Jeremiah’s Letter to the Exiles1These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to athe surviving elders of the exiles, and to bthe priests, cthe prophets, and dall the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2This was after eKing Jeconiah and the queen mother, the eunuchs, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metal workers had departed from Jerusalem. 3The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of fShaphan and Gemariah the son of gHilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. It said: 4“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 hBuild houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and ipray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. 8For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: jDo not let your prophets and kyour diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream ▼
▼Hebrew your dreams, which you cause to dream9for mit is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; nI did not send them, declares the Lord.
10“For thus says the Lord: oWhen seventy years are completed for Babylon, pI will visit you, qand I will fulfill to you my promise rand bring you back to this place. 11 sFor I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare ▼
▼Or peaceand not for evil, uto give you a future and a hope. 12 vThen you will call upon me and come and pray to me, wand I will hear you. 13 xYou will seek me and find me, when you seek me ywith all your heart. 14I will be found by you, declares the Lord, zand I will restore your fortunes and aagather you from all the nations and all the places abwhere I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
15“Because you have said, ‘The Lord has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,’ 16thus says the Lord concerning acthe king who sits on the throne of David, and concerning all the people who dwell in this city, your kinsmen who did not go out with you into exile: 17‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, behold, I am sending on them adsword, famine, and pestilence, and I will make them like aevile figs that are so rotten they cannot be eaten. 18I will pursue them with afsword, famine, and pestilence, agand will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, ahto be a curse, a terror, a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations aiwhere I have driven them, 19because they did not pay attention to my words, declares the Lord, ajthat I persistently sent to you by my servants the prophets, but you would not listen, declares the Lord.’ 20Hear the word of the Lord, all you exiles akwhom I sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon: 21‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning Ahab the son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, alwho are prophesying a lie to you in my name: Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall strike them down before your eyes. 22 amBecause of them anthis curse shall be used by all the exiles from Judah in Babylon: “The Lord make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, aowhom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire,” 23because they have done an outrageous thing in Israel, apthey have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives, and aqthey have spoken in my name lying words that I did not command them. arI am the one who knows, asand I am witness, declares the Lord.’”
Shemaiah’s False Prophecy24To atShemaiah of Nehelam you shall say: 25“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: You have sent letters in your name to all the people who are in Jerusalem, and to auZephaniah the son of avMaaseiah the priest, and to all the priests, saying, 26‘The Lord has made you priest instead of Jehoiada the priest, to have awcharge in the house of the Lord axover every madman who prophesies, to put him in aythe stocks and neck irons. 27Now why have you not rebuked Jeremiah azof Anathoth who is prophesying to you? 28For he has sent to us in Babylon, saying, “Your exile will be long; babuild houses and live in them, and plant gardens and eat their produce.”’”
29 bbZephaniah the priest read this letter in the hearing of Jeremiah the prophet. 30 bcThen the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 31“Send to all the exiles, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord concerning bdShemaiah of Nehelam: Because beShemaiah had prophesied to you bfwhen I did not send him, and has made you trust in a lie, 32therefore thus says the Lord: Behold, I will punish bgShemaiah of Nehelam and his descendants. He shall not have anyone living among this people, bhand he shall not see the good that I will do to my people, declares the Lord, bifor he has spoken rebellion against the Lord.’”
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