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,1 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 welfare2 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.’”
Restoration for Israel and Judah
30 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: eWrite in a book all the words that I have spoken to you. 3 fFor behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, gwhen I will restore hthe fortunes of my people, iIsrael and Judah, says the Lord, jand I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it.”
4 These are the words that the Lord spoke concerning iIsrael and Judah:
5 “Thus says the Lord:
We have heard a cry of panic,
of terror, and no peace.
6 Ask now, and see,
can a man bear a child?
kWhy then do I see every man
with his hands on his stomach klike a woman in labor?
lWhy has every face turned pale?
7 Alas! mThat day is so great
nthere is none like it;
it is a time of distress for Jacob;
yet he shall be saved out of it.
8 “And it shall come to pass in that day, declares the Lord of hosts, that I will obreak his pyoke from off your neck, and I will oburst your bonds, qand foreigners shall no more make a servant of him.1 9 But they shall serve the Lord their God and rDavid their king, whom I will raise up for them.
10 s“Then fear not, tO Jacob my servant, declares the Lord,
nor be dismayed, O Israel;
for behold, sI will save you from far away,
uand your offspring from the land of their captivity.
sJacob shall return and have quiet and ease,
and none shall make him afraid.
11 vFor I am with you to save you,
declares the Lord;
vI will make a full end of all the nations
among whom I scattered you,
but of you I will not make a full end.
vI will wdiscipline you in just measure,
and I will by no means leave you unpunished.
12 “For thus says the Lord:
xYour hurt is incurable,
yand your wound is grievous.
13 There is none to uphold your cause,
no medicine for your wound,
zno healing for you.
14 aAll your lovers have forgotten you;
they care nothing for you;
for I have dealt you the blow of ban enemy,
the punishment cof a merciless foe,
because your guilt is great,
dbecause your sins are flagrant.
15 xWhy do you cry out over your hurt?
xYour pain is incurable.
Because your guilt is great,
dbecause your sins are flagrant,
I have done these things to you.
16 eTherefore all who devour you shall be devoured,
and fall your foes, every one of them, shall go into captivity;
gthose who plunder you shall be plundered,
hand all who prey on you I will make a prey.
17 iFor I will restore jhealth to you,
and kyour wounds I will heal,
declares the Lord,
because lthey have called you an outcast:
l‘It is Zion, for whom no one cares!’
18 “Thus says the Lord:
Behold, mI will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob
and have compassion on his dwellings;
the city shall be rebuilt on nits mound,
and the palace shall stand where it used to be.
19 oOut of them shall come songs of thanksgiving,
and the voices of those who celebrate.
pI will multiply them, and they shall not be few;
I will make them honored, and they shall not be small.
20 qTheir children shall be as they were of old,
and their congregation shall be established before me,
and I will punish all who oppress them.
21 rTheir prince shall be one of themselves;
rtheir ruler shall come out from their midst;
sI will make him draw near, and he shall approach me,
tfor who would dare of himself to approach me?
declares the Lord.
22 uAnd you shall be my people,
and I will be your God.”
23 vBehold wthe storm of the Lord!
Wrath has gone forth,
a whirling tempest;
it will burst upon the head of the wicked.
24 xThe fierce anger of the Lord will not turn back
until he has executed and accomplished
the intentions of his mind.
yIn the latter days you will understand this.
The Lord Will Turn Mourning to Joy
31 z“At that time, declares the Lord, aI will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they shall be my people.”
2 Thus says the Lord:
“The people who survived the sword
found grace in the wilderness;
bwhen Israel sought for rest,
3 the Lord appeared to him1 from far away.
cI have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore dI have continued emy faithfulness to you.
4 fAgain I will build you, and you shall be built,
O virgin Israel!
gAgain you shall adorn yourself with tambourines
and shall go forth in hthe dance of the merrymakers.
5 iAgain you shall plant vineyards
on the mountains of Samaria;
the planters shall plant
and shall enjoy the fruit.
6 For there shall be a day when watchmen will call
in jthe hill country of Ephraim:
k‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion,
to the Lord our God.’”
7 For thus says the Lord:
l“Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,
and raise shouts for mthe chief of the nations;
proclaim, give praise, and say,
n‘O Lord, save your people,
the remnant of Israel.’
8 Behold, I will bring them ofrom the north country
and pgather them from qthe farthest parts of the earth,
among them rthe blind and the lame,
the pregnant woman and she who is in labor, together;
a great company, they shall return here.
9 sWith weeping they shall come,
tand with pleas for mercy I will lead them back,
I will make them uwalk by brooks of water,
vin a straight path in which they shall not stumble,
for wI am a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is xmy firstborn.
10 “Hear the word of the Lord, O nations,
and declare it in the coastlands far away;
say, ‘He who scattered Israel will pgather him,
and will keep him yas a shepherd keeps his flock.’
11 zFor the Lord has ransomed Jacob
and has redeemed him from ahands too strong for him.
12 They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion,
band they shall be radiant cover the goodness of the Lord,
dover the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and over the young of the flock and the herd;
etheir life shall be like a watered garden,
fand they shall languish no more.
13 gThen shall the young women rejoice in the dance,
and the young men and the old shall be merry.
hI will turn their mourning into joy;
I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.
14 iI will feast the soul of the priests with abundance,
and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness,
declares the Lord.”
15 Thus says the Lord:
lamentation and bitter weeping.
lRachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,
mbecause they are no more.”
16 Thus says the Lord:
“Keep your voice from weeping,
and your eyes from tears,
for there is a reward for your work,
declares the Lord,
and nthey shall come back from the land of the enemy.
17 oThere is hope for your future,
declares the Lord,
and your children shall come back to their own country.
18 I have heard pEphraim grieving,
‘You have disciplined me, and I was disciplined,
like an untrained calf;
qbring me back that I may be restored,
for you are the Lord my God.
19 For after rI had turned away, I relented,
and after I was instructed, sI struck my thigh;
tI was ashamed, and I was confounded,
because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’
20 pIs Ephraim my dear son?
uIs he my darling child?
For as often as I speak against him,
I do remember him still.
vTherefore my heart2 yearns for him;
I will surely have mercy on him,
declares the Lord.
21 w“Set up road markers for yourself;
make yourself guideposts;
xconsider well the highway,
wthe road by which you went.
Return, O virgin Israel,
return to these your cities.
22 yHow long will you waver,
zO faithless daughter?
For the Lord has created a new thing on the earth:
a woman encircles a man.”
23 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Once more they shall use these words in the land of Judah and in its cities, awhen I restore their fortunes:
b“‘The Lord bless you, cO habitation of righteousness,
dO holy hill!’
24 eAnd Judah and all its cities shall dwell there together, and ethe farmers and those who wander with their flocks. 25 For I will fsatisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.”
26 At this I awoke and looked, and my sleep was pleasant to me.
27 g“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when hI will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with ithe seed of man and the seed of beast. 28 And it shall come to pass that jas I have watched over them kto pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring harm, jso I will watch over them lto build and to plant, declares the Lord. 29 In those days they shall no longer say:
m“‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes,
and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’
30 nBut everyone shall die for his own iniquity. Each man who eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.
The New Covenant
31 o“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make pa new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when qI took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, rthough I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 sFor this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: sI will put my law within them, and I will write it ton their hearts. uAnd I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ vfor they shall all know me, wfrom the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For xI will forgive their iniquity, and yI will remember their sin no more.”
35 Thus says the Lord,
who zgives the sun for light by day
and athe fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
bthe Lord of hosts is his name:
36 c“If this fixed order departs
from before me, declares the Lord,
then shall the offspring of Israel cease
from being a nation before me forever.”
37 Thus says the Lord:
“If the heavens above can be measured,
and the foundations of the earth below can be explored,
dthen I will cast off all the offspring of Israel
for all that they have done,
declares the Lord.”
38 e“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when the city shall be rebuilt for the Lord ffrom the Tower of Hananel to gthe Corner Gate. 39 hAnd the measuring line shall go out farther, straight to the hill Gareb, and shall then turn to Goah. 40 iThe whole valley of the dead bodies and the ashes, and all the fields as far as the jbrook Kidron, to the corner of kthe Horse Gate toward the east, lshall be sacred to the Lord. mIt shall not be plucked up or overthrown anymore forever.”