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29
Jeremiah’s Letter to the Exiles
1This is the text of the letter # 2Sm 11:14-15; 1Kg 21:8-11 that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the rest of the elders of the exiles, the priests, the prophets, and all the people Nebuchadnezzar # 2Kg 24:11; 25:22; 2Ch 36:6-13 had deported from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2This was after King Jeconiah, # = Jehoiachin # Jr 24:1; 27:20; 28:4 the queen mother, the court officials, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metalsmiths had left Jerusalem. 3The letter was sent by Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah # 1Ch 6:13 whom Zedekiah king of Judah had sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. The letter stated:
4This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says to all the exiles I deported from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5“Build houses and live in them. # Jr 29:28 Plant gardens and eat their produce. 6Take wives and have sons and daughters. Take wives for your sons and give your daughters to men in marriage so that they may bear sons and daughters. Multiply there; do not decrease. # Gn 17:5-6; 35:10-11 7Seek the welfare of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf, # Ezr 6:10; 1Tm 2:1-2 for when it has prosperity, you will prosper.”
8For this is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: “Don’t let your prophets who are among you # Jr 27:9 and your diviners deceive you, # Jr 27:15 and don’t listen to the dreams you elicit from them, 9for they are prophesying falsely to you in My name. I have not sent them.” # Jr 5:31; 14:14; 20:6; 23:25-26,32; 27:10,14-16; 29:21,31 This is the Lord’s declaration.
10For this is what the Lord says: “When 70 years for Babylon are complete, # Jr 25:12; Dn 9:2 I will attend to you and will confirm My promise concerning you to restore you to this place. 11For I know the plans I have for you” # Ps 33:10; Jr 26:3; 36:3 — this is the Lord’s declaration — “plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. # Dt 30:1-10; Jr 3:12 13You will seek Me # Dt 4:29; 1Ch 28:9; 2Ch 15:2 and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14I will be found by you” — this is the Lord’s declaration — “and I will restore your fortunes # Or will end your captivity # Jb 42:10; Jr 32:44; 49:39; Ezk 16:53; 39:25; Hs 6:11; Zph 2:7 and gather you from all the nations and places where I banished you” — this is the Lord’s declaration. “I will restore you to the place I deported you from.” # Dt 30:3; Jr 30:3
15You have said, “The Lord has raised up prophets for us in Babylon! ” 16But this is what the Lord says concerning the king sitting on David’s throne # Jr 17:25; 22:2,30; 36:30 and concerning all the people living in this city — that is, concerning your brothers who did not go with you into exile. 17This is what the Lord of Hosts says: “I am about to send against them sword, famine, and plague # Jr 14:12; 21:9; 24:10 and will make them like rotten figs that are inedible because they are so bad. 18I will pursue them with sword, famine, and plague. I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth — a curse and a desolation, an object of scorn and a disgrace among all the nations # Dt 28:37; 2Ch 29:8; 30:7; Jr 5:30; 19:8; 25:9,18; 29:18; 42:18; 44:12,22; 49:17; 50:13; Mc 6:16; Zph 2:15 where I have banished them. # Dt 30:1; Jr 8:3; 16:15 19I will do this because they have not listened to My words” — this is the Lord’s declaration — “that I sent to them with My servants the prophets time and time again. # Lit prophets, rising up early and sending # Jr 7:13,25; 11:7; 25:3; 26:5; 32:33; 35:14,15; 44:4 And you too have not listened.” This is the Lord’s declaration.
20Hear the word of the Lord, all you exiles I have sent from Jerusalem to Babylon. # Jr 24:5 21This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says to Ahab son of Kolaiah and to Zedekiah son of Maaseiah, the ones prophesying a lie to you in My name: # Jr 14:14; 29:9 “I am about to hand them over to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will kill them before your very eyes. 22Based on what happens to them, all the exiles of Judah who are in Babylon will create a curse # Is 65:15 that says, ‘May the Lord make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire! ’ # Dn 3:6 23because they have committed an outrage # Gn 34:7; Dt 22:21; Jos 7:15 in Israel by committing adultery with their neighbors’ wives and have spoken a lie in My name, which I did not command them. I am He who knows, and I am a witness.” This is the Lord’s declaration.
24To Shemaiah the Nehelamite you are to say, 25“This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: You # Lit Because you in your own name have sent out letters to all the people of Jerusalem, to the priest Zephaniah # Jr 21:1; 37:3; 52:24-27 son of Maaseiah, and to all the priests, saying: 26‘The Lord has appointed you priest in place of Jehoiada the priest to be the chief officer # 2Ch 31:13; Jr 20:1 in the temple of the Lord, responsible for every madman # 2Kg 9:11; Hs 9:7 who acts like a prophet. You must confine him in the stocks # 2Ch 16:10; Jr 20:2 and an iron collar. 27So now, why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of Anathoth who has been acting like a prophet among you? # Jr 1:1 28For he has sent word to us in Babylon, claiming, “The exile will be long. Build houses and settle down. Plant gardens and eat their produce.” ’ ” # Jr 29:5
29Zephaniah the priest read this letter in the hearing of Jeremiah the prophet.
A Message about Shemaiah
30Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 31“Send a message to all the exiles, saying: This is what the Lord says concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite. Because Shemaiah prophesied to you, though I did not send him, and made you trust a lie, # Jr 27:10,14-16; 28:15; 29:9,21,23 32this is what the Lord says: I am about to punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his descendants. There will not be even one of his descendants living among these people, # Jr 17:6 nor will any ever see the good that I will bring to My people” — this is the Lord’s declaration — “for he has preached rebellion against the Lord.” # Jr 28:16
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.”