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Jeremiah's Letter to the Jews in Babylonia
1 # 2 Kgs 24.12–16; 2 Chr 36.10 I wrote a letter to the priests, the prophets, the leaders of the people, and to all the others whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken away as prisoners from Jerusalem to Babylonia. 2I wrote it after King Jehoiachin, his mother, the palace officials, the leaders of Judah and of Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the skilled workmen had been taken into exile. 3I gave the letter to Elasah son of Shaphan and to Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom King Zedekiah of Judah was sending to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia. It said:
4“The LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those people whom he allowed Nebuchadnezzar to take away as prisoners from Jerusalem to Babylonia: 5‘Build houses and settle down. Plant gardens and eat what you grow in them. 6Marry and have children. Then let your children get married, so that they also may have children. You must increase in numbers and not decrease. 7Work for the good of the cities where I have made you go as prisoners. Pray to me on their behalf, because if they are prosperous, you will be prosperous too. 8I, the LORD, the God of Israel, warn you not to let yourselves be deceived by the prophets who live among you or by any others who claim they can predict the future. Do not pay any attention to their#29.8 Probable text their; Hebrew your. dreams. 9They are telling you lies in my name. I did not send them. I, the LORD Almighty, have spoken.’
10 # 2 Chr 36.21; Jer 25.11; Dan 9.2 “The LORD says, ‘When Babylonia's seventy years are over, I will show my concern for you and keep my promise to bring you back home. 11I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.#29.11 the future you hope for; or a future full of hope. 12Then you will call to me. You will come and pray to me, and I will answer you. 13#Deut 4.29You will seek me, and you will find me because you will seek me with all your heart. 14Yes, I say, you will find me, and I will restore you to your land. I will gather you from every country and from every place to which I have scattered you, and I will bring you back to the land from which I had sent you away into exile. I, the LORD, have spoken.’
15“You say that the LORD has given you prophets in Babylonia. 16Listen to what the LORD says about the king who rules the kingdom that David ruled and about the people of this city, that is, your relatives who were not taken away as prisoners with you. 17The LORD Almighty says, ‘I am bringing war, starvation, and disease on them, and I will make them like figs that are too rotten to be eaten. 18I will pursue them with war, starvation, and disease, and all the nations of the world will be horrified at what they see. Everywhere I scatter them, people will be shocked and terrified at what has happened to them. People will mock them and use their name as a curse. 19This will happen to them because they did not obey the message that I kept on sending to them through my servants the prophets. They refused to listen. 20All of you whom I sent into exile in Babylonia, listen to what I, the LORD, say.’
21“The LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, has spoken about Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah, who are telling you lies in his name. He has said that he will hand them over to the power of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia, who will put them to death before your eyes. 22When the people who were taken away as prisoners from Jerusalem to Babylonia want to bring a curse on someone, they will say, ‘May the LORD treat you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylonia roasted alive!’ 23This will be their fate because they are guilty of terrible sins — they have committed adultery and have told lies in the LORD's name. This was against the LORD's will; he knows what they have done, and he is a witness against them.#29.23 done, and he… them; or done; he saw them do it. The LORD has spoken.”
The Letter of Shemaiah
24-25The LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, gave me a message for Shemaiah of Nehelam, who had sent a letter in his own name to all the people of Jerusalem and to the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah and to all the other priests. In this letter, Shemaiah wrote to Zephaniah:
26“The LORD made you a priest in place of Jehoiada, and you are now the chief officer#29.26 Some ancient translations officer; Hebrew officers. in the Temple. It is your duty to see that every madman who pretends to be a prophet is placed in chains with an iron collar round his neck. 27Why haven't you done this to Jeremiah of Anathoth, who has been speaking as a prophet to the people? 28He must be stopped because he told the people in Babylonia that they would be prisoners there a long time and should build houses, settle down, plant gardens, and eat what they grow.”
29Zephaniah read the letter to me, 30and then the LORD told me 31-32to send to all the prisoners in Babylon this message about Shemaiah: “I, the LORD, will punish Shemaiah and all his descendants. I did not send him, but he spoke to you as if he were a prophet, and he made you believe lies. He will have no descendants among you. He will not live to see the good things that I am going to do for my people, because he told them to rebel against me. I, the LORD, have spoken.”
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.”