Exit Parallel Mode
 
29
After Seventy Years, a Future Hope
1Now these are the words of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the elders remaining in exile, as well as to the kohanim, the prophets and to all the people Nebuchadnezzar had carried off captive from Jerusalem to Babylon
2(after Jeconiah the king, the queen-mother, the officers, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, and the craftsmen and the smiths, had to leave Jerusalem). The letter was sent
3by the hand of Elasah son of Shaphan, and Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom King Zedekiah of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, saying,
4thus says Adonai-Tzva’ot, the God of Israel, to all those in captivity, whom I removed as captives into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:
5“Build houses and live in them; also plant gardens and eat their fruit;
6take wives and have sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there, and do not decrease.
7Also seek the shalom of the city where I took you as captives in exile, and pray to Adonai for it—for in its shalom will you have shalom.”
8For thus says Adonai, the God of Israel: “Do not let your prophets who are among you or your diviners beguile you, and pay no attention to the dreams which you make them keep dreaming.
9For they prophesy falsely to you in My Name; I have not sent them.” It is a declaration of Adonai.
10For thus says Adonai: “After 70 years for Babylon are complete, I will visit you, and fulfill My good word toward you—to bring you back to this place.
11For I know the plans that I have in mind for you,” declares Adonai, “plans for shalom and not calamity—to give you a future and a hope.
12“Then you will call on Me, and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
13You will seek Me and find Me, when you will search for Me with all your heart.
14Then I will be found by you,” says Adonai, “and I will return you from exile, and gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,” says Adonai, “and I will bring you back to the place from which I removed you as captives into exile.”
15For you have said: “Adonai has raised up prophets for us in Babylon.”
16For thus says Adonai about the king who sits on the throne of David and about all the people who dwell in this city, your kinsmen who did not go with you into captivity,
17thus says Adonai-Tzva’ot: “I am about to send on them the sword, famine and pestilence, and will make them like vile figs, that cannot be eaten, they are so bad.
18I will pursue them with the sword, famine and pestilence, and will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth—a curse and an astonishment, a hissing and a disgrace—among all the nations where I have driven them,
19because they have not listened to My words,” declares Adonai, “which I sent to them by My servants the prophets, sending them early and often, but you would not hear.” It is a declaration of Adonai.
20“But you, hear the word of Adonai, all you of the exile whom I have sent from Jerusalem to Babylon,”
21thus says Adonai-Tzva’ot, the God of Israel, “concerning Ahab son of Kolaiah, and concerning Zedekiah son of Maaseiah, who prophesy a lie to you in My name: I will soon deliver them into the hand of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon—and he will slay them before your eyes.
22So a curse will be taken up by everyone in exile from Judah who are in Babylon, saying: ‘May Adonai make you like Zedekiah and like Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire’—
23because they have been disgraceful in Israel, committing adultery with their neighbors’ wives and speaking words in My Name falsely, which I did not command them. But I am the One who knows and I am witness.” It is a declaration of Adonai.
24Now concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite you will surely say,
25thus declares Adonai-Tzva’ot, the God of Israel, saying: “Because you have sent letters in your own name to all the people who are at Jerusalem, to Zephaniah son of Maaseiah the kohen, and to all the kohanim, saying:
26Adonai has made you kohen instead of Jehoiada the kohen, so that there should be officers in the House of Adonai for every madman prophesying and so that you will put him in the stocks and iron collar.
27So now, why haven’t you rebuked Jeremiah of Anathoth, who makes himself out to be a prophet to you?
28For he has sent word to us in Babylon, saying: “The exile will be long—build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit.’”
29So Zephaniah the kohen read this letter in the ears of the prophet Jeremiah.
30Then the word of Adonai came to Jeremiah, saying:
31Send word to all of the captivity, saying, thus says Adonai concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite: “Because Shemaiah has prophesied to you, though I did not send him, and he has caused you to trust in a lie,”
32therefore thus says Adonai, “I will indeed punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his offspring. There will be none living among this people, and he will not see the good that I will do to My people,” declares Adonai, “because he has spoken rebellion against Adonai.”
29
Jeremiah's letter to the people of Judah in Babylonia
1-2I had been left in Jerusalem when King Nebuchadnezzar#29.1,2 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2. took many of the people of Jerusalem and Judah to Babylonia as prisoners, including King Jehoiachin,#29.1,2 Jehoiachin: Hebrew “Jeconiah” (see the note at 24.1). his mother, his officials, and the metal workers and others in Jerusalem who were skilled in making things. So I wrote a letter to the prophets, the priests, the leaders, and the rest of our people in Babylonia.#2 K 24.12-16; 2 Ch 36.10. 3I gave the letter to Elasah and Gemariah,#29.3 Elasah and Gemariah: Hebrew “Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah”. two men that King Zedekiah#29.3 Zedekiah: See the note at 1.3. of Judah was sending to Babylon to talk with Nebuchadnezzar. In the letter, I wrote 4that the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, had said:
I had you taken from Jerusalem to Babylonia. Now I tell you 5to settle there and build houses. Plant gardens and eat what you grow in them. 6Get married and have children, then help your sons find wives and help your daughters find husbands, so they can have children as well. I want your numbers to grow, not to get smaller.
7Pray for peace in Babylonia and work hard to make it prosperous. The more successful that nation is, the better off you will be.
8-9Some of your people there in Babylonia are fortune-tellers, and you have asked them to tell you what will happen in the future. But they will only lead you astray. And don't let the prophets fool you, either. They speak in my name, but they are liars. I have not spoken to them.
10After Babylonia has been the strongest nation for seventy years, I will be kind and bring you back to Jerusalem, just as I have promised.#2 Ch 36.21; Jr 25.11; Dn 9.2. 11I will bless you with a future filled with hope—a future of success, not of suffering. 12You will turn back to me and ask for help, and I will answer your prayers. 13You will worship me with all your heart, and I will be with you#Dt 4.29. 14and accept your worship. Then I will gather you from all the nations where I scattered you, and you will return to Jerusalem.
15You feel secure, because you think I have sent prophets to speak for me in Babylonia.
16-19But I have been sending prophets to the people of Judah for a long time, and the king from David's family and the people who are left in Jerusalem and Judah still don't obey me. So I, the LORD All-Powerful, will keep attacking them with war and hunger and disease, until they are as useless as rotten figs. I will force them to leave the land, and all nations will be disgusted and shocked at what happens to them. The nations will sneer and make fun of them and use the names “Judah” and “Jerusalem” as curse words.
And you have not obeyed me, even though 20I had you taken from Jerusalem to Babylonia. But you had better listen to me now. 21-23You think Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah are prophets because they claim to speak for me. But they are lying! I haven't told them anything. They are also committing other horrible sins in your community, such as sleeping with the wives of their friends. So I will hand them over to King Nebuchadnezzar, who will put them to death while the rest of you watch. And in the future, when you want to put a curse on someone, you will say, “I pray that the LORD will kill you in the same way the king of Babylonia burnt Zedekiah and Ahab to death!”
A message for Shemaiah
24-25The LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, told me what would happen to Shemaiah,#29.24,25 Shemaiah: Hebrew “Shemaiah, who came from the town of Nehelam”. who was one of our people in Babylonia. After my letter reached Babylonia, Shemaiah wrote letters to the people of Jerusalem, including the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, and the other priests. The letter to Zephaniah said:
26After the death of Jehoiada the priest, the LORD chose you to be the priest in charge of the temple security force. You know that anyone who acts mad and pretends to be a prophet should be arrested and put in chains#29.26 in chains: See the note at 20.2. and iron collars. 27Jeremiah from the town of Anathoth is pretending to be a prophet there in Jerusalem, so why haven't you punished him? 28He even wrote a letter to the people here in Babylonia, saying we would be here a long time. He told us to build homes and to plant gardens and grow our own food.
29When Zephaniah received Shemaiah's letter, he read it to me. 30Then the LORD told me what to write in a second letter 31to the people of Judah who had been taken to Babylonia. In this letter, I wrote that the LORD had said:
I, the LORD, have not chosen Shemaiah to be one of my prophets, and he has misled you by telling lies in my name. 32He has even talked you into disobeying me. So I will punish Shemaiah. He and his descendants won't live to see the good things I will do for my people. I, the LORD, have spoken.