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Jeremiah 29

Jeremiah’s Letter to the Exiles

Now these are the words of the 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 away into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.
2 (This was after King Jeconiah and the queen mother, the court officials, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the smiths had gone out from Jerusalem.) 3 The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, saying, 4 “Thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, 5 ‘Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their fruit. 6 Take wives and become 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 Seek the peace of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to Yahweh on its behalf; for in its peace you will have peace.’ 8 For thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Do not let your prophets who are in your midst and your diviners deceive you, and do not listen to your dreams which you dream. 9 For they prophesy a lie to you in My name; I have not sent them,’ declares Yahweh. 10 “For thus says Yahweh, ‘When seventy years have been fulfilled for Babylon, I will visit you and establish My good word to you, to return you to this place. 11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares Yahweh, ‘plans for peace and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,’ declares Yahweh, ‘and I will return your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have banished you,’ declares Yahweh, ‘and I will cause you to return to the place from where I sent you into exile.’ 15 “Because you have said, ‘Yahweh has raised up prophets for us in Babylon’— 16 for thus says Yahweh concerning the king who sits on the throne of David and concerning all the people who live in this city, your brothers who did not go with you into exile— 17 thus says Yahweh of hosts, ‘Behold, I am sending upon them the sword, famine, and pestilence, and I will make them like 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 give them over to be a terror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse and an object of horror and of hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have banished them, 19 because they have not listened to My words,’ declares Yahweh, ‘which I sent to them by My slaves the prophets, rising up early and sending; but you did not listen,’ declares Yahweh. 20 You, therefore, hear the word of Yahweh, all you exiles, whom I have sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon. 21 “Thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning Ahab the son of Kolaiah and concerning Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, who are prophesying to you falsely in My name, ‘Behold, I will give them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will strike them down before your eyes. 22 And because of them a curse will be used by all the exiles from Judah who are in Babylon, saying, “May Yahweh make you like Zedekiah and like Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire 23 because they have acted with wicked foolishness in Israel and have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives and have spoken words in My name falsely, which I did not command them; and I am He who knows and am a witness,” declares Yahweh.’” 24 And to Shemaiah the Nehelamite you shall speak, saying, 25 “Thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Because you have sent letters in your own name to all the people who are in Jerusalem and to Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, and to all the priests, saying, 26 “Yahweh has given you to be a priest instead of Jehoiada the priest, to be the overseer in the house of Yahweh over every madman who prophesies, to put him in the stocks and in the iron collar, 27 so now, why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of Anathoth who prophesies to you? 28 For he has sent to us in Babylon, saying, ‘The exile will be long; build houses and live in them and plant gardens and eat their fruit.’”’” 29 So Zephaniah the priest read this letter in the hearing of Jeremiah the prophet. 30 Then came the word of Yahweh to Jeremiah, saying, 31 “Send to all the exiles, saying, ‘Thus says Yahweh concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite, “Because Shemaiah has prophesied to you, although I did not send him, and he has made you trust in a lie,” 32 therefore thus says Yahweh, “Behold, I am about to punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his seed; he will not have anyone living among this people, and he will not see the good that I am about to do to My people,” declares Yahweh, “because he has spoken rebellion against Yahweh.”’”