Israel’s Mourning Turned to Joy
1 At that time, says the Lord, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be My people.
2 Thus says the Lord: The people who survived the sword found favor in the wilderness [place of exile] -- "when Israel sought to find rest. 3 The Lord appeared from of old to me [Israel], saying, Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you. 4 Again I will build you and you will be built, O Virgin Israel! You will again be adorned with your timbrels [small one-headed drums] and go forth in the dancing [chorus] of those who make merry. 5 Again you shall plant vineyards upon the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant and make the fruit common and enjoy it [undisturbed]. 6 For there shall be a day when the watchmen on the hills of Ephraim shall cry out, Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.
7 For thus says the Lord: Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, and shout for the head of the nations [on account of the chosen people, Israel]. Proclaim, praise, and say, The Lord has saved His people, the remnant of Israel! 8 Behold, I will bring them from the north country and gather them from the uttermost parts of the earth, and among them will be the blind and the lame, the woman with child and she who labors in childbirth together; a great company, they will return here to Jerusalem. 9 They will come with weeping [in penitence and for joy], pouring out prayers [for the future]. I will lead them back; I will cause them to walk by streams of water and bring them in a straight way in which they will not stumble, for I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim [Israel] is My firstborn.
10 Hear the word of the Lord, O you nations, and declare it in the isles and coastlands far away, and say, He Who scattered Israel will gather him and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock. 11 For the Lord has ransomed Jacob and has redeemed him from the hand of him who was too strong for him. 12 They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion and shall flow together and be radiant with joy over the goodness of the Lord -- "for the corn, for the juice [of the grape], for the oil, and for the young of the flock and the herd. And their life shall be like a watered garden, and they shall not sorrow or languish any more at all. 13 Then will the maidens rejoice in the dance, and the young men and old together. For I will turn their mourning into joy and will comfort them and make them rejoice after their sorrow. 14 I will satisfy fully the life of the priests with abundance [of offerings shared with them], and My people will be satisfied with My goodness, says the Lord.
15 Thus says the Lord: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.
16 Thus says the Lord: Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work shall be rewarded, says the Lord; and [your children] shall return from the enemy's land. 17 And there is hope for your future, says the Lord; your children shall come back to their own country. 18 I have surely heard Ephraim [Israel] moaning thus: You have chastised me, and I was chastised, like a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke; bring me back, that I may be restored, for You are the Lord my God. 19 Surely after I [Ephraim] was turned [from You], I repented; and after I was instructed, I penitently smote my thigh. I was ashamed, yes, even confounded, because I bore the disgrace of my youth [as a nation]. 20 Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a darling child and beloved? For as often as I speak against him, I do [earnestly] remember him still. Therefore My affection is stirred and My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy, pity, and loving-kindness for him, says the Lord.
21 Set up for yourselves highway markers [back to Canaan], make for yourselves guideposts; turn your thoughts and attention to the way by which you went [into exile]. Retrace your steps, O Virgin Israel, return to these your cities. 22 How long will you waver and hesitate [to return], O you backsliding daughter? For the Lord has created a new thing in the land [of Israel]: a female shall compass (woo, win, and protect) a man.
23 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Once more they shall use these words in the land of Judah and in her cities when I release them from exile: The Lord bless you, O habitation of justice and righteousness, O holy mountain!
24 And [the people of] Judah and all its cities shall dwell there together -- "[nomad] farmers and those who wander about with their flocks. 25 For I will [fully] satisfy the weary soul, and I will replenish every languishing and sorrowful person. 26 Thereupon I [Jeremiah] awoke and looked, and my [trancelike] sleep was sweet [in the assurance it gave] to me.
A New Covenant
27 Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed (offspring) of man and of beast. 28 And it will be that as I have watched over them to pluck up and to break down, and to overthrow, destroy, and afflict [with evil], so will I watch over them to build and to plant [with good], says the Lord.
29 In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.
30 But everyone shall die for his own iniquity [only]; every man who eats sour grapes -- "his [own] teeth shall be set on edge.
31 Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 Not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was their Husband, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, says the Lord, I will put My law within them, and on their hearts will I write it; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. 34 And they will no more teach each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for they will all know Me [recognize, understand, and be acquainted with Me], from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will [seriously] remember their sin no more.
35 Thus says the Lord, Who gives the sun for a light by day and the fixed order of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, Who stirs up the sea's roaring billows or stills the waves when they roar -- "the Lord of hosts is His name: 36 If these ordinances [of fixed order] depart from before Me, says the Lord, then the posterity of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me throughout the ages.
37 Thus says the Lord: If the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done, says the Lord.
38 Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when the city [of Jerusalem] shall be built [again] for the Lord from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39 And the measuring line shall go out farther straight onward to the hill Gareb and shall then turn to Goah [exact location unknown]. 40 And the whole valley [Hinnom] of the dead bodies and [the hill] of the ashes [long dumped there from the temple sacrifices], and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be holy to the Lord. It [the city] shall not be plucked up or overthrown any more to the end of the age.