31
1At that time, declares the Lord,
I will be the God of all the families of Israel,
and they will be my people.
2The Lord proclaims:
The people who survived the sword
found grace in the wilderness.
As Israel searched for a place of rest,
3the Lord appeared to them#Or to me from a distance:#Or a long time ago
I have loved you with a love that lasts forever.
And so with unfailing love,
I have drawn you to myself.#Heb lacks myself.
4Again, I will build you up,
and you will be rebuilt, virgin Israel.
Again, you will play your tambourines
and dance with joy.
5Again, you will plant vineyards
on the hills of Samaria;
farmers will plant and then enjoy the harvests.
6The time will come when
the watchmen shout from
the highlands of Ephraim:
"Get ready! We’re going up to Zion
to the Lord our God!"
7The Lord proclaims:
Sing joyfully for the people of Jacob;
shout for the leading nation.
Raise your voices with praise and call out:
"The Lord has saved his people,#LXX; MT Save your people, Lord
the remaining few in Israel!"
8I’m going to bring them back from the north;
I will gather them from the ends of the earth.
Among them will be the blind and the disabled,
expectant mothers and those in labor;
a great throng will return here.
9With tears of joy they will come;
while they pray, I will bring them back.
I will lead them by quiet streams
and on smooth paths so they don’t stumble.
I will be Israel’s father,
Ephraim will be my oldest child.
10Listen to the Lord’s word, you nations,
and announce it to the distant islands:
The one who scattered Israel will gather them
and keep them safe, as a shepherd his flock.
11The Lord will rescue the people of Jacob
and deliver them from the power of those stronger than they are.
12They will come shouting for joy on the hills of Zion,
jubilant over the Lord’s gifts:
grain, wine, oil, flocks, and herds.
Their lives will be like a lush garden;
they will grieve no more.
13Then the young women will dance for joy;
the young and old men will join in.
I will turn their mourning into laughter
and their sadness into joy;
I will comfort them.
14I will lavish the priests with abundance
and shower my people with my gifts,
declares the Lord.
15The Lord proclaims:
A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and wailing.
It’s Rachel crying for her children;
she refuses to be consoled,
because her children are no more.
16The Lord proclaims:
Keep your voice from crying
and your eyes from weeping,
because your endurance will be rewarded,
declares the Lord.
They will return from the land of their enemy!
17There’s hope for your future,
declares the Lord.
Your children will return home!
18I hear, yes, I hear Ephraim lamenting:
"You disciplined me,
and I learned my lesson,
even though I was as stubborn as a mule.
Bring me back, let me return,
because you are the Lord my God.
19After I turned away from you,
I regretted it;
I realized what I had done,
and I have hit myself#Or struck my thigh
I was humiliated and disgraced,
and I have carried this disgrace
since I was young."
20Isn’t Ephraim my much-loved child?
Don’t I utterly adore him?
Even when I scold him,
I still hold him dear.
I yearn for him and love him deeply,
declares the Lord.
21Set up markers,
put up signs;
think about the road you have traveled,
the path you have taken.
Return, virgin Israel;
return to these towns of yours.
22How long will you hem and haw,
my rebellious daughter?
The Lord has created something new on earth:
Virgin Israel will once again embrace her God!#Or a woman surrounds a man
23The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: When I bring my people#Or them back from captivity, they will once again utter these words in the land and towns of Judah:
The Lord bless you,
righteous dwelling place,
holy mountain.
24Those who live in Judah and its towns will dwell together with farmers and shepherds. 25I will strengthen the weary and renew those who are weak.
26Then I woke up and looked around. What a pleasant sleep I had!
27The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will plant seeds in Israel and Judah, and both people and animals will spring up. 28Just as I watched over them to dig up and pull down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring harm, so I will watch over them to build and plant, declares the Lord. 29In those days, people will no longer say:
Sour grapes eaten by parents
leave a bitter taste in the mouths of their children.
30Because everyone will die for their own sins:
whoever eats sour grapes
will have a bitter taste in their own mouths.
31The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. 32It won’t be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant with me even though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33No, this is the covenant that I will make with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my Instructions within them and engrave them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34They will no longer need to teach each other to say, "Know the Lord!" because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord; for I will forgive their wrongdoing and never again remember their sins.
35The Lord proclaims:
The one who established the sun to light up the day
and ordered#Or orders of the moon and stars to light up the night,
who stirs up the sea into crashing waves,
whose name is the Lord of heavenly forces:
36If the created order should vanish from my sight,
declares the Lord,
only then would Israel’s descendants ever stop being a nation
before me.
37The Lord proclaims:
If the heavens above could be measured
and the foundation of the earth below could be fathomed,
only then would I reject Israel’s descendants
for what they have done,
declares the Lord.
38The time is coming, declares the Lord, when the city will be rebuilt for the Lord from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39Its boundaries will extend to the Gareb Hill and around to Goah. 40The entire valley defiled by corpses and ashes, and all the fields as far as the Kidron Valley and the Horse Gate on the east, all this will be set apart for the Lord. And the city will never again be dug up or overthrown.
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