The people of Judah will be strong again
23 The Lord Almighty, Israel's God, says this:
‘I will bring my people back from the land where they have been prisoners. Then the people in the towns of Judah will again say, “We pray that the Lord will bless you, Jerusalem. You are the special place where he lives on his holy mountain!”
31:23The holy mountain is the hill in Jerusalem where the temple was.
24 People will live together in the towns of Judah. Farmers and shepherds will work in the fields. 25 I will help those who feel tired. I will make those who feel weak strong again.
26 Then they will say, “When I woke from my sleep and I looked around, I was happy.” ’
27 The Lord says this:
‘The time will come when I fill the lands of Israel and Judah with people and animals. 28 In past time, I chose to pull them out of their land, like a plant with its roots. I knocked them down and I destroyed them. But now I will put them in their land again, like strong plants.’ That is what the Lord says.
29 ‘When that happens, people will not say, “The fathers have eaten bitter fruit, but it causes their children's teeth to hurt.” 30 Instead, I will punish everyone for their own sins. It will be the teeth of the person who eats bitter fruit that will hurt.’
31:29This was a proverb. It meant that children suffered because of the bad things that their parents had done.
31 The Lord says, ‘A time will soon come when I make a new covenant with Israel's people and with Judah's people. 32 It will not be like the old covenant that I made with their ancestors. At that time, I brought them safely out of Egypt. I took care of them, like a faithful husband who takes care of his wife. But they did not obey my covenant.’ That is what the Lord says.
33 ‘Yes, I will make a new covenant with Israel's people at that time. It will be like this: I will put my law deep inside them, in their hearts and minds. I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ That is what the Lord says.
34 ‘Then people will not have to teach their friends or their family about me. They will all know me already. The important people and the ordinary people will all know me. I will forgive the wicked things that they have done. I will no longer think about their sins.’ That is what the Lord says.
35 The Lord is the one who causes the sun to shine during the day.
He causes the moon and the stars to shine at night.
He causes the waves of the sea to move around
and they make a loud noise.
He is the Lord Almighty,
and he makes this promise:
36 ‘I will always take care of Israel's people as my special nation.
I will always cause the laws that rule everything to continue.
I could never forget those laws, and I could never forget my people.’
37 The Lord says,
‘Nobody can measure the size of the sky.
Nobody can dig down to the bottom of the earth's foundations.
In the same way, I can never turn away from all Israel's people.
I will not leave them,
even though they have done wicked things.’
That is what the Lord says.
31:37Because none of these things will happen, the Lord will never leave his people.
38 The Lord says this:
‘The time will soon come when this city of Jerusalem belongs to me again. You will build it all again, from the tower of Hananel to the Corner gate. 39 The edge of the city will go straight from there to Gareb hill. Then it will turn south and go to Goah. 40 The whole area will belong to the Lord as a holy place. It will include the valley where they throw dead bodies and the ashes from sacrifices. It will include all the fields of the Kidron valley in the east, as far north as the corner of the Horse Gate. All of that will be my holy place. Nobody will ever again take the city or destroy it.’