9). moan
and say to me,
“We were like wild bulls,
but you, Lord, broke us,
and we learned to obey.
You are our God—
please let us come home.
19When we were young,
we strayed and sinned,
but then we realized
what we had done.
We are ashamed and disgraced
and want to return to you.”
20People of Israel,
you are my own dear children.
Don't I love you best of all?
Though I often make threats,
I want you to be near me,
so I will have mercy on you.
I, the Lord, have spoken.
21With rock piles and signposts,
mark the road well,
my dear people.
The road by which you left
by will now lead you home.
22Will you ever decide
to be faithful?
I will make sure that someday
things will be different,
as different as a woman
protecting a man.#31.22 I will make sure … a woman protecting a man: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
The Lord Will Bring Judah Home
23The Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, said:
I promise to set the people of Judah free and to lead them back to their hometowns. And when I do, they will once again say,
“We pray that the Lord
will bless his home,
the sacred hill in Jerusalem
where his temple stands.”
24The people will live in Jerusalem and in the towns of Judah. Some will be farmers, and others will be shepherds. 25Those who feel tired and worn out will find new life and energy, 26and when they sleep, they will wake up refreshed.#31.26 and when they sleep … refreshed: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
27Someday, Israel and Judah will be my field where my people and their livestock will grow. 28In the past, I took care to uproot them, to tear them down, and to destroy them. But when that day comes, I will take care to plant them and help them grow. 29#Ez 18.2 No longer will anyone go around saying,
“Sour grapes eaten by parents
leave a sour taste in the mouths
of their children.”
30When that day comes, only those who eat sour grapes will get the sour taste, and only those who sin will be put to death.
The New Agreement with Israel and Judah
31 # Mt 26.28Mk 14.24Lk 22.201 Co 11.252 Co 3.6 #He 8.8-12 The Lord said:
The time will surely come when I will make a new agreement with the people of Israel and Judah. 32It will be different from the agreement I made with their ancestors when I led them out of Egypt. Although I was their God, they broke that agreement.
33 # He 10.16 Here is the new agreement that I, the Lord, will make with the people of Israel:
“I will write my laws
on their hearts and minds.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
34 # He 10.17 “No longer will they have to teach one another to obey me. I, the Lord, promise that all of them will obey me, ordinary people and rulers alike. I will forgive their sins and forget the evil things they have done.”
35I am the Lord All-Powerful.
I command the sun
to give light each day,
the moon and stars
to shine at night,
and ocean waves to roar.
36I will never forget
to give those commands,
and I will never let Israel
stop being a nation.
I, the Lord, have spoken.
37Can you measure the heavens?
Can you explore
the depths of the earth?
That's how hard it would be
for me to reject Israel forever,
even though they have sinned.
I, the Lord, have spoken.
Jerusalem Will Be Rebuilt
38The Lord said:
Someday, Jerusalem will truly belong to me. It will be rebuilt with a boundary line running from Hananel Tower to Corner Gate. 39From there, the boundary will go in a straight line to Gareb Hill, then turn toward Goah. 40Even that disgusting Hinnom Valley#31.40 that disgusting Hinnom Valley: The Hebrew text has “the whole valley of the dead bodies and of the fatty ashes,” which probably refers to Hinnom Valley, just southwest of Jerusalem, where human sacrifices had been offered to foreign gods. will be sacred to me, and so will the eastern slopes that go down from Horse Gate into Kidron Valley. Jerusalem will never again be destroyed.
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