And then they went out and built shrines to the god Baal in the valley of Hinnom, where they burned their children in sacrifice to the god Molech - I can hardly conceive of such evil! - turning the whole country into one huge act of sin.
"But there is also this Message from me, the God of Israel, to this city of which you have said, 'In killing and starvation and disease this city will be delivered up to the king of Babylon':
"'Watch for this! I will collect them from all the countries to which I will have driven them in my anger and rage and indignation. Yes, I'll bring them all back to this place and let them live here in peace.
They will be my people, I will be their God.
I'll make them of one mind and heart, always honoring me, so that they can live good and whole lives, they and their children after them.
What's more, I'll make a covenant with them that will last forever, a covenant to stick with them no matter what, and work for their good. I'll fill their hearts with a deep respect for me so they'll not even think of turning away from me.
"'Oh how I'll rejoice in them! Oh how I'll delight in doing good things for them! Heart and soul, I'll plant them in this country and keep them here!'
"Yes, this is God's Message: 'I will certainly bring this huge catastrophe on this people, but I will also usher in a wonderful life of prosperity. I promise.
Fields are going to be bought here again, yes, in this very country that you assume is going to end up desolate - gone to the dogs, unlivable, wrecked by the Babylonians.
Yes, people will buy farms again, and legally, with deeds of purchase, sealed documents, proper witnesses - and right here in the territory of Benjamin, and in the area around Jerusalem, around the villages of Judah and the hill country, the Shephelah and the Negev. I will restore everything that was lost.' God's Decree."