Good News of the Return
1At that time, says the LORD, I will be the God of all the tribes of Israel, and they shall be my people. e Jer 30, 22 . 2Thus says the LORD: The people that escaped the sword* have found favor in the desert. As Israel comes forward to be given his rest, 3the LORD appears to him from afar: With age-old love I have loved you; so I have kept my mercy toward you. f Dt 7, 8; 10, 15; Is 43, 4; 63, 9; Hos 11, 1. 4 . 4Again I will restore you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin Israel; Carrying your festive tambourines, you shall go forth dancing with the merrymakers. 5Again you shall plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria; those who plant them shall enjoy the fruits. g Is 65, 21; Am 9, 14 . 6Yes, a day will come when the watchmen will call out on Mount Ephraim: “Rise up, let us go to Zion, to the LORD, our God.” h Is 2, 3; 27, 13; Mi 4, 2 .
The Road of Return
7For thus says the LORD: Shout with joy for Jacob, exult at the head of the nations; proclaim your praise and say: The LORD has delivered his people, the remnant of Israel. i Is 12, 6 . 8Behold, I will bring them back from the land of the north; I will gather them from the ends of the world, with the blind and the lame in their midst, The mothers and those with child; they shall return as an immense throng. j Jer 3, 18; 23, 3. 8; Is 35, 5f . 9They departed in tears, but I will console them and guide them; I will lead them to brooks of water, on a level road, so that none shall stumble. For I am a father to Israel, Ephraim is my first-born. k Ex 4, 22 . 10Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, proclaim it on distant coasts, and say: He who scattered Israel, now gathers them together, he guards them as a shepherd his flock. 11The LORD shall ransom Jacob, he shall redeem him from the hand of his conqueror. l Is 44, 23; 48, 20 . 12Shouting, they shall mount the heights of Zion, they shall come streaming to the LORD’s blessings: The grain, the wine, and the oil, the sheep and the oxen; They themselves shall be like watered gardens, never again shall they languish. m Is 58, 11 . 13Then the virgins shall make merry and dance, and young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will console and gladden them after their sorrows. 14I will lavish choice portions upon the priests, and my people shall be filled with my blessings, says the LORD.
End of Rachel's Mourning
15Thus says the LORD: In Ramah* is heard the sound of moaning, of bitter weeping! Rachel mourns her children, she refuses to be consoled because her children are no more. n Mt 2, 18 . 16Thus says the LORD: Cease your cries of mourning, wipe the tears from your eyes. The sorrow you have shown shall have its reward, says the LORD, they shall return from the enemy's land. 17There is hope for your future, says the LORD; your sons shall return to their own borders. o Jer 29, 10–14 . 18I hear, I hear Ephraim pleading: You chastised me, and I am chastened; I was an untamed calf. If you allow me, I will return, for you are the LORD, my God. p Lv 26, 40ff . 19I turn in repentance; I have come to myself, I strike my breast; I blush with shame, I bear the disgrace of my youth. q Dt 30, 1ff . 20Is Ephraim not my favored son, the child in whom I delight? Often as I threaten him, I still remember him with favor; My heart stirs for him, I must show him mercy, says the LORD. r Hos 11, 8 .
Summons To Return Home
21Set up road markers, put up guideposts; Turn your attention to the highway, the road by which you went. Turn back, O virgin Israel, turn back to these your cities. 22How long will you continue to stray, rebellious daughter? The LORD has created a new thing upon the earth: the woman must encompass the man* with devotion.
23Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: When I change their lot in the land of Judah and her cities, they shall again repeat this greeting: “May the LORD bless you, holy mountain, abode of justice?” s Jer 30, 3; Ps 122, 8 . 24Judah and all her cities, the farmers and those who lead the flock, shall dwell there together. 25For I will refresh the weary soul; every soul that languishes I will replenish. 26Upon this I awoke and opened my eyes; but my sleep was sweet to me.*
27The days are coming, says the LORD, when I will seed the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and the seed of beast. 28As I once watched over them to uproot and pull down, to destroy, to ruin, and to harm, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the LORD. t Jer 1, 10; 18, 7 . 29In those days they shall no longer say,
“The fathers ate unripe grapes, u Dt 24, 16; Ez 18, 2 . and the children's teeth are set on edge,”*
30but through his own fault only shall anyone die: the teeth of him who eats the unripe grapes shall be set on edge.
The New Covenant. * 31The days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. v Jer 32, 40; Heb 9, 15 . 32It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers the day I took them by the hand to lead them forth from the land of Egypt; for they broke my covenant and I had to show myself their master, says the LORD. w Ex 24, 7f; Dt 5, 2 . 33But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD. I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. x Jer 32, 40; Ez 37, 26; Heb 10, 16 . 34No longer will they have need to teach their friends and kinsmen how to know the LORD. All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD, for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more. y Is 54, 13 .
Certainty of God's Promise
35Thus says the LORD, He who gives the sun to light the day, moon and stars to light the night; Who stirs up the sea till its waves roar, whose name is LORD of hosts: z Gn 1, 14–18 . 36If ever these natural laws give way in spite of me, says the LORD, Then shall the race of Israel cease as a nation before me forever. a Jer 33, 20f . 37Thus says the LORD: If the heavens on high can be measured, or the foundations below the earth be sounded, Then will I cast off the whole race of Israel because of all they have done, says the LORD.
Rebuilding of Jerusalem. 38The days are coming, says the LORD, when the city shall be rebuilt as the LORD’s, b Neh 12, 38; Zec 14, 10f . from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate.* 39The measuring line shall be stretched from there straight to the hill Gareb and then turn to Goah. 40The whole valley of corpses and ashes,* all the slopes toward the Kidron Valley, as far as the corner of the Horse Gate at the east, shall be holy to the LORD. Never again shall the city be rooted up or thrown down.