The Lord spoke to Jeremiah. “The Lord God of Israel says, ‘Write everything that I am about to tell you in a scroll. For I, the Lord, affirm that the time will come when I will reverse the plight of my people, Israel and Judah,’ says the Lord. ‘I will bring them back to the land I gave their ancestors and they will take possession of it once again.’ ”
Israel and Judah Will Be Delivered after a Time of Deep Distress
So here is what the Lord has to say about Israel and Judah.
Yes, here is what he says:
“You hear cries of panic and of terror;
there is no peace in sight.
Ask yourselves this and consider it carefully:
Have you ever seen a man give birth to a baby?
Why then do I see all these strong men
grabbing their stomachs in pain like a woman giving birth?
And why do their faces
turn so deathly pale?
Alas, what a terrible time of trouble it is!
There has never been any like it.
It is a time of trouble for the descendants of Jacob,
but some of them will be rescued out of it.
When the time for them to be rescued comes,”
says the Lord who rules over all,
“I will rescue you from foreign subjugation.
I will deliver you from captivity.
Foreigners will then no longer subjugate them.
But they will be subject to the Lord their God
and to the Davidic ruler whom I will raise up as king over them.
10  So I, the Lord, tell you not to be afraid,
you descendants of Jacob, my servants.
Do not be terrified, people of Israel.
For I will rescue you and your descendants
from a faraway land where you are captives.
The descendants of Jacob will return to their land and enjoy peace.
They will be secure and no one will terrify them.
11  For I, the Lord, affirm that
I will be with you and will rescue you.
I will completely destroy all the nations where I scattered you.
But I will not completely destroy you.
I will indeed discipline you, but only in due measure.
I will not allow you to go entirely unpunished.”
The Lord Will Heal the Wounds of Judah
12  Moreover, the Lord says to the people of Zion,
“Your injuries are incurable;
your wounds are severe.
13  There is no one to plead your cause.
There are no remedies for your wounds.
There is no healing for you.
14  All your allies have abandoned you.
They no longer have any concern for you.
For I have attacked you like an enemy would.
I have chastened you cruelly.
For your wickedness is so great
and your sin is so much.
15  Why do you complain about your injuries,
that your pain is incurable?
I have done all this to you
because your wickedness is so great
and your sin is so much.
16  But all who destroyed you will be destroyed.
All your enemies will go into exile.
Those who plundered you will be plundered.
I will cause those who pillaged you to be pillaged.
17  Yes, I will restore you to health.
I will heal your wounds.
I, the Lord, affirm it!
For you have been called an outcast,
Zion, whom no one cares for.”
The Lord Will Restore Israel and Judah
18  The Lord says,
“I will restore the ruined houses of the descendants of Jacob.
I will show compassion on their ruined homes.
Every city will be rebuilt on its former ruins.
Every fortified dwelling will occupy its traditional site.
19  Out of those places you will hear songs of thanksgiving
and the sounds of laughter and merriment.
I will increase their number and they will not dwindle away.
I will bring them honor and they will no longer be despised.
20  The descendants of Jacob will enjoy their former privileges.
Their community will be reestablished in my favor
and I will punish all who try to oppress them.
21  One of their own people will be their leader.
Their ruler will come from their own number.
I will invite him to approach me, and he will do so.
For no one would dare approach me on his own.
I, the Lord, affirm it!
22  Then you will again be my people
and I will be your God.
23  Just watch! The wrath of the Lord
will come like a storm.
Like a raging storm it will rage down
on the heads of those who are wicked.
24  The anger of the Lord will not turn back
until he has fully carried out his intended purposes.
In days to come you will come to understand this.