English Standard Version
Jeremiah's Letter to the Exiles
29 These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to (A)the surviving elders of the exiles, and to (B)the priests, (C)the prophets, and (D)all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 This was after (E)King Jeconiah and the queen mother, the eunuchs, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metal workers had departed from Jerusalem. 3 The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of (F)Shaphan and Gemariah the son of (G)Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king 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 (H)Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their 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 (I)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: (J)Do not let your prophets and (K)your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream,[a] 9 for (L)it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; (M)I did not send them, declares the Lord.
10 “For thus says the Lord: (N)When seventy years are completed for Babylon, (O)I will visit you, (P)and I will fulfill to you my promise (Q)and bring you back to this place. 11 (R)For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[b] and not for evil, (S)to give you a future and a hope. 12 (T)Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, (U)and I will hear you. 13 (V)You will seek me and find me, when you seek me (W)with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, (X)and I will restore your fortunes and (Y)gather you from all the nations and all the places (Z)where I have driven you, declares 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 (AA)the king who sits on the throne of David, and concerning all the people who dwell in this city, your kinsmen who did not go out with you into exile: 17 ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, behold, I am sending on them (AB)sword, famine, and pestilence, and I will make them like (AC)vile figs that are so rotten they cannot be eaten. 18 I will pursue them with (AD)sword, famine, and pestilence, (AE)and will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, (AF)to be a curse, a terror, a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations (AG)where I have driven them, 19 because they did not pay attention to my words, declares the Lord, (AH)that I persistently sent to you by my servants the prophets, but you would not listen, declares the Lord.’ 20 Hear the word of the Lord, all you exiles (AI)whom I sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon: 21 ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning Ahab the son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, (AJ)who are prophesying a lie to you in my name: Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall strike them down before your eyes. 22 (AK)Because of them (AL)this curse shall be used by all the exiles from Judah in Babylon: “The Lord make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, (AM)whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire,” 23 because they have done an outrageous thing in Israel, (AN)they have committed adultery with their neighbors' wives, and (AO)they have spoken in my name lying words that I did not command them. (AP)I am the one who knows, (AQ)and I am witness, declares the Lord.’”
Shemaiah's False Prophecy
24 To (AR)Shemaiah of Nehelam you shall say: 25 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: You have sent letters in your name to all the people who are in Jerusalem, and to (AS)Zephaniah the son of (AT)Maaseiah the priest, and to all the priests, saying, 26 ‘The Lord has made you priest instead of Jehoiada the priest, to have (AU)charge in the house of the Lord (AV)over every madman who prophesies, to put him in (AW)the stocks and neck irons. 27 Now why have you not rebuked Jeremiah (AX)of Anathoth who is prophesying to you? 28 For he has sent to us in Babylon, saying, “Your exile will be long; (AY)build houses and live in them, and plant gardens and eat their produce.”’”
29 (AZ)Zephaniah the priest read this letter in the hearing of Jeremiah the prophet. 30 (BA)Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 31 “Send to all the exiles, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord concerning (BB)Shemaiah of Nehelam: Because (BC)Shemaiah had prophesied to you (BD)when I did not send him, and has made you trust in a lie, 32 therefore thus says the Lord: Behold, I will punish (BE)Shemaiah of Nehelam and his descendants. He shall not have anyone living among this people, (BF)and he shall not see the good that I will do to my people, declares the Lord, (BG)for he has spoken rebellion against the Lord.’”
Restoration for Israel and Judah
30 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: (BH)Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you. 3 (BI)For behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, (BJ)when I will restore (BK)the fortunes of my people, (BL)Israel and Judah, says the Lord, (BM)and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it.”
4 These are the words that the Lord spoke concerning (BN)Israel and Judah:
5 “Thus says the Lord:
We have heard a cry of panic,
of terror, and no peace.
6 Ask now, and see,
can a man bear a child?
(BO)Why then do I see every man
with his hands on his stomach (BP)like a woman in labor?
(BQ)Why has every face turned pale?
7 Alas! (BR)That day is so great
(BS)there is none like it;
it is a time of distress for Jacob;
yet he shall be saved out of it.
8 “And it shall come to pass in that day, declares the Lord of hosts, that I will (BT)break his (BU)yoke from off your neck, and I will (BV)burst your bonds, (BW)and foreigners shall no more make a servant of him.[c] 9 But they shall serve the Lord their God and (BX)David their king, whom I will raise up for them.
10 (BY)“Then fear not, (BZ)O Jacob my servant, declares the Lord,
nor be dismayed, O Israel;
for behold, (CA)I will save you from far away,
(CB)and your offspring from the land of their captivity.
(CC)Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease,
and none shall make him afraid.
11 (CD)For I am with you to save you,
declares the Lord;
(CE)I will make a full end of all the nations
among whom I scattered you,
but of you I will not make a full end.
(CF)I will (CG)discipline you in just measure,
and I will by no means leave you unpunished.
12 “For thus says the Lord:
(CH)Your hurt is incurable,
(CI)and your wound is grievous.
13 There is none to uphold your cause,
no medicine for your wound,
(CJ)no healing for you.
14 (CK)All your lovers have forgotten you;
they care nothing for you;
for I have dealt you the blow of (CL)an enemy,
the punishment (CM)of a merciless foe,
because your guilt is great,
(CN)because your sins are flagrant.
15 (CO)Why do you cry out over your hurt?
(CP)Your pain is incurable.
Because your guilt is great,
(CQ)because your sins are flagrant,
I have done these things to you.
16 (CR)Therefore all who devour you shall be devoured,
and (CS)all your foes, every one of them, shall go into captivity;
(CT)those who plunder you shall be plundered,
(CU)and all who prey on you I will make a prey.
17 (CV)For I will restore (CW)health to you,
and (CX)your wounds I will heal,
declares the Lord,
because (CY)they have called you an outcast:
(CZ)‘It is Zion, for whom no one cares!’
18 “Thus says the Lord:
Behold, (DA)I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob
and have compassion on his dwellings;
the city shall be rebuilt on (DB)its mound,
and the palace shall stand where it used to be.
19 (DC)Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving,
and the voices of those who celebrate.
(DD)I will multiply them, and they shall not be few;
I will make them honored, and they shall not be small.
20 (DE)Their children shall be as they were of old,
and their congregation shall be established before me,
and I will punish all who oppress them.
21 (DF)Their prince shall be one of themselves;
(DG)their ruler shall come out from their midst;
(DH)I will make him draw near, and he shall approach me,
(DI)for who would dare of himself to approach me?
declares the Lord.
22 (DJ)And you shall be my people,
and I will be your God.”
23 (DK)Behold (DL)the storm of the Lord!
Wrath has gone forth,
a whirling tempest;
it will burst upon the head of the wicked.
24 (DM)The fierce anger of the Lord will not turn back
until he has executed and accomplished
the intentions of his mind.
(DN)In the latter days you will understand this.
The Lord Will Turn Mourning to Joy
2 Thus says the Lord:
“The people who survived the sword
found grace in the wilderness;
(DQ)when Israel sought for rest,
3 the Lord appeared to him[d] from far away.
(DR)I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore (DS)I have continued (DT)my faithfulness to you.
4 (DU)Again I will build you, and you shall be built,
O virgin Israel!
(DV)Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines
and shall go forth in (DW)the dance of the merrymakers.
5 (DX)Again you shall plant vineyards
on the mountains of Samaria;
the planters shall plant
and shall enjoy the fruit.
6 For there shall be a day when watchmen will call
in (DY)the hill country of Ephraim:
(DZ)‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion,
to the Lord our God.’”
7 For thus says the Lord:
(EA)“Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,
and raise shouts for (EB)the chief of the nations;
proclaim, give praise, and say,
(EC)‘O Lord, save your people,
the remnant of Israel.’
8 Behold, I will bring them (ED)from the north country
and (EE)gather them from (EF)the farthest parts of the earth,
among them (EG)the blind and the lame,
the pregnant woman and she who is in labor, together;
a great company, they shall return here.
9 (EH)With weeping they shall come,
(EI)and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back,
I will make them (EJ)walk by brooks of water,
(EK)in a straight path in which they shall not stumble,
for (EL)I am a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is (EM)my firstborn.
10 “Hear the word of the Lord, O nations,
and declare it in the coastlands far away;
say, ‘He who scattered Israel will (EN)gather him,
and will keep him (EO)as a shepherd keeps his flock.’
11 (EP)For the Lord has ransomed Jacob
and has redeemed him from (EQ)hands too strong for him.
12 They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion,
(ER)and they shall be radiant (ES)over the goodness of the Lord,
(ET)over the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and over the young of the flock and the herd;
(EU)their life shall be like a watered garden,
(EV)and they shall languish no more.
13 (EW)Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance,
and the young men and the old shall be merry.
(EX)I will turn their mourning into joy;
I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.
14 (EY)I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance,
and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness,
declares the Lord.”
15 Thus says the Lord:
(EZ)“A voice is heard in (FA)Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
(FB)Rachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,
(FC)because they are no more.”
16 Thus says the Lord:
“Keep your voice from weeping,
and your eyes from tears,
for there is a reward for your work,
declares the Lord,
and (FD)they shall come back from the land of the enemy.
17 (FE)There is hope for your future,
declares the Lord,
and your children shall come back to their own country.
18 I have heard (FF)Ephraim grieving,
‘You have disciplined me, and I was disciplined,
like an untrained calf;
(FG)bring me back that I may be restored,
for you are the Lord my God.
19 For after (FH)I had turned away, I relented,
and after I was instructed, (FI)I struck my thigh;
(FJ)I was ashamed, and I was confounded,
because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’
20 (FK)Is Ephraim my dear son?
(FL)Is he my darling child?
For as often as I speak against him,
I do remember him still.
(FM)Therefore my heart[e] yearns for him;
I will surely have mercy on him,
declares the Lord.
21 (FN)“Set up road markers for yourself;
make yourself guideposts;
(FO)consider well the highway,
(FP)the road by which you went.
Return, O virgin Israel,
return to these your cities.
22 (FQ)How long will you waver,
(FR)O faithless daughter?
For the Lord has created a new thing on the earth:
a woman encircles a man.”
23 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Once more they shall use these words in the land of Judah and in its cities, (FS)when I restore their fortunes:
24 (FW)And Judah and all its cities shall dwell there together, and (FX)the farmers and those who wander with their flocks. 25 For I will (FY)satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.”
26 At this I awoke and looked, and my sleep was pleasant to me.
27 (FZ)“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when (GA)I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with (GB)the seed of man and the seed of beast. 28 And it shall come to pass that (GC)as I have watched over them (GD)to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring harm, (GE)so I will watch over them (GF)to build and to plant, declares the Lord. 29 In those days they shall no longer say:
(GG)“‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes,
and the children's teeth are set on edge.’
30 (GH)But everyone shall die for his own iniquity. Each man who eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.
The New Covenant
31 (GI)“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make (GJ)a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when (GK)I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, (GL)though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 (GM)For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: (GN)I will put my law within them, and I will write it (GO)on their hearts. (GP)And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ (GQ)for they shall all know me, (GR)from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For (GS)I will forgive their iniquity, and (GT)I will remember their sin no more.”
35 Thus says the Lord,
who (GU)gives the sun for light by day
and (GV)the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
(GW)the Lord of hosts is his name:
36 (GX)“If this fixed order departs
from before me, declares the Lord,
then shall the offspring of Israel cease
from being a nation before me forever.”
37 Thus says the Lord:
“If the heavens above can be measured,
and the foundations of the earth below can be explored,
(GY)then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel
for all that they have done,
declares the Lord.”
38 (GZ)“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when the city shall be rebuilt for the Lord (HA)from the Tower of Hananel to (HB)the Corner Gate. 39 (HC)And the measuring line shall go out farther, straight to the hill Gareb, and shall then turn to Goah. 40 (HD)The whole valley of the dead bodies and the ashes, and all the fields as far as the (HE)brook Kidron, to the corner of (HF)the Horse Gate toward the east, (HG)shall be sacred to the Lord. (HH)It shall not be plucked up or overthrown anymore forever.”
Jeremiah Buys a Field During the Siege
32 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord (HI)in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, (HJ)which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar. 2 At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet (HK)was shut up in (HL)the court of the guard that was in the palace of the king of Judah. 3 For Zedekiah king of Judah had imprisoned him, saying, “Why do you prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord: (HM)Behold, I am giving this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall capture it; 4 (HN)Zedekiah king of Judah shall not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, (HO)but shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and shall speak with him face to face and see him eye to eye. 5 And (HP)he shall take Zedekiah to Babylon, and there he shall remain until I visit him, declares the Lord. (HQ)Though you fight against the Chaldeans, you shall not succeed’?”
6 Jeremiah said, “The word of the Lord came to me: 7 Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle will come to you and say, (HR)‘Buy my field that is at (HS)Anathoth, (HT)for the right of redemption by purchase is yours.’ 8 Then Hanamel my cousin came to me in (HU)the court of the guard, in accordance with the word of the Lord, and said to me, ‘Buy my field that is at (HV)Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, for the right of possession and redemption is yours; buy it for yourself.’ Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord.
9 “And I bought the field at (HW)Anathoth from Hanamel my cousin, and (HX)weighed out the money to him, seventeen shekels of silver. 10 (HY)I signed the deed, (HZ)sealed it, (IA)got witnesses, and (IB)weighed the money on scales. 11 Then I took the sealed deed of purchase, containing the terms and conditions and the open copy. 12 And I gave the deed of purchase to (IC)Baruch the son of Neriah son of Mahseiah, in the presence of Hanamel my cousin, in the presence of (ID)the witnesses who signed the deed of purchase, and in the presence of all the Judeans who were sitting in (IE)the court of the guard. 13 I charged (IF)Baruch in their presence, saying, 14 ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these deeds, both this sealed deed of purchase and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware vessel, that they may last for a long time. 15 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and (IG)fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.’
Jeremiah Prays for Understanding
16 “After I had given the deed of purchase to (IH)Baruch the son of Neriah, I prayed to the Lord, saying: 17 ‘Ah, Lord God! It is (II)you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by (IJ)your outstretched arm! (IK)Nothing is too hard for you. 18 (IL)You show steadfast love to thousands, (IM)but you repay the guilt of fathers (IN)to their children after them, O great and (IO)mighty God, whose name is the (IP)Lord of hosts, 19 (IQ)great in counsel and (IR)mighty in deed, (IS)whose eyes are open to all the ways of the children of man, (IT)rewarding each one according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds. 20 You have shown (IU)signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and to this day in Israel and among all mankind, (IV)and have made a name for yourself, as at this day. 21 (IW)You brought your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders, with a strong hand and (IX)outstretched arm, (IY)and with great terror. 22 And you gave them this land, (IZ)which you swore to their fathers to give them, (JA)a land flowing with milk and honey. 23 And they entered and took possession of it. (JB)But they did not obey your voice or walk in your law. They did nothing of all you commanded them to do. Therefore you have made all this disaster come upon them. 24 Behold, (JC)the siege mounds have come up to the city to take it, and (JD)because of sword and famine and pestilence (JE)the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans who are fighting against it. What you spoke has come to pass, and behold, you see it. 25 Yet you, O Lord God, have said to me, (JF)“Buy the field for money (JG)and get witnesses”—though (JH)the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans.’”
26 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 27 “Behold, I am the Lord, (JI)the God of all flesh. (JJ)Is anything too hard for me? 28 Therefore, thus says the Lord: (JK)Behold, I am giving this city into the hands of the Chaldeans and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall capture it. 29 The Chaldeans who are fighting against this city (JL)shall come and set this city on fire and burn it, (JM)with the houses on whose roofs offerings have been made to Baal (JN)and drink offerings have been poured out to other gods, (JO)to provoke me to anger. 30 For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have done nothing but evil in my sight (JP)from their youth. The children of Israel have done nothing but (JQ)provoke me to anger (JR)by the work of their hands, declares the Lord. 31 This city has aroused my anger and wrath, from the day it was built to this day, (JS)so that I will remove it from my sight 32 because of all the evil of the children of Israel and the children of Judah that they did to provoke me to anger—(JT)their kings and their officials, their priests and their prophets, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 33 (JU)They have turned to me their back and not their face. And though I have taught them (JV)persistently, they have not listened (JW)to receive instruction. 34 They set up (JX)their abominations in the house that is called by my name, to defile it. 35 They built the high places of Baal (JY)in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, (JZ)to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, (KA)though I did not command them, nor did it enter into my mind, that they should do (KB)this abomination, (KC)to cause Judah to sin.
They Shall Be My People; I Will Be Their God
36 “Now therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning this city of which you say, (KD)‘It is given into the hand of the king of Babylon by sword, by famine, and by pestilence’: 37 (KE)Behold, I will gather them from all the countries (KF)to which I drove them in (KG)my anger and my wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, (KH)and I will make them dwell in safety. 38 (KI)And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 39 (KJ)I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, (KK)for their own good and the good of their children after them. 40 (KL)I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. (KM)And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. 41 (KN)I will rejoice in doing them good, (KO)and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.
42 “For thus says the Lord: (KP)Just as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people, so I will bring upon them all the good that I promise them. 43 (KQ)Fields shall be bought in this land (KR)of which you are saying, ‘It is a desolation, without man or beast; (KS)it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.’ 44 Fields shall be bought for money, and (KT)deeds shall be signed and (KU)sealed and (KV)witnessed, (KW)in the land of Benjamin, (KX)in the places about Jerusalem, (KY)and in the cities of Judah, (KZ)in the cities of the hill country, (LA)in the cities of the Shephelah, and in the cities of the Negeb; for (LB)I will restore their fortunes, declares the Lord.”