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.'"
The LORD spoke his word to Jeremiah about all the people of Judah when Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, was in his fourth year as king. (This was the first year that Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylon.)
The prophet Jeremiah spoke to all the people of Judah and to everyone who lived in Jerusalem. He said,
"For 23 years, from the time that Josiah, son of Amon, was in his thirteenth year as king of Judah until today, the LORD continued to speak his word to me. So I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened.
"Even though the LORD has sent all his servants the prophets to you, you haven't listened or paid attention to them.
The prophets said, 'Turn from your evil ways and the evil you have done, and live in the land that the LORD permanently gave to you and your ancestors.
Don't follow other gods to serve and worship them. Don't make me furious about the idols your hands have shaped. Then I won't harm you.
But you haven't listened to me, declares the LORD. You have made me furious about the idols your hands have shaped and [have brought] harm upon yourselves.'
"This is what the LORD of Armies says: You did not listen to my words,
so I'm going to send for all the families from the north. I will also send for my servant King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, declares the LORD. I will bring the families from the north to attack this land, its people, and all these surrounding nations. I'm going to destroy them and turn them into something terrible, something ridiculed, and something permanently ruined.
I will take from them the sounds of joy and happiness, the sounds of brides and grooms, the sound of mills, and the light of lamps.
This whole land will be ruined and become a wasteland. These nations will serve the king of Babylon for 70 years.
"When the 70 years are over, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation for their crimes, declares the LORD. I will turn Babylon into a permanent wasteland.
I will bring on that land all the disasters I threatened to do to it, everything that Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations, everything written in this book.
Many nations and great kings will make slaves of the people of Babylon, and I will pay them back for what they have done."
This is what the LORD God of Israel said to me: Take from my hand this cup filled with the wine of my fury, and make all the nations to whom I'm sending you drink from it.
When they drink from it, they will stagger and go insane because of the wars that I'm going to send them.
So I took the cup from the LORD's hand. I made all the nations to whom the LORD sent me drink from it:
Jerusalem and the cities of Judah as well as its kings and officials. When they drank from it, they became wastelands and ruins, something ridiculed and cursed, until today.
[I also made these people drink from it:] Pharaoh king of Egypt, his servants, officials, all his people,
and all the foreign people living among them; all the kings of the land of Uz; all the kings of Philistia, those from the cities of Ashkelon, Gaza, and Ekron, and the people left in Ashdod;
Edom, Moab, and the people of Ammon;
all the kings of Tyre and Sidon, and the kings on the seacoast;
Dedan, Tema, Buz, and all who shave the hair on their foreheads;
all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the foreign people living in the desert;
all the kings of Zimri, all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of Media;
all the kings of the north, near and far, one after another--all the kingdoms of the earth. Last of all, the king of Sheshach will drink from the cup.
[The LORD said,] "Say to them, 'This is what the LORD of Armies, the God of Israel, says: Drink, get drunk, vomit, fall down, and don't get up because of the wars that I'm going to send you.'
But if they refuse to take the cup from your hand and drink from it, say to them, 'This is what the LORD of Armies says: You must drink from it!
I am going to bring disaster on the city that is named after me. Do you think you'll go unpunished? You will not go unpunished! I'm declaring war on all those who live on earth, declares the LORD of Armies.'
"That is why you will prophesy all these things to them and say, 'The LORD roars from above. He thunders from his holy dwelling place. He roars against his land. He shouts like those who stomp grapes. He shouts against all those who live on earth.
The sound is echoing to the ends of the earth because the LORD has brought charges against the nations. He will judge all humans. He will kill the wicked, declares the LORD.'
"This is what the LORD of Armies says: Disaster is spreading from nation to nation. A great storm is brewing from the distant corners of the earth."
On that day those killed by the LORD will stretch from one end of the earth to the other. They will not be mourned, taken away, or buried. They will become like manure on the ground.
Mourn, you shepherds, and cry. Roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock. The time has come for you to be slaughtered. The time has come for you to be scattered, and you will break like fine pottery.
There will be no place for the shepherds to flee, no escape for the leaders of the flock.
The shepherds are crying and the leaders of the flock are mourning because the LORD is stripping their pasture.
The peaceful pastures are destroyed by the LORD's burning anger.
He has left his lair like a lion. Their land has been ruined because of the heat of the oppressor, because of the fury of his anger.
The LORD spoke his word when Judah's King Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, began to rule. He said,
"This is what the LORD says: Stand in the courtyard of the LORD's temple, and speak to all the people who come from the cities of Judah to worship in the LORD's temple. Tell them everything that I command you to tell them. Don't leave out a single word.
Maybe they'll listen, and they'll turn from their evil ways. Then I'll change my plan about the disaster I intend to bring on them because of the evil they have done."
The LORD added, "Also say to them, 'This is what the LORD says: Suppose you don't listen to me and don't follow my teachings that I set in front of you.
Suppose you don't listen to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent to you again and again, even though you didn't listen.
Then I will do to this temple what I did to Shiloh. I will turn this city into something that will be cursed by all the nations on earth.'"
The priests, the prophets, and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these things in the LORD's temple.
But as soon as Jeremiah finished saying everything that the LORD had commanded him to say, the priests, the prophets, and all the people grabbed him and said, "You must die!
Why do you prophesy in the LORD's name that this temple will be like Shiloh and this city will become a pile of rubble with no one living here?" Then all the people crowded around Jeremiah in the LORD's temple.
When the officials of Judah heard about these things, they went from the king's palace to the LORD's temple. They sat at the entrance of New Gate to the LORD's [temple].
Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and all the people, "This man is condemned to die because he prophesied against this city as you yourselves have heard."
Then Jeremiah said to all the officials and all the people, "The LORD sent me to prophesy everything that you have heard me say against this temple and against this city.
Now, change your ways and what you are doing, and listen to the LORD your God. Then the LORD will change his plan about the disaster that he intends to bring on you.
"My life is in your hands. Do with me whatever you think is good and right.
But know for certain that if you put me to death, you, this city, and the people living in it will be guilty of killing an innocent person. The LORD has certainly sent me to speak all these things to you."
Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and prophets, "This man should not be condemned to die. He has spoken to us in the name of the LORD our God."
Then some of the leaders in the land got up and said to the entire crowd,
"Micah from Moresheth prophesied at the time of Judah's King Hezekiah and said to all the people of Judah, 'This is what the LORD of Armies says: Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a pile of rubble, and the temple mountain will become a worship site covered with trees.'
Did Judah's King Hezekiah and all the people of Judah put Micah to death? No! Hezekiah feared the LORD and sought the LORD's favor. So the LORD changed his plan about the disaster he intended to bring on them. But we are about to bring a bigger disaster on ourselves."
There was another man prophesying in the name of the LORD. His name was Uriah, son of Shemaiah, from Kiriath Jearim. He prophesied against this city and this land as Jeremiah did.
When King Jehoiakim and all his personal troops and officials heard what Uriah said, the king wanted to put him to death. But Uriah heard about it and fled in fear to Egypt.
King Jehoiakim sent soldiers to Egypt: Elnathan (son of Achbor) and other soldiers along with him.
They brought Uriah from Egypt and took him to King Jehoiakim. The king executed Uriah and threw his body into the burial ground for the common people.
Ahikam, son of Shaphan, supported Jeremiah. So Jeremiah was not handed over to the people to be put to death.
Tell believers to live the kind of life that goes along with accurate teachings.
Tell older men to be sober. Tell them to be men of good character, to use good judgment, and to be well-grounded in faith, love, and endurance.
Tell older women to live their lives in a way that shows they are dedicated to God. Tell them not to be gossips or addicted to alcohol, but to be examples of virtue.
In this way they will teach young women to show love to their husbands and children,
to use good judgment, and to be morally pure. Also, tell them to teach young women to be homemakers, to be kind, and to place themselves under their husbands' authority. Then no one can speak evil of God's word.
Encourage young men to use good judgment.
Always set an example by doing good things. When you teach, be an example of moral purity and dignity.
Speak an accurate message that cannot be condemned. Then those who oppose us will be ashamed because they cannot say anything bad about us.
Tell slaves who are believers to place themselves under their masters' authority in everything they do. Tell them to please their masters, not to argue with them
or steal from them. Instead, tell slaves to show their masters how good and completely loyal they can be. Then they will show the beauty of the teachings about God our Savior in everything they do.
After all, God's saving kindness has appeared for the benefit of all people.
It trains us to avoid ungodly lives filled with worldly desires so that we can live self-controlled, moral, and godly lives in this present world.
At the same time we can expect what we hope for--the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
He gave himself for us to set us free from every sin and to cleanse us so that we can be his special people who are enthusiastic about doing good things.
Tell these things to the believers. Encourage and correct them, using your full authority. Don't let anyone ignore you.