Lamentations 2

UnderPressure16_blog_synopsis

Lamentations describes the funeral of a city. It is a tearstained portrait of the once-proud Jerusalem, now reduced to rubble by the invading Babylonian hordes. In a five-poem dirge, Jeremiah exposes his emotions. A death has occurred; Jerusalem lies barren.

Jeremiah writes his lament in acrostic or alphabetical fashion. Beginning each chapter with the first letter A (aleph), he progresses verse by verse through the Hebrew alphabet, literally weeping from A to Z. And then, in the midst of this terrible holocaust, Jeremiah triumphantly cries out, “Great is Your faithfulness” (3:23). In the face of death and destruction, with life coming apart at the seams, Jeremiah turns tragedy into a triumph of faith. God has never failed him in the past. God has promised to remain faithful in the future. In the light of the God he knows and loves, Jeremiah finds hope and comfort.[1]

TODAY’S READING

The Prophet Speaks:

2:1 Alas! The Lord has covered Daughter Zion with his anger.
He has thrown down the splendor of Israel from heaven to earth;
he did not protect his temple when he displayed his anger.
2:2 The Lord destroyed mercilessly all the homes of Jacob’s descendants.
In his anger he tore down the fortified cities of Daughter Judah.
He knocked to the ground and humiliated the kingdom and its rulers.
2:3 In fierce anger he destroyed the whole army of Israel.
He withdrew his right hand as the enemy attacked.
He was like a raging fire in the land of Jacob; it consumed everything around it.
2:4 He prepared his bow like an enemy; his right hand was ready to shoot.
Like a foe he killed everyone, even our strong young men;
he has poured out his anger like fire on the tent of Daughter Zion.
2:5 The Lord, like an enemy, destroyed Israel.
He destroyed all her palaces; he ruined her fortified cities.
He made everyone in Daughter Judah mourn and lament.
2:6 He destroyed his temple as if it were a vineyard;
he destroyed his appointed meeting place.
The Lord has made those in Zion forget both the festivals and the Sabbaths.
In his fierce anger he has spurned both king and priest.
2:7 The Lord rejected his altar and abhorred his temple.
He handed over to the enemy her palace walls;
the enemy shouted in the Lord’s temple as if it were a feast day.
2:8 The Lord was determined to tear down
Daughter Zion’s wall. He prepared to knock it down;
he did not withdraw his hand from destroying.
He made the ramparts and fortified walls lament;
together they mourned their ruin.
2:9 Her city gates have fallen to the ground;
he smashed to bits the bars that lock her gates.
Her king and princes were taken into exile;
there is no more guidance available.
As for her prophets, they no longer receive a vision from the Lord.
2:10 The elders of Daughter Zion
sit on the ground in silence.
They have thrown dirt on their heads;
They have dressed in sackcloth.
Jerusalem’s young women stare down at the ground.
2:11 My eyes are worn out from weeping;
my stomach is in knots. My heart is poured out on the ground
due to the destruction of my helpless people;
children and infants faint in the town squares.
2:12 Children say to their mothers,
“Where are food and drink?”
They faint like a wounded warrior
in the city squares. They die slowly
in their mothers’ arms.
2:13 With what can I equate you?
To what can I compare you, O Daughter Jerusalem?
To what can I liken you
so that I might comfort you, O Virgin Daughter Zion?
Your wound is as deep as the sea.
Who can heal you?
2:14 Your prophets saw visions for you
that were worthless lies. They failed to expose your sin
so as to restore your fortunes. They saw oracles for you
that were worthless lies. 2:15 All who passed by on the road
clapped their hands to mock you.
They sneered and shook their heads
at Daughter Jerusalem.
“Ha! Is this the city they called
‘The perfection of beauty,
the source of joy of the whole earth!’?”
2:16 All your enemies gloated over you.
They sneered and gnashed their teeth;
they said, “We have destroyed her!
Ha! We have waited a long time for this day.
We have lived to see it!”
2:17 The Lord has done what he planned;
he has fulfilled his promise that he threatened long ago:
He has overthrown you without mercy
and has enabled the enemy to gloat over you;
he has exalted your adversaries’ power.
2:18 Cry out from your heart to the Lord,
O wall of Daughter Zion!
Make your tears flow like a river
all day and all night long!
Do not rest; do not let your tears stop!
2:19 Get up! Cry out in the night
when the night watches start!
Pour out your heart like water
before the face of the Lord! Lift up your hands to him
for your children’s lives; they are fainting at every street corner.

Jerusalem Speaks:

2:20 Look, O Lord! Consider!
Whom have you ever afflicted like this?
Should women eat their offspring,
their healthy infants? Should priest and prophet
be killed in the Lord’s sanctuary?
2:21 The young boys and old men lie dead on the ground in the streets.
My young women and my young men have fallen by the sword.
You killed them when you were angry; you slaughtered them without mercy.
2:22 As if it were a feast day, you call enemies to terrify me on every side.
On the day of the Lord’s anger no one escaped or survived.
My enemy has finished off those healthy infants whom I bore and raised.

The NET Bible© is freely available at http://www.bible.org

[1] Wilkinson, B., & Boa, K. (1983). Talk thru the Bible (pp. 206–210). Nashville: T. Nelson.

Lamentations 1

UnderPressure16_blog_synopsis

Lamentations describes the funeral of a city. It is a tearstained portrait of the once-proud Jerusalem, now reduced to rubble by the invading Babylonian hordes. In a five-poem dirge, Jeremiah exposes his emotions. A death has occurred; Jerusalem lies barren.

Jeremiah writes his lament in acrostic or alphabetical fashion. Beginning each chapter with the first letter A (aleph), he progresses verse by verse through the Hebrew alphabet, literally weeping from A to Z. And then, in the midst of this terrible holocaust, Jeremiah triumphantly cries out, “Great is Your faithfulness” (3:23). In the face of death and destruction, with life coming apart at the seams, Jeremiah turns tragedy into a triumph of faith. God has never failed him in the past. God has promised to remain faithful in the future. In the light of the God he knows and loves, Jeremiah finds hope and comfort.[1]

TODAY’S READING

The Prophet Speaks:

1:1 Alas! The city once full of people now sits all alone! The prominent lady among the nations has become a widow! The princess who once ruled the provinces has become a forced laborer! 1:2 She weeps bitterly at night; tears stream down her cheeks. She has no one to comfort her among all her lovers. All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies. 1:3 Judah has departed into exile under affliction and harsh oppression. She lives among the nations; she has found no resting place. All who pursued her overtook her in narrow straits. 1:4 The roads to Zion mourn because no one travels to the festivals. All her city gates are deserted; her priests groan. Her virgins grieve; she is in bitter anguish! 1:5 Her foes subjugated her; her enemies are at ease. For the Lord afflicted her because of her many acts of rebellion. Her children went away captive before the enemy.

1:6 All of Daughter Zion’s splendor has departed. Her leaders became like deer; they found no pasture, so they were too exhausted to escape from the hunter. 1:7 Jerusalem remembers, when she became a poor homeless person, all her treasures that she owned in days of old. When her people fell into an enemy’s grip, none of her allies came to her rescue. Her enemies gloated over her; they sneered at her downfall. 1:8 Jerusalem committed terrible sin; therefore she became an object of scorn. All who admired her have despised her because they have seen her nakedness. She groans aloud and turns away in shame. 1:9 Her menstrual flow has soiled her clothing; she did not consider the consequences of her sin. Her demise was astonishing, and there was no one to comfort her. She cried, “Look, O Lord, on my affliction because my enemy boasts!”

1:10 An enemy grabbed all her valuables. Indeed she watched in horror as Gentiles invaded her holy temple – those whom you had commanded: “They must not enter your assembly place.” 1:11 All her people groaned as they searched for a morsel of bread. They exchanged their valuables for just enough food to stay alive.

Jerusalem Speaks:

“Look, O Lord! Consider that I have become worthless!” 1:12 Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by on the road? Look and see! Is there any pain like mine? The Lord has afflicted me, he has inflicted it on me when he burned with anger. 1:13 He sent down fire into my bones, and it overcame them. He spread out a trapper’s net for my feet; he made me turn back. He has made me desolate; I am faint all day long.

1:14 My sins are bound around my neck like a yoke; they are fastened together by his hand. He has placed his yoke on my neck; he has sapped my strength. The Lord has handed me over to those whom I cannot resist. 1:15 He rounded up all my mighty ones; The Lord did this in my midst. He summoned an assembly against me to shatter my young men. The Lord has stomped like grapes the virgin daughter, Judah. 1:16 I weep because of these things; my eyes flow with tears. For there is no one in sight who can comfort me or encourage me. My children are desolated because an enemy has prevailed.

The Prophet Speaks:

1:17 Zion spread out her hands, but there is no one to comfort her. The Lord has issued a decree against Jacob; his neighbors have become his enemies. Jerusalem has become like filthy garbage in their midst.

Jerusalem Speaks:

1:18 The Lord is right to judge me! Yes, I rebelled against his commands. Please listen, all you nations, and look at my suffering! My young women and men have gone into exile. 1:19 I called for my lovers, but they had deceived me. My priests and my elders perished in the city. Truly they had searched for food to keep themselves alive. 1:20 Look, O Lord! I am distressed; my stomach is in knots! My heart is pounding inside me. Yes, I was terribly rebellious! Out in the street the sword bereaves a mother of her children; Inside the house death is present. 1:21 They have heard that I groan, yet there is no one to comfort me. All my enemies have heard of my trouble; they are glad that you have brought it about. Bring about the day of judgment that you promised so that they may end up like me! 1:22 Let all their wickedness come before you; afflict them just as you have afflicted me because of all my acts of rebellion. For my groans are many, and my heart is sick with sorrow.

The NET Bible© is freely available at http://www.bible.org

[1] Wilkinson, B., & Boa, K. (1983). Talk thru the Bible (pp. 206–210). Nashville: T. Nelson.

Jeremiah 34:1-7

The Lord Makes an Ominous Promise to Zedekiah

34:1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah while King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was attacking Jerusalem 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. 34:2 The Lord God of Israel told Jeremiah to go and give King Zedekiah of Judah a message. He told Jeremiah to tell him, “The Lord says, ‘I am going to 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. 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 you will not die in battle or be executed. 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. They will mourn for you, saying, “Poor, poor master!” Indeed, you have my own word on this. I, the Lord, affirm it!’”

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.

The NET Bible© is freely available at http://www.bible.org

Jeremiah 33:1-26

The Lord Promises a Second Time to Restore Israel and Judah

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

33:10 “I, the Lord, say: ‘You and your people are saying 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 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 of joy and gladness and the glad celebrations of brides and grooms. 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.” For I, the Lord, affirm that I will restore the land to what it was in days of old.’

33:12 “I, the Lord who rules over all, say: ‘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. 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.’

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

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

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

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

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

The NET Bible© is freely available at http://www.bible.org

Jeremiah 33:1-26

The Lord Promises a Second Time to Restore Israel and Judah

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

33:10 “I, the Lord, say: ‘You and your people are saying 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 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 of joy and gladness and the glad celebrations of brides and grooms. 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.” For I, the Lord, affirm that I will restore the land to what it was in days of old.’

33:12 “I, the Lord who rules over all, say: ‘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. 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.’

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

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

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

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

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

The NET Bible© is freely available at http://www.bible.org

Jeremiah 32:1-44

Jeremiah Buys a Field

32:1 In the tenth year that Zedekiah was ruling over Judah the Lord spoke to Jeremiah. That was the same as the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar.

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

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

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

The Lord Answers Jeremiah’s Prayer

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

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

32:42 “For I, the Lord, say: ‘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. 32:43 You and your people 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. But fields will again be bought in this land. 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. For I will restore them to their land. I, the Lord, affirm it!’”

The NET Bible© is freely available at http://www.bible.org

Jeremiah 31:27-40

Israel and Judah Will Be Repopulated

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

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.’ 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.

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

31:34 “People will no longer need to teach their neighbors and relatives to know me. For all of them, from the least important to the most important, will know me,” says the Lord. “For 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.
31:36 The Lord affirms, “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.”
31:37 The Lord says, “I will not reject all the descendants of Israel
because of all that they have done.
That could only happen if the heavens above could be measured
or the foundations of the earth below could all be explored,”
says the Lord.

Jerusalem Will Be Enlarged

31:38 “Indeed a time is coming,” says the Lord, “when the city of Jerusalem will be rebuilt as my special city. It will be built from the Tower of Hananel westward to the Corner Gate. 31:39 The boundary line will extend beyond that, straight west from there to the Hill of Gareb and then turn southward to Goah. 31:40 The whole valley where dead bodies and sacrificial ashes are thrown and all the terraced fields out to the Kidron Valley on the east as far north as the Horse Gate will be included within this city that is sacred to the Lord. The city will never again be torn down or destroyed.”

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