The Yoke of Nebuchadnezzar
27 In the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah1 the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord. 2 Thus the Lord said to me: c“Make yourself straps and dyoke-bars, and put them on your neck. 3 Send word2 to the king of eEdom, the king of eMoab, the king of the sons of eAmmon, the king of eTyre, and the king of Sidon by the hand of the envoys who have come to Jerusalem to Zedekiah king of Judah. 4 Give them this charge for their masters: ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: This is what you shall say to your masters: 5 “It is I who fby my great power and my outstretched arm ghave made the earth, with the men and animals that are on the earth, hand I give it to whomever it seems right to me. 6 iNow I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, jmy servant, kand I have given him also the beasts of the field to serve him. 7 lAll the nations shall serve him and mhis son and nhis grandson, ountil the time of his own land comes. pThen many nations and great kings shall make him their slave.
8 “‘“But if any nation or kingdom will not serve this Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, qand put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, I will punish that nation rwith the sword, with famine, and with pestilence, declares the Lord, until I have consumed it by his hand. 9 So sdo not listen to your tprophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your ufortune-tellers, or your sorcerers, who are saying to you, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon.’ 10 vFor it is a lie that they are prophesying to you, with the result that you will be removed far from your land, and I will drive you out, and you will perish. 11 wBut any nation that will bring its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him, I will leave on its own land, to work it and dwell there, declares the Lord.”’”
12 To xZedekiah king of Judah I spoke in like manner: w“Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and yserve him and his people and live. 13 zWhy will you and your people die aby the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, bas the Lord has spoken concerning any nation that will not serve the king of Babylon? 14 cDo not listen to the words of the prophets who are saying to you, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon,’ vfor it is a lie that they are prophesying to you. 15 I have not sent them, declares the Lord, but vthey are prophesying falsely in my name, with the result that I will drive you out and you will perish, you and the prophets who are prophesying to you.”
16 Then I spoke to the priests and to all this people, saying, “Thus says the Lord: cDo not listen to the words of your prophets who are prophesying to you, saying, d‘Behold, the vessels of the Lord’s house will now shortly be brought back from Babylon,’ vfor it is a lie that they are prophesying to you. 17 cDo not listen to them; wserve the king of Babylon and live. Why should this city ebecome a desolation? 18 If they are prophets, and if the word of the Lord is with them, then flet them intercede with the Lord of hosts, gthat the vessels that are left in the house of the Lord, in the house of the king of Judah, and in Jerusalem may not go to Babylon. 19 hFor thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the pillars, the sea, the stands, and the rest of the vessels that are left in this city, 20 which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon did not take away, iwhen he took into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem— 21 thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, hconcerning the vessels that are left in the house of the Lord, in the house of the king of Judah, and in Jerusalem: 22 jThey shall be carried to Babylon kand remain there luntil the day when I visit them, declares the Lord. mThen I will bring them back jand restore them to this place.”
Hananiah the False Prophet
28 In that same year, at the beginning of the reign of nZedekiah king of Judah, in the fifth month of the fourth year, Hananiah the son of oAzzur, the prophet from pGibeon, spoke to me in the house of the Lord, in the presence of the priests and all the people, saying, 2 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: qI have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. 3 rWithin stwo years I will bring back to this place all the vessels of the Lord’s house, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place and carried to Babylon. 4 I will also bring back to this place tJeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the exiles from Judah who went to Babylon, declares the Lord, qfor I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.”
5 Then the prophet Jeremiah spoke to Hananiah the prophet in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the Lord, 6 and the prophet Jeremiah said, u“Amen! May the Lord do so; may the Lord make the words that you have prophesied come true, and bring back to this place from Babylon the vessels of the house of the Lord, and all the exiles. 7 Yet hear now this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. 8 vThe prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms. 9 wAs for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes to pass, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet.”
10 Then the prophet Hananiah took the xyoke-bars from the neck of Jeremiah the prophet and broke them. 11 And Hananiah spoke in the presence of all the people, saying, y“Thus says the Lord: zEven so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of aall the nations within two years.” But Jeremiah the prophet went his way.
12 Sometime after the prophet bHananiah had broken the yoke-bars from off the neck of Jeremiah the prophet, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 13 “Go, tell Hananiah, ‘Thus says the Lord: You have broken wooden bars, but you have made in their place bars of iron. 14 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I have put upon the neck of all these nations can iron yoke to serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, dand they shall serve him, efor I have given to him even the beasts of the field.’” 15 And Jeremiah the prophet said to the prophet Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah, fthe Lord has not sent you, gand you have made this people trust in a lie. 16 Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will remove you from the face of the earth. This year you shall die, hbecause you have uttered rebellion against the Lord.’”
17 In that same year, in the seventh month, the prophet Hananiah died.
Jeremiah’s Letter to the Exiles
29 These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to ithe surviving elders of the exiles, and to jthe priests, jthe prophets, and jall the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 This was after kKing Jeconiah and the queen mother, the eunuchs, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metal workers had departed from Jerusalem. 3 The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of lShaphan and Gemariah the son of mHilkiah, 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 nBuild houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take 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. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and opray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. 8 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: pDo not let your prophets and qyour diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream,3 9 for rit is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; sI did not send them, declares the Lord.
10 “For thus says the Lord: tWhen seventy years are completed for Babylon, uI will visit you, vand I will fulfill to you my promise vand bring you back to this place. 11 wFor I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare4 and not for evil, xto give you a future and a hope. 12 yThen you will call upon me and come and pray to me, yand I will hear you. 13 zYou will seek me and find me, when you seek me awith all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, band I will restore your fortunes and cgather you from all the nations and all the places dwhere 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,’ 16 thus says the Lord concerning ethe 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 fsword, famine, and pestilence, and I will make them like gvile figs that are so rotten they cannot be eaten. 18 I will pursue them with fsword, famine, and pestilence, hand will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, ito be a curse, a terror, a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations dwhere I have driven them, 19 because they did not pay attention to my words, declares the Lord, jthat I persistently sent to you by my servants the prophets, but you would not listen, declares the Lord.’ 20 Hear the word of the Lord, all you exiles kwhom 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, lwho 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 mBecause of them nthis curse shall be used by all the exiles from Judah in Babylon: “The Lord make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, owhom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire,” 23 because they have done an outrageous thing in Israel, pthey have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives, and pthey have spoken in my name lying words that I did not command them. qI am the one who knows, qand I am witness, declares the Lord.’”
Shemaiah’s False Prophecy
24 To rShemaiah 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 sZephaniah the son of tMaaseiah the priest, and to all the priests, saying, 26 ‘The Lord has made you priest instead of Jehoiada the priest, to have ucharge in the house of the Lord vover every madman who prophesies, to put him in wthe stocks and neck irons. 27 Now why have you not rebuked Jeremiah xof Anathoth who is prophesying to you? 28 For he has sent to us in Babylon, saying, “Your exile will be long; ybuild houses and live in them, and plant gardens and eat their produce.”’”
29 sZephaniah the priest read this letter in the hearing of Jeremiah the prophet. 30 zThen the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 31 “Send to all the exiles, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord concerning aShemaiah of Nehelam: Because aShemaiah had prophesied to you bwhen I did not send him, and has made you trust in a lie, 32 therefore thus says the Lord: Behold, I will punish aShemaiah of Nehelam and his descendants. He shall not have anyone living among this people, cand he shall not see the good that I will do to my people, declares the Lord, dfor he has spoken rebellion against the Lord.’”
Be Ready for Every Good Work
3 Remind them xto be submissive to rulers and authorities, yto be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 zto speak evil of no one, ato avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and bto show perfect courtesy toward all people. 3 For cwe ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when dthe goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, enot because of works done by us in righteousness, but faccording to his own mercy, by gthe washing of regeneration and hrenewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he ipoured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that jbeing justified by his grace we might become kheirs laccording to the hope of eternal life. 8 The saying is mtrustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful nto devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. 9 But oavoid foolish pcontroversies, qgenealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for rthey are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, safter warning him once and then twice, thave nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.
Final Instructions and Greetings
12 When I send Artemas or uTychicus to you, do your best to come to me vat Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and wApollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. 14 And let our people learn xto devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not ybe unfruitful.
15 All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith.
zGrace be with you all.