1 The LORD gave another message to Jeremiah. He said,
2 "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Write down for the record everything I have said to you, Jeremiah.
3 For the time is coming when I will restore the fortunes of my people of Israel and Judah. I will bring them home to this land that I gave to their ancestors, and they will possess it and live here again. I, the LORD, have spoken!"
4 This is the message the LORD gave concerning Israel and Judah:
5 "This is what the LORD says: I have heard the people crying; there is only fear and trembling.
6 Now let me ask you a question: Do men give birth to babies? Then why do they stand there, ashen-faced, hands pressed against their sides like women about to give birth?
7 In all history there has never been such a time of terror. It will be a time of trouble for my people Israel.* Yet in the end, they will be saved!1
8 "For in that day, says the LORD Almighty, I will break the yoke from their necks and snap their chains. Foreigners will no longer be their masters.
9 For my people will serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.
10 "So do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel, says the LORD. For I will bring you home again from distant lands, and your children will return from their exile. Israel will return and will have peace and quiet in their own land, and no one will make them afraid.
11 For I am with you and will save you, says the LORD. I will completely destroy the nations where I have scattered you, but I will not destroy you. But I must discipline you; I cannot let you go unpunished.
12 "This is what the LORD says: Yours is an incurable bruise, a terrible wound.
13 There is no one to help you or bind up your injury. You are beyond the help of any medicine.
14 All your allies have left you and do not care about you anymore. I have wounded you cruelly, as though I were your enemy. For your sins are many, and your guilt is great.
15 Why do you protest your punishment--this wound that has no cure? I have had to punish you because your sins are many and your guilt is great.
16 "But in that coming day, all who destroy you will be destroyed, and all your enemies will be sent into exile. Those who plunder you will be plundered, and those who attack you will be attacked.
17 I will give you back your health and heal your wounds, says the LORD. "Now you are called an outcast--`Jerusalem* for whom nobody cares.'2
18 But the LORD says this: When I bring you home again from your captivity and restore your fortunes, Jerusalem will be rebuilt on her ruins. The palace will be reconstructed as it was before.
19 There will be joy and songs of thanksgiving, and I will multiply my people and make of them a great and honored nation.
20 Their children will prosper as they did long ago. I will establish them as a nation before me, and I will punish anyone who hurts them.
21 They will have their own ruler again, and he will not be a foreigner. I will invite him to approach me, says the LORD, for who would dare to come unless invited?
22 You will be my people, and I will be your God."
23 Look! The LORD's anger bursts out like a storm, a driving wind that swirls down on the heads of the wicked.
24 The fierce anger of the LORD will not diminish until it has finished all his plans. In the days to come, you will understand all this.
Read Jeremiah 31