Rosh Hashanah Haftarah: Jeremiah 31: 2-20

Restoration and Reconciliation.

This haftarah carries a message of hope for the restoration of Israel. It can be read as a physical restoration to the land, or as a spiritual reconciliation, which is one underlying messages of this period of repentance. This English translation is reprinted with permission from Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures published by the Jewish Publication Society.

31:2.                    Thus said the LORD:

                  The people escaped from the sword,

                        Found favor in the wilderness;

                        When Israel was marching homeward,

31:3.                    The LORD revealed Himself to men of old.

                        Eternal love I conceived for you then;

                        Therefore I continue My grace to you.

31:4.                    I will build you firmly again, O Maiden Israel!

                        Again you shall take up your timbrels

                        And go forth to the rhythm of the dancers.

31:5.                    Again you shall plant vineyards

                        On the hills of Samaria;

                        Men shall plant and live to enjoy them.

31:6.                    For the day is coming when watchmen

                        Shall proclaim on the heights of Ephraim:

                        Come, let us go up to Zion,

                        To the LORD our God!

31:7.                    For thus said the LORD:

                        Cry out in joy for Jacob,

                        Shout at the crossroads of the nations!

                        Sing aloud in praise, and say:

                        Save, O LORD, Your people,

                        The remnant of Israel.

31:8.                    I will bring them in from the northland,

                        Gather them from the ends of the earth–

                        The blind and the lame among them,

                        Those with child and those in labor–

                        In a vast throng they shall return here.

31:9.                    They shall come with weeping,

                        And with compassion will I guide them.

                        I will lead them to streams of water,

                        By a level road where they will not stumble.

                        For I am ever a Father to Israel,

                        Ephraim is My firstborn.

31:10.                Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,

                        And tell it in the coastlands afar.

                        Say:

                        He who scattered Israel will gather them,

                        And will guard them as a shepherd his flock.

31:11.                For the LORD will ransom Jacob,

                        Redeem him from one too strong for him.

31:12.                They shall come and shout on the heights of Zion,

                   Radiant over the bounty of the LORD,

                  Over new grain and wine and oil,

                  And over sheep and cattle.

                        They shall fare like a watered garden,

                        They shall never languish again.

31:13.                Then shall maidens dance gaily,

                  Young men and old alike.

                        I will turn their mourning to joy,

                        I will comfort them and cheer them in their grief.

31:14.                I will give the priests their fill of fatness,

                  And My people shall enjoy My full bounty

                                                                                                                                                -declares the LORD:

31:15.                Thus said the LORD:

                        A cry is heard in Ramah–

                        Wailing, bitter weeping–

                        Rachel weeping for her children.

                        She refuses to be comforted

                        For her children, who are gone.

31:16.                Thus said the LORD:

                        Restrain your voice from weeping,

                        Your eyes from shedding tears;

                        For there is a reward for your labor

                                                                                                                                                -declares the LORD:

                        They shall return from the enemy’s land.

31:17.                And there is hope for your future

                                                                                                                                                -declares the LORD:

                        Your children shall return to their country.

31:18.                I can hear Ephraim lamenting:

                        You have chastised me, and I am chastised

                        Like a calf that has not been broken.

                        Receive me back, let me return,

                        For You, O LORD, are my God.

31:19.                Now that I have turned back, I am filled with remorse;

                        Now that I am made aware, I strike my thigh.

                        I am ashamed and humiliated,

                        For I bear the disgrace of my youth.

31:20.                Truly, Ephraim is a dear son to Me,

                        A child that is dandled!

                        Whenever I have turned against him,

                        My thoughts would dwell on him still.

                        That is why My heart yearns for him;

                        I will receive him back in love

                                                                                                                                                -declares the LORD.

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