The Joyful Return of the Exiles
1"At that time, says the Lord, I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people."
2Thus says the Lord:
"The people who survived the sword
found grace in the wilderness;
when Israel sought for rest,
3the Lord appeared to hima from afar.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
4Again I will build you, and you shall be built,
O virgin Israel!
Again you shall adorn yourself with timbrels,
and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers.
5Again you shall plant vineyards
upon the mountains of Samar'ia;
the planters shall plant,
and shall enjoy the fruit.
6For there shall be a day when watchmen will call
in the hill country of E'phraim:
'Arise, and let us go up to Zion,
to the Lord our God.' "
7For thus says the Lord:
"Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,
and raise shouts for the chief of the nations;
proclaim, give praise, and say,
'The Lord has saved his people,
the remnant of Israel.'
8Behold, I will bring them from the north country,
and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth,
among them the blind and the lame,
the woman with child and her who is in travail, together;
a great company, they shall return here.
9With weeping they shall come,
and with consolationsb I will lead them back,
I will make them walk by brooks of water,
in a straight path in which they shall not stumble;
for I am a father to Israel,
and E'phraim is my first-born.
10"Hear the word of the Lord, O nations,
and declare it in the coastlands afar off;
say, 'He who scattered Israel will gather him,
and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.'
11For the Lord has ransomed Jacob,
and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him.
12They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion,
and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lord,
over the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and over the young of the flock and the herd;
their life shall be like a watered garden,
and they shall languish no more.
13Then shall the maidens rejoice in the dance,
and the young men and the old shall be merry.
I will turn their mourning into joy,
I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.
14I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance,
and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness,
says the Lord."
15Thus says the Lord:
"A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are not."
16Thus says the Lord:
"Keep your voice from weeping,
and your eyes from tears;
for your work shall be rewarded,
says the Lord,
and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.
17There is hope for your future,
says the Lord,
and your children shall come back to their own country.
18I have heard E'phraim bemoaning,
'Thou hast chastened me, and I was chastened,
like an untrained calf;
bring me back that I may be restored,
for thou art the Lord my God.
19For after I had turned away I repented;
and after I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh;
I was ashamed, and I was confounded,
because I bore the disgrace of my youth.'
20Is E'phraim my dear son?
Is he my darling child?
For as often as I speak against him,
I do remember him still.
Therefore my heart yearns for him;
I will surely have mercy on him,
says the Lord.
21"Set up waymarks for yourself,
make yourself guideposts;
consider well the highway,
the road by which you went.
Return, O virgin Israel,
return to these your cities.
22How long will you waver,
O faithless daughter?
For the Lord has created a new thing on the earth:
a woman protects a man."
23Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: "Once more they shall use these words in the land of Judah and in its cities, when I restore their fortunes:
'The Lord bless you, O habitation of righteousness,
O holy hill!'
24And Judah and all its cities shall dwell there together, and the farmers and those who wanderc with their flocks. 25For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish."
26Thereupon I awoke and looked, and my sleep was pleasant to me.
27"Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and the seed of beast. 28And it shall come to pass that as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring evil, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the Lord. 29In those days they shall no longer say:
'The fathers have eaten sour grapes,
and the children's teeth are set on edge.'
30But every one shall die for his own sin; each man who eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.
A New Covenant
31"Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."
35Thus says the Lord,
who gives the sun for light by day
and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar-
the Lord of hosts is his name:
36"If this fixed order departs
from before me, says the Lord,
then shall the descendants of Israel cease
from being a nation before me for ever."
37Thus says the Lord:
"If the heavens above can be measured,
and the foundations of the earth below can be explored,
then I will cast off all the descendants of Israel
for all that they have done,
says the Lord."
Jerusalem to Be Enlarged
38"Behold, the days are coming says the Lord, when the city shall be rebuilt for the Lord from the tower of Hanan'el to the Corner Gate. 39And the measuring line shall go out farther, straight to the hill Gareb, and shall then turn to Go'ah. 40The whole valley of the dead bodies and the ashes, and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be sacred to the Lord. It shall not be uprooted or overthrown any more for ever."