Jeremiah’s Letter to the Captives

29 Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the remainder of the elders who were (A)carried away captive—to the priests, the prophets, and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon. (This happened after (B)Jeconiah[a] the king, the (C)queen mother, the [b]eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the smiths had departed from Jerusalem.) The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of (D)Shaphan, and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, saying,

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon:

Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters—that you may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, (E)and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst (F)deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy (G)falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them, says the Lord.

10 For thus says the Lord: After (H)seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to (I)return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will (J)call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will (K)listen to you. 13 And (L)you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me (M)with all your heart. 14 (N)I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; (O)I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.

15 Because you have said, “The Lord has raised up prophets for us in Babylon”— 16 (P)therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king who sits on the throne of David, concerning all the people who dwell in this city, and concerning your brethren who have not gone out with you into captivity— 17 thus says the Lord of hosts: Behold, I will send on them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, and will make them like (Q)rotten figs that cannot be eaten, they are so bad. 18 And I will pursue them with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence; and I (R)will deliver them to trouble among all the kingdoms of the earth—to be (S)a curse, an astonishment, a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have driven them, 19 because they have not heeded My words, says the Lord, which (T)I sent to them by My servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; neither would you heed, says the Lord. 20 Therefore hear the word of the Lord, all you of the captivity, whom I have sent 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, who prophesy a (U)lie to you in My name: Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall slay them before your eyes. 22 (V)And because of them a curse shall be taken up by all the captivity of Judah who are in Babylon, saying, “The Lord make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, (W)whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire”; 23 because (X)they have done disgraceful things in Israel, have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives, and have spoken lying words in My name, which I have not commanded them. Indeed I (Y)know, and am a witness, says the Lord.

24 You shall also speak to Shemaiah the Nehelamite, saying, 25 Thus speaks the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, saying: You have sent letters in your name to all the people who are at Jerusalem, (Z)to 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, so that there should be (AA)officers in the house of the Lord over every man who is (AB)demented and considers himself a prophet, that you should (AC)put him in prison and in the stocks. 27 Now therefore, why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of Anathoth who makes himself a prophet to you? 28 For he has sent to us in Babylon, saying, ‘This captivity is long; build houses and dwell in them, and plant gardens and eat their fruit.’ ”

29 Now Zephaniah the priest read this letter in the hearing of Jeremiah the prophet. 30 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying: 31 Send to all those in captivity, saying, Thus says the Lord concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite: Because Shemaiah has prophesied to you, (AD)and I have not sent him, and he has caused you to trust in a (AE)lie— 32 therefore thus says the Lord: Behold, I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his [c]family: he shall not have anyone to dwell among this people, nor shall he see the good that I will do for My people, says the Lord, (AF)because he has taught rebellion against the Lord.

Restoration of Israel and Judah

30 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, “Thus speaks the Lord God of Israel, saying: ‘Write in a book for yourself all the words that I have spoken to you. For behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘that (AG)I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah,’ says the Lord. (AH)‘And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.’ ”

Now these are the words that the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah.

“For thus says the Lord:

‘We have heard a voice of trembling,
Of [d]fear, and not of peace.
Ask now, and see,
Whether a [e]man is ever in [f]labor with child?
So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins
(AI)Like a woman in labor,
And all faces turned pale?
(AJ)Alas! For that day is great,
(AK)So that none is like it;
And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble,
But he shall be saved out of it.

‘For it shall come to pass in that day,’
Says the Lord of hosts,
That I will break his yoke from your neck,
And will burst your bonds;
Foreigners shall no more enslave them.
But they shall serve the Lord their God,
And (AL)David their king,
Whom I will (AM)raise up for them.

10 ‘Therefore (AN)do not fear, O My servant Jacob,’ says the Lord,
‘Nor be dismayed, O Israel;
For behold, I will save you from afar,
And your seed (AO)from the land of their captivity.
Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet,
And no one shall make him afraid.
11 For I am with (AP)you,’ says the Lord, ‘to save you;
(AQ)Though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you,
(AR)Yet I will not make a complete end of you.
But I will correct you (AS)in justice,
And will not let you go altogether unpunished.’

12 “For thus says the Lord:

(AT)‘Your affliction is incurable,
Your wound is severe.
13 There is no one to plead your cause,
That you may be bound up;
(AU)You have no healing medicines.
14 (AV)All your lovers have forgotten you;
They do not seek you;
For I have wounded you with the wound (AW)of an enemy,
With the chastisement (AX)of a cruel one,
For the multitude of your iniquities,
(AY)Because your sins have increased.
15 Why (AZ)do you cry about your affliction?
Your sorrow is incurable.
Because of the multitude of your iniquities,
Because your sins have increased,
I have done these things to you.

16 ‘Therefore all those who devour you (BA)shall be devoured;
And all your adversaries, every one of them, shall go into (BB)captivity;
Those who plunder you shall become (BC)plunder,
And all who prey upon you I will make a (BD)prey.
17 (BE)For I will restore health to you
And heal you of your wounds,’ says the Lord,
‘Because they called you an outcast saying:
“This is Zion;
No one seeks her.” ’

18 “Thus says the Lord:

‘Behold, I will bring back the captivity of Jacob’s tents,
And (BF)have mercy on his dwelling places;
The city shall be built upon its own [g]mound,
And the palace shall remain according to its own plan.
19 Then (BG)out of them shall proceed thanksgiving
And the voice of those who make merry;
(BH)I will multiply them, and they shall not diminish;
I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small.
20 Their children also shall be (BI)as before,
And their congregation shall be established before Me;
And I will punish all who oppress them.
21 Their nobles shall be from among them,
(BJ)And their governor shall come from their midst;
Then I will (BK)cause him to draw near,
And he shall approach Me;
For who is this who pledged his heart to approach Me?’ says the Lord.
22 ‘You shall be (BL)My people,
And I will be your God.’ ”

23 Behold, the (BM)whirlwind of the Lord
Goes forth with fury,
A [h]continuing whirlwind;
It will fall violently on the head of the wicked.
24 The fierce anger of the Lord will not return until He has done it,
And until He has performed the intents of His heart.

(BN)In the latter days you will consider it.

The Remnant of Israel Saved

31 “At (BO)the same time,” says the Lord, (BP)“I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.”

Thus says the Lord:

“The people who survived the sword
Found grace in the wilderness—
Israel, when (BQ)I went to give him rest.”

The Lord has appeared [i]of old to me, saying:
“Yes, (BR)I have loved you with (BS)an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have (BT)drawn you.
Again (BU)I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt,
O virgin of Israel!
You shall again be adorned with your (BV)tambourines,
And shall go forth in the dances of those who rejoice.
(BW)You shall yet plant vines on the mountains of Samaria;
The planters shall plant and [j]eat them as ordinary food.
For there shall be a day
When the watchmen will cry on Mount Ephraim,
(BX)‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion,
To the Lord our God.’ ”

For thus says the Lord:

(BY)“Sing with gladness for Jacob,
And shout among the chief of the nations;
Proclaim, give praise, and say,
‘O Lord, save Your people,
The remnant of Israel!’
Behold, I will bring them (BZ)from the north country,
And (CA)gather them from the ends of the earth,
Among them the blind and the lame,
The woman with child
And the one who labors with child, together;
A great throng shall return there.
(CB)They shall come with weeping,
And with supplications I will lead them.
I will cause them to walk (CC)by the rivers of waters,
In a straight way in which they shall not stumble;
For I am a Father to Israel,
And Ephraim is My (CD)firstborn.

10 “Hear the word of the Lord, O nations,
And declare it in the [k]isles afar off, and say,
‘He who scattered Israel (CE)will gather him,
And keep him as a shepherd does his flock.’
11 For (CF)the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
And ransomed him (CG)from the hand of one stronger than he.
12 Therefore they shall come and sing in (CH)the height of Zion,
Streaming to (CI)the goodness of the Lord
For wheat and new wine and oil,
For the young of the flock and the herd;
Their souls shall be like a (CJ)well-watered garden,
(CK)And they shall sorrow no more at all.

13 “Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance,
And the young men and the old, together;
For I will turn their mourning to joy,
Will comfort them,
And make them rejoice rather than sorrow.
14 I will [l]satiate the soul of the priests with abundance,
And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the Lord.”

Mercy on Ephraim

15 Thus says the Lord:

(CL)“A voice was heard in (CM)Ramah,
Lamentation and bitter (CN)weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted for her children,
Because (CO)they are no more.”

16 Thus says the Lord:

“Refrain your voice from (CP)weeping,
And your eyes from tears;
For your work shall be rewarded, says the Lord,
And they shall come back from the land of the enemy.
17 There is (CQ)hope in your future, says the Lord,
That your children shall come back to their own border.

18 “I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself:
‘You have (CR)chastised me, and I was chastised,
Like an untrained bull;
(CS)Restore me, and I will return,
For You are the Lord my God.
19 Surely, (CT)after my turning, I repented;
And after I was instructed, I struck myself on the thigh;
I was (CU)ashamed, yes, even humiliated,
Because I bore the reproach of my youth.’
20 Is Ephraim My dear son?
Is he a pleasant child?
For though I spoke against him,
I earnestly remember him still;
(CV)Therefore My [m]heart yearns for him;
(CW)I will surely have mercy on him, says the Lord.

21 “Set up signposts,
Make landmarks;
(CX)Set your heart toward the highway,
The way in which you went.
[n]Turn back, O virgin of Israel,
Turn back to these your cities.
22 How long will you (CY)gad about,
O you (CZ)backsliding daughter?
For the Lord has created a new thing in the earth—
A woman shall encompass a man.”

Future Prosperity of Judah

23 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “They shall again use this speech in the land of Judah and in its cities, when I bring back their captivity: (DA)‘The Lord bless you, O home of justice, and (DB)mountain of holiness!’ 24 And there shall dwell in Judah itself, and (DC)in all its cities together, farmers and those going out with flocks. 25 For I have [o]satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.”

26 After this I awoke and looked around, and my sleep was (DD)sweet to me.

27 “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, that (DE)I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and the seed of beast. 28 And it shall come to pass, that as I have (DF)watched over them (DG)to pluck up, to break down, to throw down, to destroy, and to afflict, so I will watch over them (DH)to build and to plant, says the Lord. 29 (DI)In those days they shall say no more:

‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes,
And the children’s teeth are set on edge.’

30 (DJ)But every one shall die for his own iniquity; every man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.

A New Covenant

31 “Behold, the (DK)days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that (DL)I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, [p]though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. 33 (DM)But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: (DN)I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their [q]hearts; (DO)and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for (DP)they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For (DQ)I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

35 Thus says the Lord,
(DR)Who gives the sun for a light by day,
The ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night,
Who disturbs (DS)the sea,
And its waves roar
(DT)(The Lord of hosts is His name):

36 “If (DU)those ordinances depart
From before Me, says the Lord,
Then the seed of Israel shall also cease
From being a nation before Me forever.”

37 Thus says the Lord:

(DV)“If heaven above can be measured,
And the foundations of the earth searched out beneath,
I will also (DW)cast off all the seed of Israel
For all that they have done, says the Lord.

38 “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, that the city shall be built for the Lord (DX)from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39 (DY)The surveyor’s line shall again extend straight forward over the hill Gareb; then it shall turn toward Goath. 40 And the whole valley of the dead bodies and of the ashes, and all the fields as far as the Brook Kidron, (DZ)to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, (EA)shall be holy to the Lord. It shall not be plucked up or thrown down anymore forever.”

Jeremiah Buys a Field

32 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord (EB)in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar. For then the king of Babylon’s army besieged Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up (EC)in the court of the prison, which was in the king of Judah’s house. For Zedekiah king of Judah had shut him up, saying, “Why do you (ED)prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord: (EE)“Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it; and Zedekiah king of Judah (EF)shall not escape from the hand of the Chaldeans, but shall surely be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon, and shall speak with him [r]face to face, and see him (EG)eye to eye; then he shall (EH)lead Zedekiah to Babylon, and there he shall be (EI)until I visit him,” says the Lord; (EJ)“though you fight with the Chaldeans, you shall not succeed” ’?”

And Jeremiah said, “The word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle will come to you, saying, “Buy my field which is in Anathoth, for the (EK)right of redemption is yours to buy it.” ’ Then Hanamel my uncle’s son came to me in the court of the prison according to the word of the Lord, and said to me, ‘Please buy my field that is in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin; for the right of inheritance is yours, and the redemption yours; buy it for yourself.’ Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord. So I bought the field from Hanamel, the son of my uncle who was in Anathoth, and (EL)weighed out to him the money—seventeen shekels of silver. 10 And I signed the [s]deed and sealed it, took witnesses, and weighed the money on the scales. 11 So I took the purchase deed, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that which was open; 12 and I gave the purchase deed to (EM)Baruch the son of Neriah, son of Mahseiah, in the presence of Hanamel my uncle’s son, and in the presence of the (EN)witnesses who signed the purchase deed, before all the Jews who sat in the court of the prison.

13 “Then I charged (EO)Baruch before them, saying, 14 ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Take these deeds, both this purchase deed which is sealed and this deed which is open, and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may last many days.” 15 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Houses and fields and vineyards shall be (EP)possessed again in this land.” ’

Jeremiah Prays for Understanding

16 “Now when I had delivered the purchase deed to Baruch the son of Neriah, I prayed to the Lord, saying: 17 ‘Ah, Lord God! Behold, (EQ)You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. (ER)There is nothing too [t]hard for You. 18 You show (ES)lovingkindness to thousands, and repay the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them—the Great, (ET)the Mighty God, whose name is (EU)the Lord of hosts. 19 You are (EV)great in counsel and mighty in [u]work, for Your (EW)eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, (EX)to give everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings. 20 You have set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, to this day, and in Israel and among other men; and You have made Yourself (EY)a name, as it is this day. 21 You (EZ)have brought Your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders, with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, and with great terror; 22 You have given them this land, of which You swore to their fathers to give them—(FA)“a land flowing with milk and honey.” 23 And they came in and took possession of it, but (FB)they have not obeyed Your voice or walked in Your law. They have done nothing of all that You commanded them to do; therefore You have caused all this calamity to come upon them.

24 ‘Look, the siege mounds! They have come to the city to take it; and the city has been given into the hand of the Chaldeans who fight against it, because of (FC)the sword and famine and pestilence. What You have spoken has happened; there You see it! 25 And You have said to me, O Lord God, “Buy the field for money, and take witnesses”!—yet the city has been given into the hand of the Chaldeans.’ ”

God’s Assurance of the People’s Return

26 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, 27 “Behold, I am the Lord, the (FD)God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me? 28 Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the Chaldeans, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall take it. 29 And the Chaldeans who fight against this city shall come and (FE)set fire to this city and burn it, with the houses (FF)on whose roofs they have offered incense to Baal and poured out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke Me to anger; 30 because the children of Israel and the children of Judah (FG)have done only evil before Me from their youth. For the children of Israel have provoked Me only to anger with the work of their hands,’ says the Lord. 31 ‘For this city has been to Me a provocation of My anger and My fury from the day that they built it, even to this day; (FH)so I will remove it from before My face 32 because of all the evil of the children of Israel and the children of Judah, which they have done to provoke Me to anger—(FI)they, their kings, their princes, their priests, (FJ)their prophets, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 33 And they have turned to Me the (FK)back, and not the face; though I taught them, (FL)rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not listened to receive instruction. 34 But they (FM)set their abominations in [v]the house which is called by My name, to defile it. 35 And they built the high places of Baal which are in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to (FN)cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to (FO)Molech, (FP)which I did not command them, nor did it come into My mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.’

36 “Now therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning this city of which you say, ‘It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: 37 Behold, I will (FQ)gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in My anger, in My fury, and in great wrath; I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them (FR)to dwell safely. 38 They shall be (FS)My people, and I will be their God; 39 then I will (FT)give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. 40 And (FU)I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but (FV)I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. 41 Yes, (FW)I will rejoice over them to do them good, and (FX)I will [w]assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul.’

42 “For thus says the Lord: (FY)‘Just as I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will bring on them all the good that I have promised them. 43 And fields will be bought in this land (FZ)of which you say, “It is desolate, without man or beast; it has been given into the hand of the Chaldeans.” 44 Men will buy fields for money, sign deeds and seal them, and take witnesses, in (GA)the land of Benjamin, in the places around Jerusalem, in the cities of Judah, in the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the [x]lowland, and in the cities of the [y]South; for (GB)I will cause their captives to return,’ says the Lord.”


  1. Jeremiah 29:2 Jehoiachin, 2 Kin. 24:12; 2 Chr. 36:10
  2. Jeremiah 29:2 Or officers
  3. Jeremiah 29:32 descendants, lit. seed
  4. Jeremiah 30:5 dread
  5. Jeremiah 30:6 Lit. male can give birth
  6. Jeremiah 30:6 childbirth
  7. Jeremiah 30:18 ruins
  8. Jeremiah 30:23 Or sweeping
  9. Jeremiah 31:3 Lit. from afar
  10. Jeremiah 31:5 Lit. treat them as common
  11. Jeremiah 31:10 Or coastlands
  12. Jeremiah 31:14 Fill to the full
  13. Jeremiah 31:20 Lit. inward parts
  14. Jeremiah 31:21 Or Return
  15. Jeremiah 31:25 fully satisfied
  16. Jeremiah 31:32 So with MT, Tg., Vg.; LXX, Syr. and I turned away from them
  17. Jeremiah 31:33 Lit. inward parts
  18. Jeremiah 32:4 Lit. mouth to mouth
  19. Jeremiah 32:10 Lit. book
  20. Jeremiah 32:17 difficult
  21. Jeremiah 32:19 deed
  22. Jeremiah 32:34 The temple
  23. Jeremiah 32:41 truly
  24. Jeremiah 32:44 Heb. shephelah
  25. Jeremiah 32:44 Heb. Negev

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