Jeremiah 1-40 Amplified Bible (AMP)
Jeremiah’s Call and Commission
1 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, [one] of the priests who were in [a]Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, 2 to whom the word of the Lord came during the thirteenth year (627 b.c.) of the reign of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah. 3 It came [to Jeremiah] also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, [continuing] until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah, king of Judah, [and continuing] until the exile of [the people of] Jerusalem in the fifth month (July-August, 586 b.c.).
4 Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
9 Then the Lord stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me,
“Behold (hear Me), I have put My words in your mouth.
The Almond Branch and Boiling Pot
11 The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see the branch of an [b]almond tree.” 12 Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am [actively] watching over My word to fulfill it.”
13 The word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see a boiling pot, tilting away from the north [its mouth about to pour out on the south, on Judea].” 14 Then the Lord said to me, “Out of the north the evil [which the prophets foretold as the result of national sin] will reveal itself and spill out on all the people of the land. 15 For, behold, I will call all the tribes of the kingdoms of the north,” says the Lord; “and they will come and each one will set his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all its surrounding walls, and against all the cities of Judah [as My judicial act, the consequence of Judah’s deliberate disobedience]. 16 I will speak My judgments against them for all the wickedness of those who have abandoned (rejected) Me, offered sacrifices or burned incense to other gods, and worshiped the [idolatrous] works of their own hands. 17 But you [Jeremiah], [c]gird up your loins [in preparation]! Get up and tell them all which I command you. Do not be distraught and break down at the sight of their [hostile] faces, or I will bewilder you before them and allow you to be overcome. 18 Now behold, I have made you today like a fortified city and like an iron pillar and like bronze walls against the whole land—against the [successive] kings of Judah, against its leaders, against its priests, and against the people of the land [giving you divine strength which no hostile power can overcome]. 19 They will fight against you, but they will not [ultimately] prevail over you, for I am with you [always] to protect you and deliver you,” says the Lord.
2 Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, 2 “Go and proclaim in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord,
“I remember [earnestly] the lovingkindness and devotion of [d]your youth,
4 Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. 5 Thus says the Lord,
“What injustice or unrighteousness did your fathers find in Me,
The Polluted Land
3 That is to say, “If a man divorces his wife
6 Moreover, the Lord said to me in the days of Josiah the king [of Judah], “Have you seen what that faithless Israel has done—how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there she was a prostitute? 7 I thought, ‘After she has done all these things she will return to Me’; but she did not return, and her treacherous (faithless) sister Judah saw it. 8 And I saw [that even though Judah knew] that for all the acts of adultery (idolatry) of faithless Israel, I [the Lord] had [h]sent her away and given her a certificate of divorce, yet her treacherous sister [i]Judah was not afraid; but she went and was a prostitute also [following after idols]. 9 Because of the thoughtlessness of Israel’s prostitution [her immorality mattered little to her], she desecrated the land and committed adultery with [idols of] stones and trees. 10 Yet in spite of all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to Me with her whole heart, but rather in [blatant] deception [she merely pretended obedience to King Josiah’s reforms],” declares the Lord.
God Invites Repentance
11 And the Lord said to me, “Faithless Israel has proved herself less guilty than treacherous Judah [a land of renegades]. 12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north [where the ten tribes have been taken as captives] and say,
‘Return, faithless Israel,’ says the Lord;
15 “Then [in the final time] I will give you [spiritual] shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and [true] understanding. 16 It will be in those days when you have [repented and] multiplied and increased in the land,” says the Lord, “they will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the Lord.’ It will not come to mind, nor will they [seriously] remember it, nor will they miss it, nor will it be made again [for instead of the ark, which symbolized My presence, I will be present]. 17 At that time they will call Jerusalem ‘The Throne of the Lord,’ and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Jerusalem, for the name (renown) of the Lord; and they will not walk anymore after the stubbornness of their [own] evil heart. 18 In those days the house of Judah will walk with the house of Israel, and [k]they will come together from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers as an inheritance.
19 “Then I said,
‘How [gloriously and honorably] I would set you among My children
24 “But the shameful act [of idolatry] has consumed the labor of our fathers since our youth—their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. 25 Let us lie down in our shame, and let our dishonor and humiliation cover us; for we have sinned against the Lord our God, we and our fathers; from our youth even to this day we have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God.”
Judah Threatened with Invasion
4 “If you will return, O Israel,” says the Lord,
3 For this is what the Lord says to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem,
“Plow your uncultivated ground [for a season],
9 “It shall come about in that day,” says the Lord, “that the heart and courage of the king will fail (be paralyzed), and also the heart of the princes; the priests will be appalled and the prophets will be astounded and horrified.”
10 Then I said, “[l]Alas, Lord God! Surely You have completely deceived and misled this people and Jerusalem, [for the prophets represented You as] saying [to Your people], ‘You will have peace,’ but [in fact] a sword reaches to their throat.”
11 In that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, “A scorching wind from the barren heights in the wilderness [comes at My command] against the daughter of My people—not [a wind] to winnow and not to cleanse [from chaff, as when threshing, but] 12 a wind too strong and full for this comes at My word. Now I will also speak judgment against My people.”
Lament over Judah’s Devastation
5 “Roam back and forth through the streets of Jerusalem,
18 “But even in those days,” says the Lord, “I will not totally destroy you. 19 It will come about when your people say, ‘Why has the Lord our God done all these things to us?’ then you shall answer them, ‘As you have abandoned (rejected) Me,’ [says the Lord,] ‘and have served strange and foreign gods in your land, so you will serve strangers in a land that is not yours.’
Destruction of Jerusalem Impending
6 “Run for safety, you children of Benjamin,
6 For the Lord of hosts has said,
“Cut down her trees
21 Therefore, thus says the Lord,
“Behold, I am laying stumbling blocks before this people.
The Enemy from the North
Message at the Temple Gate
7 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 2 “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house and proclaim there this word and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you of Judah who enter by these gates to worship the Lord.’” 3 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Change your ways and your behavior, and I will let you live in this place. 4 Do not trust in the deceptive and lying words [of the false prophets who claim that Jerusalem will be protected by God because of the temple], saying, ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’ 5 For if you thoroughly change your ways and your behavior, if you thoroughly and honestly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, 6 if you do not oppress the transient and the foreigner, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood [by oppression and by unjust judicial murders] in Jerusalem, nor follow after other gods to your own ruin, 7 then I will let you live in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers [to live in] forever and ever.
8 “Behold, you are trusting in deceptive and useless words that bring no benefit. 9 Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear [oaths] falsely, offer sacrifices or burn incense to Baal, and follow after other gods that you have not known, 10 and [then dare to] come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My [s]Name, and say, ‘We are protected and set free [by this act of religious ritual]!’—only to go on with this wickedness and these disgusting and loathsome things? 11 Has this house, which is called by My Name, become a den of robbers in your eyes [a place of retreat for you between acts of violence]? Behold, I Myself have seen it,” says the Lord.
12 “But go now to My place which was in Shiloh [in Ephraim], where I first set My Name, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel. 13 And now, because you have done all these things,” says the Lord, “and I spoke [persistently] to you, even rising up early and speaking, but you did not listen, and I called you but you did not answer, 14 therefore, I will do to this house (the temple) which is called by My Name, in which you trust, and to the place which I gave you and your fathers, just as I did to Shiloh. 15 I will cast you out of My sight, as I have cast out all your brothers (relatives through Jacob), all the descendants of Ephraim.
16 “Therefore, do not pray for this people [of Judah] or lift up a cry or entreaty for them or make intercession to Me, for I do not hear you. 17 Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead the dough to make cakes for the [t]queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods that they may offend and provoke Me to anger. 19 Do they offend and provoke Me to anger?” says the Lord. “Is it not themselves [they offend], to their own shame?” 20 Therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold, My anger and My wrath will be poured out on this place, on man and beast, on the trees of the field and the fruit of the ground; and it will burn and [the fire will] not be quenched.”
21 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices and eat the meat. 22 For in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to your fathers or command them concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices. 23 But this thing I did command them: ‘Listen to and obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, so that it may be well with you.’ 24 But they did not obey Me or bend their ear [to hear Me], but followed the counsels and the stubbornness of their [own] evil heart (mind), and [they turned and] went backward instead of forward. 25 Since the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have [persistently] sent you all My servants the prophets, sending them daily, early [and late]. 26 Yet they did not listen to Me and obey Me or bend their ear [to hear Me], but stiffened their neck; they did more evil and behaved worse than their fathers.
27 “You shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you; and you shall [also] call to them, but they will not answer you. 28 You shall say to them, ‘This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the Lord their God or accept correction and warning; truth and faithfulness have perished and have completely vanished from their mouths.
30 For the children of Judah have done evil in My sight,” says the Lord; “they have set their disgusting and shamefully vile things in the house which is called by My Name, to defile it. 31 They have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the Valley of Ben-hinnom (son of Hinnom), to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire [to honor Molech, the fire god]—which I did not command, nor did it come into My heart (mind).
32 “Therefore, behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when it will no longer be called Topheth or the Valley of Ben-hinnom, but the Valley of the Slaughter, for [in bloody warfare] they will bury [the dead] in Topheth until there is no more room. 33 And the dead bodies of this people will be food for the birds of the air and for the beasts of the earth and no one will frighten them away. 34 Then I will cause the voices of joy and gladness, and the voices of the bridegroom and the bride to vanish from the cities of Judah and from the streets of Jerusalem; for the land will become a ruin—a wasteland.
The Sin and Treachery of Judah
8 “At that time,” says the Lord, “they [the Babylonian army] will bring out from their graves the [u]bones of the kings of Judah, the bones of its princes, the bones of the priests, the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 2 They will [carelessly scatter and] spread them out before the sun and the moon and all the host of heaven, which the dead have loved and which they have served, and which they have walked after and which they have sought, and which they have worshiped. They will not be gathered or be buried; they will be like [v]dung on the face of the earth. 3 And death will be chosen rather than life by all the remnant of those who remain of this evil family (nation), who remain in all the places to which I have driven them,” says the Lord of hosts. 4 “Moreover [Jeremiah], you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord,
“Do men fall and not rise up again?
A Lament over Zion
9 Oh that my head were waters
7 Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts,
“Behold, I will refine them [through suffering] and test them;
12 Who is the wise man who may understand this [without any doubt]? To whom has the mouth of the Lord spoken, so that he may declare it? Why is the land ruined, laid waste like a wilderness, so that no one passes through? 13 The Lord said, “Because they have [y]turned away from My law which I set before them, and have not listened to and obeyed My voice nor walked in accordance with it, 14 but have walked stubbornly after their [own] heart and after the Baals, as their fathers taught them,” 15 therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “behold, I will feed them, this people, with wormwood and give them bitter and poisonous water to drink. 16 I will [also] scatter them among nations that neither they nor their fathers have known, and I will send the sword after them until I have annihilated them.”
17 Thus says the Lord of hosts,
“Consider and call for the mourning women to come;
23 Thus says the Lord, “Let not the one who is wise and skillful boast in his insight; let not the one who is mighty and powerful boast in his strength; let not the one who is rich boast in his [temporal satisfactions and earthly] abundance; 24 but let the one who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows Me [and acknowledges Me and honors Me as God and recognizes without any doubt], that I am the Lord who practices lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on the earth, for in these things I delight,” says the Lord.
25 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when I will punish all who are circumcised [physically] and yet uncircumcised [spiritually]— 26 [z]Egypt and Judah, and Edom and the sons of Ammon, and Moab and all those who live in the desert who clip off the hair on their temples; for all these nations are uncircumcised (sinful, impure), and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart.”
A Satire on Idolatry
10 Hear the word which the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel. 2 Thus says the Lord,
“Do not learn the way of the [pagan] nations,
11 In this manner you shall say to them, “The gods that did not make the heavens and the earth will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.”
The Broken Covenant
11 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, 2 “Hear the words of this [solemn] covenant, and speak to the men of Judah and to the people of Jerusalem. 3 Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “Cursed is the man who does not heed the words of this covenant 4 which I commanded your fathers at the time that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, ‘Listen to My voice and do according to all that I command you. So you shall be My people, and I will be your God,’ 5 that I may complete the oath which I swore to your fathers, to give them a land [of plenty] [ad]flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day.”’” Then I answered, “Amen (so be it), O Lord.”
6 And the Lord said to me, “Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: ‘Hear the words of this [solemn] covenant and do them. 7 For I solemnly warned your fathers at the time that I brought them up from the land of Egypt, even to this day, warning them persistently, saying, “Obey My voice.” 8 Yet they did not obey or incline their ear [to listen to Me], but everyone walked in the stubborn way of his [own] evil heart. Therefore I brought on them all [the suffering threatened in] the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but they did not.’”
9 Then the Lord said to me, “A conspiracy has been found among the men of Judah and among the people of Jerusalem. 10 They have returned to the wickedness of their ancestors who refused to hear My words; they have followed other gods [in order] to serve them. The house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken My [solemn] covenant which I made with their fathers.” 11 Therefore thus says the Lord, “Behold I am bringing disaster and suffering on them which they will not be able to escape; though they cry to Me, I will not listen to them. 12 Then the cities of Judah and the people of Jerusalem will go and cry to the [man-made] gods to whom they burn incense, but they cannot save them in the time of their disaster. 13 For [as many as] the number of your cities are your gods, O Judah; and [as many as] the number of the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to the shameful thing, altars to burn incense to Baal.
14 “Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, for I shall not listen when they cry to Me in the time of their disaster.
17 For the Lord of hosts, who planted you, has pronounced evil and horror against you because of the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done to provoke Me [to anger] by offering sacrifices and burning incense to Baal.
Plots against Jeremiah
21 Therefore thus says the Lord regarding the men of Anathoth, who seek your life, saying, “Do not prophesy in the name of the Lord, so that you will not die by our hand.” 22 Therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, “Behold, I am about to punish them. Their young men will die by the sword, their sons and their daughters will die by famine; 23 and there will be no remnant [of the conspirators] left, for I will bring disaster and horror on the men of Anathoth in the year of their punishment.”
12 You, O Lord are [uncompromisingly] righteous and consistently just when I plead my case with You;
14 Thus says the Lord regarding all My evil neighbors (Gentile nations) who strike at the inheritance which I have granted to My people Israel, “Behold, I will uproot them from their land and I will uproot the house of Judah from among them. 15 And it shall come about that after I have uprooted them, I will return and have compassion on them; and I will bring them back again, each one to his inheritance and each one to his land. 16 And if these [neighboring nations] will diligently learn the ways of My people, to swear by My Name, saying, ‘As the Lord lives’—even as they taught My people to swear by Baal, then they will be built up among My people. 17 But if [any nation] will not listen and obey, I will [completely] uproot and destroy that nation, says the Lord.”
The Ruined Waistband
13 Thus the Lord said to me, “Go and buy yourself a linen waistband and put it on your [af]loins, but do not put it in water.” 2 So I bought the waistband according to the word of the Lord and put it on my loins. 3 Then the word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying, 4 “Get up and take the waistband that you have bought, which is [wrapped] around your loins, and go to the [river] Euphrates and hide it there in a crevice of the rock.” 5 So I went and hid it by the Euphrates, as the Lord had commanded me. 6 And after many days the Lord said to me, “Get up, go to the Euphrates and get the waistband which I commanded you to hide there.” 7 Then I went to the Euphrates and dug, and I took the waistband from the place where I had hidden it. And behold, the waistband was decayed and ruined; it was completely worthless.
8 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 9 “Thus says the Lord, ‘In this same way I shall destroy the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 These wicked and malevolent people, who refuse to listen to My words, who walk in the stubborn way of their heart and have followed other gods [which are nothing—just man-made carvings] to serve them and to worship them, let them be just like this waistband which is completely worthless. 11 For as the waistband clings to the body of a man, so I caused the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to cling to Me,’ says the Lord, ‘that they might be for Me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory; but they did not listen and obey.’
12 “Therefore you are to speak this word to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “Every jar should be filled with wine.”’ The people will say to you, ‘Do we not already know that every jar should be filled with wine?’ 13 Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am about to fill with drunkenness all the people of this land, even the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets and all the people of Jerusalem. 14 I will smash them one against another, both the fathers and the sons together,” says the Lord. “I shall destroy them [nothing will restrain Me]; I will not show pity nor be sorry nor have compassion.”’”
Drought and a Prayer for Mercy
14 The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought:
10 Thus says the Lord to this people [Judah], “In the manner and to the degree [already pointed out] they have loved to wander; they have not restrained their feet. Therefore the Lord does not accept them; He will now remember [in detail] their wickedness and punish them for their sins.” 11 So the Lord said to me, “Do not pray for good things for this people. 12 Though they fast, I will not hear their cry; and though they offer burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them [because they are done as obligations, and not as acts of loving obedience]. Instead I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.”
13 But I said, “Alas, Lord God! Behold, the [false] prophets are telling them, ‘You will not see the sword nor will you have famine, but I [the Lord] will give you lasting peace in this place.’” 14 Then the Lord said to me, “The [counterfeit] prophets are prophesying lies in My Name. I have neither sent them nor authorized them nor spoken to them. They are prophesying to you made-up visions [pretending to call forth responses from handmade gods], a worthless divination and the deceit of their own mind. 15 Therefore, thus says the Lord concerning the [false] prophets who are prophesying in My Name, although I did not send them—yet they keep saying, ‘Sword and famine shall not be in this land’: by sword and famine those prophets shall meet their end and be consumed. 16 And the people to whom they are prophesying will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and sword; and they will have no one to bury them—neither them, nor their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters. For I will pour out their [own] wickedness on them [and not only on the imposters posing as prophets, for the people could not have been deceived without their own consent].
Judgment Must Come
15 Then the Lord said to me, “Even though Moses and Samuel were to stand before Me [interceding for them], My heart would still not be [turned with favor] toward this people [Judah]. Send them away from My presence and out of My sight and let them go! 2 And it shall be that when they say to you, ‘Where should we go?’ then tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord:
“Those [destined] for death, to death;
3 I will appoint four kinds of destroyers over them,” says the Lord, “the sword to slay, the dogs to tear and drag away, and the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth to devour and to destroy. 4 I will make them an object of horror to all nations of the earth because of Manasseh [the despicable] son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, for the [evil and detestable] things which he did in Jerusalem.
Jeremiah’s Prayer and God’s Answer
16 The word of the Lord also came to me, saying, 2 “You shall not take a wife or have sons and daughters in this place (Jerusalem).” 3 For thus says the Lord concerning the sons and daughters who are born in this place, and concerning the mothers who give birth to them, and the fathers who father them in this land: 4 “They will die of deadly diseases. They will not be mourned or buried; they will be like dung on the surface of the ground and come to an end by sword and famine, and their dead bodies will be food for the birds of the air and for the beasts of the earth.”
5 For thus says the Lord, “Do not enter a house of mourning, nor go to lament (express grief) or bemoan [the dead], for I have taken My peace away from this people,” says the Lord, “even My lovingkindness and compassion. 6 Both great men and small will die in this land; they will not be buried, nor will they be lamented (mourned over with expressions of grief in death), nor will anyone cut himself or shave his head for them [in mourning]. 7 People will not offer food to the mourners, to comfort anyone [as they grieve] for the dead, nor give them a cup of consolation to drink for anyone’s father or mother. 8 And you [Jeremiah] shall not go into a house of feasting to sit with them to eat and drink.” 9 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold, I will remove from this place, before your very eyes and in your time, the sound of joy and the shout of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride.
10 “Now when you tell these people all these words and they ask you, ‘Why has the Lord decreed all this great tragedy against us? And what is our iniquity, what is the sin which we have committed against the Lord our God?’ 11 Then you are to say to them, ‘It is because your fathers have abandoned (rejected) Me,’ says the Lord, ‘and have walked after other gods and have served them and bowed down to the handmade idols and have abandoned (rejected) Me and have not kept My law, 12 and because you have done worse [things] than your fathers. Just look, every one of you walks in the stubbornness of his own evil heart, so that you do not listen [obediently] to Me. 13 Therefore I will hurl you out of this land [of Judah] into the land [of the Babylonians] which neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you will serve other gods day and night, for I will show you no compassion.’
God Will Restore Them
14 “Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ 15 but, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries to which He had driven them.’ And I will bring them back to their land which I gave to their fathers.
16 “Behold (listen carefully), I will send for many fishermen,” says the Lord, “and they will fish for them; and afterward I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain and from every hill and out of the clefts of the rocks. 17 For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their wickedness concealed from My eyes. 18 I will first doubly repay and punish them for their wickedness and their sin [before I return them to their land], because they have profaned My land; they have filled My inheritance with the carcasses of their detestable idols and with their abominations.”
The Deceitful Heart
17 The sin of Judah is written down with an iron stylus;
The Sabbath Must Be Kept
19 Thus the Lord said to me, “Go and stand in the [am]public gate, through which the kings of Judah come in and go out, and [stand] also in all the gates of Jerusalem; 20 and say to them, ‘Listen to the word of the Lord, kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the people of Jerusalem who enter through these gates. 21 Thus says the Lord, “Pay attention for your own good, [and for the sake of your future] do not carry any load on the Sabbath day or bring anything in through the gates of Jerusalem. 22 You shall not carry a load out of your houses on the Sabbath day nor do any work, but keep the Sabbath day holy [by setting it apart as a day of worship], as I commanded your fathers. 23 Yet they would not listen and obey and control their behavior; but they were stiff-necked in order not to hear and take instruction.
24 But it will come about, if you listen diligently to Me,” says the Lord, “to bring no load in through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but keep the Sabbath day holy by doing no work on it, 25 then kings and princes who will sit on the throne of David will enter through the gates of this city, riding in chariots and on horses—the kings and their princes, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and this city will be inhabited and endure throughout the ages. 26 People will come from the cities of Judah and the places all around Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin, from the lowland, from the hill country and from the South (the Negev), bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, grain offerings and incense, and bringing sacrifices of thanksgiving to the house of the Lord. 27 But if you will not listen to Me and keep the Sabbath day holy by not carrying a load as you come in the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in her gates that cannot be extinguished, and it will devour the palaces of Jerusalem.”’”
The Potter and the Clay
18 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will make you hear My words.” 3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and saw that he was working at the wheel. 4 But the vessel that he was making from clay was spoiled by the potter’s hand; so he made it over, reworking it and making it into another pot that seemed good to him.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” says the Lord. “Look carefully, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. 7 At one moment I might [suddenly] speak concerning a nation or kingdom, that I will uproot and break down and destroy; 8 if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will [an]relent and reverse My decision concerning the devastation that I intended to do. 9 Or at another time I might [suddenly] speak about a nation or kingdom that I will build up or establish; 10 and if they do evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will reverse My decision concerning the good with which I had promised to bless them. 11 Now then, say to the men of Judah and to the citizens of Jerusalem, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am shaping a disaster and working out a plan against you. Turn back, each of you from his evil way; correct your habits and change your actions for the better.”’ 12 But they will say, ‘That is hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act in accordance with the stubbornness of his evil heart.’
18 Then [my enemies] said, “Come and let us work out schemes against Jeremiah. Surely the law is not going to be lost to the priest [as Jeremiah predicts], nor the counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come and let us strike him with our tongue [by making charges against him before the king], and let us ignore anything he says.”
The Broken Jar
19 Thus says the Lord, “Go and buy a potter’s earthenware jar, and take some of the elders of the people and some of the senior priests 2 and go out to the Valley of Ben-hinnom (son of Hinnom), which is near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate; and proclaim there the words that I tell you, 3 and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold (listen carefully), I am going to bring such disaster on this place that the ears of everyone who hears about it will tingle [in shock]. 4 Because the people [of Jerusalem] have abandoned (rejected) Me and have made this an alien and profaned place by burning sacrifices and incense in it to other gods, that neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and because they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent 5 and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, which I never commanded or spoke of, nor did it ever enter My mind (heart); 6 therefore, listen very closely, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when this place shall no longer be called Topheth or the Valley of Ben-hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. 7 I will pour out and nullify the counsel (plans) of [the men of] Judah and Jerusalem in this place, and I will make their people fall by the sword before their enemies and by the hand of those who seek their lives; and I will give their dead bodies as food for the birds of the air and for the beasts of the earth. 8 I will make this city a desolation and an object of hissing; everyone who passes by it will be amazed and will hiss [in scorn] because of all its plagues and disasters. 9 And I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and their daughters, and each one will eat one another’s flesh during the siege and distress brought by their enemies and those who seek their lives.”’
10 “Then you are to break the jar in the sight of the men who accompany you, 11 and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “This is the way I will break this people and this city as one breaks a potter’s vessel, so that it cannot be mended. They will bury [corpses] in Topheth until there is no more room left [in that place] to bury [the dead]. 12 This I will do to this place,” says the Lord, “and to its inhabitants; and I will even make this city like Topheth. 13 The houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah will be defiled like this place, Topheth, all the houses on whose rooftops incense has been burned to all the host of heaven (sun, moon, stars), and where drink offerings have been poured out to other gods.”’”
14 Then Jeremiah came from Topheth, where the Lord had sent him to prophesy; and he stood in the court of the Lord’s house and said to all the people: 15 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am going to bring on this city and on all its towns, all the devastation that I have declared against it, because they have become stiff-necked and refused to hear and obey My words.’”
Pashhur Persecutes Jeremiah
20 Now Pashhur the son of Immer, the priest, who was [also] chief officer in the house of the Lord, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things. 2 Then Pashhur beat Jeremiah the prophet and put him in the stocks that were at the upper Benjamin Gate by the house of the Lord. 3 And the next day Pashhur brought Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then Jeremiah said to him, “The Lord does not call your name Pashhur, but Magor-missabib (terror on every side). 4 For thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; they will fall by the sword of their enemies while you look on. And I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon; he will carry them away to Babylon as captives and will slaughter them with the sword. 5 Moreover, I will hand over all the riches of this city, all the result of its labor, all its precious things; even all the treasures of the kings of Judah I will hand over to their enemies, and they will plunder them, and take them away and carry them to Babylon. 6 And you, Pashhur, and all who live in your house will go into captivity; you will go to Babylon, and there you will die and be buried, you and all your friends to whom you have falsely prophesied.’”
Jeremiah’s Message for Zedekiah
21 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord when King Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur the son of Malchijah, and Zephaniah the priest the son of Maaseiah, saying, 2 “Please inquire of the Lord for us, because [ao]Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is making war against us. Perhaps the Lord will deal [favorably] with us according to all His wonderful works and force him to withdraw from us.”
3 Then Jeremiah said to them, “Say this to Zedekiah: 4 ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “Behold, I will turn back and dull the edge of the weapons of war that are in your hands, [those] with which you fight against the king of Babylon and the [ap]Chaldeans who are besieging you outside the walls; and I will bring them into the center of this city (Jerusalem). 5 I Myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm in anger, in fury, and in great indignation and wrath. 6 I will also strike the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast; they will die of a great virulent disease. 7 Then afterward,” says the Lord, “I will hand over Zedekiah king of Judah and his servants and the people in this city who survive the virulent disease, the sword, and the famine, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of their enemy, into the hand of those who seek their lives. And he will strike them with the edge of the sword; he will not spare them nor have mercy and compassion on them.”’
8 “And to this people you (Jeremiah) shall also say, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death. 9 He who remains in this city [of Jerusalem] will die by the sword and by famine and by virulent disease. But he who goes outside and surrenders to the [aq]Chaldeans who are besieging you will live, and his life will be like a prize of war to him. 10 For I have set My face against this city to do harm and not good,” says the Lord. “It shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon and he will burn it with fire.”’
11 “And concerning the royal house of the king of Judah [you shall say], ‘Hear the word of the Lord, 12 O house of David, thus says the Lord:
“Administer justice in the morning,
Warning of Jerusalem’s Fall
22 Thus says the Lord, “Go down to the house of the king of Judah and speak this word there: 2 ‘Hear the word of the Lord, O king of Judah, you who sit on the throne of David—you and your servants and your people who enter by these gates. 3 Thus says the Lord, “Execute justice and righteousness, and rescue the one who has been robbed from the hand of his oppressor. And do no wrong; do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, or the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. 4 For if you will indeed obey this word, then kings will enter through the gates of this palace, sitting in David’s place on his throne, riding in chariots and on horses, even the king himself and his servants and his people. 5 But if you will not hear and obey these words, I swear [an oath] by Myself,” says the Lord, “that this house will become a desolation.”’” 6 For thus says the Lord in regard to the house of the king of Judah:
“You are [as valuable] to Me as [the green pastures of] Gilead [east of the Jordan]
8 “Many nations will pass by this city; and each man will say to another, ‘Why has the Lord done this to this great city?’ 9 Then they will answer, ‘Because the people ignored and abandoned the [solemn] covenant with the Lord their God and worshiped other gods and served them.’”
11 For thus says the Lord in regard to Shallum (Jehoahaz) the [third] son of Josiah, king of Judah, who reigned instead of Josiah his father and who went from this place, “Shallum will not return here anymore; 12 he will die in the place where they led him captive and not see this land again.
Messages about the Kings
18 Therefore thus says the Lord in regard to [ar]Jehoiakim the [second] son of Josiah, king of Judah,
“The relatives will not lament (mourn over with expressions of grief) for him:
24 “As I live,” says the Lord, “though [au]Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet [ring] on My right hand, yet would I pull you (Coniah) off. 25 And I will place you in the hand of those who seek your life and in the hand of those whom you fear, even into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and into the hand of the [av]Chaldeans. 26 I will hurl you and the mother who gave you birth into another country where you were not born, and there you will die. 27 But as for the land to which they long to return, they will not return to it.
30 Thus says the Lord,
‘Write this man [Coniah] down as childless,
The Coming Messiah: the Righteous Branch
23 “Woe to the shepherds (civil leaders, rulers) who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” says the Lord. 2 Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, in regard to the shepherds who care for and feed My people: “You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; hear this, I am about to visit and attend to you for the evil of your deeds,” says the Lord. 3 “Then I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries to which I have driven them and bring them back to their folds and pastures; and they will be fruitful and multiply. 4 I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them. And they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing,” says the Lord.
7 “Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when they will no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ 8 but [they will say], ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries to which I had driven them.’ Then they will live in their own land.”
False Prophets Denounced
15 Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts in regard to the prophets,
‘Behold, I am going to feed them [the bitterness of] wormwood
25 “I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in My Name, saying, ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed [visions when on my bed at night].’ 26 How long [shall this state of affairs continue]? Is there anything in the hearts of the prophets who prophesy falsehood, even these prophets of the deception of their own heart, 27 who think that they can make My people forget My Name by their [contrived] dreams which each one tells another, just as their fathers forgot My Name because of Baal? 28 The prophet who has a dream may tell his dream; but he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat [for nourishment]?” says the Lord. 29 “Is not My word like fire [that consumes all that cannot endure the test]?” says the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks the [most stubborn] rock [in pieces]? 30 Therefore behold (hear this), I am against the [counterfeit] prophets,” says the Lord, “[I am descending on them with punishment, these prophets] who steal My words from one another [imitating the words of the true prophets]. 31 Hear this, I am against the prophets,” says the Lord, “who use their [own deceitful] tongues and say, ‘Thus says the Lord.’ 32 Hear this, I am against those who have prophesied false and made-up dreams,” says the Lord, “and have told them and have made My people err and go astray by their lies and by their reckless boasting; yet I did not send them or command them nor do they benefit and enhance [the life of] these people in the slightest way,” says the Lord.
33 “Now when this people or a prophet or a priest asks you [in jest], ‘What is the [aw]oracle of the Lord [the burden to be lifted up and carried]?’ Then you shall say to them, ‘What oracle [besides the one that declares you people to be the burden]!’ The Lord says, ‘I will unburden Myself and I will abandon you.’ 34 And as for the prophet, the priest, or [any of] the people, whoever says, ‘The oracle of the Lord,’ [as if he knows God’s will], I will punish that man and his household. 35 [For the future, in speaking of the words of the Lord] thus each of you shall say to his neighbor and to his brother, ‘What has the Lord answered?’ or, ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ 36 For you will no longer remember the oracle of the Lord, because every man’s own word will become the oracle, [for as they mockingly call all prophecies oracles, whether good or bad, so will it prove to be to them; God will take them at their own word]; and you have perverted the words [not of a lifeless idol, but] of the living God, the Lord of hosts, our God. 37 Thus you will [reverently] say to the prophet, ‘What has the Lord answered you?’ and, ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ 38 For if you say, ‘The oracle of the Lord!’ surely thus says the Lord, ‘Because you said this word, “The oracle of the Lord!” when I have also sent to you, saying, “You shall not say, ‘The oracle of the Lord!’”’ 39 Therefore behold, I, even I, will assuredly forget you and send you away from My presence, you and the city (Jerusalem) which I gave to you and to your fathers. 40 And I will bring an everlasting disgrace on you and a perpetual humiliation (shame) which will not be forgotten.”
Baskets of Figs and the Returnees
24 After Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had taken Jeconiah [who was also called Coniah and Jehoiachin] the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and the princes of Judah [along] with the craftsmen and smiths into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, the Lord showed me [in a vision] two baskets of figs set before the temple of the Lord. 2 One basket had very good figs, like the figs that are the first to ripen; but the other basket had very bad figs, so rotten that they could not be eaten. 3 Then the Lord said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” And I said, “Figs, the good figs, very good; and the bad figs, very bad, so rotten that they cannot be eaten.”
4 Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 5 “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Like these good figs, so I will regard as good the captives of Judah, whom I have sent from this place into the land of the Chaldeans. 6 For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them again to this land; and I will build them up and not overwhelm them, and I will plant them and not uproot them. 7 I will give them a heart to know Me, [understanding fully] that I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.
8 ‘And as for the bad figs, which are so rotten that they cannot be eaten,’ surely thus says the Lord, ‘so I will abandon Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes, and the remnant of Jerusalem who remain in this land and those who live in the land of Egypt. 9 I will make them a focus of ridicule and disappointment [tossed back and forth] among all the kingdoms of the earth, a [notorious] disgrace, a byword, a taunt and a curse in all places where I will scatter them. 10 I will send the sword, famine and virulent disease among them until they are consumed from the land which I gave to them and to their fathers.’”
Prophecy of the Captivity
25 The word that came to Jeremiah in regard to all the people of Judah in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah (that was the first year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), 2 which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to all the people of Judah and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, 3 “For these twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, even to this day—the word of the Lord has come to me and I have spoken to you over and over again, but you have not listened. 4 Although the Lord has persistently sent to you all His servants the prophets, you have not listened nor [even] inclined your ear to hear [His message], 5 saying, ‘Turn now everyone from his evil way and the evil of your actions [that you may not forfeit the right to] live in the land that the Lord has given to you and your forefathers forever and ever; 6 and do not go after other gods to serve them and to worship them, and do not provoke Me to anger with the work of your hands, and I will do you no harm.’ 7 Yet you have not listened to Me,” says the Lord, “so that you have provoked Me to anger with the work (idols) of your hands to your own harm.
8 “Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Because you have not obeyed My words, 9 behold (hear this), I will send for all the families of the north,’ says the Lord, ‘and I will send for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant [to enact My plan], and I will bring them against this land and against its inhabitants and against all these surrounding nations; and I will utterly destroy them and make them a horror and a hissing [that is, an object of warning and ridicule] and an everlasting desolation. 10 Moreover, I will take from them the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones [grinding meal] and the light of the lamp [to light the night]. 11 This whole land will be a waste and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon [ax]seventy years.
Babylon Will Be Judged
12 ‘Then when seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans (Babylonia),’ says the Lord, ‘for their wickedness, and will make the land [of the Chaldeans] a perpetual waste. 13 I will bring on that land all My words which I have pronounced against it, all that is written in this book which Jeremiah has prophesied against all the nations. 14 (For many nations and great kings will make slaves of them, even the Chaldeans [who enslaved other nations]; and I will repay [all of] them according to their deeds and according to the work of their [own] hands.)’”
15 For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, to me, “Take this cup of the wine of wrath from My hand and cause all the nations to whom I send you to drink it. 16 They will drink and stagger and go mad because of the sword that I will send among them.”
17 Then I (Jeremiah) took the cup from the Lord’s hand and made all the nations to whom the Lord had sent me drink it: 18 Jerusalem and the cities of Judah [being most guilty because their privileges were greatest], its kings and princes, to make them a horror, a ruin, a hissing and a curse, as it is to this day; 19 Pharaoh king of Egypt, his servants, his princes, all his people, 20 and all the foreign (mixed) population, all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines (and [their cities of] Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod); 21 Edom, Moab, and the children of Ammon; 22 all the kings of Tyre, all the kings of Sidon, and the kings of the islands and the coastlands across the [Mediterranean] Sea; 23 Dedan, Tema, Buz [the neighboring tribes north of Arabia], and all who clip off the side-growth of their hair; 24 all the kings of Arabia and all the kings of the foreign population who live in the desert; 25 all the kings of Zimri, all the kings of Elam (Persia), and all the kings of Media; 26 all the kings of the north, far and near, one after another—and all the kingdoms of the world which are on the face of the earth. And the king of Sheshach (Babylon) shall drink after them.
27 “Then you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Drink, be drunk, vomit, and fall to rise no more because of the sword which I will send among you.”’ 28 And if they refuse to take the cup from your hand to drink, then you will say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “You shall surely drink! 29 For behold, I am beginning to work disaster in the city which is called by My Name, and shall you go unpunished? You will not be exempt from punishment, for I am calling for a sword against all the inhabitants of the earth,” says the Lord of hosts.’
30 “Therefore prophesy all these words against them and say to them:
‘The Lord will roar from on high
33 “And those slain by the Lord on that day will be from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth. They will not be lamented (mourned over with expressions of grief) or gathered or buried; they will be like dung on the ground.
Cities of Judah Warned
26 In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came from the Lord, saying, 2 “Thus says the Lord, ‘Stand in the court of the Lord’s house [Jeremiah], and speak to all [the people of] the cities of Judah who have come to worship in the Lord’s house all the words that I have commanded you to speak to them. Do not omit a word! 3 It may be that they will listen and everyone will turn from his wickedness, so that I may relent and reverse [My decision concerning] the disaster which I am planning to do to them because of their malevolent deeds.’ 4 And you will say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, “If you will not listen to Me and obey My law which I have set before you, 5 and listen and follow [carefully] the words of My servants the prophets, whom I have been sending to you repeatedly—though you have not listened— 6 then I will make this house [the temple] like [ay]Shiloh, and I will make this city [subject to] the curse of all nations of the earth [because it will be so vile in their sight].”’”
A Plot to Murder Jeremiah
7 The priests and the [false] prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the Lord. 8 Now when Jeremiah finished proclaiming everything that the Lord had commanded him to speak to all the people, the priests and the [false] prophets and all the people seized him, saying, “You must die! 9 Why have you prophesied in the name of the Lord saying, ‘This house will be like Shiloh [after the ark of the Lord had been taken by our enemies] and this city [Jerusalem] will be desolate, without inhabitant’?” And all the people were gathered around Jeremiah in the [outer area of the] house of the Lord.
10 When the [az]princes (court officials) of Judah heard these things, they came up from the king’s house to the house of the Lord and sat in the entrance of the New Gate of the house of the Lord. 11 Then the priests and the [false] prophets said to the princes and to all the people, “This man is deserving of death, for he has prophesied against this city as you have heard with your own ears.”
12 Then Jeremiah spoke to all the princes and to all the people, saying, “The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that you have heard. 13 Therefore, now change your ways and your deeds and obey the voice of the Lord your God; then the Lord will relent and reverse His decision concerning the misfortune which He has pronounced against you. 14 As for me, behold, I am in your hands; do with me as seems good and suitable to you. 15 But know for certain that if you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood on yourselves and on this city and on its inhabitants, for in truth the Lord has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.”
Jeremiah Is Spared
16 Then the princes and all the people said to the priests and to the [false] prophets, “This man is not deserving of death, for he has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.” 17 Then some of the elders of the land stood up and spoke to all the assembly of the people, saying, 18 “Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah; and he spoke to all the people of Judah, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts,
“Zion will be [ba]plowed like a field,
19 “Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put Micah to death? Did he not [reverently] fear the Lord and entreat the favor of the Lord? And did not the Lord relent and reverse His decision concerning the misfortune which He had pronounced against them? But [here] we are [thinking of] committing a great evil against ourselves.”
20 And there was also a man who prophesied in the name of the Lord, Uriah the son of Shemaiah of Kiriath-jearim, who prophesied against this city and against this land in words similar to all those of Jeremiah. 21 And when Jehoiakim the king, with all his mighty men and all the princes, heard his words, the king sought to put Uriah to death; but when Uriah heard of it, he was afraid and fled and escaped to Egypt. 22 Then Jehoiakim the king sent men to Egypt: Elnathan the son of Achbor and certain [other] men with him [went] to Egypt. 23 And they brought Uriah [God’s spokesman] from Egypt and led him to King Jehoiakim, who executed him with a sword and threw his dead body among the graves of the common people.
24 But the hand of Ahikam the son of Shaphan was with Jeremiah, so that he was not given into the hands of the people to put him to death.
The Nations to Submit to Nebuchadnezzar
27 In the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 Thus says the Lord to me, “Make for yourself bonds and yokes and put them on your neck, 3 and send word to the king of Edom, to the king of Moab, to the king of the sons of Ammon, to the king of Tyre, and to the king of Sidon by the messengers who come to Jerusalem to Zedekiah king of Judah. 4 Command them to go to their masters, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, you shall say this to your masters: 5 “I have made the earth, the men and the animals that are on the face of the earth by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and I will give it to whomever pleases Me. 6 Now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant and instrument, and I have also given the wild animals of the field to serve him. 7 All nations shall serve him and his son and his grandson until the [appointed] time [of punishment] for his own land comes; then many nations and great kings shall make him their servant.
8 “But any nation or kingdom that will not serve this same Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation I will punish,” says the Lord, “with the sword, with famine and with pestilence (virulent disease), until I have destroyed it by Nebuchadnezzar’s hand. 9 And as for you, do not listen to your [counterfeit] prophets, your diviners, your dreams and dreamers, your soothsayers or your sorcerers, who say to you, ‘You will not serve the king of Babylon.’ 10 For they prophesy a lie to you which will cause you to be removed far from your land; and I will drive you out and you will perish. 11 But the nation which will bow its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him, that nation I will let remain on its own land,” says the Lord, “to cultivate it and live in it.”’”
12 I spoke to Zedekiah king of Judah in the same way, saying, “Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him and his people, and live! 13 Why will you die, you and your people, by the sword, by famine and by virulent disease, as the Lord has spoken to any nation which will not serve the king of Babylon? 14 Do not listen to and believe the words of the [false] prophets who are saying to you, ‘You will not serve the king of Babylon,’ for they prophesy a lie to you; 15 for I have not sent them,” says the Lord, “but they are prophesying falsely in My Name, in order that I may drive you out and that you may perish, you [together] with the [false] prophets who prophesy to you.”
16 Then I said to the priests and to all these people, saying, “Thus says the Lord: Do not listen to the words of your [false] prophets who are prophesying to you, saying, ‘Behold, the articles of the Lord’s house will now shortly be brought [bb]back from Babylon’; for they are prophesying a lie to you. 17 Do not listen to them; serve the king of Babylon, and live! Why should this city become a ruin? 18 But if they are [true] prophets, and if the word of the Lord is [really spoken] by them, let them now entreat the Lord of hosts that the articles which are [still] left in the house of the Lord, in the house of the king of Judah and in Jerusalem may not go to Babylon. 19 For thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the [bronze] [bc]pillars, the [bronze] [bd]Sea, the [bronze] bases [of the ten basins in Solomon’s temple used for washing sacrificial animals], and the rest of the articles that are left in this city (Jerusalem), 20 which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon did not take when he carried [be]Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, along with all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem. 21 Yes, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning the articles which remain in the house of the Lord, in the house of the king of Judah and in Jerusalem, 22 ‘They will be [bf]carried to Babylon and they will be there until the day that I visit them [with My favor],’ says the Lord. ‘Then I will bring them back and restore them to this place.’”
Hananiah’s False Prophecy
28 In the same year, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year and the fifth month, the [false] prophet Hananiah the son of Azzur, who was from Gibeon [one of the priests’ cities], spoke [without godly authority] 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, ‘I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. 3 Within two years I am going to bring back to this place all the articles of the Lord’s house, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place and carried to Babylon. 4 And I will also bring back to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, along with all the exiles from Judah who went to Babylon,’ says the Lord, ‘for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.’”
5 Then the prophet Jeremiah spoke to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who stood in the house of the Lord, 6 and the prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen! May the Lord do so; may the Lord confirm and fulfill your words which you have prophesied to bring back the articles of the Lord’s house and all the captives, from Babylon to this place. 7 Nevertheless, listen now to this word which I am about to speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people! 8 The prophets who were before me and before you from ancient times prophesied against many lands and against great kingdoms, of war and of disaster and of virulent disease. 9 But as for the prophet who [on the contrary] prophesies of peace, when that prophet’s word comes to pass, [only] then will it be known that the Lord has truly sent him.”
10 Then Hananiah the [false] prophet took the yoke off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah and smashed it. 11 Hananiah spoke in the presence of all the people, saying, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Even so within two full years I will break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all the nations.’” Then the prophet Jeremiah went his way.
12 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah [some time] after Hananiah the prophet had broken the yoke off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, saying, 13 “Go and tell Hananiah, ‘The Lord says this, “You have broken yokes of wood, 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 the iron yoke [of servitude] on the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they will serve him. And I have even given him the beasts of the field.”’” 15 Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, “Listen now, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie. 16 Therefore thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I am about to send you away from the face of the earth. This year you will die, because you have spoken and counseled rebellion against the Lord.’”
17 So Hananiah the [false] prophet died [two months later], the same year, in the seventh month.
Message to the Exiles
29 Now these are the words of the letter which Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the rest of the elders in exile and to the priests, the prophets and all the people whom [bg]Nebuchadnezzar had taken into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 (This was after King Jeconiah and the queen mother, the eunuchs, the princes (court officials) of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen and the smiths had departed from Jerusalem.) 3 The letter was hand-carried by 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 “So says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the captives whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, 5 ‘Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. 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 [in number]. 7 Seek peace and well-being for the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its peace (well-being) you will have peace.’ 8 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Do not let your [false] prophets who are among you and your diviners deceive you; pay no attention and attach no significance to the dreams which they dream or to yours, 9 for they prophesy falsely to you in My Name. I have not sent them,’ says the Lord.
10 “For thus says the Lord, ‘When seventy years [of exile] have been completed for Babylon, I will visit (inspect) you and keep My good promise to you, to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call on Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear [your voice] and I will listen to you. 13 Then [with a deep longing] you will seek Me and require Me [as a vital necessity] and [you will] find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,’ says the Lord, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and I will [free you and] gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ says the Lord, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’
15 “Because you [who have remained in Jerusalem] have said, ‘The Lord has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,’ 16 thus says the Lord concerning the king who sits on the throne of David, and concerning all the people who live in this city, your brothers (fellow people of Judah) who did not go with you into captivity— 17 thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Behold (listen very carefully), I am sending the sword, famine, and virulent disease (pestilence) on them, and I will make them like rotten figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten. 18 I will pursue them with the sword, with famine and with virulent disease; and I will make them a terror (warning) to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, a horror, a hissing, and a disgrace among all the nations to which I have driven them, 19 because they have not listened to and honored My words,’ says the Lord, ‘which I sent to them again and again by My servants the prophets. Moreover, you [exiles] did not listen [either],’ says the Lord. 20 Hear, therefore, the word of the Lord, all you exiles whom I have sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon.
21 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning Ahab the son of Kolaiah and concerning Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, who are prophesying lies to you in My Name, ‘Behold, I will hand them over to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will slaughter them before your eyes [yes, all the false prophets in Babylon whom you follow shall die]! 22 Because of them, this curse shall be taken up and used by all the exiles from Judah who are in Babylon, saying, “May the Lord make you like Zedekiah and like Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire, 23 because they have acted foolishly in Israel and have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives and in My Name have spoken false and concocted words, which I did not command them. I am He who knows and I am a witness,” says the Lord.’”
24 Also you shall speak to Shemaiah of Nehelam [among the exiles in Babylon], saying, 25 “Thus says the Lord 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 “The Lord has made you [Zephaniah] priest instead of Jehoiada the [deputy] priest, to be the overseer in the house of the Lord over every madman who prophesies, to put him in the stocks and in the iron collar, 27 now therefore [continued the letter from Shemaiah in Babylon to Zephaniah in Jerusalem], why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of Anathoth, who prophesies to you? 28 For he has sent word to us in Babylon, saying, ‘This captivity [of yours] will be long; build houses and live in them and plant gardens and eat their fruit.’”’”
29 Zephaniah the priest read this letter to Jeremiah the prophet. 30 Then came the word of the Lord to Jeremiah, saying, 31 “Send [this message] to all the exiles, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord concerning Shemaiah of Nehelam, “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 the Lord, “Behold, I am about to punish Shemaiah of Nehelam and his descendants. He will not have anyone [born] to live among this people, nor will he see the good that I am about to do to My people,” says the Lord, “because he has spoken and preached rebellion against the Lord.”’”
Freedom from Captivity Promised
30 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Write in a book all the words which I have spoken to you. 3 For behold (hear this), the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah,’ says the Lord, ‘and I will return them to the land that I gave to their forefathers and they will take possession of it.’”
4 Now these are the words the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah:
5 “Thus says the Lord,
‘We have heard a terrified voice
8 ‘It shall come about on that day,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘that I will break the yoke off your neck and I will tear off your bonds and force apart your shackles; and strangers will no longer make slaves of the people [of Israel]. 9 But they shall serve the Lord their God and [the descendant of] David their King, whom I will raise up for them.
Restoration of Jacob
Israel’s Mourning Turned to Joy
31 “At that time,” says the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.”
16 Thus says the Lord,
“Restrain your voice from weeping
23 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Once more they will speak these words in the land of Judah (the Southern Kingdom) and in her cities when I restore their fortunes and release them from exile,
‘The Lord bless you, O habitation of justice and righteousness,
24 And [the people of] Judah and all its cities will live there together—the farmer and they who wander about with flocks. 25 For I [fully] satisfy the weary soul, and I replenish every languishing and sorrowful person.” 26 At this I (Jeremiah) awoke and looked, and my [trancelike] sleep was sweet [in the assurance it gave] to me.
A New Covenant
27 “Behold (listen carefully), the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and with the seed of beast. 28 It will be that as I have watched over them to uproot and to break down, to overthrow, destroy, and afflict with disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant [with good],” says the Lord.
30 But everyone will die [only] for his own wickedness; every man who eats sour grapes—his [own] teeth shall be set on edge.
31 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the [bm]house of Israel (the Northern Kingdom) and with the house of Judah (the Southern Kingdom), 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” says the Lord. 33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” says the Lord, “I will put My law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. 34 And each man will no longer teach his neighbor and his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me [through personal experience], from the least of them to the greatest,” says the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness, and I will no longer remember their sin.”
37 Thus says the Lord,
“If the heavens above can be measured
38 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when the city [of Jerusalem] will be rebuilt for the Lord from the [bn]Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39 The measuring line will go out farther straight ahead to the hill Gareb; then it will turn to [bo]Goah. 40 And the whole valley (Hinnom) of the dead bodies and [the hill] of the ashes [long dumped there from the temple sacrifices], and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be holy to the Lord. It (the city) will not be uprooted or overthrown anymore to the end of the age.”
32 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of [bp]Nebuchadnezzar. 2 Now at that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the guard, which was in the house of the king of Judah. 3 For Zedekiah [the last] king of Judah had locked him up, saying, “Why do you prophesy [disaster] and say, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am giving this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it; 4 and Zedekiah king of Judah will not escape from the hand of the [bq]Chaldeans, but he will surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will speak with him face to face and see him eye to eye; 5 and he will lead Zedekiah to Babylon, and he will be there until I visit him [for evaluation and judgment],” says the Lord. “If you fight against the Chaldeans, you will not succeed”’?”
6 And Jeremiah [answered King Zedekiah and] said, “The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 7 ‘Behold (listen carefully), Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle is coming to you, saying, “Buy my field that is in [br]Anathoth, for you have the right of redemption to buy it [in accordance with the law].”’ 8 Then Hanamel my uncle’s son came to me in the court of the guard in accordance with the word of the Lord, and he said to me, ‘Please buy my field that is at Anathoth, which is in the land of Benjamin, for you have the right of inheritance and the redemption is yours; buy it for yourself.’ Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord.
9 “I bought the field that was at Anathoth from Hanamel my uncle’s son, and weighed out the money for him, seventeen shekels of silver. 10 I signed the deed and sealed it, and called in witnesses, and weighed out the money on the scales. 11 So I took the deeds of the purchase, both the sealed copy containing the terms and conditions, and the unsealed copy; 12 and I gave the purchase deed to Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, in the sight of Hanamel my uncle’s son and in sight of the witnesses who signed the purchase deed, in the presence of all the Jews who were sitting in the court of the guard. 13 And I commanded Baruch in their presence, saying, 14 ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Take these deeds, both this purchase deed which is sealed and this unsealed deed, and put them in an earthen jar, that they may last a long time.” 15 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Houses and fields and vineyards will again be purchased in this land.”’
Jeremiah Prays and God Explains
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, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! There is nothing too difficult or too wonderful for You— 18 You who show lovingkindness to thousands, but repay the wickedness (sin, guilt) of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them [that is, calling the children to account for the sins of their fathers], O great and mighty God; the Lord of hosts is His name; 19 great [are You] in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, to reward or repay each one according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds; 20 who set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and even to this day [continues to do so] both in Israel and among mankind; and You have made a name for Yourself, as at this day. 21 You brought Your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders, with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm and with great terror; 22 and gave them this land, which You swore to their forefathers to give them, a land [of plenty] [bs]flowing with milk and honey. 23 They entered and took possession of it, but they did not obey Your voice or walk in Your law; they have done nothing of all that You commanded them to do. Therefore You have caused all this disaster and suffering to come upon them. 24 See the siege ramps [of mounded earth that the enemy has built against the walls]; they have come up to the city to capture it. And the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans [of Babylon] who fight against it, because of the sword, the famine and the virulent disease [that have overcome the people]. What You have spoken has come to pass, and behold, You see it. 25 Yet, O Lord God, You said to me, “Buy the field with money and get witnesses,” even though the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans.’”
26 Then came the word of the Lord to Jeremiah, saying, 27 “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there anything too difficult for Me?” 28 Therefore thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am about to give this city into the hand of the Chaldeans and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will take it. 29 The Chaldeans who are fighting against this city will come in and set this city on fire and burn it, along with the houses on whose roofs incense has been offered to Baal and drink offerings have been poured out to other gods to provoke Me to anger. 30 For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have done only evil in My sight from their youth; for the children of Israel have been provoking Me to anger by the [idols that are the] work of their hands,” says the Lord. 31 “From the day that they built it [during the reign of [bt]Solomon], even to this day, this city has been such a provocation of My anger and My wrath, that I must remove it from My sight, 32 because of all the evil of the children of Israel and of the children of Judah which they have done to provoke Me to anger—they, their kings, their princes, their priests, their prophets, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 33 They have turned their back to Me and not their face; though I taught them repeatedly, yet they would not listen and receive instruction. 34 But they put their detestable things (idols) in the house which is called by My [bu]Name, to defile it. 35 They built the high places [for worship] of Baal in the Valley of Ben-hinnom (son of Hinnom) to make their sons and their daughters pass through the fire to [worship and honor] Molech—which I had not commanded them nor had it entered My mind that they should do this repulsive thing, to cause Judah to sin.
36 “Now therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel concerning this city of which you say, ‘It is given into the hand of the king of Babylon by sword and by famine and by virulent disease.’ 37 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries to which I have driven them in My anger, in My wrath and in great indignation; and I will bring them back to this place and make them live in safety. 38 They will be My people, and I will be their God; 39 and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may [reverently] fear Me forever, for their own good and for the good of their children after them. 40 I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will do them good and not turn away from them; and I will put in their heart a fear and reverential awe of Me, so that they will not turn away from Me. 41 I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart and with all My soul. 42 For thus says the Lord, ‘Just as I have brought all this great disaster on this people, so I am going to bring on them all the good that I am promising them. 43 Fields will be bought in this land of which you say, “It is desolate, without man or animal; it is given into the hands of the Chaldeans.” 44 People will buy fields for money, sign deeds, seal them, and call in witnesses in the land of Benjamin, in the places around Jerusalem, in the cities of Judah, in the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the lowland, and in the cities of the South (the Negev); for I will restore their fortunes and release them from exile,’ says the Lord.”
33 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the second time, while he was still confined in the court of the guard, saying, 2 “Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it—the Lord is His name, 3 ‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and tell you [and even show you] great and mighty things, [things which have been confined and hidden], which you do not know and understand and cannot distinguish.’ 4 For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city and the houses of the kings of Judah which are torn down to make a defense against the siege ramps and against the sword, 5 ‘While they (the besieged Jews) are coming to fight against the Chaldeans and to fill the houses with the dead bodies of men whom I have slain in My anger and in My wrath, for I have hidden My face [in disgust] from this city because of all their wickedness. 6 Behold, [in the restored Jerusalem] I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them; and I will reveal to them an abundance of peace (prosperity, security, stability) and truth. 7 I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel and will rebuild them as they were at first. 8 I will cleanse them from all their wickedness (guilt) by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon (forgive) all their sins by which they rebelled against Me. 9 Jerusalem will be to Me a name of joy, praise and glory before all the nations of the earth which will hear of all the good that I do for it, and they shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the peace (prosperity, security, stability) that I provide for it.’
10 “Thus says the Lord, ‘Yet again there will be heard in this place of which you say, “It is a [desolate] waste, without man and without animal”—even in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man and without inhabitant and without animal— 11 the [sound of the] voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the [song-filled] voice of those who say,
“Give praise and thanks to the Lord of hosts,
and of those who bring a thank offering into the house of the Lord. For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were at first,’ says the Lord.
12 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘There will again be in this desolate place—[a place] without man or animal—and in all its cities, pastures for shepherds who rest their flocks. 13 In the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the lowland, in the cities of the South (the Negev), in the land of Benjamin, in the places around Jerusalem and in the cities of Judah, the flocks will again pass under the hand of the one who counts them,’ says the Lord.
The Davidic Kingdom
14 ‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good word and promise which I have made regarding the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He (the Messiah) shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth. 16 In those days Judah will be saved and [the people of] Jerusalem will live in safety; and this is the name by which she will be called: the Lord Our Righteousness (Justice).’ 17 For thus says the Lord, ‘David shall never lack a man (descendant) to sit on the throne of the house of Israel; 18 and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man (descendant) to offer burnt offerings before Me and to burn grain offerings and to prepare sacrifices all day long.’”
19 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, 20 “Thus says the Lord, ‘If you can break My covenant for the day and My covenant for the night, so that day and night do not take place at their appointed times, 21 then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant so that he will not have a son to reign on his throne, and [My covenant may also be broken] with the Levitical priests, My ministers. 22 As the host of [the stars of] heaven cannot be counted and the sand of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me.’”
23 And the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, 24 “Have you not noticed what this people have spoken, saying, ‘The two families [Israel the northern kingdom, and Judah the southern kingdom] which the Lord chose, He has rejected’? Thus they despise My [chosen] people, no longer are they [considered] as a nation in their sight. 25 Thus says the Lord, ‘If My covenant with day and night does not stand, and if I have not established the fixed patterns of heaven and earth, [the whole order of nature,] 26 then I would [also] reject the descendants of Jacob and David My servant, not taking from his descendants rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But I will restore their fortunes, and will have mercy on them.’”
A Prophecy against Zedekiah
34 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army, with all the kingdoms of the earth that were under his sovereignty and all the peoples, were fighting against Jerusalem and against all of its cities: 2 “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah and tell him: “Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I am giving this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will set it on fire and burn it down. 3 You will not escape from his hand, for you will definitely be captured and handed over to him; you will see the king of Babylon eye to eye, and he will speak with you face to face; and you will go to Babylon.’”’ 4 Yet hear the word of the Lord, O Zedekiah king of Judah! Thus says the Lord concerning you, ‘You will not die by the sword. 5 You will die in peace; and as spices were burned for [the memory and honor of] your fathers, the former kings who reigned before you, so shall a [ceremonial] burning be made for you; and people will lament (grieve) for you, saying, “Alas, lord (master)!”’ For I have spoken the word,” says the Lord.
6 Then Jeremiah the prophet spoke all these words to Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem 7 when the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and against all the remaining cities of Judah, against Lachish and Azekah, for these were the [only] fortified cities among the cities of Judah.
8 The word came to Jeremiah from the Lord after King Zedekiah had made a covenant (solemn pledge) with all the [Hebrew] people who were [slaves] in Jerusalem to proclaim liberty to them: 9 that every man should let his Hebrew slaves, male and female, go free, so that no one should make a slave of a Jew, his brother. 10 So all the princes and all the people who had entered into the covenant agreed that everyone would let his male servant and his female servant go free, and that no one would keep them in bondage any longer; they obeyed, and set them free. 11 But afterward they backed out [of the covenant] and made the male servants and the female servants whom they had set free return [to them], and brought the male servants and the female servants again into servitude.
12 Therefore the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 13 “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I made a covenant (solemn pledge) with your forefathers in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, saying, 14 “At the end of seven years each of you shall set free his Hebrew brother who has sold himself [into servitude] or who has been sold to you and has served you six years, you shall release him from [serving] you; but your forefathers did not listen [submissively] to Me or obey Me. 15 So then you recently turned and repented, doing what was right in My sight, each man proclaiming release [from servitude] to his countryman [who was his bond servant]; and you had made a covenant before Me in the house which is called by My [bv]Name. 16 Yet you backed out [of the covenant] and profaned My Name, and each man took back his servants, male and female, whom had been set free in accordance with their desire, and you brought them into servitude [again] to be your male servants and your female servants.”’
17 “Therefore says the Lord, ‘You have not obeyed Me; you have not proclaimed liberty to your brother and your countryman. Behold (listen very carefully), I am proclaiming liberty to you—[liberty to be put] to the sword, [liberty] to [be ravaged by] the virulent disease, and [liberty] to [be decimated by] famine,’ says the Lord; ‘and I will make you a horror and a warning to all the kingdoms of the earth. 18 The men who have violated My covenant, who have not kept the terms of the solemn pledge which they made before Me when they split the [sacrificial] calf in half, and then afterwards walked between its separated pieces [sealing their pledge to Me by placing a curse on themselves should they violate the covenant—those men I will make like the calf]! 19 The princes of Judah, the princes of Jerusalem, the high officials, the priests, and all the people of the land who passed between the parts of the calf, 20 I will give into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their lives. And [like the body of the calf] their dead bodies will be food for the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth. 21 Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes I will place into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their life, and into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon which has withdrawn from you. 22 Behold, I am going to command [the Chaldeans who rule Babylon],’ says the Lord, ‘and I will bring them back to this city; and they will fight against it and take it and set it on fire. I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without inhabitant.’”
The Rechabites’ Obedience
35 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah: 2 “Go to the house of the [bw]Rechabites and speak to them, and bring them into the house of the Lord, into one of the [side] chambers; then give them [who are pledged not to drink wine] some wine to drink.” 3 So I took Jaazaniah the son of Jeremiah, the son of Habazziniah, and his brothers and all his sons and the whole house of the Rechabites, 4 and I brought them into the house of the Lord, into the chamber of the sons of Hanan the son of Igdaliah, the man of God, which was near the chamber of the princes, above the chamber of Maaseiah the son of Shallum the doorkeeper. 5 Then I set before the men of the house of the Rechabites pitchers full of wine, and cups, and I said to them, “Drink wine.” 6 But they said, “We will not drink wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us: ‘You shall not drink wine, neither you nor your sons, forever. 7 Nor shall you build a house or sow seed or plant a vineyard or own one; but you shall live in tents all your days, that you may live many days in the land where you are sojourners (temporary residents).’ 8 We have obeyed the words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he commanded us, in all our days we have never drunk wine, nor have our wives, our sons, or our daughters, 9 nor have we built ourselves houses to live in; nor do we have vineyards or fields or seed. 10 We have lived only in tents, and have obeyed and done [everything] according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us. 11 But when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against the land, we said, ‘Come and let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans [who rule Babylon] and for fear of the army of the Arameans.’ So we have lived in Jerusalem.”
12 Then came the word of the Lord to Jeremiah, saying, 13 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Go and say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, “Will you not receive instruction by listening to My words and honoring them?” says the Lord. 14 “The command which Jonadab the son of Rechab gave to his sons not to drink wine has been observed [as a custom for more than two hundred years]. To this day they do not drink wine, for they have obeyed their father’s command. But I have repeatedly spoken to you, yet you have not listened to Me. 15 I have also sent to you all My servants the prophets, sending them repeatedly, saying, ‘Let every one of you turn now from his evil way and alter your behavior, and do not follow other gods to worship and serve them; and then you will live in the land which I have given to you and to your forefathers. But you have not submitted or listened to Me. 16 Indeed, the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have observed the command of their father which he gave them, but this people has not listened to Me.’”’ 17 Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Behold (hear this), I am bringing on Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the disaster that I have pronounced against them, because I have spoken to them, but they have not listened, and I have called to them, but they have not answered.’”
18 Then Jeremiah said to the house of the Rechabites, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father and have kept all his commands and have done according to all that he commanded you, 19 therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Jonadab the son of Rechab shall never fail to have a man (descendant) to stand before Me always.”’”
Jeremiah’s Scroll Read in the Temple
36 In the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 2 “Take a scroll [of parchment] and write on it all the words which I have spoken to you concerning Israel and Judah, and all the nations, from the day I [first] spoke to you in the days of [King] Josiah until this day. 3 It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the disaster which I plan to bring on them, so that each one will turn from his evil way, that I may forgive their wickedness and their sin.”
4 Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah, and Baruch wrote on the scroll of the book all the words which Jeremiah dictated, [words] which the Lord had spoken to him. 5 Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, “I am [in hiding, virtually] restrained; I cannot go into the house of the Lord. 6 So you go to the Lord’s house on a day of fasting and read from the scroll the words of the Lord to the people which you have written as I dictated. And also you shall read them to all the people of Judah who come from their cities. 7 It may be that their supplication [for mercy] will come before the Lord, and everyone will turn from his evil way, for great is the anger and the wrath that the Lord has pronounced against this people.” 8 Baruch the son of Neriah did everything that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading from [Jeremiah’s scroll] the words of the Lord in the Lord’s house.
9 Now in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, in the ninth month, a fast was proclaimed before the Lord for all the people in Jerusalem and all the people who came to Jerusalem from the cities of Judah. 10 Then Baruch read to all the people the words of Jeremiah from the scroll of the book in the house of the Lord, in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the scribe, in the upper court, at the entry of the New Gate of the Lord’s house.
11 When Micaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, had heard all the words of the Lord from the scroll, 12 he went down to the king’s house, into the scribe’s chamber; and behold, all the princes were sitting there: Elishama the scribe, Delaiah the son of Shemaiah, Elnathan the son of Achbor, Gemariah the son of Shaphan, Zedekiah the son of Hananiah, and all the [other] princes. 13 Then Micaiah declared to them all the words that he had heard when Baruch read from the scroll to all the people. 14 Therefore all the princes sent Jehudi the son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, to Baruch, saying, “Take in your hand the scroll from which you have read to the people and come [to us].” So Baruch the son of Neriah took the scroll in his hand and went to them. 15 And they said to him, “Sit down now and read it to us.” So Baruch read it to them. 16 Now when they had heard all the words, they turned one to another in fear and said to Baruch, “We must surely report all these words to the king.” 17 And they asked Baruch, “Tell us now, how did you write all these words? At his (Jeremiah’s) dictation?” 18 Then Baruch answered them, “He dictated all these words to me, and I wrote them with ink on the scroll.” 19 Then the princes said to Baruch, “Go and hide, you and Jeremiah, and do not let anyone know where you are.”
The Scroll Is Burned
20 Then they went into the court to the king, but they [first] put the scroll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe; then they reported all the words to the king. 21 So the king sent Jehudi to get the scroll, and he took it out of the chamber of Elishama the scribe. And Jehudi read it to the king and all the princes who stood beside the king. 22 Now it was the ninth month, and the king was sitting in the winter house, with a fire burning there in the brazier before him. 23 And after Jehudi had read three or four columns [of the scroll], King Jehoiakim would cut off that portion with a scribe’s knife and throw it into the fire that was in the brazier, until the [entire] scroll was consumed by the fire. 24 Yet the king and all his servants who heard all these words were not afraid, nor did they tear their clothes. 25 Even though Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah pleaded with the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them. 26 And the king commanded Jerahmeel the king’s son, Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel to seize Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet, but the Lord hid them.
The Scroll Is Replaced
27 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah after the king had burned the scroll containing the words which Baruch had written at the dictation of Jeremiah: 28 “Take another scroll and write on it all the former words that were on the first scroll which Jehoiakim the king of Judah burned. 29 And concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah you shall say, ‘Thus says the Lord, “You have burned this scroll, saying, ‘Why have you written on it that the king of Babylon will certainly come and destroy this land, and will cut off man and beast from it?’” 30 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah, “[bx]He shall have no heir to sit on the throne of David, and his dead body shall be thrown out to the heat of the day and to the frost of the night. 31 I will also punish him and his descendants and his servants for their wickedness, and I will bring on them and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the men of Judah all the destruction that I have declared against them—but they would not listen.”’”
32 Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah, who wrote on it at the dictation of Jeremiah all the words of the scroll which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire; and many similar words were added to them.
Jeremiah Warns against Trust in Pharaoh
37 Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made Zedekiah the son of Josiah king in the land of Judah so he reigned as king instead of Coniah (also called Jeconiah and Jehoiachin) the son of Jehoiakim. 2 But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land listened to the words of the Lord which He spoke through the prophet Jeremiah.
3 Yet King Zedekiah sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah [along] with Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “Please pray [now] to the Lord our God for us.” 4 Now Jeremiah was coming and going among the people, for they had not [yet] put him in prison. 5 Meanwhile, Pharaoh’s army had set out from Egypt; and when the Chaldeans who were besieging Jerusalem heard the news about them, they withdrew from Jerusalem.
6 Then the word of the Lord came to the prophet Jeremiah: 7 “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘This is what you are to say to the king of Judah, who sent you to Me to inquire of Me: “Behold, Pharaoh’s army, which has come out to help you, will return to Egypt, to their own land. 8 And the Chaldeans [of Babylon] will come again and fight against this city, and they will capture it and set it on fire.”’ 9 Thus says the Lord, ‘Do not deceive yourselves, saying, “The Chaldeans will certainly stay away from us,” for they will not stay away. 10 For even if you had defeated the whole army of the Chaldeans who fight against you, and there remained only the wounded men among them, yet they would rise up, every man confined in his tent, and burn down this city with fire.’”
11 Now it happened when the army of the Chaldeans departed from Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh’s [approaching] army, 12 that Jeremiah left Jerusalem [during the withdrawal of the Chaldean invaders] to go to [Anathoth, his hometown, in] the land of Benjamin to take possession of [the title to] the land [which he had purchased] there among the people. 13 When he was at the Gate of Benjamin, a captain of the guard whose name was Irijah, the son of Shelemiah the son of Hananiah was there; and he seized and arrested Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “You are deserting to join the Chaldeans [of Babylon]!” 14 But Jeremiah said, “That is a lie! I am not deserting to join the Chaldeans.” But the guard would not listen to him. So Irijah took Jeremiah and brought him to the princes (court officials). 15 The princes were enraged with Jeremiah and beat him and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe—for they had made that the prison. 16 When Jeremiah had come into [by]the vaulted cell in the dungeon and had remained there many days,
17 Zedekiah the king sent and brought him out; and in his palace the king secretly asked him, “Is there any word from the Lord?” And Jeremiah said, “There is!” Then he said, “You will be handed over to the king of Babylon.” 18 Moreover, Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, “In what way have I sinned against you, or against your servants, or against this people, that you have put me in prison? 19 Where then are your prophets who prophesied to you, saying, ‘The king of Babylon will not come against you or against this land?’ 20 Therefore now, please listen, O my lord the king; please let my petition come before you and be acceptable and do not make me return to the house of Jonathan the scribe, that I may not die there.” 21 Then King Zedekiah commanded, and they committed Jeremiah to the court of the guardhouse, and a [round] loaf of bread from the bakers’ street was given to him daily, until all the bread in the city was gone. So Jeremiah remained [imprisoned] in the court of the guardhouse.
Jeremiah Thrown into the Cistern
38 Now Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, and Jucal (also called Jehucal) the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchijah heard the words that Jeremiah was speaking to all the people, saying, 2 “So says the Lord, ‘He who remains in this city will die by the sword, by famine, and by virulent disease (pestilence), but he who goes out to the Chaldeans [of Babylon] will live and have his [own] life as a reward and stay alive.’ 3 Thus says the Lord, ‘This city will certainly be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon and he will take it.’” 4 Therefore the princes (court officials) said to the king, “Please [we implore you] let this man [Jeremiah] be put to death; for [speaking] in this way he discourages and weakens [the will of] the soldiers who remain in this city and he discourages and weakens [the will of] all the people by speaking such words to them; for this man is not seeking the well-being of these people, but rather their harm.” 5 Then King Zedekiah [fearing the princes] said, “Listen, he is in your hand; for the king is in no position to do anything against you.” 6 So they took Jeremiah and threw him into the [bz]cistern of Malchijah the king’s son, which was in the court of the guardhouse; and they let Jeremiah down [into the cistern] with ropes. Now there was no water in the cistern but only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud. 7 Now Ebed-melech the Ethiopian (Cushite), one of the eunuchs who was in the king’s palace, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the cistern, and while the king was sitting in the Gate of Benjamin, 8 Ebed-melech went out of the king’s palace and spoke to the king, saying, 9 “My lord the king, these men have acted wickedly in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet whom they have thrown into the cistern; and he will die [of hunger] where he is because of the famine, for there is no more bread in the city.” 10 Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, “Take thirty men from here with you and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.” 11 So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went into the palace of the king to a place under the storeroom and took from there old rags and worn-out clothes and let them down by ropes into the cistern to Jeremiah. 12 Then Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, “Now put these old rags and worn-out clothes under your armpits, then place the ropes under the padding”; and Jeremiah did so. 13 So they pulled Jeremiah up with the ropes and took him up out of the cistern; and Jeremiah remained in the court of the guardhouse.
14 Then King Zedekiah sent and had Jeremiah the prophet brought to him at the third entrance that is in the house of the Lord. And the king said to Jeremiah, “I am going to ask you something; hide nothing from me.” 15 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “If I tell you, will you not certainly put me to death? Even if I do give you advice, you will not listen to me.” 16 But King Zedekiah swore secretly to Jeremiah, “As the Lord lives, who made our lives, be assured that I will not put you to death or put you into the hand of these men who are seeking your life.”
Interview with Zedekiah
17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “Thus says the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘If you will go out and surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, then you will live and this city will not be burned with fire; and you and your household will live. 18 But if you will not go out to the officers of the king of Babylon, then this city will be given into the hand of the Chaldeans [of Babylon] and they will set it on fire; and you yourself will not escape from their hand.’” 19 Then King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Jews [my former subjects] who have deserted to join the Chaldeans, for the enemy may put me into their hand and they will mock me and abuse me.” 20 But Jeremiah said, “They will not hand you over [to them]. Please obey [the voice of] the Lord [who speaks to you through me] in what I am saying to you. Then it will go well with you and you will live. 21 But if you keep refusing to go out and surrender to them, this is the word [and the vision] which the Lord has shown me: 22 ‘Then behold, all the women who are left in the palace of the king of Judah will be brought out to the officers of the king of Babylon and those women will say [to you, King Zedekiah],
“Your close friends
23 Also, all your wives and your children will be brought out to the Chaldeans; and you yourself will not escape from their hand, but you will be seized by the king of Babylon, and this city [Jerusalem] will be burned down with fire.’”
24 Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Let no man know about this conversation and you will not die. 25 But if the princes (court officials) hear that I have talked with you, and they come to you and say, ‘Tell us now what you said to the king and what he said to you; do not hide it from us and we will not execute you,’ 26 then you are to say to them, ‘I was presenting my [humble] petition and plea to the king so that he would not send me back to Jonathan’s house to die there.’” 27 Then all the princes (court officials) came to Jeremiah and asked him [just what King Zedekiah had anticipated they would ask], and he reported to them in accordance with all that the king had commanded. So they stopped questioning him, since the conversation [with the king] had not been overheard. 28 So Jeremiah remained in the court of the guardhouse until the day that Jerusalem was captured [by the Chaldeans of Babylon].
39 Now regarding the capture of Jerusalem: In the ninth year of [the reign of] Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and besieged it; 2 and in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, they breached the wall and broke into the city. 3 Then all the officials of the king of Babylon came in and sat in the Middle Gate [establishing both military control of the city and their authority to judge the captives]: Nergal-sar-ezer, Samgar-nebu, Sar-sekim the Rab-saris (chief of the eunuchs), and [ca]Nergal-sar-ezer the Rab-mag (chief of the magicians), with all the rest of the officials of the king of Babylon. 4 When Zedekiah the king of Judah and all the men of war saw them, they fled and escaped from the city at night by way of the king’s garden, through the gate between the two walls; and the king went out toward the Arabah (Jordan Valley). 5 But the Chaldean (Babylonian) army pursued them and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. When they had seized him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon at Riblah in the [Aramean] land of Hamath, where he passed sentence on him. 6 Then at Riblah the king of Babylon killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes; the king of Babylon also killed all the nobles of Judah. 7 Moreover, he blinded Zedekiah and bound him with bronze shackles to take him to Babylon. 8 The Chaldeans also burned down the king’s palace and the houses of the people, and they broke down the walls of Jerusalem. 9 Then Nebuzaradan the [chief executioner and] captain of the bodyguard took the rest of the people who remained in the city, along with those who had deserted and surrendered to him, and the rest of the [so-called better class of] people who were left and carried them into exile in Babylon. 10 But Nebuzaradan the [Babylonian] captain of the bodyguard left behind in the land of Judah some of the poor people who had nothing, and gave them vineyards and fields at that time.
11 Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave orders concerning Jeremiah through Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard, saying, 12 “Take him and look after him; do nothing to harm him, but rather deal with him just as he asks of you.” 13 So Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard sent word, along with Nebushazban the Rab-saris (chief of the high officials), and Nergal-sar-ezer the Rab-mag (chief of the magicians), and all the leading officers of the king of Babylon; 14 they even sent and took Jeremiah out of the court of the guardhouse and entrusted him to Gedaliah [a prominent citizen], the son of Ahikam [who had once saved Jeremiah’s life], the son of Shaphan, to take him home [with him to Mizpah]. So Jeremiah [was released and] lived among the people.
15 Now the word of the Lord had come to Jeremiah while he was [still] confined in the court of the guardhouse, saying, 16 “Go and speak to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold, I am about to bring My words [of judgment] against this city through disaster and not for good; and they will take place before you on that day. 17 But I will [cb]protect you [Ebed-melech] on that day,” says the Lord, “and you will not be handed over to the men of whom you are afraid. 18 For I will certainly rescue you; and you will not fall by the sword, but you will have your [own] life as a reward of battle, because you have placed your trust in Me,” says the Lord.’”
Jeremiah Remains in Judah
40 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord after Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard had released him from Ramah, when he had taken him bound in chains among all the captives of Jerusalem and Judah who were being taken as exiles to Babylon. 2 And the captain of the bodyguard had taken Jeremiah and said to him, “The Lord your God promised this disaster on this place. 3 Now the Lord has brought it about and has done just as He promised. Because you [people of Judah] have sinned against the Lord and did not listen to and honor His voice, therefore this thing has happened to you. 4 But now, listen carefully, [because of your innocence] I am freeing you today from the chains which are on your hands. If you would prefer to come with me to Babylon, come, and I will look after you [carefully]; but if you would prefer not to come with me to Babylon, then do not do so. Look, all the land is before you; go wherever it seems good and right (convenient) for you to go.” 5 While Jeremiah was still hesitating, the captain of the bodyguard said, “Go on back then to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has appointed [governor] over the cities of Judah, and stay with him among the people; or else go wherever it seems right for you to go.” So the captain of the bodyguard gave him an allowance of food and a gift and let him go.
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