Then the LORD asked me, "What do you see,1 Jeremiah?" "Figs," I answered. "The good ones are very good, but the poor ones are so bad they cannot be eaten."
Then the word of the LORD came to me:
"This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Like these good figs, I regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I sent2 away from this place to the land of the Babylonians.a6
My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back3 to this land. I will build4 them up and not tear them down; I will plant5 them and not uproot them.
I will give them a heart to know6 me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people,7 and I will be their God, for they will return8 to me with all their heart.98
" 'But like the poor10 figs, which are so bad they cannot be eaten,' says the LORD, 'so will I deal with Zedekiah11 king of Judah, his officials12 and the survivors13 from Jerusalem, whether they remain in this land or live in Egypt.149
I will make them abhorrent15 and an offense to all the kingdoms of the earth, a reproach and a byword,16 an object of ridicule and cursing,17 wherever I banish18 them.
I will send the sword,19 famine20 and plague21 against them until they are destroyed from the land I gave to them and their fathers.22' "