A Letter to the Exiles

29 This is the text of the letter(A) that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.(B) (This was after King Jehoiachin[a](C) and the queen mother,(D) the court officials and the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the skilled workers and the artisans had gone into exile from Jerusalem.) He entrusted the letter to Elasah son of Shaphan and to Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. It said:

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried(E) into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build(F) houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease.(G) Also, seek(H) the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray(I) to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets(J) and diviners among you deceive(K) you. Do not listen to the dreams(L) you encourage them to have.(M) They are prophesying lies(N) to you in my name. I have not sent(O) them,” declares the Lord.

10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years(P) are completed for Babylon, I will come to you(Q) and fulfill my good promise(R) to bring you back(S) to this place. 11 For I know the plans(T) I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper(U) you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.(V) 12 Then you will call(W) on me and come and pray(X) to me, and I will listen(Y) to you. 13 You will seek(Z) me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.(AA) 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back(AB) from captivity.[b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”(AC)

15 You may say, “The Lord has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,” 16 but this is what the Lord says about the king who sits on David’s throne and all the people who remain in this city, your fellow citizens who did not go with you into exile— 17 yes, this is what the Lord Almighty says: “I will send the sword, famine and plague(AD) against them and I will make them like figs(AE) that are so bad they cannot be eaten. 18 I will pursue them with the sword, famine and plague and will make them abhorrent(AF) to all the kingdoms of the earth, a curse[c](AG) and an object of horror,(AH) of scorn(AI) and reproach, among all the nations where I drive them. 19 For they have not listened to my words,”(AJ) declares the Lord, “words that I sent to them again and again(AK) by my servants the prophets.(AL) And you exiles have not listened either,” declares the Lord.

20 Therefore, hear the word of the Lord, all you exiles whom I have sent(AM) away from Jerusalem to Babylon. 21 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says about Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah, who are prophesying lies(AN) to you in my name: “I will deliver them into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will put them to death before your very eyes. 22 Because of them, all the exiles from Judah who are in Babylon will use this curse: ‘May the Lord treat you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon burned(AO) in the fire.’ 23 For they have done outrageous things in Israel; they have committed adultery(AP) with their neighbors’ wives, and in my name they have uttered lies—which I did not authorize. I know(AQ) it and am a witness(AR) to it,” declares the Lord.

Message to Shemaiah

24 Tell Shemaiah the Nehelamite, 25 “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: You sent letters in your own name to all the people in Jerusalem, to the priest Zephaniah(AS) son of Maaseiah, and to all the other priests. You said to Zephaniah, 26 ‘The Lord has appointed you priest in place of Jehoiada to be in charge of the house of the Lord; you should put any maniac(AT) who acts like a prophet into the stocks(AU) and neck-irons. 27 So why have you not reprimanded Jeremiah from Anathoth, who poses as a prophet among you? 28 He has sent this message(AV) to us in Babylon: It will be a long time.(AW) Therefore build(AX) houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.’”

29 Zephaniah(AY) the priest, however, read the letter to Jeremiah the prophet. 30 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 31 “Send this message to all the exiles: ‘This is what the Lord says about Shemaiah(AZ) the Nehelamite: Because Shemaiah has prophesied to you, even though I did not send(BA) him, and has persuaded you to trust in lies, 32 this is what the Lord says: I will surely punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his descendants.(BB) He will have no one left among this people, nor will he see the good(BC) things I will do for my people, declares the Lord, because he has preached rebellion(BD) against me.’”

Restoration of Israel

30 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write(BE) in a book all the words I have spoken to you. The days(BF) are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will bring(BG) my people Israel and Judah back from captivity[d] and restore(BH) them to the land I gave their ancestors to possess,’ says the Lord.”

These are the words the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah: “This is what the Lord says:

“‘Cries of fear(BI) are heard—
    terror, not peace.
Ask and see:
    Can a man bear children?
Then why do I see every strong man
    with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor,(BJ)
    every face turned deathly pale?(BK)
How awful that day(BL) will be!
    No other will be like it.
It will be a time of trouble(BM) for Jacob,
    but he will be saved(BN) out of it.

“‘In that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty,
    ‘I will break the yoke(BO) off their necks
and will tear off their bonds;(BP)
    no longer will foreigners enslave them.(BQ)
Instead, they will serve the Lord their God
    and David(BR) their king,(BS)
    whom I will raise up for them.

10 “‘So do not be afraid,(BT) Jacob my servant;(BU)
    do not be dismayed, Israel,’
declares the Lord.
‘I will surely save(BV) you out of a distant place,
    your descendants from the land of their exile.
Jacob will again have peace and security,(BW)
    and no one will make him afraid.(BX)
11 I am with you(BY) and will save you,’
    declares the Lord.
‘Though I completely destroy all the nations
    among which I scatter you,
    I will not completely destroy(BZ) you.
I will discipline(CA) you but only in due measure;
    I will not let you go entirely unpunished.’(CB)

12 “This is what the Lord says:

“‘Your wound(CC) is incurable,
    your injury beyond healing.(CD)
13 There is no one to plead your cause,(CE)
    no remedy for your sore,
    no healing(CF) for you.
14 All your allies(CG) have forgotten you;
    they care nothing for you.
I have struck you as an enemy(CH) would
    and punished you as would the cruel,(CI)
because your guilt is so great
    and your sins(CJ) so many.
15 Why do you cry out over your wound,
    your pain that has no cure?(CK)
Because of your great guilt and many sins
    I have done these things to you.(CL)

16 “‘But all who devour(CM) you will be devoured;
    all your enemies will go into exile.(CN)
Those who plunder(CO) you will be plundered;
    all who make spoil of you I will despoil.
17 But I will restore you to health
    and heal(CP) your wounds,’
declares the Lord,
‘because you are called an outcast,(CQ)
    Zion for whom no one cares.’(CR)

18 “This is what the Lord says:

“‘I will restore the fortunes(CS) of Jacob’s tents(CT)
    and have compassion(CU) on his dwellings;
the city will be rebuilt(CV) on her ruins,
    and the palace will stand in its proper place.
19 From them will come songs(CW) of thanksgiving(CX)
    and the sound of rejoicing.(CY)
I will add to their numbers,(CZ)
    and they will not be decreased;
I will bring them honor,(DA)
    and they will not be disdained.
20 Their children(DB) will be as in days of old,
    and their community will be established(DC) before me;
    I will punish(DD) all who oppress them.
21 Their leader(DE) will be one of their own;
    their ruler will arise from among them.(DF)
I will bring him near(DG) and he will come close to me—
    for who is he who will devote himself
    to be close to me?’
declares the Lord.
22 “‘So you will be my people,(DH)
    and I will be your God.(DI)’”

23 See, the storm(DJ) of the Lord
    will burst out in wrath,
a driving wind swirling down
    on the heads of the wicked.
24 The fierce anger(DK) of the Lord will not turn back(DL)
    until he fully accomplishes
    the purposes of his heart.
In days to come
    you will understand(DM) this.

31 “At that time,” declares the Lord, “I will be the God(DN) of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people.”

This is what the Lord says:

“The people who survive the sword
    will find favor(DO) in the wilderness;
    I will come to give rest(DP) to Israel.”

The Lord appeared to us in the past,[e] saying:

“I have loved(DQ) you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn(DR) you with unfailing kindness.
I will build you up again,
    and you, Virgin(DS) Israel, will be rebuilt.(DT)
Again you will take up your timbrels(DU)
    and go out to dance(DV) with the joyful.(DW)
Again you will plant(DX) vineyards
    on the hills of Samaria;(DY)
the farmers will plant them
    and enjoy their fruit.(DZ)
There will be a day when watchmen(EA) cry out
    on the hills of Ephraim,
‘Come, let us go up to Zion,
    to the Lord our God.’”(EB)

This is what the Lord says:

“Sing(EC) with joy for Jacob;
    shout for the foremost(ED) of the nations.
Make your praises heard, and say,
    Lord, save(EE) your people,
    the remnant(EF) of Israel.’
See, I will bring them from the land of the north(EG)
    and gather(EH) them from the ends of the earth.
Among them will be the blind(EI) and the lame,(EJ)
    expectant mothers and women in labor;
    a great throng will return.
They will come with weeping;(EK)
    they will pray as I bring them back.
I will lead(EL) them beside streams of water(EM)
    on a level(EN) path where they will not stumble,
because I am Israel’s father,(EO)
    and Ephraim is my firstborn son.

10 “Hear the word of the Lord, you nations;
    proclaim it in distant coastlands:(EP)
‘He who scattered(EQ) Israel will gather(ER) them
    and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.’(ES)
11 For the Lord will deliver Jacob
    and redeem(ET) them from the hand of those stronger(EU) than they.
12 They will come and shout for joy(EV) on the heights(EW) of Zion;
    they will rejoice in the bounty(EX) of the Lord
the grain, the new wine and the olive oil,(EY)
    the young of the flocks(EZ) and herds.
They will be like a well-watered garden,(FA)
    and they will sorrow(FB) no more.
13 Then young women will dance and be glad,
    young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning(FC) into gladness;
    I will give them comfort(FD) and joy(FE) instead of sorrow.
14 I will satisfy(FF) the priests(FG) with abundance,
    and my people will be filled with my bounty,(FH)
declares the Lord.

15 This is what the Lord says:

“A voice is heard in Ramah,(FI)
    mourning and great weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children
    and refusing to be comforted,(FJ)
    because they are no more.”(FK)

16 This is what the Lord says:

“Restrain your voice from weeping
    and your eyes from tears,(FL)
for your work will be rewarded,(FM)
declares the Lord.
    “They will return(FN) from the land of the enemy.
17 So there is hope(FO) for your descendants,”
declares the Lord.
    “Your children(FP) will return to their own land.

18 “I have surely heard Ephraim’s moaning:
    ‘You disciplined(FQ) me like an unruly calf,(FR)
    and I have been disciplined.
Restore(FS) me, and I will return,
    because you are the Lord my God.
19 After I strayed,(FT)
    I repented;
after I came to understand,
    I beat(FU) my breast.
I was ashamed(FV) and humiliated
    because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’(FW)
20 Is not Ephraim my dear son,
    the child(FX) in whom I delight?
Though I often speak against him,
    I still remember(FY) him.
Therefore my heart yearns for him;
    I have great compassion(FZ) for him,”
declares the Lord.

21 “Set up road signs;
    put up guideposts.(GA)
Take note of the highway,(GB)
    the road that you take.
Return,(GC) Virgin(GD) Israel,
    return to your towns.
22 How long will you wander,(GE)
    unfaithful(GF) Daughter Israel?
The Lord will create a new thing(GG) on earth—
    the woman will return to[f](GH) the man.”

23 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “When I bring them back from captivity,[g](GI) the people in the land of Judah and in its towns will once again use these words: ‘The Lord bless(GJ) you, you prosperous city,(GK) you sacred mountain.’(GL) 24 People will live(GM) together in Judah and all its towns—farmers and those who move about with their flocks.(GN) 25 I will refresh the weary(GO) and satisfy the faint.”(GP)

26 At this I awoke(GQ) and looked around. My sleep had been pleasant to me.

27 “The days are coming,”(GR) declares the Lord, “when I will plant(GS) the kingdoms of Israel and Judah with the offspring of people and of animals. 28 Just as I watched(GT) over them to uproot(GU) and tear down, and to overthrow, destroy and bring disaster,(GV) so I will watch over them to build and to plant,”(GW) declares the Lord. 29 “In those days people will no longer say,

‘The parents(GX) have eaten sour grapes,
    and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’(GY)

30 Instead, everyone will die for their own sin;(GZ) whoever eats sour grapes—their own teeth will be set on edge.

31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
    “when I will make a new covenant(HA)
with the people of Israel
    and with the people of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant(HB)
    I made with their ancestors(HC)
when I took them by the hand
    to lead them out of Egypt,(HD)
because they broke my covenant,
    though I was a husband(HE) to[h] them,[i]
declares the Lord.
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
    after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds(HF)
    and write it on their hearts.(HG)
I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.(HH)
34 No longer will they teach(HI) their neighbor,
    or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know(HJ) me,
    from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive(HK) their wickedness
    and will remember their sins(HL) no more.”

35 This is what the Lord says,

he who appoints(HM) the sun
    to shine by day,
who decrees the moon and stars
    to shine by night,(HN)
who stirs up the sea(HO)
    so that its waves roar(HP)
    the Lord Almighty is his name:(HQ)
36 “Only if these decrees(HR) vanish from my sight,”
    declares the Lord,
“will Israel(HS) ever cease
    being a nation before me.”

37 This is what the Lord says:

“Only if the heavens above can be measured(HT)
    and the foundations of the earth below be searched out
will I reject(HU) all the descendants of Israel
    because of all they have done,”
declares the Lord.

38 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when this city will be rebuilt(HV) for me from the Tower of Hananel(HW) to the Corner Gate.(HX) 39 The measuring line(HY) will stretch from there straight to the hill of Gareb and then turn to Goah. 40 The whole valley(HZ) where dead bodies(IA) and ashes are thrown, and all the terraces out to the Kidron Valley(IB) on the east as far as the corner of the Horse Gate,(IC) will be holy(ID) to the Lord. The city will never again be uprooted or demolished.”

Jeremiah Buys a Field

32 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth(IE) year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth(IF) year of Nebuchadnezzar. The army of the king of Babylon was then besieging(IG) Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was confined(IH) in the courtyard of the guard(II) in the royal palace of Judah.

Now Zedekiah king of Judah had imprisoned him there, saying, “Why do you prophesy(IJ) as you do? You say, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am about to give this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will capture(IK) it. Zedekiah(IL) king of Judah will not escape(IM) the Babylonians[j](IN) but will certainly be given into the hands of the king of Babylon, and will speak with him face to face and see him with his own eyes. He will take(IO) Zedekiah to Babylon, where he will remain until I deal with him,(IP) declares the Lord. If you fight against the Babylonians, you will not succeed.’”(IQ)

Jeremiah said, “The word of the Lord came to me: Hanamel son of Shallum your uncle is going to come to you and say, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth,(IR) because as nearest relative it is your right and duty(IS) to buy it.’

“Then, just as the Lord had said, my cousin Hanamel came to me in the courtyard of the guard and said, ‘Buy my field(IT) at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. Since it is your right to redeem it and possess it, buy it for yourself.’

“I knew that this was the word of the Lord; so I bought the field(IU) at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel and weighed out for him seventeen shekels[k] of silver.(IV) 10 I signed and sealed the deed,(IW) had it witnessed,(IX) and weighed out the silver on the scales. 11 I took the deed of purchase—the sealed copy containing the terms and conditions, as well as the unsealed copy— 12 and I gave this deed to Baruch(IY) son of Neriah,(IZ) the son of Mahseiah, in the presence of my cousin Hanamel and of the witnesses who had signed the deed and of all the Jews sitting in the courtyard of the guard.

13 “In their presence I gave Baruch these instructions: 14 ‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Take these documents, both the sealed(JA) and unsealed copies of the deed of purchase, and put them in a clay jar so they will last a long time. 15 For this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.’(JB)

16 “After I had given the deed of purchase to Baruch(JC) son of Neriah, I prayed to the Lord:

17 “Ah, Sovereign Lord,(JD) you have made the heavens and the earth(JE) by your great power and outstretched arm.(JF) Nothing is too hard(JG) for you. 18 You show love(JH) to thousands but bring the punishment for the parents’ sins into the laps(JI) of their children(JJ) after them. Great and mighty God,(JK) whose name is the Lord Almighty,(JL) 19 great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds.(JM) Your eyes are open to the ways of all mankind;(JN) you reward each person according to their conduct and as their deeds deserve.(JO) 20 You performed signs and wonders(JP) in Egypt(JQ) and have continued them to this day, in Israel and among all mankind, and have gained the renown(JR) that is still yours. 21 You brought your people Israel out of Egypt with signs and wonders, by a mighty hand(JS) and an outstretched arm(JT) and with great terror.(JU) 22 You gave them this land you had sworn to give their ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey.(JV) 23 They came in and took possession(JW) of it, but they did not obey you or follow your law;(JX) they did not do what you commanded them to do. So you brought all this disaster(JY) on them.

24 “See how the siege ramps(JZ) are built up to take the city. Because of the sword, famine and plague,(KA) the city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians who are attacking it. What you said(KB) has happened,(KC) as you now see. 25 And though the city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians, you, Sovereign Lord, say to me, ‘Buy the field(KD) with silver and have the transaction witnessed.(KE)’”

26 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 27 “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind.(KF) Is anything too hard for me?(KG) 28 Therefore this is what the Lord says: I am about to give this city into the hands of the Babylonians and to Nebuchadnezzar(KH) king of Babylon, who will capture it.(KI) 29 The Babylonians who are attacking this city will come in and set it on fire; they will burn it down,(KJ) along with the houses(KK) where the people aroused my anger by burning incense on the roofs to Baal and by pouring out drink offerings(KL) to other gods.(KM)

30 “The people of Israel and Judah have done nothing but evil in my sight from their youth;(KN) indeed, the people of Israel have done nothing but arouse my anger(KO) with what their hands have made,(KP) declares the Lord. 31 From the day it was built until now, this city(KQ) has so aroused my anger and wrath that I must remove(KR) it from my sight. 32 The people of Israel and Judah have provoked(KS) me by all the evil(KT) they have done—they, their kings and officials,(KU) their priests and prophets, the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem. 33 They turned their backs(KV) to me and not their faces; though I taught(KW) them again and again, they would not listen or respond to discipline.(KX) 34 They set up their vile images(KY) in the house that bears my Name(KZ) and defiled(LA) it. 35 They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom(LB) to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molek,(LC) though I never commanded—nor did it enter my mind(LD)—that they should do such a detestable(LE) thing and so make Judah sin.(LF)

36 “You are saying about this city, ‘By the sword, famine and plague(LG) it will be given into the hands of the king of Babylon’; but this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 37 I will surely gather(LH) them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger(LI) and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety.(LJ) 38 They will be my people,(LK) and I will be their God. 39 I will give them singleness(LL) of heart and action, so that they will always fear(LM) me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them. 40 I will make an everlasting covenant(LN) with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire(LO) them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me.(LP) 41 I will rejoice(LQ) in doing them good(LR) and will assuredly plant(LS) them in this land with all my heart and soul.(LT)

42 “This is what the Lord says: As I have brought all this great calamity(LU) on this people, so I will give them all the prosperity I have promised(LV) them. 43 Once more fields will be bought(LW) in this land of which you say, ‘It is a desolate(LX) waste, without people or animals, for it has been given into the hands of the Babylonians.’ 44 Fields will be bought for silver, and deeds(LY) will be signed, sealed and witnessed(LZ) in the territory of Benjamin, in the villages around Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the towns of the hill country, of the western foothills and of the Negev,(MA) because I will restore(MB) their fortunes,[l] declares the Lord.”

Promise of Restoration

33 While Jeremiah was still confined(MC) in the courtyard(MD) of the guard, the word of the Lord came to him a second time:(ME) “This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth,(MF) the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name:(MG) ‘Call(MH) to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable(MI) things you do not know.’ For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says about the houses in this city and the royal palaces of Judah that have been torn down to be used against the siege(MJ) ramps(MK) and the sword in the fight with the Babylonians[m]: ‘They will be filled with the dead bodies of the people I will slay in my anger and wrath.(ML) I will hide my face(MM) from this city because of all its wickedness.

“‘Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal(MN) my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace(MO) and security. I will bring Judah(MP) and Israel back from captivity[n](MQ) and will rebuild(MR) them as they were before.(MS) I will cleanse(MT) them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive(MU) all their sins of rebellion against me. Then this city will bring me renown,(MV) joy, praise(MW) and honor(MX) before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble(MY) at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.’

10 “This is what the Lord says: ‘You say about this place, “It is a desolate waste, without people or animals.”(MZ) Yet in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are deserted,(NA) inhabited by neither people nor animals, there will be heard once more 11 the sounds of joy and gladness,(NB) the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings(NC) to the house of the Lord, saying,

“Give thanks to the Lord Almighty,
    for the Lord is good;(ND)
    his love endures forever.”(NE)

For I will restore the fortunes(NF) of the land as they were before,(NG)’ says the Lord.

12 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In this place, desolate(NH) and without people or animals(NI)—in all its towns there will again be pastures for shepherds to rest their flocks.(NJ) 13 In the towns of the hill(NK) country, of the western foothills and of the Negev,(NL) in the territory of Benjamin, in the villages around Jerusalem and in the towns of Judah, flocks will again pass under the hand(NM) of the one who counts them,’ says the Lord.

14 “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise(NN) I made to the people of Israel and Judah.

15 “‘In those days and at that time
    I will make a righteous(NO) Branch(NP) sprout from David’s line;(NQ)
    he will do what is just and right in the land.
16 In those days Judah will be saved(NR)
    and Jerusalem will live in safety.(NS)
This is the name by which it[o] will be called:(NT)
    The Lord Our Righteous Savior.’(NU)

17 For this is what the Lord says: ‘David will never fail(NV) to have a man to sit on the throne of Israel, 18 nor will the Levitical(NW) priests(NX) ever fail to have a man to stand before me continually to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to present sacrifices.(NY)’”

19 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 20 “This is what the Lord says: ‘If you can break my covenant with the day(NZ) and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time,(OA) 21 then my covenant(OB) with David my servant—and my covenant with the Levites(OC) who are priests ministering before me—can be broken and David will no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne.(OD) 22 I will make the descendants of David my servant and the Levites who minister before me as countless(OE) as the stars in the sky and as measureless as the sand on the seashore.’”

23 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 24 “Have you not noticed that these people are saying, ‘The Lord has rejected the two kingdoms[p](OF) he chose’? So they despise(OG) my people and no longer regard them as a nation.(OH) 25 This is what the Lord says: ‘If I have not made my covenant with day and night(OI) and established the laws(OJ) of heaven and earth,(OK) 26 then I will reject(OL) the descendants of Jacob(OM) and David my servant and will not choose one of his sons to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes[q](ON) and have compassion(OO) on them.’”

Warning to Zedekiah

34 While Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army and all the kingdoms and peoples(OP) in the empire he ruled were fighting against Jerusalem(OQ) and all its surrounding towns, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Go to Zedekiah(OR) king of Judah and tell him, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am about to give this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down.(OS) You will not escape from his grasp but will surely be captured and given into his hands.(OT) You will see the king of Babylon with your own eyes, and he will speak with you face to face. And you will go to Babylon.

“‘Yet hear the Lord’s promise to you, Zedekiah king of Judah. This is what the Lord says concerning you: You will not die by the sword;(OU) you will die peacefully. As people made a funeral fire(OV) in honor of your predecessors, the kings who ruled before you, so they will make a fire in your honor and lament, “Alas,(OW) master!” I myself make this promise, declares the Lord.’”

Then Jeremiah the prophet told all this to Zedekiah king of Judah, in Jerusalem, while the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and the other cities of Judah that were still holding out—Lachish(OX) and Azekah.(OY) These were the only fortified cities left in Judah.

Freedom for Slaves

The word came to Jeremiah from the Lord after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people(OZ) in Jerusalem to proclaim freedom(PA) for the slaves. Everyone was to free their Hebrew slaves, both male and female; no one was to hold a fellow Hebrew in bondage.(PB) 10 So all the officials and people who entered into this covenant agreed that they would free their male and female slaves and no longer hold them in bondage. They agreed, and set them free. 11 But afterward they changed their minds(PC) and took back the slaves they had freed and enslaved them again.

12 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 13 “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I made a covenant with your ancestors(PD) when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.(PE) I said, 14 ‘Every seventh year each of you must free any fellow Hebrews who have sold themselves to you. After they have served you six years, you must let them go free.’[r](PF) Your ancestors, however, did not listen to me or pay attention(PG) to me. 15 Recently you repented and did what is right in my sight: Each of you proclaimed freedom to your own people.(PH) You even made a covenant before me in the house that bears my Name.(PI) 16 But now you have turned around(PJ) and profaned(PK) my name; each of you has taken back the male and female slaves you had set free to go where they wished. You have forced them to become your slaves again.

17 “Therefore this is what the Lord says: You have not obeyed me; you have not proclaimed freedom to your own people. So I now proclaim ‘freedom’ for you,(PL) declares the Lord—‘freedom’ to fall by the sword, plague(PM) and famine.(PN) I will make you abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth.(PO) 18 Those who have violated my covenant(PP) and have not fulfilled the terms of the covenant they made before me, I will treat like the calf they cut in two and then walked between its pieces.(PQ) 19 The leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the court officials,(PR) the priests and all the people of the land who walked between the pieces of the calf, 20 I will deliver(PS) into the hands of their enemies who want to kill them.(PT) Their dead bodies will become food for the birds and the wild animals.(PU)

21 “I will deliver Zedekiah(PV) king of Judah and his officials(PW) into the hands of their enemies(PX) who want to kill them, to the army of the king of Babylon,(PY) which has withdrawn(PZ) from you. 22 I am going to give the order, declares the Lord, and I will bring them back to this city. They will fight against it, take(QA) it and burn(QB) it down. And I will lay waste(QC) the towns of Judah so no one can live there.”

The Rekabites

35 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord during the reign of Jehoiakim(QD) son of Josiah king of Judah: “Go to the Rekabite(QE) family and invite them to come to one of the side rooms(QF) of the house of the Lord and give them wine to drink.”

So I went to get Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah, the son of Habazziniah, and his brothers and all his sons—the whole family of the Rekabites. I brought them into the house of the Lord, into the room of the sons of Hanan son of Igdaliah the man of God.(QG) It was next to the room of the officials, which was over that of Maaseiah son of Shallum(QH) the doorkeeper.(QI) Then I set bowls full of wine and some cups before the Rekabites and said to them, “Drink some wine.”

But they replied, “We do not drink wine, because our forefather Jehonadab[s](QJ) son of Rekab gave us this command: ‘Neither you nor your descendants must ever drink wine.(QK) Also you must never build houses, sow seed or plant vineyards; you must never have any of these things, but must always live in tents.(QL) Then you will live a long time in the land(QM) where you are nomads.’ We have obeyed everything our forefather(QN) Jehonadab son of Rekab commanded us. Neither we nor our wives nor our sons and daughters have ever drunk wine or built houses to live in or had vineyards, fields or crops.(QO) 10 We have lived in tents and have fully obeyed everything our forefather Jehonadab commanded us. 11 But when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon invaded(QP) this land, we said, ‘Come, we must go to Jerusalem(QQ) to escape the Babylonian[t] and Aramean armies.’ So we have remained in Jerusalem.”

12 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying: 13 “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go and tell(QR) the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘Will you not learn a lesson(QS) and obey my words?’ declares the Lord. 14 ‘Jehonadab son of Rekab ordered his descendants not to drink wine and this command has been kept. To this day they do not drink wine, because they obey their forefather’s command.(QT) But I have spoken to you again and again,(QU) yet you have not obeyed(QV) me. 15 Again and again I sent all my servants the prophets(QW) to you. They said, “Each of you must turn(QX) from your wicked ways and reform(QY) your actions; do not follow other gods(QZ) to serve them. Then you will live in the land(RA) I have given to you and your ancestors.” But you have not paid attention or listened(RB) to me. 16 The descendants of Jehonadab son of Rekab have carried out the command their forefather(RC) gave them, but these people have not obeyed me.’

17 “Therefore this is what the Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Listen! I am going to bring on Judah and on everyone living in Jerusalem every disaster(RD) I pronounced against them. I spoke to them, but they did not listen;(RE) I called to them, but they did not answer.’”(RF)

18 Then Jeremiah said to the family of the Rekabites, “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘You have obeyed the command of your forefather(RG) Jehonadab and have followed all his instructions and have done everything he ordered.’ 19 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jehonadab son of Rekab will never fail(RH) to have a descendant to serve(RI) me.’”

Jehoiakim Burns Jeremiah’s Scroll

36 In the fourth year of Jehoiakim(RJ) son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Take a scroll(RK) and write on it all the words(RL) I have spoken to you concerning Israel, Judah and all the other nations from the time I began speaking to you in the reign of Josiah(RM) till now. Perhaps(RN) when the people of Judah hear(RO) about every disaster I plan to inflict on them, they will each turn(RP) from their wicked ways; then I will forgive(RQ) their wickedness and their sin.”

So Jeremiah called Baruch(RR) son of Neriah,(RS) and while Jeremiah dictated(RT) all the words the Lord had spoken to him, Baruch wrote them on the scroll.(RU) Then Jeremiah told Baruch, “I am restricted; I am not allowed to go to the Lord’s temple. So you go to the house of the Lord on a day of fasting(RV) and read to the people from the scroll the words of the Lord that you wrote as I dictated.(RW) Read them to all the people of Judah(RX) who come in from their towns. Perhaps they will bring their petition(RY) before the Lord and will each turn(RZ) from their wicked ways, for the anger(SA) and wrath pronounced against this people by the Lord are great.”

Baruch son of Neriah did everything Jeremiah the prophet told him to do; at the Lord’s temple he read the words of the Lord from the scroll. In the ninth month(SB) of the fifth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, a time of fasting(SC) before the Lord was proclaimed for all the people in Jerusalem and those who had come from the towns of Judah. 10 From the room of Gemariah(SD) son of Shaphan(SE) the secretary,(SF) which was in the upper courtyard at the entrance of the New Gate(SG) of the temple, Baruch read to all the people at the Lord’s temple the words of Jeremiah from the scroll.

11 When Micaiah son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, heard all the words of the Lord from the scroll, 12 he went down to the secretary’s(SH) room in the royal palace, where all the officials were sitting: Elishama the secretary, Delaiah son of Shemaiah, Elnathan(SI) son of Akbor, Gemariah son of Shaphan, Zedekiah son of Hananiah, and all the other officials.(SJ) 13 After Micaiah told them everything he had heard Baruch read to the people from the scroll, 14 all the officials sent Jehudi(SK) son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, to say to Baruch, “Bring the scroll(SL) from which you have read to the people and come.” So Baruch son of Neriah went to them with the scroll in his hand. 15 They said to him, “Sit down, please, and read it to us.”

So Baruch read it to them. 16 When they heard all these words, they looked at each other in fear(SM) and said to Baruch, “We must report all these words to the king.” 17 Then they asked Baruch, “Tell us, how did you come to write(SN) all this? Did Jeremiah dictate it?”

18 “Yes,” Baruch replied, “he dictated(SO) all these words to me, and I wrote them in ink on the scroll.”

19 Then the officials(SP) said to Baruch, “You and Jeremiah, go and hide.(SQ) Don’t let anyone know where you are.”

20 After they put the scroll in the room of Elishama the secretary, they went to the king in the courtyard and reported everything to him. 21 The king sent Jehudi(SR) to get the scroll, and Jehudi brought it from the room of Elishama the secretary and read it to the king(SS) and all the officials standing beside him. 22 It was the ninth month and the king was sitting in the winter apartment,(ST) with a fire burning in the firepot in front of him. 23 Whenever Jehudi had read three or four columns of the scroll,(SU) the king cut them off with a scribe’s knife and threw them into the firepot, until the entire scroll was burned in the fire.(SV) 24 The king and all his attendants who heard all these words showed no fear,(SW) nor did they tear their clothes.(SX) 25 Even though Elnathan, Delaiah(SY) and Gemariah(SZ) urged the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them. 26 Instead, the king commanded Jerahmeel, a son of the king, Seraiah son of Azriel and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest(TA) Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet. But the Lord had hidden(TB) them.

27 After the king burned the scroll containing the words that Baruch had written at Jeremiah’s dictation,(TC) the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 28 “Take another scroll(TD) and write on it all the words that were on the first scroll, which Jehoiakim king of Judah burned up. 29 Also tell Jehoiakim king of Judah, ‘This is what the Lord says: You burned that scroll and said, “Why did you write on it that the king of Babylon would certainly come and destroy this land and wipe from it(TE) both man and beast?”(TF) 30 Therefore this is what the Lord says about Jehoiakim(TG) king of Judah: He will have no one to sit on the throne of David; his body will be thrown out(TH) and exposed(TI) to the heat by day and the frost by night.(TJ) 31 I will punish him and his children(TK) and his attendants for their wickedness; I will bring on them and those living in Jerusalem and the people of Judah every disaster(TL) I pronounced against them, because they have not listened.(TM)’”

32 So Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to the scribe Baruch son of Neriah, and as Jeremiah dictated,(TN) Baruch wrote(TO) on it all the words of the scroll that Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned(TP) in the fire. And many similar words were added to them.

Jeremiah in Prison

37 Zedekiah(TQ) son of Josiah was made king(TR) of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; he reigned in place of Jehoiachin[u](TS) son of Jehoiakim. Neither he nor his attendants nor the people of the land paid any attention(TT) to the words the Lord had spoken through Jeremiah the prophet.

King Zedekiah, however, sent(TU) Jehukal(TV) son of Shelemiah with the priest Zephaniah(TW) son of Maaseiah to Jeremiah the prophet with this message: “Please pray(TX) to the Lord our God for us.”

Now Jeremiah was free to come and go among the people, for he had not yet been put in prison.(TY) Pharaoh’s army had marched out of Egypt,(TZ) and when the Babylonians[v] who were besieging Jerusalem heard the report about them, they withdrew(UA) from Jerusalem.(UB)

Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire(UC) of me, ‘Pharaoh’s army, which has marched(UD) out to support you, will go back to its own land, to Egypt.(UE) Then the Babylonians will return and attack this city; they will capture(UF) it and burn(UG) it down.’

“This is what the Lord says: Do not deceive(UH) yourselves, thinking, ‘The Babylonians will surely leave us.’ They will not! 10 Even if you were to defeat the entire Babylonian[w] army that is attacking you and only wounded men were left in their tents, they would come out and burn(UI) this city down.”

11 After the Babylonian army had withdrawn(UJ) from Jerusalem because of Pharaoh’s army,

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 29:2 Hebrew Jeconiah, a variant of Jehoiachin
  2. Jeremiah 29:14 Or will restore your fortunes
  3. Jeremiah 29:18 That is, their names will be used in cursing (see verse 22); or, others will see that they are cursed.
  4. Jeremiah 30:3 Or will restore the fortunes of my people Israel and Judah
  5. Jeremiah 31:3 Or Lord has appeared to us from afar
  6. Jeremiah 31:22 Or will protect
  7. Jeremiah 31:23 Or I restore their fortunes
  8. Jeremiah 31:32 Hebrew; Septuagint and Syriac / and I turned away from
  9. Jeremiah 31:32 Or was their master
  10. Jeremiah 32:4 Or Chaldeans; also in verses 5, 24, 25, 28, 29 and 43
  11. Jeremiah 32:9 That is, about 7 ounces or about 200 grams
  12. Jeremiah 32:44 Or will bring them back from captivity
  13. Jeremiah 33:5 Or Chaldeans
  14. Jeremiah 33:7 Or will restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel
  15. Jeremiah 33:16 Or he
  16. Jeremiah 33:24 Or families
  17. Jeremiah 33:26 Or will bring them back from captivity
  18. Jeremiah 34:14 Deut. 15:12
  19. Jeremiah 35:6 Hebrew Jonadab, a variant of Jehonadab; here and often in this chapter
  20. Jeremiah 35:11 Or Chaldean
  21. Jeremiah 37:1 Hebrew Koniah, a variant of Jehoiachin
  22. Jeremiah 37:5 Or Chaldeans; also in verses 8, 9, 13 and 14
  23. Jeremiah 37:10 Or Chaldean; also in verse 11