The Promise of God
While Jeremiah was still locked up in the courtyard of the guards, the message from the LORD came to him a second time: “The LORD made the earth, and he keeps it safe. The LORD is his name. He says, ‘Judah, pray to me, and I will answer you. I will tell you important secrets. You have never heard these things before.’ The LORD is the God of Israel. This is what he says about the houses in Jerusalem and about the palaces of the kings of Judah: ‘The enemy will pull these houses down. They will build ramps up to the top of the city walls. They will use swords and fight the people in these cities.
“ ‘The people in Jerusalem have done many bad things. I am angry with them. I have turned against them, so I will kill many people there. The Babylonian army will come to fight against Jerusalem. There will be many dead bodies in the houses in Jerusalem.
“ ‘But then I will heal the people in that city. I will let them enjoy peace and safety. I will make good things happen to Judah and Israel again and make them strong as in the past. They sinned against me, but I will wash away that sin. They fought against me, but I will forgive them. Then Jerusalem will be a wonderful place. The people will be happy. People from other nations will praise it when they hear about the good things happening there. They will hear about the good things I am doing for Jerusalem.’
10 “This is what the LORD says: ‘You people say that your country is an empty desert. There are no people or animals living there.’ It is now quiet in the streets of Jerusalem and in the towns of Judah. But it will be noisy there soon. 11 There will be sounds of joy and happiness. There will be the happy sounds of a bride and groom. There will be the sounds of people bringing their gifts to the LORD’S Temple. They will say, ‘Praise the LORD All-Powerful! The LORD is good! His faithful love will last forever!’ They will say this because I will again do good things to Judah. It will be as it was in the beginning.” This is what the LORD said.
12 The LORD All-Powerful says, “This place is empty now. There are no people or animals living here. But there will be people in all the towns of Judah. There will be shepherds, and there will be pastures where they will let their flocks rest. 13 Shepherds will count their sheep as the sheep walk in front of them. They will be counting their sheep all around the country—in the hill country, in the western foothills, in the Negev, and in all the other towns of Judah.”
The Good Branch
14 This message is from the LORD: “I made a special promise to the people of Israel and Judah. The time is coming when I will do what I promised. 15 At that time I will make a good ‘branch’ grow from David’s family. That branch will do what is good and right for the country. 16 When he rules, Judah will be saved. The people of Jerusalem will live in safety. This will be his name: ‘The LORD Makes Things Right For Us.’ ”
17 The LORD says, “Someone from David’s family will always sit on the throne and rule the family of Israel. 18 And there will always be priests from the family of Levi. They will always stand before me and offer burnt offerings and sacrifice grain offerings and give sacrifices to me.”
19 This message from the LORD came to Jeremiah. 20 The LORD says, “I have an agreement with day and night. I agreed that they would continue forever. You cannot change that agreement. Day and night will always come at the right time. If you could change that agreement, 21 then you could change my agreement with David and Levi. Then descendants from David would not be the kings, and the family of Levi would not be priests. 22 But I will give many descendants to my servant David and to the tribe of Levi. They will be as many as the stars in the sky—no one can count all the stars. And they will be as many as the grains of sand on the seashore—no one can count the grains of sand.”
23 Jeremiah received this message from the LORD: 24 “Jeremiah, have you heard what the people are saying? They are saying, ‘The LORD turned away from the two families of Israel and Judah. He chose those people, but now he does not even accept them as a nation.’ ”
25 The LORD says, “If my agreement with day and night does not continue, and if I had not made the laws for the sky and earth, maybe I would leave those people. 26 Then maybe I would turn away from Jacob’s descendants. And then maybe I would not let David’s descendants rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But David is my servant, and I will be kind to those people. I will again cause good things to happen to them.”