Introduction to the Book of Consolation
30:1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah. 1 30:2 “The Lord God of Israel says, 2 ‘Write everything that I am about to tell you in a scroll. 3 30:3 For I, the Lord, affirm 4 that the time will come when I will reverse the plight 5 of my people, Israel and Judah,’ says the Lord. ‘I will bring them back to the land I gave their ancestors 6 and they will take possession of it once again.’” 7
Israel and Judah Will Be Delivered after a Time of Deep Distress
30:4 So here is what the Lord has to say about Israel and Judah. 8
30:5 Yes, 9 here is what he says:
“You hear cries of panic and of terror;
there is no peace in sight. 10
30:6 Ask yourselves this and consider it carefully: 11
Have you ever seen a man give birth to a baby?
Why then do I see all these strong men
grabbing their stomachs in pain like 12 a woman giving birth?
And why do their faces
turn so deathly pale?
30:7 Alas, what a terrible time of trouble it is! 13
There has never been any like it.
It is a time of trouble for the descendants of Jacob,
but some of them will be rescued out of it. 14
30:8 When the time for them to be rescued comes,” 15
says the Lord who rules over all, 16
“I will rescue you from foreign subjugation. 17
I will deliver you from captivity. 18
Foreigners will then no longer subjugate them.
30:9 But they will be subject 19 to the Lord their God
and to the Davidic ruler whom I will raise up as king over them. 20
30:10 So I, the Lord, tell you not to be afraid,
you descendants of Jacob, my servants. 21
Do not be terrified, people of Israel.
For I will rescue you and your descendants
from a faraway land where you are captives. 22
The descendants of Jacob will return to their land and enjoy peace.
They will be secure and no one will terrify them. 23
30:11 For I, the Lord, affirm 24 that
I will be with you and will rescue you.
I will completely destroy all the nations where I scattered you.
But I will not completely destroy you.
I will indeed discipline you, but only in due measure.
I will not allow you to go entirely unpunished.” 25
The Lord Will Heal the Wounds of Judah
30:12 Moreover, 26 the Lord says to the people of Zion, 27
“Your injuries are incurable;
your wounds are severe. 28
30:13 There is no one to plead your cause.
There are no remedies for your wounds. 29
There is no healing for you.
30:14 All your allies have abandoned you. 30
They no longer have any concern for you.
For I have attacked you like an enemy would.
I have chastened you cruelly.
For your wickedness is so great
and your sin is so much. 31
30:15 Why do you complain about your injuries,
that your pain is incurable?
I have done all this to you
because your wickedness is so great
and your sin is so much.
30:16 But 32 all who destroyed you will be destroyed.
All your enemies will go into exile.
Those who plundered you will be plundered.
I will cause those who pillaged you to be pillaged. 33
30:17 Yes, 34 I will restore you to health.
I will heal your wounds.
I, the Lord, affirm it! 35
For you have been called an outcast,
Zion, whom no one cares for.”
The Lord Will Restore Israel and Judah
30:18 The Lord says,
“I will restore the ruined houses of the descendants of Jacob.
I will show compassion on their ruined homes. 36
Every city will be rebuilt on its former ruins. 37
Every fortified dwelling will occupy its traditional site. 38
30:19 Out of those places you will hear songs of thanksgiving 39
and the sounds of laughter and merriment.
I will increase their number and they will not dwindle away. 40
I will bring them honor and they will no longer be despised.
30:20 The descendants of Jacob will enjoy their former privileges.
Their community will be reestablished in my favor 41
and I will punish all who try to oppress them.
30:21 One of their own people will be their leader.
Their ruler will come from their own number. 42
I will invite him to approach me, and he will do so. 43
For no one would dare approach me on his own. 44
I, the Lord, affirm it! 45
30:22 Then you will again be my people
and I will be your God. 46
30:23 Just watch! The wrath of the Lord
will come like a storm.
Like a raging storm it will rage down
on the heads of those who are wicked.
30:24 The anger of the Lord will not turn back
until he has fully carried out his intended purposes.
In days to come you will come to understand this. 47
31:1 At that time I will be the God of all the clans of Israel 48
and they will be my people.
I, the Lord, affirm it!” 49
Israel Will Be Restored and Join Judah in Worship
31:2 The Lord says,
“The people of Israel who survived
death at the hands of the enemy 50
will find favor in the wilderness
as they journey to find rest for themselves.
31:3 In a far-off land the Lord will manifest himself to them.
He will say to them, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love.
That is why I have continued to be faithful to you. 51
31:4 I will rebuild you, my dear children Israel, 52
so that you will once again be built up.
Once again you will take up the tambourine
and join in the happy throng of dancers. 53
31:5 Once again you will plant vineyards
on the hills of Samaria. 54
Those who plant them
will once again enjoy their fruit. 55
31:6 Yes, a time is coming
when watchmen 56 will call out on the mountains of Ephraim,
“Come! Let us go to Zion
to worship the Lord our God!”’” 57
31:7 Moreover, 58 the Lord says,
“Sing for joy for the descendants of Jacob.
Utter glad shouts for that foremost of the nations. 59
Make your praises heard. 60
Then say, ‘Lord, rescue your people.
Deliver those of Israel who remain alive.’ 61
31:8 Then I will reply, 62 ‘I will bring them back from the land of the north.
I will gather them in from the distant parts of the earth.
Blind and lame people will come with them,
so will pregnant women and women about to give birth.
A vast throng of people will come back here.
31:9 They will come back shedding tears of contrition.
I will bring them back praying prayers of repentance. 63
I will lead them besides streams of water,
along smooth paths where they will never stumble. 64
I will do this because I am Israel’s father;
Ephraim 65 is my firstborn son.’”
31:10 Hear what the Lord has to say, O nations.
Proclaim it in the faraway lands along the sea.
Say, “The one who scattered Israel will regather them.
He will watch over his people like a shepherd watches over his flock.”
31:11 For the Lord will rescue the descendants of Jacob.
He will secure their release 66 from those who had overpowered them. 67
31:12 They will come and shout for joy on Mount Zion.
They will be radiant with joy 68 over the good things the Lord provides,
the grain, the fresh wine, the olive oil,
the young sheep and calves he has given to them.
They will be like a well-watered garden
and will not grow faint or weary any more.
31:13 The Lord says, 69 “At that time young women will dance and be glad.
Young men and old men will rejoice. 70
I will turn their grief into gladness.
I will give them comfort and joy in place of their sorrow.
31:14 I will provide the priests with abundant provisions. 71
My people will be filled to the full with the good things I provide.”
31:15 The Lord says,
“A sound is heard in Ramah, 72
a sound of crying in bitter grief.
It is the sound of Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted, because her children are gone.” 73
31:16 The Lord says to her, 74
“Stop crying! Do not shed any more tears! 75
For your heartfelt repentance 76 will be rewarded.
Your children will return from the land of the enemy.
I, the Lord, affirm it! 77
31:17 Indeed, there is hope for your posterity. 78
Your children will return to their own territory.
I, the Lord, affirm it! 79
31:18 I have indeed 80 heard the people of Israel 81 say mournfully,
‘We were like a calf untrained to the yoke. 82
You disciplined us and we learned from it. 83
Let us come back to you and we will do so, 84
for you are the Lord our God.
31:19 For after we turned away from you we repented.
After we came to our senses 85 we beat our breasts in sorrow. 86
We are ashamed and humiliated
because of the disgraceful things we did previously.’ 87
31:20 Indeed, the people of Israel are my dear children.
They are the children I take delight in. 88
For even though I must often rebuke them,
I still remember them with fondness.
So I am deeply moved with pity for them 89
and will surely have compassion on them.
I, the Lord, affirm it! 90
31:21 I will say, 91 ‘My dear children of Israel, 92 keep in mind
the road you took when you were carried off. 93
Mark off in your minds the landmarks.
Make a mental note of telltale signs marking the way back.
Return, my dear children of Israel.
Return to these cities of yours.
31:22 How long will you vacillate, 94
you who were once like an unfaithful daughter? 95
For I, the Lord, promise 96 to bring about something new 97 on the earth,
something as unique as a woman protecting a man!’” 98
Judah Will Be Restored
31:23 The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 99 says,
“I will restore the people of Judah to their land and to their towns.
When I do, they will again say 100 of Jerusalem, 101
‘May the Lord bless you, you holy mountain,
the place where righteousness dwells.’ 102
31:24 The land of Judah will be inhabited by people who live in its towns
as well as by farmers and shepherds with their flocks. 103
31:25 I will fully satisfy the needs of those who are weary
and fully refresh the souls of those who are faint. 104
31:26 Then they will say, ‘Under these conditions I can enjoy sweet sleep
when I wake up and look around.’” 105
Israel and Judah Will Be Repopulated
31:27 “Indeed, a time is coming,” 106 says the Lord, 107 “when I will cause people and animals to sprout up in the lands of Israel and Judah. 108 31:28 In the past I saw to it that they were uprooted and torn down, that they were destroyed and demolished. But now I will see to it that they are built up and firmly planted. 109 I, the Lord, affirm it!” 110
The Lord Will Make a New Covenant with Israel and Judah
31:29 “When that time comes, people will no longer say, ‘The parents have eaten sour grapes, but the children’s teeth have grown numb.’ 111 31:30 Rather, each person will die for his own sins. The teeth of the person who eats the sour grapes will themselves grow numb. 112
31:31 “Indeed, a time is coming,” says the Lord, 113 “when I will make a new covenant 114 with the people of Israel and Judah. 115 31:32 It will not be like the old 116 covenant that I made with their ancestors 117 when I delivered them 118 from Egypt. For they violated that covenant, even though I was like a faithful husband to them,” 119 says the Lord. 120 31:33 “But I will make a new covenant with the whole nation of Israel 121 after I plant them back in the land,” 122 says the Lord. 123 “I will 124 put my law within them 125 and write it on their hearts and minds. 126 I will be their God and they will be my people. 127
31:34 “People will no longer need to teach their neighbors and relatives to know me. 128 For all of them, from the least important to the most important, will know me,” 129 says the Lord. “For 130 I will forgive their sin and will no longer call to mind the wrong they have done.”
The Lord Guarantees Israel’s Continuance
31:35 The Lord has made a promise to Israel.
He promises it as the one who fixed the sun to give light by day
and the moon and stars to give light by night.
He promises it as the one who stirs up the sea so that its waves roll.
He promises it as the one who is known as the Lord who rules over all. 131
31:36 The Lord affirms, 132 “The descendants of Israel will not
cease forever to be a nation in my sight.
That could only happen if the fixed ordering of the heavenly lights
were to cease to operate before me.” 133
31:37 The Lord says, “I will not reject all the descendants of Israel
because of all that they have done. 134
That could only happen if the heavens above could be measured
or the foundations of the earth below could all be explored,” 135
says the Lord. 136
Jerusalem Will Be Enlarged
31:38 “Indeed a time is coming,” 137 says the Lord, 138 “when the city of Jerusalem 139 will be rebuilt as my special city. 140 It will be built from the Tower of Hananel westward to the Corner Gate. 141 31:39 The boundary line will extend beyond that, straight west from there to the Hill of Gareb and then turn southward to Goah. 142 31:40 The whole valley where dead bodies and sacrificial ashes are thrown 143 and all the terraced fields 144 out to the Kidron Valley 145 on the east as far north 146 as the Horse Gate 147 will be included within this city that is sacred to the Lord. 148 The city will never again be torn down or destroyed.”
Jeremiah Buys a Field
32:1 In the tenth year that Zedekiah was ruling over Judah the Lord spoke to Jeremiah. 149 That was the same as the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar.
32:2 Now at that time, 150 the armies of the king of Babylon were besieging Jerusalem. 151 The prophet Jeremiah was confined in the courtyard of the guardhouse 152 attached to the royal palace of Judah. 32:3 For King Zedekiah 153 had confined Jeremiah there after he had reproved him for prophesying as he did. He had asked Jeremiah, “Why do you keep prophesying these things? Why do you keep saying that the Lord says, ‘I will hand this city over to the king of Babylon? I will let him capture it. 154 32:4 King Zedekiah of Judah will not escape from the Babylonians. 155 He will certainly be handed over to the king of Babylon. He must answer personally to the king of Babylon and confront him face to face. 156 32:5 Zedekiah will be carried off to Babylon and will remain there until I have fully dealt with him. 157 I, the Lord, affirm it! 158 Even if you 159 continue to fight against the Babylonians, 160 you cannot win.’”
32:6 So now, Jeremiah said, “The Lord told me, 161 32:7 ‘Hanamel, the son of your uncle Shallum, will come to you soon. He will say to you, “Buy my field at Anathoth because you are entitled 162 as my closest relative to buy it.”’ 163 32:8 Now it happened just as the Lord had said! My cousin Hanamel 164 came to me in the courtyard of the guardhouse. He said to me, ‘Buy my field which is at Anathoth in the territory of the tribe of Benjamin. Buy it for yourself since you are entitled as my closest relative to take possession of it for yourself.’ When this happened, I recognized that the Lord had indeed spoken to me. 32:9 So I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel. I weighed out seven ounces of silver and gave it to him to pay for it. 165 32:10 I signed the deed of purchase, 166 sealed it, and had some men serve as witnesses to the purchase. 167 I weighed out the silver for him on a scale. 32:11 There were two copies of the deed of purchase. One was sealed and contained the order of transfer and the conditions of purchase. 168 The other was left unsealed. 32:12 I took both copies of the deed of purchase 169 and gave them to Baruch son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah. I gave them to him in the presence 170 of my cousin 171 Hanamel, the witnesses who had signed the deed of purchase, and all the Judeans who were housed in the courtyard of the guardhouse. 32:13 In the presence of all these people I instructed Baruch, 32:14 ‘The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 172 says, “Take these documents, both the sealed copy of the deed of purchase and the unsealed copy. Put them in a clay jar so that they may be preserved for a long time to come.”’ 173 32:15 For the Lord God of Israel who rules over all 174 says, “Houses, fields, and vineyards will again be bought in this land.”’ 175
Jeremiah’s Prayer of Praise and Bewilderment
32:16 “After I had given the copies of the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah, I prayed to the Lord, 32:17 ‘Oh, Lord God, 176 you did indeed 177 make heaven and earth by your mighty power and great strength. 178 Nothing is too hard for you! 32:18 You show unfailing love to thousands. 179 But you also punish children for the sins of their parents. 180 You are the great and powerful God who is known as the Lord who rules over all. 181 32:19 You plan great things and you do mighty deeds. 182 You see everything people do. 183 You reward each of them for the way they live and for the things they do. 184 32:20 You did miracles and amazing deeds in the land of Egypt which have had lasting effect. By this means you gained both in Israel and among humankind a renown that lasts to this day. 185 32:21 You used your mighty power and your great strength to perform miracles and amazing deeds and to bring great terror on the Egyptians. By this means you brought your people Israel out of the land of Egypt. 186 32:22 You kept the promise that you swore on oath to their ancestors. 187 You gave them a land flowing with milk and honey. 188 32:23 But when they came in and took possession of it, they did not obey you or live as you had instructed them. They did not do anything that you commanded them to do. 189 So you brought all this disaster on them. 32:24 Even now siege ramps have been built up around the city 190 in order to capture it. War, 191 starvation, and disease are sure to make the city fall into the hands of the Babylonians 192 who are attacking it. 193 Lord, 194 you threatened that this would happen. Now you can see that it is already taking place. 195 32:25 The city is sure to fall into the hands of the Babylonians. 196 Yet, in spite of this, 197 you, Lord God, 198 have said to me, “Buy that field with silver and have the transaction legally witnessed.”’” 199
The Lord Answers Jeremiah’s Prayer
32:26 The Lord answered Jeremiah. 200 32:27 “I am the Lord, the God of all humankind. There is, indeed, nothing too difficult for me. 201 32:28 Therefore I, the Lord, say: 202 ‘I will indeed hand 203 this city over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and the Babylonian army. 204 They will capture it. 32:29 The Babylonian soldiers 205 that are attacking this city will break into it and set it on fire. They will burn it down along with the houses where people have made me angry by offering sacrifices to the god Baal and by pouring out drink offerings to other gods on their rooftops. 206 32:30 This will happen because the people of Israel and Judah have repeatedly done what displeases me 207 from their earliest history until now 208 and because they 209 have repeatedly made me angry by the things they have done. 210 I, the Lord, affirm it! 211 32:31 This will happen because 212 the people of this city have aroused my anger and my wrath since the time they built it until now. 213 They have made me so angry that I am determined to remove 214 it from my sight. 32:32 I am determined to do so because the people of Israel and Judah have made me angry with all their wickedness – they, their kings, their officials, their priests, their prophets, and especially the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem 215 have done this wickedness. 216 32:33 They have turned away from me instead of turning to me. 217 I tried over and over again 218 to instruct them, but they did not listen and respond to correction. 219 32:34 They set up their disgusting idols in the temple which I have claimed for my own 220 and defiled it. 32:35 They built places of worship for the god Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom so that they could sacrifice their sons and daughters to the god Molech. 221 Such a disgusting practice was not something I commanded them to do! It never even entered my mind to command them to do such a thing! So Judah is certainly liable for punishment.’ 222
32:36 “You and your people 223 are right in saying, ‘War, 224 starvation, and disease are sure to make this city fall into the hands of the king of Babylon.’ 225 But now I, the Lord God of Israel, have something further to say about this city: 226 32:37 ‘I will certainly regather my people from all the countries where I will have exiled 227 them in my anger, fury, and great wrath. I will bring them back to this place and allow them to live here in safety. 32:38 They will be my people, and I will be their God. 228 32:39 I will give them a single-minded purpose to live in a way that always shows respect for me. They will want to do that for 229 their own good and the good of the children who descend from them. 32:40 I will make a lasting covenant 230 with them that I will never stop doing good to them. 231 I will fill their hearts and minds with respect for me so that 232 they will never again turn 233 away from me. 32:41 I will take delight in doing good to them. I will faithfully and wholeheartedly plant them 234 firmly in the land.’
32:42 “For I, the Lord, say: 235 ‘I will surely bring on these people all the good fortune that I am hereby promising them. I will be just as sure to do that as I have been in bringing all this great disaster on them. 236 32:43 You and your people 237 are saying that this land will become desolate, uninhabited by either people or animals. You are saying that it will be handed over to the Babylonians. 238 But fields 239 will again be bought in this land. 240 32:44 Fields will again be bought with silver, and deeds of purchase signed, sealed, and witnessed. This will happen in the territory of Benjamin, the villages surrounding Jerusalem, the towns in Judah, the southern hill country, the western foothills, and southern Judah. 241 For I will restore them to their land. 242 I, the Lord, affirm it!’” 243
The Lord Promises a Second Time to Restore Israel and Judah
33:1 The Lord spoke 244 to Jeremiah a second time while he was still confined in the courtyard of the guardhouse. 245 33:2 “I, the Lord, do these things. I, the Lord, form the plan to bring them about. 246 I am known as the Lord. I say to you, 33:3 ‘Call on me in prayer and I will answer you. I will show you great and mysterious 247 things which you still do not know about.’ 33:4 For I, the Lord God of Israel, have something more to say about the houses in this city and the royal buildings which have been torn down for defenses against the siege ramps and military incursions of the Babylonians: 248 33:5 ‘The defenders of the city will go out and fight with the Babylonians. 249 But they will only fill those houses and buildings with the dead bodies of the people that I will kill in my anger and my wrath. 250 That will happen because I have decided to turn my back on 251 this city on account of the wicked things they have done. 252 33:6 But I will most surely 253 heal the wounds of this city and restore it and its people to health. 254 I will show them abundant 255 peace and security. 33:7 I will restore Judah and Israel 256 and will rebuild them as they were in days of old. 257 33:8 I will purify them from all the sin that they committed against me. I will forgive all their sins which they committed in rebelling against me. 258 33:9 All the nations will hear about all the good things which I will do to them. This city will bring me fame, honor, and praise before them for the joy that I bring it. The nations will tremble in awe at all the peace and prosperity that I will provide for it.’ 259
33:10 “I, the Lord, say: 260 ‘You and your people are saying 261 about this place, “It lies in ruins. There are no people or animals in it.” That is true. The towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem 262 will soon be desolate, uninhabited either by people or by animals. But happy sounds will again be heard in these places. 33:11 Once again there will be sounds 263 of joy and gladness and the glad celebrations of brides and grooms. 264 Once again people will bring their thank offerings to the temple of the Lord and will say, “Give thanks to the Lord who rules over all. For the Lord is good and his unfailing love lasts forever.” 265 For I, the Lord, affirm 266 that I will restore the land to what it was 267 in days of old.’ 268
33:12 “I, the Lord who rules over all, say: 269 ‘This place will indeed lie in ruins. There will be no people or animals in it. But there will again be in it and in its towns sheepfolds where shepherds can rest their sheep. 33:13 I, the Lord, say that shepherds will once again count their sheep as they pass into the fold. 270 They will do this in all the towns in the southern hill country, the western foothills, the southern hill country, the territory of Benjamin, the villages surrounding Jerusalem, and the towns of Judah.’ 271
The Lord Reaffirms His Covenant with David, Israel, and Levi
33:14 “I, the Lord, affirm: 272 ‘The time will certainly come when I will fulfill my gracious promise concerning the nations of Israel and Judah. 273 33:15 In those days and at that time I will raise up for them a righteous descendant 274 of David.
“‘He will do what is just and right in the land. 33:16 Under his rule Judah will enjoy safety 275 and Jerusalem 276 will live in security. At that time Jerusalem will be called “The Lord has provided us with justice.” 277 33:17 For I, the Lord, promise: “David will never lack a successor to occupy 278 the throne over the nation of Israel. 279 33:18 Nor will the Levitical priests ever lack someone to stand before me and continually offer up burnt offerings, sacrifice cereal offerings, and offer the other sacrifices.”’” 280
33:19 The Lord spoke further to Jeremiah. 281 33:20 “I, Lord, make the following promise: 282 ‘I have made a covenant with the day 283 and with the night that they will always come at their proper times. Only if you people 284 could break that covenant 33:21 could my covenant with my servant David and my covenant with the Levites ever be broken. So David will by all means always have a descendant to occupy his throne as king and the Levites will by all means always have priests who will minister before me. 285 33:22 I will make the children who follow one another in the line of my servant David very numerous. I will also make the Levites who minister before me very numerous. I will make them all as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sands which are on the seashore.’” 286
33:23 The Lord spoke still further to Jeremiah. 287 33:24 “You have surely noticed what these people are saying, haven’t you? They are saying, 288 ‘The Lord has rejected the two families of Israel and Judah 289 that he chose.’ So they have little regard that my people will ever again be a nation. 290 33:25 But I, the Lord, make the following promise: 291 I have made a covenant governing the coming of day and night. I have established the fixed laws governing heaven and earth. 33:26 Just as surely as I have done this, so surely will I never reject the descendants of Jacob. Nor will I ever refuse to choose one of my servant David’s descendants to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Indeed, 292 I will restore them 293 and show mercy to them.”