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.”
Jeremiah Buys a Field During the Siege
32 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord nin the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, owhich was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar. 2 At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet pwas shut up in qthe court of the guard that was in the palace of the king of Judah. 3 For Zedekiah king of Judah had imprisoned him, saying, “Why do you prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord: rBehold, I am giving this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall capture it; 4 sZedekiah king of Judah shall not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, rbut shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and shall speak with him face to face and see him eye to eye. 5 And the shall take Zedekiah to Babylon, and there he shall remain until I visit him, declares the Lord. uThough you fight against the Chaldeans, you shall not succeed’?”
6 Jeremiah said, “The word of the Lord came to me: 7 Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle will come to you and say, v‘Buy my field that is at wAnathoth, xfor the right of redemption by purchase is yours.’ 8 Then Hanamel my cousin came to me in qthe court of the guard, in accordance with the word of the Lord, and said to me, ‘Buy my field that is at wAnathoth in the land of Benjamin, for the right of possession and redemption is yours; buy it for yourself.’ Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord.
9 “And I bought the field at wAnathoth from Hanamel my cousin, and yweighed out the money to him, seventeen shekels of silver. 10 zI signed the deed, asealed it, bgot witnesses, and yweighed the money on scales. 11 Then I took the sealed deed of purchase, containing the terms and conditions and the open copy. 12 And I gave the deed of purchase to cBaruch the son of Neriah son of Mahseiah, in the presence of Hanamel my cousin, in the presence of dthe witnesses who signed the deed of purchase, and in the presence of all the Judeans who were sitting in qthe court of the guard. 13 I charged cBaruch in their presence, saying, 14 ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these deeds, both this sealed deed of purchase and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware vessel, that they may last for a long time. 15 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and efields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.’
Jeremiah Prays for Understanding
16 “After I had given the deed of purchase to fBaruch the son of Neriah, I prayed to the Lord, saying: 17 ‘Ah, Lord God! It is gyou who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by hyour outstretched arm! iNothing is too hard for you. 18 jYou show steadfast love to thousands, jbut you repay the guilt of fathers kto their children after them, O great and lmighty God, whose name is the mLord of hosts, 19 ngreat in counsel and omighty in deed, pwhose eyes are open to all the ways of the children of man, qrewarding each one according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds. 20 You have shown rsigns and wonders in the land of Egypt, and to this day in Israel and among all mankind, sand have made a name for yourself, as at this day. 21 tYou brought your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders, with a strong hand and uoutstretched arm, tand with great terror. 22 And you gave them this land, vwhich you swore to their fathers to give them, va land flowing with milk and honey. 23 And they entered and took possession of it. wBut they did not obey your voice or walk in your law. They did nothing of all you commanded them to do. Therefore you have made all this disaster come upon them. 24 Behold, xthe siege mounds have come up to the city to take it, and ybecause of sword and famine and pestilence zthe city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans who are fighting against it. What you spoke has come to pass, and behold, you see it. 25 Yet you, O Lord God, have said to me, a“Buy the field for money band get witnesses”—though zthe city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans.’”
26 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 27 “Behold, I am the Lord, cthe God of all flesh. dIs anything too hard for me? 28 Therefore, thus says the Lord: eBehold, I am giving this city into the hands of the Chaldeans and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall capture it. 29 The Chaldeans who are fighting against this city fshall come and set this city on fire and burn it, gwith the houses on whose roofs offerings have been made to Baal gand drink offerings have been poured out to other gods, hto provoke me to anger. 30 For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have done nothing but evil in my sight ifrom their youth. The children of Israel have done nothing but hprovoke me to anger jby the work of their hands, declares the Lord. 31 This city has aroused my anger and wrath, from the day it was built to this day, kso that I will remove it from my sight 32 because of all the evil of the children of Israel and the children of Judah that they did to provoke me to anger—ltheir kings and their officials, their priests and their prophets, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 33 mThey have turned to me their back and not their face. And though I have taught them npersistently, they have not listened oto receive instruction. 34 They set up ptheir abominations in the house that is called by my name, to defile it. 35 They built the high places of Baal qin the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, rto offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, sthough I did not command them, nor did it enter into my mind, that they should do pthis abomination, tto cause Judah to sin.
They Shall Be My People; I Will Be Their God
36 “Now therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning this city of which you say, u‘It is given into the hand of the king of Babylon by sword, by famine, and by pestilence’: 37 vBehold, I will gather them from all the countries wto which I drove them in xmy anger and my wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, yand I will make them dwell in safety. 38 zAnd they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 39 aI will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, bfor their own good and the good of their children after them. 40 cI will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. dAnd I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. 41 eI will rejoice in doing them good, fand I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.
42 “For thus says the Lord: gJust as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people, so I will bring upon them all the good that I promise them. 43 hFields shall be bought in this land iof which you are saying, ‘It is a desolation, without man or beast; jit is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.’ 44 Fields shall be bought for money, and kdeeds shall be signed and ksealed and kwitnessed, lin the land of Benjamin, lin the places about Jerusalem, land in the cities of Judah, lin the cities of the hill country, lin the cities of the Shephelah, and in the cities of the Negeb; for mI will restore their fortunes, declares the Lord.”
The Lord Promises Peace
33 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still nshut up in the court of the guard: 2 “Thus says othe Lord who made the earth,1 the Lord who formed it to establish it—pthe Lord is his name: 3 qCall to me and I will answer you, rand will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. 4 For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city and the houses of the kings of Judah that were torn down to make a defense against sthe siege mounds and against the sword: 5 They are coming in tto fight against the Chaldeans and to fill them2 with the dead bodies of men whom I shall strike down uin my anger and my wrath, vfor I have hidden my face from this city because of all their evil. 6 wBehold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security. 7 xI will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, yand rebuild them as they were zat first. 8 aI will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, band I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me. 9 cAnd this city3 shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them. They shall dfear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it.
10 “Thus says the Lord: In this place eof which you say, ‘It is a waste without man or beast,’ in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man or inhabitant or beast, there shall be heard again 11 fthe voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing, as they bring gthank offerings to the house of the Lord:
h“‘Give thanks to the Lord of hosts,
for the Lord is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!’
xFor I will restore the fortunes of the land as at first, says the Lord.
12 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: iIn this place that is waste, without man or beast, and in all of its cities, there shall again be jhabitations of shepherds kresting their flocks. 13 lIn the cities of the hill country, lin the cities of the Shephelah, land in the cities of the Negeb, in the land of Benjamin, lthe places about Jerusalem, land in the cities of Judah, mflocks shall again pass under the hands nof the one who counts them, says the Lord.
The Lord’s Eternal Covenant with David
14 o“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when pI will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous qBranch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved, rand Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: s‘The Lord is our righteousness.’
17 “For thus says the Lord: tDavid shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, 18 uand the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices forever.”
19 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 20 v“Thus says the Lord: wIf you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, xso that day and night will not come at their appointed time, 21 ythen also my covenant with David my servant may be broken, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and my covenant with the Levitical priests my ministers. 22 As zthe host of heaven cannot be numbered and zthe sands of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the offspring of David my servant, and the Levitical priests who minister to me.”
23 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 24 “Have you not observed that these people are saying, ‘The Lord has rejected the two clans that he chose’? Thus they have despised my people so that they are no longer a nation in their sight. 25 Thus says the Lord: aIf I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed order of heaven and earth, 26 then I will reject the offspring of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his offspring to rule over the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. bFor I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them.”