Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon captured Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim and king of Judah, his officers, and all the craftsmen and metalworkers of Judah. He took them away from Jerusalem and brought them to Babylon. It was then that the Lord showed me two baskets of figs arranged in front of the Temple of the Lord.
One of the baskets had very good figs in it, like figs that ripen early in the season. But the other basket had figs too rotten to eat.
The Lord said to me, "What do you see, Jeremiah?" I answered, "I see figs. The good figs are very good, but the rotten figs are too rotten to eat."
Then the Lord spoke his word to me:
"This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'I sent the people of Judah out of their country to live in the country of Babylon. I think of those people as good, like these good figs.
I will look after them and bring them back to the land of Judah. I will not tear them down, but I will build them up. I will not pull them up, but I will plant them so they can grow.
I will make them want to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, because they will return to me with their whole hearts.
"'But the bad figs are too rotten to eat.' So this is what the Lord says: 'Zedekiah king of Judah, his officers, and all the people from Jerusalem who are left alive, even those who live in Egypt, will be like those rotten figs.
I will make those people hated as an evil people by all the kingdoms of the earth. People will make fun of them and tell jokes about them and point fingers at them and curse them everywhere I scatter them.
I will send war, hunger, and disease against them. I will attack them until they have all been killed. Then they will no longer be in the land I gave to them and their ancestors.'"