Jeremiah 31

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.

I, the Lord, have spoken.

The Lord Will Rebuild Israel

3Some time ago, the Lord appeared to me 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

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 road

and not stumble.

I am a father to Israel,

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 In Ramah a voice is heard,

crying and weeping loudly.

Rachel mourns for her children

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 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.

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.

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 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 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 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 “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 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.