Message to the Exiles1 Now these are the words of the a letter which Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the rest of the elders of the exile, the priests, the prophets and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 (This was after King b Jeconiah and the c queen mother, the court officials, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen and the smiths had departed from Jerusalem.) 3 The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan, and Gemariah the son of d Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, saying, 4 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have e sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, 5 ‘ f Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their ▼
▼ Lit fruitproduce. 6 ‘Take h wives and ▼
▼ Lit begetbecome the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. 7 ‘ j Seek the ▼ welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and l pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its ▼ welfare you will have ▼ welfare.’ 8 “For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Do not let your o prophets who are in your midst and your diviners p deceive you, and do not listen to ▼
▼ Lit your, r the dreams which ▼
▼ Lit youthey dream. 9 ‘For they t prophesy falsely to you in My name; u I have not sent them,’ declares the Lord. 10 “For thus says the Lord, ‘When v seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My w good word to you, to bring you back to this place. 11 ‘For I know the x plans that I ▼
▼ Lit am planninghave for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for z welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a aa hope. 12 ‘Then you will ab call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will ac listen to you. 13 ‘You will ad seek Me and find Me when you ae search for Me with all your heart. 14 ‘I will be af found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will ag restore your ▼
▼ Or captivityfortunes and will ai gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will aj bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’ 15 “Because you have said, ‘The Lord has raised up ak prophets for us in Babylon’— 16 for thus says the Lord concerning the king who sits on the throne of David, and concerning all the people who dwell in this city, your brothers who did al not go with you into exile— 17 thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Behold, I am sending upon them the am sword, famine and pestilence, and I will make them like an split-open figs that cannot be eaten due to rottenness. 18 ‘I will pursue them with the sword, with famine and with pestilence; and I will ao make them a terror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a ap curse and a horror and a aq hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have driven them, 19 because they have ar not listened to My words,’ declares the Lord, ‘which I sent to them again and again by as My servants the prophets; but you did not listen,’ declares the Lord. 20 “You, therefore, hear the word of the Lord, all you exiles, whom I have at sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon. 21 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning Ahab the son of Kolaiah and concerning Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, who are au prophesying to you falsely in My name, ‘Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will slay them before your eyes. 22 ‘Because of them a av curse will be ▼
▼ Lit takenused by all the exiles from Judah who are in Babylon, saying, “May the Lord make you like Zedekiah and like Ahab, whom the king of Babylon ax roasted in the fire, 23 because they have ay acted foolishly in Israel, and az have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives and have ba spoken words in My name falsely, which I did not command them; and I am He who bb knows and am a witness,” declares the Lord.’” 24 To bc Shemaiah the Nehelamite you shall speak, saying, 25 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Because you have sent bd letters in your own name to all the people who are in Jerusalem, and to be Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, and to all the priests, saying, 26 “The Lord has made you priest instead of Jehoiada the priest, to be the ▼
▼ Lit overseers, bg overseer in the house of the Lord over every bh madman who bi prophesies, to bj put him in the stocks and in the iron collar, 27 now then, why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of bk Anathoth who prophesies to you? 28 “For he has bl sent to us in Babylon, saying, ‘The exile will be bm long; bn build houses and live in them and plant gardens and eat their ▼
▼ Lit fruitproduce.’”’” 29 bp Zephaniah the priest read this letter ▼
▼ Lit in the ears ofto Jeremiah the prophet. 30 Then came the word of the Lord to Jeremiah, saying, 31 “Send to br all the exiles, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord concerning bs Shemaiah the Nehelamite, “Because Shemaiah has bt prophesied to you, although I did not send him, and he has bu made you trust in a lie,” 32 therefore thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am about to bv punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his ▼
▼ Lit seeddescendants; he will bx not have anyone living among this people by and he will not see the good that I am about to do to My people,” declares the Lord, “because he has ▼
▼ Lit spoken, ca preached rebellion against the Lord.”’”
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