Jeremiah 31

1The Lord said these things, “At that time, I will be the God of all the family groups of Israel. And they will be my people.” 2The Lord says: “The people who escaped the enemy’s sword will find comfort in the desert. Israel will go there looking for rest.” 3From far away, the Lord will appear to his people. ˻The Lord says,˼ “I love you people with a love that continues forever. That is why I have continued showing you kindness. 4Israel, my bride, I will build you again. You will be a country again. You will pick up your tambourines again. You will dance with all the other people that are having fun. 5You farmers of Israel will plant fields of grapes again. You will plant those vineyards on the hills around the city of Samaria. And those farmers will enjoy the fruit from those vineyards. 6There will be a time when watchmen shout this message: 'Come, let’s go up to Zion to worship the Lord our God!’ Even the watchmen in the hill country of Ephraim will shout that message.” 7The Lord says: “Be happy and sing for Jacob! Shout for Israel, the greatest of the nations! Sing your praises and shout: 'The Lord saved his people! He has saved the people that are left alive from the nation of Israel.’ 8Remember, I will bring Israel from that country in the north. I will gather the people of Israel from the faraway places on earth. Some of the people will be blind and crippled. Some of the women will be pregnant and ready to give birth. But many, many people will come back. 9Those people will come back crying. But I will lead them and comfort them. I will lead those people by streams of water. I will lead them on an easy road, so that they will not stumble. I will lead them in that way because I am Israel’s father. And Ephraim is my firstborn son. 10“Nations, listen to this message from the Lord! Tell this message in the faraway lands by the sea: 'God scattered the people of Israel But God will bring them back together. And he will watch over his flock ˻(people)˼ like a shepherd.’ 11The Lord will bring Jacob back. The Lord will save his people from people that were stronger than them. 12The people of Israel will come to the top of Zion, and they will shout with joy. Their faces will shine with happiness about the good things the Lord gives them. The Lord will give them grain, new wine, olive oil, young sheep, and cows. They will be like a garden that has plenty of water. And the people of Israel will not be troubled anymore. 13Then the young women of Israel will be happy and dance. And the young men and old men will join in the dancing. I will change their sadness into happiness. I will comfort the people of Israel. I will change their sadness to happiness. 14I will give the priests plenty of food. And my people will be filled and satisfied with the good things I give them.” This message is from the Lord. 15The Lord says: “A sound will be heard in Ramah. It will be bitter crying and much sadness. Rachel will be crying for her children. Rachel will refuse to be comforted, because her children are dead.” 16But the Lord says: “Stop crying! Don’t fill your eyes with tears! You will be rewarded for your work!” This message is from the Lord. “The people of Israel will come back from their enemy’s land. 17Israel, there is hope for you.” This message is from the Lord. ”Your children will come back to their own land. 18I have heard Ephraim crying. I heard Ephraim say these things: 'Lord, you really punished me! And I learned my lesson. I was like a calf that was never trained. Please stop punishing me, and I will come back to you. You truly are the Lord my God. 19Lord, I wandered away from you. But I learned about the bad things I did. So I changed my heart and life. I am ashamed and embarrassed about the foolish things I did when I was young.’ 20˻God says,˼ “You know that Ephraim is my dear son. I love that child. Yes, I often criticized Ephraim, but I still think about him. I love him very much. And I really do want to comfort him.” This message is from the Lord. 21“People of Israel, fix the road signs. Put up the signs that show the way home. Watch the road. Remember the road you are leaving on. Israel, my bride, come home. Come back to your towns. 22Unfaithful daughter, how long will you wander around? ˻When will you come home?˼” When the Lord creates something new in the land: A woman surrounding a man. 23The Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: “I will again do good things for the people of Judah. I will bring back the people who were taken away as prisoners. At that time, the people in the land of Judah and in its towns will once again use these words: 'May the Lord bless you, good home and holy mountain!’ 24“People in all the towns of Judah will live together in peace. Farmers and those that move around with their flocks will live peacefully together in Judah. 25I will give rest and strength to the people that are weak and tired.” 26After hearing that, I ˻(Jeremiah)˼ woke up and looked around. That was a very pleasant sleep. 27“The days are coming,” this message is from the Lord, “when I will help the family of Israel and Judah to grow. I will help their children and animals to grow too. It will be like planting and caring for a plant. 28In the past, I watched over Israel and Judah, but I watched for the time to pull them up. I tore them down. I destroyed them. I gave many troubles to them. But now, I will watch over them to build them up and make them strong.” This message is from the Lord. 29“People won’t use this saying anymore: The parents ate the sour grapes, but the children got the sour taste. 30No, each person will die for his own sin. The person that eats sour grapes will get the sour taste.” 31The Lord said these things, “The time is coming when I will make a new Agreement with the family of Israel, and with the family of Judah. 32It will not be like the Agreement I made with their ancestors. I made that Agreement when I took them by the hand and brought them out of Egypt. I was their Master, but they broke that Agreement.” This message is from the Lord. 33“In the future, I will make this Agreement with the people of Israel.” This message is from the Lord. “I will put my teachings in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34People will not have to teach their neighbors and relatives to know the Lord. Why? Because all people, from the least important to the greatest, will know me.” This message is from the Lord. “I will forgive them for the bad things they did. I won’t remember their sins.” 35The Lord says: ”The Lord makes the sun shine in the day. And the Lord makes the moon and the stars shine at night. The Lord stirs up the sea so that its waves crash on the shore. The Lord All-Powerful is his name.” The Lord says these things: 36“The descendants of Israel will never stop being a nation. That would happen only if I lost control of the sun, moon, stars, and sea.” 37The Lord says: ”I’ll never reject the descendants of Israel. That would happen only if people could measure the sky above, and learn all the secrets of the earth below. Only then would I reject the descendants of Israel. Only then would I reject them for the bad things they have done.” This message is from the Lord. 38This message is from the Lord, “The days are coming when the city of Jerusalem will be built again for the Lord. The whole city will be built again—from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39The measuring line will stretch from the Corner Gate straight to the hill of Gareb and then turn to the place named Gorah. 40The whole valley where dead bodies and ashes are thrown will be holy to the Lord. And all the terraces down to the bottom of Kidron Valley all the way to the corner of Horse Gate will be included. All that area will be holy to the Lord. The city of Jerusalem will never again be torn down or destroyed.”

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