1 While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the LORD gave him this second message:
2 "The LORD, the Maker of the heavens and earth--the LORD is his name--says this:
3 Ask me and I will tell you some remarkable secrets about what is going to happen here.
4 For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Though you have torn down the houses of this city and even the king's palace to get materials to strengthen the walls against the siege weapons of the enemy,
5 the Babylonians* will still enter. The men of this city are already as good as dead, for I have determined to destroy them in my terrible anger. I have abandoned them because of all their wickedness.1
6 "Nevertheless, the time will come when I will heal Jerusalem's damage and give her prosperity and peace.
7 I will restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel and rebuild their cities.
8 I will cleanse away their sins against me, and I will forgive all their sins of rebellion.
9 Then this city will bring me joy, glory, and honor before all the nations of the earth! The people of the world will see the good I do for my people and will tremble with awe!
10 "This is what the LORD says: You say, `This land has been ravaged, and the people and animals have all disappeared.' Yet in the empty streets of Jerusalem and Judah's other towns, there will be heard once more
11 the sounds of joy and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will be heard again, along with the joyous songs of people bringing thanksgiving offerings to the LORD. They will sing, `Give thanks to the LORD Almighty, for the LORD is good. His faithful love endures forever!' For I will restore the prosperity of this land to what it was in the past, says the LORD.
12 "This is what the LORD Almighty says: This land--though it is now desolate and the people and animals have all disappeared--will once more see shepherds leading sheep and lambs.
13 Once again their flocks will prosper in the towns of the hill country, the foothills of Judah,* the Negev, the land of Benjamin, the vicinity of Jerusalem, and all the towns of Judah. I, the LORD, have spoken!2
14 "The day will come, says the LORD, when I will do for Israel and Judah all the good I have promised them.
15 At that time I will bring to the throne of David a righteous descendant,* and he will do what is just and right throughout the land.3
16 In that day Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will live in safety. And their motto will be `The LORD is our righteousness!'
17 For this is what the LORD says: David will forever have a descendant sitting on the throne of Israel.
18 And there will always be Levitical priests to offer burnt offerings and grain offerings and sacrifices to me."
19 Then this message came to Jeremiah from the LORD:
20 "If you can break my covenant with the day and the night so that they do not come on their usual schedule,
21 only then will my covenant with David, my servant, be broken. Only then will he no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne. The same is true for my covenant with the Levitical priests who minister before me.
22 And as the stars cannot be counted and the sand on the seashores cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of David, my servant, and the Levites who minister before me."
23 The LORD gave another message to Jeremiah. He said,
24 "Have you heard what people are saying?--`The LORD chose Judah and Israel and then abandoned them!' They are sneering and saying that Israel is not worthy to be counted as a nation.
25 But this is the LORD's reply: I would no more reject my people than I would change my laws of night and day, of earth and sky.
26 I will never abandon the descendants of Jacob or David, my servant, or change the plan that David's descendants will rule the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Instead, I will restore them to their land and have mercy on them."