King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took Jehoiakin (son of King Jehoiakim of Judah), the princes of Judah, the skilled workers, and the builders from Jerusalem into captivity and brought them to Babylon. After this, the LORD showed me two baskets of figs set in front of the LORD's temple.
One basket had very good figs, like figs that ripen first. The other basket had very bad figs. These figs were so bad that they couldn't be eaten.
Then the LORD asked me, "What do you see, Jeremiah?" I answered, "Figs. Figs that are very good. I also see figs that are very bad, so bad that they can't be eaten."
The LORD spoke his word to me,
"This is what the LORD God of Israel says: The captives of Judah, whom I sent away from here to Babylon, are like these good figs. I will look kindly on them.
I will watch over them for their own good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down. I will plant them and not uproot them.
I will give them the desire to know that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, because they will wholeheartedly come back to me.
"But this is what the LORD says about the bad figs that are so bad that they can't be eaten. The LORD says, 'Like these bad figs, I will abandon King Zedekiah of Judah, his princes, the remaining few in Jerusalem who stayed behind in this land, and those who are living in Egypt.
I will make them a horrifying sight to all the kingdoms of the earth. They will be a disgrace and an example. They will become something ridiculed and cursed wherever I scatter them.
I will send wars, famines, and plagues until they disappear from the land that I gave to them and their ancestors.'"