With tears of joy they will come; while they pray, I will bring them back. I will lead them by quiet streams and on smooth paths so they don't stumble. I will be Israel's father, Ephraim will be my oldest child.
Listen to the LORD's word, you nations, and announce it to the distant islands: The one who scattered Israel will gather them and keep them safe, as a shepherd his flock.
The LORD will rescue the people of Jacob and deliver them from the power of those stronger than they are.
They will come shouting for joy on the hills of Zion, jubilant over the LORD's gifts: grain, wine, oil, flocks, and herds. Their lives will be like a lush garden; they will grieve no more.
Then the young women will dance for joy; the young and old men will join in. I will turn their mourning into laughter and their sadness into joy; I will comfort them.
I will lavish the priests with abundance and shower my people with my gifts, declares the LORD.
The LORD proclaims: A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and wailing. It's Rachel crying for her children; she refuses to be consoled, because her children are no more.
The LORD proclaims: Keep your voice from crying and your eyes from weeping, because your endurance will be rewarded, declares the LORD. They will return from the land of their enemy!
There's hope for your future, declares the LORD. Your children will return home!
I hear, yes, I hear Ephraim lamenting: "You disciplined me, and I learned my lesson, even though I was as stubborn as a mule. Bring me back, let me return, because you are the LORD my God.
After I turned away from you, I regretted it; I realized what I had done, and I have hit myself— I was humiliated and disgraced, and I have carried this disgrace since I was young."
Isn't Ephraim my much-loved child? Don't I utterly adore him? Even when I scold him, I still hold him dear. I yearn for him and love him deeply, declares the LORD.
Set up markers, put up signs; think about the road you have traveled, the path you have taken. Return, virgin Israel; return to these towns of yours.
How long will you hem and haw, my rebellious daughter? The LORD has created something new on earth: Virgin Israel will once again embrace her God!
The LORD of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: When I bring my people back from captivity, they will once again utter these words in the land and towns of Judah: The LORD bless you, righteous dwelling place, holy mountain.
Those who live in Judah and its towns will dwell together with farmers and shepherds.
I will strengthen the weary and renew those who are weak.
Then I woke up and looked around. What a pleasant sleep I had!
The time is coming, declares the LORD, when I will plant seeds in Israel and Judah, and both people and animals will spring up.
Just as I watched over them to dig up and pull down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring harm, so I will watch over them to build and plant, declares the LORD.
In those days, people will no longer say: Sour grapes eaten by parents leave a bitter taste in the mouths of their children.