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 [a]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)
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 [b]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 [c]plowed like a field,
And Jerusalem will become [heaps of] ruins,
And the mountain of the house [of the Lord—Mount Moriah, on which stands the temple, shall become covered not with buildings, but] like a densely wooded height.”’(B)
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 [d]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] [e]pillars, the [bronze] [f]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),(C) 20 which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon did not take when he carried [g]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 [h]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.’”(D)
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.”’”(E) 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 [i]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.(F) 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.(G) 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]!(H) 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.”’”
- Jeremiah 26:6 Shiloh was once the home of the Tent of Meeting, but it was abandoned and later destroyed after the ark was captured by the Philistines.
- Jeremiah 26:10 The leaders were authorized to settle legal matters.
- Jeremiah 26:18 This prophecy of Micah, made in the days of King Hezekiah, that Mount Zion would become a plowed field was fulfilled when Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldeans took Jerusalem and broke down the walls (2 Kin 25:10). That was in 586 b.c. In a.d. 1542 the present walls of Jerusalem were built by Suleiman the Magnificent, the greatest of the Turkish sultans. By some strange error, the part of the city known as Mount Zion was omitted from the enclosure and remained outside the walls; for centuries it was literally “plowed like a field” just as Micah foretold.
- Jeremiah 27:16 Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem three times. The second time was during the reign of King Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, whom he took captive with all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem (27:20), at which time he carried away some of the sacred articles of the temple. The third siege was now imminent.
- Jeremiah 27:19 Each pillar stood about twenty-seven feet high.
- Jeremiah 27:19 This was the basin at which the priests washed their hands and feet before ministering at the altar.
- Jeremiah 27:20 Also known as Jehoiachin and Coniah.
- Jeremiah 27:22 This prophesy was fulfilled when the remaining sacred articles were carried to Babylon (2 Kin 25:13; 2 Chr 36:18; Jer 52:17-23), where they were kept for seventy years (2 Chr 36:21), the length of the captivity foretold by Jeremiah (Jer 29:10). They were then returned to Jerusalem (Ezra 1:7; 7:19).
- Jeremiah 29:1 In Hebrew there are two ways of spelling the name of the ruler of Babylon resulting in two English variations: Nebuchadnezzar and Nebuchadrezzar.