This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD:
"This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you.
The days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their forefathers to possess,' says the LORD."
These are the words the LORD spoke concerning Israel and Judah:
"This is what the LORD says: " 'Cries of fear are heard-- terror, not peace.
Ask and see: Can a man bear children? Then why do I see every strong man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor, every face turned deathly pale?
How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it.
" 'In that day,' declares the LORD Almighty, 'I will break the yoke off their necks and will tear off their bonds; no longer will foreigners enslave them.
Instead, they will serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.
" 'So do not fear, O Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, O Israel,' declares the LORD. 'I will surely save you out of a distant place, your descendants from the land of their exile. Jacob will again have peace and security, and no one will make him afraid.
I am with you and will save you,' declares the LORD. 'Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only with justice; I will not let you go entirely unpunished.'
"This is what the LORD says: " 'Your wound is incurable, your injury beyond healing.
There is no one to plead your cause, no remedy for your sore, no healing for you.
All your allies have forgotten you; they care nothing for you. I have struck you as an enemy would and punished you as would the cruel, because your guilt is so great and your sins so many.
Why do you cry out over your wound, your pain that has no cure? Because of your great guilt and many sins I have done these things to you.
" 'But all who devour you will be devoured; all your enemies will go into exile. Those who plunder you will be plundered; all who make spoil of you I will despoil.
But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,' declares the LORD, 'because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.'
"This is what the LORD says: " 'I will restore the fortunes of Jacob's tents and have compassion on his dwellings; the city will be rebuilt on her ruins, and the palace will stand in its proper place.
From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sound of rejoicing. I will add to their numbers, and they will not be decreased; I will bring them honor, and they will not be disdained.
Their children will be as in days of old, and their community will be established before me; I will punish all who oppress them.
Their leader will be one of their own; their ruler will arise from among them. I will bring him near and he will come close to me, for who is he who will devote himself to be close to me?' declares the LORD.
" 'So you will be my people, and I will be your God.' "
See, the storm of the LORD will burst out in wrath, a driving wind swirling down on the heads of the wicked.
The fierce anger of the LORD will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand this.
"At that time," declares the LORD, "I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they will be my people."
This is what the LORD says: "The people who survive the sword will find favor in the desert; I will come to give rest to Israel."
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.
I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel. Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful.
Again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria; the farmers will plant them and enjoy their fruit.
There will be a day when watchmen cry out on the hills of Ephraim, 'Come, let us go up to Zion, to the LORD our God.' "
This is what the LORD says: "Sing with joy for Jacob; shout for the foremost of the nations. Make your praises heard, and say, 'O LORD, save your people, the remnant of Israel.'
See, I will bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame, expectant mothers and women in labor; a great throng will return.
They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble, because I am Israel's father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son.
"Hear the word of the LORD, O nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: 'He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.'
For the LORD will ransom Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they.
They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the LORD-- the grain, the new wine and the oil, the young of the flocks and herds. They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more.
Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
I will satisfy the priests with abundance, and my people will be filled with my bounty," declares the LORD.
This is what the LORD says: "A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more."
This is what the LORD says: "Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded," declares the LORD. "They will return from the land of the enemy.
So there is hope for your future," declares the LORD. "Your children will return to their own land.
"I have surely heard Ephraim's moaning: 'You disciplined me like an unruly calf, and I have been disciplined. Restore me, and I will return, because you are the LORD my God.
After I strayed, I repented; after I came to understand, I beat my breast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.'
Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him," declares the LORD.
"Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the highway, the road that you take. Return, O Virgin Israel, return to your towns.
How long will you wander, O unfaithful daughter? The LORD will create a new thing on earth-- a woman will surround a man."
This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "When I bring them back from captivity, the people in the land of Judah and in its towns will once again use these words: 'The LORD bless you, O righteous dwelling, O sacred mountain.'
People will live together in Judah and all its towns--farmers and those who move about with their flocks.
I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint."
At this I awoke and looked around. My sleep had been pleasant to me.
"The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will plant the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the offspring of men and of animals.
Just as I watched over them to uproot and tear down, and to overthrow, destroy and bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant," declares the LORD.
"In those days people will no longer say, 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.'
Instead, everyone will die for his own sin; whoever eats sour grapes--his own teeth will be set on edge.
"The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them, " declares the LORD.
"This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, '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 wickedness and will remember their sins no more."
This is what the LORD says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar-- the LORD Almighty is his name:
"Only if these decrees vanish from my sight," declares the LORD, "will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me."
This is what the LORD says: "Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done," declares the LORD.
"The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when this city will be rebuilt for me from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate.
The measuring line will stretch from there straight to the hill of Gareb and then turn to Goah.
The whole valley where dead bodies and ashes are thrown, and all the terraces out to the Kidron Valley on the east as far as the corner of the Horse Gate, will be holy to the LORD. The city will never again be uprooted or demolished."