GOD’S WORD Translation
The Yoke of Babylon Will Be on Judah
27 When Zedekiah, son of King Josiah of Judah, began to rule, the Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah.
2 This is what the Lord said to me: Make ⌞leather⌟ straps and a wooden yoke,[a] and strap the yoke on your neck. 3 Then send messages to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon, with messengers who have come to King Zedekiah of Judah in Jerusalem. 4 Give them an order for their masters: “This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: Say this to your masters, 5 ‘I used my great strength and my powerful arm to make the earth along with the people and the animals on it. I give it to anyone I please. 6 Now I have handed all these countries over to my servant King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. I have even made wild animals serve him. 7 All nations will serve him, his son, and his grandson until Babylon is defeated. Then many nations and great kings will make him their slave.
8 “ ‘Suppose nations or kingdoms won’t serve or surrender to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. I will punish those nations by wars, famines, and plagues, until I have put an end to them by Nebuchadnezzar’s power, declares the Lord. 9 Don’t listen to prophets, mediums, interpreters of dreams, fortunetellers, or sorcerers who tell you that you’ll never serve the king of Babylon. 10 They are prophesying lies to you. They will cause you to be taken far from your lands. I’ll scatter you, and you will die. 11 But suppose a nation surrenders to the king of Babylon and serves him. I will let it stay in its own land. People will farm the land and live on it,’ ” declares the Lord.
12 I spoke the same message to King Zedekiah of Judah, “Surrender to the king of Babylon, serve him and his people, and you will stay alive. 13 Why should you and your people die in wars, famines, and plagues? The Lord has threatened the nations that don’t serve the king of Babylon. 14 Don’t listen to the prophets who tell you that you’ll never serve the king of Babylon. They are prophesying lies to you. 15 I didn’t send them, declares the Lord. They prophesy lies in my name. So I will scatter you, and you and the prophets will die.”
16 I also spoke this message to the priests and all the people. “This is what the Lord said to me: Don’t listen to the prophets who tell you that the utensils of the Lord’s temple will be brought back from Babylon soon. They are prophesying lies to you. 17 Don’t listen to them. Instead, serve the king of Babylon, and live. Why should this city be turned into rubble? 18 If they are prophets and the Lord is speaking to them, they should beg the Lord of Armies not to allow the utensils that are left in the Lord’s temple, in the royal palace of Judah, and in Jerusalem to be taken away to Babylon.
19-20 “Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiakin,[b] son of King Jehoiakim of Judah, into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon along with all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem. But he didn’t take the pillars, the bronze pool, the stands, and the rest of the utensils that are left in this city. 21 This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says about the utensils that are left in the Lord’s temple, in the royal palace of Judah, and in Jerusalem: 22 They will be taken to Babylon and stay there until I come for them, declares the Lord. I will take them from there and bring them back to this place.”
Hananiah’s False Prophecy
28 In that same year, early in the rule of King Zedekiah of Judah, in the fifth month of his fourth year as king, the prophet Hananiah, son of Azzur, from Gibeon, spoke to me in the Lord’s temple. He said to me in front of the priests and all the people, 2 “This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: I will break the yoke [c] of the king of Babylon. 3 Within two years I will bring back all the utensils of the Lord’s temple that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took from this place and carried off to Babylon. 4 I will also bring back to this place Jehoiakin, son of King Jehoiakim of Judah, and all the captives of Judah who went to Babylon, declares the Lord. So I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.”
5 The prophet Jeremiah replied to the prophet Hananiah in front of the priests and all the people standing in the Lord’s temple. 6 He said, “Amen! May the Lord do this! May the Lord make your prophecy come true and bring back the utensils of the Lord’s temple and all the captives from Babylon to this place. 7 But now listen to this message that I am speaking to you and to all the people: 8 Long ago, the prophets who preceded you and me prophesied wars, disasters, and plagues against many countries and great kingdoms. 9 But the prophet who prophesied peace was recognized as a prophet that the Lord sent only if the message of the prophet came true.”
10 Then the prophet Hananiah took the yoke off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah and broke it. 11 Hananiah said in front of all the people, “This is what the Lord says: In the same way, I will break the yoke of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon off the neck of all the nations within two years.” Then the prophet Jeremiah went on his way.
12 After the prophet Hananiah broke the yoke off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, the Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah. He said, 13 “Tell Hananiah, ‘This is what the Lord says: You have broken the wooden yoke, but I [d] will replace it with an iron yoke. 14 This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: I will put an iron yoke on the necks of all these nations so that they will serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. They will serve him! I will even make wild animals serve him.’ ”
15 Then Jeremiah told the prophet Hananiah, “Now listen, Hananiah, the Lord hasn’t sent you. You have made these people believe a lie. 16 This is what the Lord says: I’m going to remove you from the face of the earth. You will die this year because you have encouraged rebellion against the Lord.”
17 So the prophet Hananiah died in the seventh month of that year.
Jeremiah Writes to the Captives in Babylon
29 The prophet Jeremiah sent a letter from Jerusalem to the rest of the leaders among the captives. He also sent it to the priests, the prophets, and all the people that Nebuchadnezzar took away as captives from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 (This was after King Jehoiakin [e] and his mother, the court officials, the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and metal workers left Jerusalem.) 3 He sent the letter with Shaphan’s son Elasah and Hilkiah’s son Gemariah, whom King Zedekiah of Judah had sent to King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. The letter said:
4 This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says to all those who were taken captive from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses, and live in them. Plant gardens, and eat what they produce. 6 Get married, and have sons and daughters. Find wives for your sons, and let your daughters get married so that they can have sons and daughters. Grow in number there; don’t decrease. 7 Work for the good of the city where I’ve taken you as captives, and pray to the Lord for that city. When it prospers, you will also prosper.
8 This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: Don’t let the prophets or the mediums who are among you trick you. Don’t even listen to your own dreams. 9 These people are prophesying lies to you in my name. I didn’t send them, declares the Lord.
10 This is what the Lord says: When Babylon’s 70 years are over, I will come to you. I will keep my promise to you and bring you back to this place. 11 I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope. 12 Then you will call to me. You will come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 When you look for me, you will find me. When you wholeheartedly seek me, 14 I will let you find me, declares the Lord. I will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I’ve scattered you, declares the Lord. I will bring you back from the place where you are being held captive.
15 You’ve said that the Lord has given you prophets in Babylon. 16 But this is what the Lord says about the king who sits on David’s throne and about all the people who live in this city, the people who are your relatives and who weren’t taken away as captives: 17 The Lord of Armies says: I’m going to send them wars, famines, and plagues. These people are like rotten figs to me, figs that are so bad that they can’t be eaten. 18 I will chase them with wars, famines, and plagues. I will make them a horrifying sight to all the kingdoms on the earth. They will become something cursed, ridiculed, and hissed at, and they will be a disgrace among all the nations where I scatter them. 19 They didn’t listen to me, declares the Lord. I sent them my servants the prophets again and again, but they refused to listen, declares the Lord.
20 So listen to the Lord’s word, all you captives who were sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon.
21 This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says about Kolaiah’s son Ahab and about Maaseiah’s son Zedekiah, who prophesy lies to you in my name: I’m going to hand them over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. I will kill them as you watch. 22 Because of them, all the captives from Judah who are in Babylon will use this curse: May the Lord curse you as he cursed Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon burned to death. 23 They have done shameful things in Israel. They committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives and spoke lies in my name. I didn’t command them to do this. I know what they have done. I’m a witness, declares the Lord.
24 ⌞The Lord says,⌟ “Say to Shemaiah from Nehelam, 25 ‘This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: You sent letters in your own name to all the people who are in Jerusalem, to the priest Zephaniah, son of Maaseiah, and to all the priests. These letters said: 26 The Lord made you priest instead of Jehoiada so that there would be officials for the Lord’s temple. You should put any lunatic who acts like a prophet in prison and in shackles. 27 Now, why haven’t you arrested Jeremiah from Anathoth? After all, he acts like a prophet among you. 28 That’s why Jeremiah sent this message to us in Babylon: You will be captives a long time. Build houses, and live in them. Plant gardens, and eat what they produce.’ ”
29 The priest Zephaniah read this letter to the prophet Jeremiah.
30 Then the Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah. He said, 31 “Send this message to all the captives: ‘This is what the Lord says about Shemaiah from Nehelam: Shemaiah prophesied to you, but I didn’t send him. He has made you believe a lie. 32 The Lord says: I will punish Shemaiah from Nehelam. I will also punish his descendants. No one from his family will be left alive. He will not see the blessings that I’m going to send my people, declares the Lord, because he has encouraged rebellion against the Lord.’ ”
- 27:2 A yoke is a wooden bar placed over the necks of work animals so that they can pull plows or carts.
- 27:19–20 Masoretic Text “Jeconiah,” an alternate form of Jehoiakin.
- 28:2 A yoke is a wooden bar placed over the necks of work animals so that they can pull plows or carts.
- 28:13 Greek; Masoretic Text “you.”
- 29:2 Masoretic Text “Jeconiah,” an alternate form of Jehoiakin.