Jeremiah 29 Expanded Bible (EXB)
A Letter to the Captives in Babylon
29 This is the ·letter [L words of the scroll] that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the remaining elders who were among the ·captives [exiles], the priests, and the prophets. He sent it to all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had taken as ·captives [exiles] from Jerusalem to Babylon [C in 597 bc; 2 Kin. 24:12–17; 2 Chr. 36:6–8]. 2 (This ·letter [L scroll] was sent after all these people were taken away: Jehoiachin [L Jeconiah] the king and the queen mother [C Nehushta; 13:18]; the ·officers [servants; L eunuchs] and leaders of Judah and Jerusalem; and the craftsmen and metalworkers from Jerusalem.) 3 Zedekiah king of Judah sent Elasah son of Shaphan [C perhaps the court secretary under Josiah; 2 Kin. 22:3, 8–9] and Gemariah son of Hilkiah [C perhaps the high priest under Josiah; 2 Kin. 22:8] to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. So Jeremiah gave them this ·letter [L scroll] to carry to Babylon:
4 This is what the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts], the God of Israel, says to all those ·people I sent away [exiles] from Jerusalem as ·captives [exiles] to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle ·in the land [down]. Plant gardens and eat ·the food they grow [L their fruit]. 6 ·Get married [L Take wives] and have sons and daughters. ·Find [L Take] wives for your sons, and let your daughters be married so they also may have sons and daughters. ·Have many children in Babylon [L Multiply there]; don’t become fewer in number. 7 ·Also do good things for [L Seek the peace/security of] the city where I ·sent you as captives [exiled you]. Pray to the Lord for the city where you are living, because ·if good things happen in the city, good things will happen to you also [L in its peace/security you will have peace/security].” 8 The Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts], the God of Israel, says: “Don’t let the prophets among you and the ·people who do magic [L diviners] ·fool [deceive] you. Don’t listen to ·their dreams [their/or your dreams that they/or you dream]. 9 They are prophesying ·lies [falsehoods] to you, ·saying that their message is from me [L …in my name]. But I did not send them,” says the Lord.
10 This is what the Lord says: “·Babylon will be powerful for seventy years. After that time I will come to [L Only after the seventy years of Babylon are filled will I visit; 25:11] you, and I will ·keep my promise [L confirm my good word] to ·bring [restore] you back to ·Jerusalem [L this place]. 11 I say this because I know ·what [L the plans] I am planning for you,” says the Lord. “I have ·good plans for you [L plans for your peace/security], not plans ·to hurt you [L for your harm]. I will give you hope and a good future. 12 Then you will call ·my name [L me]. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will search for me. And when you search for me with all your heart, you will find me [Dan. 9:4–19]! 14 I will let you find me,” says the Lord. “And I will ·bring you back from your captivity [restore your fortunes]. I ·forced you to leave [drove you from] this place, but I will gather you from all the nations, from the places I have ·sent you as captives [exiled you],” says the Lord. “And I will ·bring you back [restore you] to this place.”
15 You might say, “The Lord has ·given [raised up/established/confirmed for; Deut. 18:18] us prophets here in Babylon.”
16 But the Lord says this about the king who is sitting on David’s throne now and all the other people still in this city [C Jerusalem], your ·relatives [L brothers] who did not go ·as captives to Babylon [L out as exiles] with you. 17 The Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts] says: “I will soon send ·war [L sword], ·hunger [famine], and ·terrible diseases [plague; pestilence; C against those still in Jerusalem]. I will make them like bad figs that are too rotten to eat [24:1–10]. 18 I will ·chase [pursue] them with ·war [L sword], ·hunger [famine], and ·terrible diseases [plague; pestilence]. I will make them ·hated by [a horror to] all the kingdoms of the earth. ·People will curse them and be shocked and will use them as a shameful example [L …an object of cursing, shock, hissing and reproach] ·wherever I make them go [L among the nations where I have driven them]. 19 This is because they have not listened to my message,” says the Lord. “I sent my ·message [word] to them again and again through my servants, the prophets, but they did not listen,” says the Lord.
20 You ·captives [exiles], whom I ·forced to leave [sent from] Jerusalem ·and go to [L to] Babylon, listen to the message from the Lord. 21 The Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts], the God of Israel, says this about Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah: “These two men have been prophesying ·lies [falsehood] to you, ·saying that their message is from me [L in my name]. But soon I will ·hand over those two prophets to [L give them into the hand of] Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will ·kill [L strike] them ·in front of you [L before your eyes]. 22 Because of them, all the ·captives [exiles] from Judah in Babylon will use this curse: ‘May the Lord ·treat [make] you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon ·burned [roasted] in the fire.’ 23 They have done evil things among the people of Israel. They are guilty of adultery with their neighbors’ wives. They have also spoken ·lies and said those lies were a message from me [L falsehoods in my name; Deut. 18:14–21]. I did not ·tell [L command] them to do that. I know what they have done; I am a witness to it,” says the Lord.
24 Also give a message to Shemaiah from the Nehelamite family. 25 The Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts], the God of Israel, says: “Shemaiah, you sent ·letters [scrolls] in your name to all the people in Jerusalem, to the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, and to all the priests. 26 You said to Zephaniah, ‘The Lord has made you priest in place of Jehoiada. You are to be in charge of the ·Temple [L house] of the Lord. You should arrest any ·madman [crazy person] who acts like a prophet. Place him in stocks [C wooden restraints] and put an iron collar around his neck. 27 Now Jeremiah from Anathoth is acting like a prophet. So why haven’t you ·arrested [L rebuked] him? 28 He [C Jeremiah] has sent [C this message] to us in Babylon: You will be there for a long time, so build houses and settle down. Plant gardens and eat ·what they grow [L their fruit].’”
29 Zephaniah the priest read ·the letter to [L this scroll in the ear of] Jeremiah the prophet. 30 Then the Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah: 31 “Send this message to all the ·captives in Babylon [exiles]: ‘This is what the Lord says about Shemaiah the Nehelamite: Shemaiah has prophesied to you, but I did not send him. He has made you ·believe [trust; have confidence in] a lie. 32 So the Lord says, I will soon punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his ·family [L seed]. He will not see the good things I will do for my people, says the Lord. None of his family will be left alive among the people, because he has taught the people to ·turn [rebel] against me.’”
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