Bible: Jeremiah 31-34

31:1 At that time I will be the God of all the clans of Israel 1 

and they will be my people.

I, the Lord, affirm it! 2 

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 3 

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. 4 

31:4 I will rebuild you, my dear children Israel, 5 

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. 6 

31:5 Once again you will plant vineyards

on the hills of Samaria. 7 

Those who plant them

will once again enjoy their fruit. 8 

31:6 Yes, a time is coming

when watchmen 9  will call out on the mountains of Ephraim,

Come! Let us go to Zion

to worship the Lord our God!”’ 10 

31:7 Moreover, 11  the Lord says,

Sing for joy for the descendants of Jacob.

Utter glad shouts for that foremost of the nations. 12 

Make your praises heard. 13 

Then say, Lord, rescue your people.

Deliver those of Israel who remain alive.’ 14 

31:8 Then I will reply, 15  ‘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. 16 

I will lead them besides streams of water,

along smooth paths where they will never stumble. 17 

I will do this because I am Israel’s father;

Ephraim 18  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 19  from those who had overpowered them. 20 

31:12 They will come and shout for joy on Mount Zion.

They will be radiant with joy 21  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, 22  “At that time young women will dance and be glad.

Young men and old men will rejoice. 23 

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. 24 

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, 25 

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.” 26 

31:16 The Lord says to her, 27 

“Stop crying! Do not shed any more tears! 28 

For your heartfelt repentance 29  will be rewarded.

Your children will return from the land of the enemy.

I, the Lord, affirm it! 30 

31:17 Indeed, there is hope for your posterity. 31 

Your children will return to their own territory.

I, the Lord, affirm it! 32 

31:18 I have indeed 33  heard the people of Israel 34  say mournfully,

We were like a calf untrained to the yoke. 35 

You disciplined us and we learned from it. 36 

Let us come back to you and we will do so, 37 

for you are the Lord our God.

31:19 For after we turned away from you we repented.

After we came to our senses 38  we beat our breasts in sorrow. 39 

We are ashamed and humiliated

because of the disgraceful things we did previously.’ 40 

31:20 Indeed, the people of Israel are my dear children.

They are the children I take delight in. 41 

For even though I must often rebuke them,

I still remember them with fondness.

So I am deeply moved with pity for them 42 

and will surely have compassion on them.

I, the Lord, affirm it! 43 

31:21 I will say, 44  ‘My dear children of Israel, 45  keep in mind

the road you took when you were carried off. 46 

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, 47 

you who were once like an unfaithful daughter? 48 

For I, the Lord, promise 49  to bring about something new 50  on the earth,

something as unique as a woman protecting a man!’ 51 

Judah Will Be Restored

31:23 The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 52  says,

I will restore the people of Judah to their land and to their towns.

When I do, they will again say 53  of Jerusalem, 54 

‘May the Lord bless you, you holy mountain,

the place where righteousness dwells.’ 55 

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. 56 

31:25 I will fully satisfy the needs of those who are weary

and fully refresh the souls of those who are faint. 57 

31:26 Then they will say, ‘Under these conditions I can enjoy sweet sleep

when I wake up and look around.’ 58 

Israel and Judah Will Be Repopulated

31:27Indeed, a time is coming,” 59  says the Lord, 60  “when I will cause people and animals to sprout up in the lands of Israel and Judah. 61  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. 62  I, the Lord, affirm it! 63 

The Lord Will Make a New Covenant with Israel and Judah

31:29When that time comes, people will no longer say, ‘The parents have eaten sour grapes, but the children’s teeth have grown numb.’ 64  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. 65 

31:31Indeed, a time is coming,” says the Lord, 66  “when I will make a new covenant 67  with the people of Israel and Judah. 68  31:32 It will not be like the old 69  covenant that I made with their ancestors 70  when I delivered them 71  from Egypt. For they violated that covenant, even though I was like a faithful husband to them,” 72  says the Lord. 73  31:33 But I will make a new covenant with the whole nation of Israel 74  after I plant them back in the land,” 75  says the Lord. 76  “I will 77  put my law within them 78  and write it on their hearts and minds. 79  I will be their God and they will be my people. 80 

31:34People will no longer need to teach their neighbors and relatives to know me. 81  For all of them, from the least important to the most important, will know me,” 82  says the Lord. “For 83  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. 84 

31:36 The Lord affirms, 85 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.” 86 

31:37 The Lord says, “I will not reject all the descendants of Israel

because of all that they have done. 87 

That could only happen if the heavens above could be measured

or the foundations of the earth below could all be explored,” 88 

says the Lord. 89 

Jerusalem Will Be Enlarged

31:38Indeed a time is coming,” 90  says the Lord, 91  “when the city of Jerusalem 92  will be rebuilt as my special city. 93  It will be built from the Tower of Hananel westward to the Corner Gate. 94  31:39 The boundary line will extend beyond that, straight west from there to the Hill of Gareb and then turn southward to Goah. 95  31:40 The whole valley where dead bodies and sacrificial ashes are thrown 96  and all the terraced fields 97  out to the Kidron Valley 98  on the east as far north 99  as the Horse Gate 100  will be included within this city that is sacred to the Lord. 101  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. 102  That was the same as the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar.

32:2 Now at that time, 103  the armies of the king of Babylon were besieging Jerusalem. 104  The prophet Jeremiah was confined in the courtyard of the guardhouse 105  attached to the royal palace of Judah. 32:3 For King Zedekiah 106  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. 107  32:4 King Zedekiah of Judah will not escape from the Babylonians. 108  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. 109  32:5 Zedekiah will be carried off to Babylon and will remain there until I have fully dealt with him. 110  I, the Lord, affirm it! 111  Even if you 112  continue to fight against the Babylonians, 113  you cannot win.’

32:6 So now, Jeremiah said, “The Lord told me, 114  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 115  as my closest relative to buy it.”’ 116  32:8 Now it happened just as the Lord had said! My cousin Hanamel 117  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. 118  32:10 I signed the deed of purchase, 119  sealed it, and had some men serve as witnesses to the purchase. 120  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. 121  The other was left unsealed. 32:12 I took both copies of the deed of purchase 122  and gave them to Baruch son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah. I gave them to him in the presence 123  of my cousin 124  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 125  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.”’ 126  32:15 For the Lord God of Israel who rules over all 127  says, “Houses, fields, and vineyards will again be bought in this land.”’ 128 

Jeremiah’s Prayer of Praise and Bewilderment

32:16After 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, 129  you did indeed 130  make heaven and earth by your mighty power and great strength. 131  Nothing is too hard for you! 32:18 You show unfailing love to thousands. 132  But you also punish children for the sins of their parents. 133  You are the great and powerful God who is known as the Lord who rules over all. 134  32:19 You plan great things and you do mighty deeds. 135  You see everything people do. 136  You reward each of them for the way they live and for the things they do. 137  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. 138  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. 139  32:22 You kept the promise that you swore on oath to their ancestors. 140  You gave them a land flowing with milk and honey. 141  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. 142  So you brought all this disaster on them. 32:24 Even now siege ramps have been built up around the city 143  in order to capture it. War, 144  starvation, and disease are sure to make the city fall into the hands of the Babylonians 145  who are attacking it. 146  Lord, 147  you threatened that this would happen. Now you can see that it is already taking place. 148  32:25 The city is sure to fall into the hands of the Babylonians. 149  Yet, in spite of this, 150  you, Lord God, 151  have said to me, “Buy that field with silver and have the transaction legally witnessed.”’ 152 

The Lord Answers Jeremiah’s Prayer

32:26 The Lord answered Jeremiah. 153  32:27 I am the Lord, the God of all humankind. There is, indeed, nothing too difficult for me. 154  32:28 Therefore I, the Lord, say: 155  ‘I will indeed hand 156  this city over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and the Babylonian army. 157  They will capture it. 32:29 The Babylonian soldiers 158  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. 159  32:30 This will happen because the people of Israel and Judah have repeatedly done what displeases me 160  from their earliest history until now 161  and because they 162  have repeatedly made me angry by the things they have done. 163  I, the Lord, affirm it! 164  32:31 This will happen because 165  the people of this city have aroused my anger and my wrath since the time they built it until now. 166  They have made me so angry that I am determined to remove 167  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 168  have done this wickedness. 169  32:33 They have turned away from me instead of turning to me. 170  I tried over and over again 171  to instruct them, but they did not listen and respond to correction. 172  32:34 They set up their disgusting idols in the temple which I have claimed for my own 173  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. 174  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.’ 175 

32:36You and your people 176  are right in saying, ‘War, 177  starvation, and disease are sure to make this city fall into the hands of the king of Babylon.’ 178  But now I, the Lord God of Israel, have something further to say about this city: 179  32:37 I will certainly regather my people from all the countries where I will have exiled 180  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. 181  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 182  their own good and the good of the children who descend from them. 32:40 I will make a lasting covenant 183  with them that I will never stop doing good to them. 184  I will fill their hearts and minds with respect for me so that 185  they will never again turn 186  away from me. 32:41 I will take delight in doing good to them. I will faithfully and wholeheartedly plant them 187  firmly in the land.’

32:42For I, the Lord, say: 188  ‘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. 189  32:43 You and your people 190  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. 191  But fields 192  will again be bought in this land. 193  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. 194  For I will restore them to their land. 195  I, the Lord, affirm it!’ 196 

The Lord Promises a Second Time to Restore Israel and Judah

33:1 The Lord spoke 197  to Jeremiah a second time while he was still confined in the courtyard of the guardhouse. 198  33:2 I, the Lord, do these things. I, the Lord, form the plan to bring them about. 199  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 200  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: 201  33:5 The defenders of the city will go out and fight with the Babylonians. 202  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. 203  That will happen because I have decided to turn my back on 204  this city on account of the wicked things they have done. 205  33:6 But I will most surely 206  heal the wounds of this city and restore it and its people to health. 207  I will show them abundant 208  peace and security. 33:7 I will restore Judah and Israel 209  and will rebuild them as they were in days of old. 210  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. 211  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.’ 212 

33:10I, the Lord, say: 213  ‘You and your people are saying 214  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 215  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 216  of joy and gladness and the glad celebrations of brides and grooms. 217  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.” 218  For I, the Lord, affirm 219  that I will restore the land to what it was 220  in days of old.’ 221 

33:12I, the Lord who rules over all, say: 222  ‘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. 223  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.’ 224 

The Lord Reaffirms His Covenant with David, Israel, and Levi

33:14I, the Lord, affirm: 225  ‘The time will certainly come when I will fulfill my gracious promise concerning the nations of Israel and Judah. 226  33:15 In those days and at that time I will raise up for them a righteous descendant 227  of David.

‘He will do what is just and right in the land. 33:16 Under his rule Judah will enjoy safety 228  and Jerusalem 229  will live in security. At that time Jerusalem will be called “The Lord has provided us with justice.” 230  33:17 For I, the Lord, promise: “David will never lack a successor to occupy 231  the throne over the nation of Israel. 232  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.”’ 233 

33:19 The Lord spoke further to Jeremiah. 234  33:20 I, Lord, make the following promise: 235  ‘I have made a covenant with the day 236  and with the night that they will always come at their proper times. Only if you people 237  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. 238  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.’ 239 

33:23 The Lord spoke still further to Jeremiah. 240  33:24 You have surely noticed what these people are saying, haven’t you? They are saying, 241 The Lord has rejected the two families of Israel and Judah 242  that he chose.’ So they have little regard that my people will ever again be a nation. 243  33:25 But I, the Lord, make the following promise: 244  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, 245  I will restore them 246  and show mercy to them.”

The Lord Makes an Ominous Promise to Zedekiah

34:1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah while King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was attacking Jerusalem 247  and the towns around it with a large army. This army consisted of troops from his own army and from the kingdoms and peoples of the lands under his dominion. 248  34:2 The Lord God of Israel told Jeremiah 249  to go and give King Zedekiah of Judah a message. He told Jeremiah 250  to tell him, “The Lord says, ‘I am going to 251  hand this city over to the king of Babylon and he will burn it down. 34:3 You yourself will not escape his clutches, but will certainly be captured and handed over to him. You must confront the king of Babylon face to face and answer to him personally. 252  Then you must go to Babylon. 34:4 However, listen to what I, the Lord, promise you, King Zedekiah of Judah. I, the Lord, promise that 253  you will not die in battle or be executed. 254  34:5 You will die a peaceful death. They will burn incense at your burial just as they did at the burial of your ancestors, the former kings who preceded you. 255  They will mourn for you, saying, “Poor, poor master!” 256  Indeed, you have my own word on this. 257  I, the Lord, affirm it!’ 258 

34:6 The prophet Jeremiah told all this to King Zedekiah of Judah in Jerusalem. 34:7 He did this while the army of the king of Babylon was attacking Jerusalem and the cities of Lachish and Azekah. He was attacking these cities because they were the only fortified cities of Judah which were still holding out. 259 

The Lord Threatens to Destroy Those Who Wronged Their Slaves

34:8 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah after King Zedekiah had made a covenant 260  with all the people in Jerusalem 261  to grant their slaves their freedom. 34:9 Everyone was supposed to free their male and female Hebrew slaves. No one was supposed to keep a fellow Judean enslaved. 262  34:10 All the people and their leaders had agreed to this. They had agreed to free their male and female slaves and not keep them enslaved any longer. They originally complied with the covenant and freed them. 263  34:11 But later 264  they had changed their minds. They had taken back their male and female slaves that they had freed and forced them to be slaves again. 265  34:12 That was when the Lord spoke to Jeremiah, 266  34:13 The Lord God of Israel has a message for you. 267  ‘I made a covenant with your ancestors 268  when I brought them out of Egypt where they had been slaves. 269  It stipulated, 270  34:14 Every seven years each of you must free any fellow Hebrews who have sold themselves to you. After they have served you for six years, you shall set them free.” 271  But your ancestors did not obey me or pay any attention to me. 34:15 Recently, however, you yourselves 272  showed a change of heart and did what is pleasing to me. You granted your fellow countrymen their freedom and you made a covenant to that effect in my presence in the house that I have claimed for my own. 273  34:16 But then you turned right around 274  and showed that you did not honor me. 275  Each of you took back your male and female slaves whom you had freed as they desired, and you forced them to be your slaves again. 276  34:17 So I, the Lord, say: “You have not really obeyed me and granted freedom to your neighbor and fellow countryman. 277  Therefore, I will grant you freedom, the freedom 278  to die in war, or by starvation or disease. I, the Lord, affirm it! 279  I will make all the kingdoms of the earth horrified at what happens to you. 280  34:18 I will punish those people who have violated their covenant with me. I will make them like the calf they cut in two and passed between its pieces. 281  I will do so because they did not keep the terms of the covenant they made in my presence. 282  34:19 I will punish the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the court officials, 283  the priests, and all the other people of the land who passed between the pieces of the calf. 284  34:20 I will hand them over to their enemies who want to kill them. Their dead bodies will become food for the birds and the wild animals. 285  34:21 I will also hand King Zedekiah of Judah and his officials over to their enemies who want to kill them. I will hand them over to the army of the king of Babylon, even though they have temporarily withdrawn from attacking you. 286  34:22 For I, the Lord, affirm that 287  I will soon give the order and bring them back to this city. They will fight against it and capture it and burn it down. I will also make the towns of Judah desolate so that there will be no one living in them.”’

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