New Life Version
Israel Returns Home
31 “At that time,” says the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be My people.” 2 The Lord says, “The people who were not killed by the sword found loving-favor in the desert, when Israel looked for rest.” 3 The Lord came to us from far away, saying, “I have loved you with a love that lasts forever. So I have helped you come to Me with loving-kindness. 4 Again I will build you, and you will be built, O pure Israel! Again you will take up your brass noise-makers and go to the dances of the happy people. 5 Again you will plant grape-fields on the hills of Samaria. The planters will plant and find joy in the fruit. 6 For there will be a day when watchmen on the hills of Ephraim will call out, ‘Get up, and let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.’”
7 For the Lord says, “Sing loud with joy for Jacob, and call out among the heads of the nations. Make it known, give praise, and say, ‘O Lord, save Your people. Save those who are left of Israel.’ 8 See, I am bringing them from the north country. And I will gather them from the farthest parts of the earth. Among them will be the blind and those who cannot walk, the woman with child and she who is giving birth, together. Many people will return here. 9 They will come crying, and in answer to their prayers, I will lead them. I will make them walk by rivers of waters on a straight path where they will not fall. For I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is My first-born.”
10 Hear the Word of the Lord, O nations, and make it known in the lands far across the sea. Say, “He Who sent Israel everywhere will gather them, and will watch over His flock like a shepherd.” 11 For the Lord has paid the price to make Jacob free. He has made him free from the one who was stronger than he. 12 And they will come and call out for joy on the height of Zion. They will shine with joy over the goodness of the Lord, over the grain, the new wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the cattle. Their life will be like a well-watered garden. They will never have sorrow again. 13 Then the young women who have never had a man will dance for joy, and the young men and old as well. For I will change their sorrow to joy, and will comfort them. I will give them joy for their sorrow. 14 I will fill the soul of the religious leaders with more than they need. My people will be filled with My goodness,” says the Lord.
The Lord Shows His Loving-Kindness on Israel
15 The Lord says, “The sound of crying and much sorrow is heard in Ramah. Rachel is crying for her children. She will not be comforted because they are dead.” 16 The Lord says, “Keep your voice from crying and your eyes from tears. For you will receive pay for your work,” says the Lord. “They will return from the land of those who hate them. 17 There is hope for your future,” says the Lord, “and your children will return to their own land. 18 I have heard Ephraim crying in sorrow, ‘You have punished me, and I was punished, like a calf that has not learned. Bring me back that I may return to my place, for You are the Lord my God. 19 For after I turned back, I was sorry for my sins. And after I was taught, I hit my upper leg in sorrow. I was ashamed and troubled, because I suffered the shame from what I did when I was young.’ 20 Is Ephraim My loved son? Is he the child of My joy? Yes, as many times as I have spoken against him, I still remember him. So My heart has a desire for him. For sure I will have loving-pity on him,” says the Lord.
21 “Set up marks on the road for yourself. Set up marks to lead you the right way. Remember the way you went, and return, O pure Israel. Return to your cities. 22 How long will you go here and there, O daughter without faith? For the Lord has made a new thing on the earth: A woman will keep a man safe.”
Good Will Come to God’s People
23 The Lord of All, the God of Israel, says, “When I bring them back to their own land, once again the people in the land of Judah and in its cities will speak these words: ‘May the Lord bring good to you, O place that is right with God, O holy hill!’ 24 The people of Judah and all its cities will live there together, the farmer and they who go about with flocks. 25 For I will help the tired ones and give strength to everyone who is weak.” 26 At this I woke up and looked, and my sleep was pleasing to me.
27 “See, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when I will plant the people of Israel and the people of Judah with the seed of man and the seed of animal. 28 And as I have watched over them to pull up, to break down, to take power away, to destroy, and to bring trouble, so I will watch over them to build and to plant,” says the Lord. 29 “In those days they will no longer say, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children got the sour taste.’ 30 But every one will die for his own sin. Each man who eats the sour grapes will get the sour taste. 31 The days are coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a New Way of Worship for the Jews and those of the family group of Judah. 32 The New Way of Worship will not be like the Old Way of Worship I gave to their early fathers. That was when I took them by the hand and led them out of Egypt. But they did not follow the Old Way of Worship, even when I was a husband to them,” says the Lord. 33 “This is the New Way of Worship that I will give to the Jews. When that day comes,” says the Lord, “I will put My Law into their minds. And I will write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. 34 No one will need to teach his neighbor or his brother to know the Lord. All of them will already know Me from the least to the greatest,” says the Lord. “I will forgive their sins. I will remember their sins no more.”
35 The Lord, the Lord of All is His name, Who gives the sun for light during the day, and put the moon and the stars in place to give light during the night, Who causes the waves of the sea to make a loud noise, says, 36 “If these laws change before Me, then the children of Israel will stop being a nation before Me forever.” 37 The Lord says, “If one can find out how wide the heavens are, and look through the deepest places of the earth, then I will send all the children of Israel away from Me for all that they have done,” says the Lord.
38 “See, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when the city will be built again for the Lord from the tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39 And its wall will go out farther, straight on to the hill of Gareb. Then it will turn to Goah. 40 The whole valley of the dead bodies and of the ashes, and all the fields as far as the river Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, will be holy to the Lord. It will never again be pulled up by the roots or destroyed.”