“Listen to this message from the Lord,
you nations of the world;
proclaim it in distant coastlands:
The Lord, who scattered his people,
will gather them and watch over them
as a shepherd does his flock.
11 For the Lord has redeemed Israel
from those too strong for them.
12 They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem.
They will be radiant because of the Lord’s good gifts—
the abundant crops of grain, new wine, and olive oil,
and the healthy flocks and herds.
Their life will be like a watered garden,
and all their sorrows will be gone.
13 The young women will dance for joy,
and the men—old and young—will join in the celebration.
I will turn their mourning into joy.
I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing.
14 The priests will enjoy abundance,
and my people will feast on my good gifts.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”
Rachel’s Sadness Turns to Joy
15 This is what the Lord says:
“A cry is heard in Ramah—
deep anguish and bitter weeping.
Rachel weeps for her children,
refusing to be comforted—
for her children are gone.”
16 But now this is what the Lord says:
“Do not weep any longer,
for I will reward you,” says the Lord.
“Your children will come back to you
from the distant land of the enemy.
17 There is hope for your future,” says the Lord.
“Your children will come again to their own land.
18 I have heard Israel saying,
‘You disciplined me severely,
like a calf that needs training for the yoke.
Turn me again to you and restore me,
for you alone are the Lord my God.
19 I turned away from God,
but then I was sorry.
I kicked myself for my stupidity!
I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days.’
20 “Is not Israel still my son,
my darling child?” says the Lord.
“I often have to punish him,
but I still love him.
That’s why I long for him
and surely will have mercy on him.
21 Set up road signs;
put up guideposts.
Mark well the path
by which you came.
Come back again, my virgin Israel;
return to your towns here.
22 How long will you wander,
my wayward daughter?
For the Lord will cause something new to happen—
Israel will embrace her God.”
23 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “When I bring them back from captivity, the people of Judah and its towns will again say, ‘The Lord bless you, O righteous home, O holy mountain!’