Jeremiah 29 Good News Translation (GNT)
Jeremiah's Letter to the Jews in Babylonia
29 I wrote a letter to the priests, the prophets, the leaders of the people, and to all the others whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken away as prisoners from Jerusalem to Babylonia. 2 I wrote it after King Jehoiachin, his mother, the palace officials, the leaders of Judah and of Jerusalem, the engravers, and the skilled workers had been taken into exile. 3 I gave the letter to Elasah son of Shaphan and to Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom King Zedekiah of Judah was sending to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia. It said:
4 “The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those people whom he allowed Nebuchadnezzar to take away as prisoners from Jerusalem to Babylonia: 5 ‘Build houses and settle down. Plant gardens and eat what you grow in them. 6 Marry and have children. Then let your children get married, so that they also may have children. You must increase in numbers and not decrease. 7 Work for the good of the cities where I have made you go as prisoners. Pray to me on their behalf, because if they are prosperous, you will be prosperous too. 8 I, the Lord, the God of Israel, warn you not to let yourselves be deceived by the prophets who live among you or by any others who claim they can predict the future. Do not pay any attention to their[a] dreams. 9 They are telling you lies in my name. I did not send them. I, the Lord Almighty, have spoken.’
The Letter of Shemaiah
24-25 The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, gave me a message for Shemaiah of Nehelam, who had sent a letter in his own name to all the people of Jerusalem and to the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah and to all the other priests. In this letter Shemaiah wrote to Zephaniah:
26 “The Lord made you a priest in place of Jehoiada, and you are now the chief officer[d] in the Temple. It is your duty to see that every crazy person who pretends to be a prophet is placed in chains with an iron collar around the neck. 27 Why haven't you done this to Jeremiah of Anathoth, who has been speaking as a prophet to the people? 28 He must be stopped because he told the people in Babylonia that they would be prisoners there a long time and should build houses, settle down, plant gardens, and eat what they grow.”
29 Zephaniah read the letter to me, 30 and then the Lord told me 31-32 to send to all the prisoners in Babylon this message about Shemaiah: “I, the Lord, will punish Shemaiah and all of his descendants. I did not send him, but he spoke to you as if he were a prophet, and he made you believe lies. He will have no descendants among you. He will not live to see the good things that I am going to do for my people, because he told them to rebel against me. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
Jeremiah 29 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Jeremiah’s Letter to the Exiles in Babylon
29 These are the words of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the remaining elders among the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 This was after King Jeconiah, and the queen mother, the court officials, the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the artisans, and the smiths had departed from Jerusalem. 3 The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom King Zedekiah of Judah sent to Babylon to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. It said: 4 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. 8 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let the prophets and the diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream,[a] 9 for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, says the Lord.
10 For thus says the Lord: Only when Babylon’s seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 12 Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. 13 When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, 14 I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
15 Because you have said, “The Lord has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,”— 16 Thus says the Lord concerning the king who sits on the throne of David, and concerning all the people who live in this city, your kinsfolk who did not go out with you into exile: 17 Thus says the Lord of hosts, I am going to let loose on them sword, famine, and pestilence, 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 pestilence, and will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be an object of cursing, and horror, and hissing, and a derision among all the nations where I have driven them, 19 because they did not heed my words, says the Lord, when I persistently sent to you my servants the prophets, but they[b] would not listen, says the Lord. 20 But now, all you exiles whom I sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon, hear the word of the Lord: 21 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah, who are prophesying a lie to you in my name: I am going to deliver them into the hand of King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon, and he shall kill them before your eyes. 22 And on account of them this curse shall be used by all the exiles from Judah in Babylon: “The Lord make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire,” 23 because they have perpetrated outrage in Israel and have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives, and have spoken in my name lying words that I did not command them; I am the one who knows and bears witness, says the Lord.
The Letter of Shemaiah
24 To Shemaiah of Nehelam you shall say: 25 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: In your own name you sent a letter to all the people who are in Jerusalem, and to the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, and to all the priests, saying, 26 The Lord himself has made you priest instead of the priest Jehoiada, so that there may be officers in the house of the Lord to control any madman who plays the prophet, to put him in the stocks and the collar. 27 So now why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of Anathoth who plays the prophet for you? 28 For he has actually sent to us in Babylon, saying, “It will be a long time; build houses and live in them, and plant gardens and eat what they produce.”
29 The priest Zephaniah read this letter in the hearing of the prophet Jeremiah. 30 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 31 Send to all the exiles, saying, Thus says the Lord concerning Shemaiah of Nehelam: Because Shemaiah has prophesied to you, though I did not send him, and has led you to trust in a lie, 32 therefore thus says the Lord: I am going to punish Shemaiah of Nehelam and his descendants; he shall not have anyone living among this people to see[c] the good that I am going to do to my people, says the Lord, for he has spoken rebellion against the Lord.
Jeremiah 29 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
29 Following is the text of the letter Yirmeyahu the prophet sent from Yerushalayim to the leaders remaining in exile, as well as to the cohanim, the prophets and all the people N’vukhadnetzar had carried off captive from Yerushalayim to Bavel. 2 This was after Y’khanyah the king, the queen mother, the officers, the leaders of Y’hudah and Yerushalayim, and the artisans and skilled workers had left Yerushalayim. 3 The letter was entrusted to El‘asah the son of Shafan and G’maryah the son of Hilkiyah; Tzidkiyah king of Y’hudah sent them to Bavel, to N’vukhadnetzar king of Bavel. The letter said:
4 “Here is what Adonai-Tzva’ot, the God of Isra’el, says to all those in exile, whom I have caused to be carried off captive from Yerushalayim to Bavel: 5 ‘Build yourselves houses, and live in them. Plant gardens, and eat what they produce. 6 Choose women to marry, and have sons and daughters. Choose wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage to men, so that they can have sons and daughters — increase your numbers there, don’t decrease. 7 Seek the welfare of the city to which I have caused you to go in exile, and pray to Adonai on its behalf; for your welfare is bound up in its welfare.’ 8 For this is what Adonai-Tzva’ot, the God of Isra’el, says: ‘Don’t let your prophets who are living among you and your diviners deceive you, and don’t pay attention to the dreams you urge them to dream. 9 For they are prophesying falsely in my name; I have not sent them,’ says Adonai.
10 “For here is what Adonai says: ‘After Bavel’s seventy years are over, I will remember you and fulfill my good promise to you by bringing you back to this place. 11 For I know what plans I have in mind for you,’ says Adonai,‘plans for well-being, not for bad things; so that you can have hope and a future. 12 When you call to me and pray to me, I will listen to you. 13 When you seek me, you will find me, provided you seek for me wholeheartedly; 14 and I will let you find me,’ says Adonai. ‘Then I will reverse your exile. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have driven you,’ says Adonai, ‘and bring you back to the place from which I exiled you.’
15 “You say that Adonai has raised up prophets for you in Bavel. 16 But here is what Adonai says about the king occupying David’s throne and about all the people living in this city, your kinsmen who did not go into exile with you — 17 thus says Adonai-Tzva’ot: ‘I will attack them with sword, famine and plague; I will make them like bad figs, so bad they are inedible. 18 I will pursue them with sword, famine and plague and make them an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth; and they will bring on themselves cursing, astonishment, ridicule and reproach among all the nations where I have driven them; 19 because they have not paid attention to my words,’ says Adonai, ‘which I sent to them through my servants the prophets. I sent them frequently, but you refused to listen,’ says Adonai.
20 “So pay attention now to the word of Adonai, all of you in exile, whom I sent away from Yerushalayim to Bavel. 21 Here is what Adonai-Tzva’ot, the God of Isra’el, says about Ach’av the son of Kolayah and Tzidkiyahu the son of Ma‘aseiyah, who prophesy lies to you in my name: ‘I will hand them over to N’vukhadretzar king of Bavel, and he will put them to death before your eyes. 22 In fact, all those exiled from Y’hudah who are in Bavel will take up this formula for cursing: “May Adonai make you like Tzidkiyahu and Ach’av, whom the king of Bavel roasted in the fire!” 23 because they have done vile things in Isra’el, committing adultery with their neighbors’ wives and speaking words in my name, falsely, which I did not order them to say. For I am he who knows; I am witness to this,’ says Adonai.
24 “To Sh’ma‘yah the Nechelami you are to communicate this message: 25 ‘This is a word from Adonai-Tzva’ot, the God of Isra’el, because of the letters you sent in your own name to all the people in Yerushalayim, including Tz’fanyah the son of Ma‘aseiyah the cohen and all the cohanim. 26 Your letter said, “Adonai has made you cohen in place of Y’hoyada the cohen, in order to have officials in Adonai’s house who will arrest any crazy person who makes himself out to be a prophet, so that you can restrain him in stocks and collar. 27 So why haven’t you rebuked Yirmeyahu of ‘Anatot, who makes himself out to be a prophet for you? 28 He even sends word to us in Bavel saying that the exile will last a long time; so build houses and live in them, plant gardens and eat what they produce.” 29 Tz’fanyah the cohen read this letter to Yirmeyahu the prophet, and afterwards 30 the word of Adonai came to Yirmeyahu, 31 instructing him to send to all those in exile this message: “Here is what Adonai says about Sh’ma‘yah the Nechelami: ‘This Sh’ma‘yah has prophesied to you, even though I did not send him, and has caused you to put your trust in a lie. 32 Because of this,’ Adonai says, ‘I will punish Sh’ma‘yah the Nechelami and his offspring. He will not have a man to live among this people, and he will not see the good I am planning to do for my people,’ says Adonai, ‘because he has preached rebellion against Adonai.’”’”
Jeremiah 29 The Message (MSG)
Plans to Give You the Future You Hope For
29 1-2 This is the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to what was left of the elders among the exiles, to the priests and prophets and all the exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken to Babylon from Jerusalem, including King Jehoiachin, the queen mother, the government leaders, and all the skilled laborers and craftsmen.
3 The letter was carried by Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah had sent to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. The letter said:
4 This is the Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel’s God, to all the exiles I’ve taken from Jerusalem to Babylon:
5 “Build houses and make yourselves at home.
“Put in gardens and eat what grows in that country.
6 “Marry and have children. Encourage your children to marry and have children so that you’ll thrive in that country and not waste away.
7 “Make yourselves at home there and work for the country’s welfare.
“Pray for Babylon’s well-being. If things go well for Babylon, things will go well for you.”
8-9 Yes. Believe it or not, this is the Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel’s God: “Don’t let all those so-called preachers and know-it-alls who are all over the place there take you in with their lies. Don’t pay any attention to the fantasies they keep coming up with to please you. They’re a bunch of liars preaching lies—and claiming I sent them! I never sent them, believe me.” God’s Decree!
10-11 This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.
12 “When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.
13-14 “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.
“Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree.
“I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you”—God’s Decree—“bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it.
15-19 “But for right now, because you’ve taken up with these newfangled prophets who set themselves up as ‘Babylonian specialists,’ spreading the word ‘God sent them just for us!’ God is setting the record straight: As for the king still sitting on David’s throne and all the people left in Jerusalem who didn’t go into exile with you, they’re facing bad times. God-of-the-Angel-Armies says, ‘Watch this! Catastrophe is on the way: war, hunger, disease! They’re a barrel of rotten apples. I’ll rid the country of them through war and hunger and disease. The whole world is going to hold its nose at the smell, shut its eyes at the horrible sight. They’ll end up in slum ghettos because they wouldn’t listen to a thing I said when I sent my servant-prophets preaching tirelessly and urgently. No, they wouldn’t listen to a word I said.’” God’s Decree.
20-23 “And you—you exiles whom I sent out of Jerusalem to Babylon—listen to God’s Message to you. As far as Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah are concerned, the ‘Babylonian specialists’ who are preaching lies in my name, I will turn them over to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, who will kill them while you watch. The exiles from Judah will take what they see at the execution and use it as a curse: ‘God fry you to a crisp like the king of Babylon fried Zedekiah and Ahab in the fire!’ Those two men, sex predators and prophet-impostors, got what they deserved. They pulled every woman they got their hands on into bed—their neighbors’ wives, no less—and preached lies claiming it was my Message. I never sent those men. I’ve never had anything to do with them.” God’s Decree.
“They won’t get away with a thing. I’ve witnessed it all.”
24-26 And this is the Message for Shemaiah the Nehelamite: “God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel, says: You took it on yourself to send letters to all the people in Jerusalem and to the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah and the company of priests. In your letter you told Zephaniah that God set you up as priest replacing priest Jehoiadah. He’s put you in charge of God’s Temple and made you responsible for locking up any crazy fellow off the street who takes it into his head to be a prophet.
27-28 “So why haven’t you done anything about muzzling Jeremiah of Anathoth, who’s going around posing as a prophet? He’s gone so far as to write to us in Babylon, ‘It’s going to be a long exile, so build houses and make yourselves at home. Plant gardens and prepare Babylonian recipes.’”
29 The priest Zephaniah read that letter to the prophet Jeremiah.
30-32 Then God told Jeremiah, “Send this Message to the exiles. Tell them what God says about Shemaiah the Nehelamite: Shemaiah is preaching lies to you. I didn’t send him. He is seducing you into believing lies. So this is God’s verdict: I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his whole family. He’s going to end up with nothing and no one. No one from his family will be around to see any of the good that I am going to do for my people because he has preached rebellion against me.” God’s Decree.