Jeremiah 31

God’s Relationship with His People

1“At that time” — this is the Lord’s declaration — “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people.”

2This is what the Lord says:

The people who survived the sword

found favor in the wilderness.

When Israel went to find rest,

3the Lord appeared to him from far away.

I have loved you with an everlasting love;

therefore, I have continued to extend faithful love to you.

4Again I will build you so that you will be rebuilt,

Virgin Israel.

You will take up your tambourines again

and go out in joyful dancing.

5You will plant vineyards again

on the mountains of Samaria;

the planters will plant and will enjoy the fruit.

6For there will be a day when watchmen will call out

in the hill country of Ephraim,

“Come, let’s go up to Zion,

to the Lord our God!”

God’s People Brought Home

7For this is what the Lord says:

Sing with joy for Jacob;

shout for the foremost of the nations!

Proclaim, praise, and say,

Lord, save your people,

the remnant of Israel!”

8Watch! I am going to bring them from the northern land.

I will gather them from remote regions of the earth —

the blind and the lame will be with them,

along with those who are pregnant and those about to give birth.

They will return here as a great assembly!

9They will come weeping,

but I will bring them back with consolation.

I will lead them to wadis filled with water,

by a smooth way where they will not stumble,

for I am Israel’s Father,

and Ephraim is my firstborn.

10Nations, hear the word of the Lord,

and tell it among the far off coasts and islands!

Say, “The one who scattered Israel will gather him.

He will watch over him as a shepherd guards his flock,

11for the Lord has ransomed Jacob

and redeemed him from the power of one stronger than he.”

12They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion;

they will be radiant with joy

because of the Lord’s goodness,

because of the grain, the new wine, the fresh oil,

and because of the young of the flocks and herds.

Their life will be like an irrigated garden,

and they will no longer grow weak from hunger.

13Then the young women will rejoice with dancing,

while young and old men rejoice together.

I will turn their mourning into joy,

give them consolation,

and bring happiness out of grief.

14I will refresh the priests with an abundance,

and my people will be satisfied with my goodness.

This is the Lord’s declaration.

Lament Turned to Joy

15This is what the Lord says:

A voice was heard in Ramah,

a lament with bitter weeping —

Rachel weeping for her children,

refusing to be comforted for her children

because they are no more.

16This is what the Lord says:

Keep your voice from weeping

and your eyes from tears,

for the reward for your work will come —

this is the Lord’s declaration —

and your children will return from the enemy’s land.

17There is hope for your future —

this is the Lord’s declaration —

and your children will return to their own territory.

18I have surely heard Ephraim moaning,

“You disciplined me, and I have been disciplined

like an untrained calf.

Take me back, so that I can return,

for you, Lord, are my God.

19After my return, I felt regret;

After I was instructed, I struck my thigh in grief.

I was ashamed and humiliated

because I bore the disgrace of my youth.”

20Isn’t Ephraim a precious son to me,

a delightful child?

Whenever I speak against him,

I certainly still think about him.

Therefore, my inner being yearns for him;

I will truly have compassion on him.

This is the Lord’s declaration.

Repentance and Restoration

21Set up road markers for yourself;

establish signposts!

Keep the highway in mind,

the way you have traveled.

Return, Virgin Israel!

Return to these cities of yours.

22How long will you turn here and there,

faithless daughter?

For the Lord creates something new in the land —

a female will shelter a man.

23This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: “When I restore their fortunes, they will once again speak this word in the land of Judah and in its cities: ‘May the Lord bless you, righteous settlement, holy mountain.’ 24Judah and all its cities will live in it together — also farmers and those who move with the flocks —  25for I satisfy the thirsty person and feed all those who are weak.”

26At this I awoke and looked around. My sleep had been most pleasant to me.

27“Look, the days are coming” — this is the Lord’s declaration — “when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of people and the seed of animals. 28Just as I watched over them to uproot and to tear them down, to demolish and to destroy, and to cause disaster, so will I watch over them to build and to plant them” — this is the Lord’s declaration. 29“In those days, it will never again be said,

‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes,

and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’

30Rather, each will die for his own iniquity. Anyone who eats sour grapes — his own teeth will be set on edge.

The New Covenant

31“Look, the days are coming” — this is the Lord’s declaration — “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 32This one will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors on the day I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt — my covenant that they broke even though I am their master” — the Lord’s declaration. 33“Instead, this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days” — the Lord’s declaration. “I will put my teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34No longer will one teach his neighbor or his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know me, from the least to the greatest of them” — this is the Lord’s declaration. “For I will forgive their iniquity and never again remember their sin.

35“This is what the Lord says:

The one who gives the sun for light by day,

the fixed order of moon and stars for light by night,

who stirs up the sea and makes its waves roar —

the Lord of Armies is his name:

36If this fixed order departs from before me —

this is the Lord’s declaration —

only then will Israel’s descendants cease

to be a nation before me forever.

37“This is what the Lord says:

Only if the heavens above can be measured

and the foundations of the earth below explored,

will I reject all of Israel’s descendants

because of all they have done —

this is the Lord’s declaration.

38“Look, the days are coming” — the Lord’s declaration — “when the city from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate will be rebuilt for the Lord. 39A measuring line will once again stretch out straight to the hill of Gareb and then turn toward Goah. 40The whole valley — the corpses, the ashes, and all the fields as far as the Kidron Valley to the corner of the Horse Gate to the east — will be holy to the Lord. It will never be uprooted or demolished again.”