1 This is the word the Lord spoke to Jeremiah in the tenth year Zedekiah was king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar. 2 At that time the army of the king of Babylon was surrounding Jerusalem. Jeremiah the prophet was under arrest in the courtyard of the guard, which was at the palace of the king of Judah. 3 Zedekiah king of Judah had put Jeremiah in prison there. Zedekiah had asked, "Why have you prophesied the things you have?" (Jeremiah had said, "This is what the Lord says: 'I will soon hand the city of Jerusalem over to the king of Babylon, and he will capture it. 4 Zedekiah king of Judah will not escape from the Babylonian army, but he will surely be handed over to the king of Babylon. And he will speak to the king of Babylon face to face and see him with his own eyes. 5 The king will take Zedekiah to Babylon, where he will stay until I have punished him,' says the Lord. 'If you fight against the Babylonians, you will not succeed.'") 6 While Jeremiah was in prison, he said, "The Lord spoke this word to me: 7 Your cousin Hanamel, son of your uncle Shallum, will come to you soon. Hanamel will say to you, 'Jeremiah, you are my nearest relative, so buy my field near the town of Anathoth. It is your right and your duty to buy that field.' 8 "Then it happened just as the Lord had said. My cousin Hanamel came to me in the courtyard of the guard and said to me, 'Buy for yourself my field near Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. It is your right and duty to buy it and own it.' So I knew this was a message from the Lord. 9 "I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel, weighing out seven ounces of silver for him. 10 I signed the record and sealed it and had some people witness it. I also weighed out the silver on the scales. 11 Then I took both copies of the record of ownership -- the one that was sealed that had the demands and limits of ownership, and the one that was not sealed. 12 And I gave them to Baruch son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah. My cousin Hanamel, the other witnesses who signed the record of ownership, and many Jews sitting in the courtyard of the guard saw me give the record of ownership to Baruch. 13 "With all the people watching, I told Baruch, 14 'This is what the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: Take both copies of the record of ownership -- the sealed copy and the copy that was not sealed -- and put them in a clay jar so they will last a long time. 15 This is what the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: In the future my people will once again buy houses and fields for grain and vineyards in the land of Israel.' 16 "After I gave the record of ownership to Baruch son of Neriah, I prayed to the Lord, 17 Oh, Lord God, you made the skies and the earth with your very great power. There is nothing too hard for you to do. 18 You show love and kindness to thousands of people, but you also bring punishment to children for their parents' sins. Great and powerful God, your name is the Lord All-Powerful. 19 You plan and do great things. You see everything that people do, and you reward people for the way they live and for what they do. 20 You did miracles and wonderful things in the land of Egypt. You have continued doing them in Israel and among the other nations even until today. So you have become well known. 21 You brought your people, the Israelites, out of Egypt using signs and miracles and your great power and strength. You brought great terror on everyone. 22 You gave them this land that you promised to their ancestors long ago, a fertile land. 23 They came into this land and took it for their own, but they did not obey you or follow your teachings. They did not do everything you commanded. So you made all these terrible things happen to them. 24 "Look! The enemy has surrounded the city and has built roads to the top of the walls to capture it. Because of war, hunger, and terrible diseases, the city will be handed over to the Babylonians who are attacking it. You said this would happen, and now you see it is happening. 25 But now, Lord God, you tell me, 'Buy the field with silver and call in witnesses.' You tell me this while the Babylonian army is ready to capture the city." 26 Then the Lord spoke this word to Jeremiah: 27 "I am the Lord, the God of every person on the earth. Nothing is impossible for me. 28 So this is what the Lord says: I will soon hand over the city of Jerusalem to the Babylonian army and to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, who will capture it. 29 The Babylonian army is already attacking the city of Jerusalem. They will soon enter it and start a fire to burn down the city and its houses. The people of Jerusalem offered sacrifices to Baal on the roofsn of those same houses and poured out drink offerings to other idols to make me angry. 30 From their youth, the people of Israel and Judah have done only the things I said were wrong. They have made me angry by worshiping idols made with their own hands," says the Lord. 31 "From the day Jerusalem was built until now, this city has made me angry, so angry that I must remove it from my sight. 32 I will destroy it, because of all the evil the people of Israel and Judah have done. The people, their kings and officers, their priests and prophets, all the people of Judah, and the people of Jerusalem have made me angry. 33 They turned their backs to me, not their faces. I tried to teach them again and again, but they wouldn't listen or learn. 34 They put their hateful idols in the place where I have chosen to be worshiped, so they made it unclean. 35 In the Valley of Ben Hinnom they built places to worship Baal so they could burn their sons and daughters as sacrifices to Molech. But I never commanded them to do such a hateful thing. It never entered my mind that they would do such a thing and cause Judah to sin. 36 "You are saying, 'Because of war, hunger, and terrible diseases, the city will be handed over to the king of Babylon.' But the Lord, the God of Israel, says about Jerusalem: 37 I forced the people of Israel and Judah to leave their land, because I was furious and very angry with them. But soon I will gather them from all the lands where I forced them to go, and I will bring them back to this place, where they may live in safety. 38 The people of Israel and Judah will be my people, and I will be their God. 39 I will make them truly want to be one people with one goal. They will truly want to worship me all their lives, for their own good and for the good of their children after them. 40 "I will make an agreement with them that will last forever. I will never turn away from them; I will always do good to them. I will make them want to respect me so they will never turn away from me. 41 I will enjoy doing good to them. And with my whole being I will surely plant them in this land and make them grow." 42 This is what the Lord says: "I have brought this great disaster to the people of Israel and Judah. In the same way I will bring the good things that I promise to do for them. 43 You are saying, 'This land is an empty desert, without people or animals. It has been handed over to the Babylonians.' But in the future, people will again buy fields in this land. 44 They will use their money to buy fields. They will sign and seal their agreements and call in witnesses. They will again buy fields in the land of Benjamin, in the area around Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the mountains, in the western hills, and in southern Judah. I will make everything as good for them as it once was," says the Lord.
1 While Jeremiah was still locked up in the courtyard of the guards, the Lord spoke his word to him a second time: 2 "These are the words of the Lord, who made the earth, shaped it, and gave it order, whose name is the Lord: 3 'Judah, pray to me, and I will answer you. I will tell you important secrets you have never heard before.' 4 This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says about the houses in Jerusalem and the royal palaces of Judah that have been torn down to be used in defense of the attack by the Babylonian army: 5 'Some people will come to fight against the Babylonians. They will fill these houses with the bodies of people I killed in my hot anger. I have turned away from this city because of all the evil its people have done. 6 "'But then I will bring health and healing to the people there. I will heal them and let them enjoy great peace and safety. 7 I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and make them strong countries as in the past. 8 They sinned against me, but I will wash away that sin. They did evil and turned away from me, but I will forgive them. 9 Then "Jerusalem" will be to me a name that brings joy! And people from all nations of the earth will praise it when they hear about the good things I am doing there. They will be surprised and shocked at all the good things and the peace I will bring to Jerusalem.' 10 "You are saying, 'Our country is an empty desert, without people or animals.' But this is what the Lord says: It is now quiet in the streets of Jerusalem and in the towns of Judah, without people or animals, but it will be noisy there soon! 11 There will be sounds of joy and gladness and the happy sounds of brides and bridegrooms. There will be the sounds of people bringing to the Temple of the Lord their offerings of thanks to the Lord. They will say, 'Praise the Lord All-Powerful, because the Lord is good! His love continues forever!' They will say this because I will again do good things for Judah, as I did in the beginning," says the Lord. 12 This is what the Lord All-Powerful says: "This place is empty now, without people or animals. But there will be shepherds in all the towns of Judah and pastures where they let their flocks rest. 13 Shepherds will again count their sheep as the sheep walk in front of them. They will count them in the mountains and in the western hills, in southern Judah and the land of Benjamin, and around Jerusalem and the other towns of Judah!" says the Lord. 14 The Lord says, "The time is coming when I will do the good thing I promised to the people of Israel and Judah. 15 In those days and at that time, I will make a good branch sprout from David's family. He will do what is fair and right in the land. 16 At that time Judah will be saved, and the people of Jerusalem will live in safety. The branch will be named: The Lord Does What Is Right." 17 This is what the Lord says: "Someone from David's family will always sit on the throne of the family of Israel. 18 And there will always be priests from the family of Levi. They will always stand before me to offer burnt offerings and grain offerings and sacrifices to me." 19 The Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah, saying: 20 "This is what the Lord says: I have an agreement with day and night that they will always come at the right times. If you could change that agreement, 21 only then could you change my agreement with David and Levi. Only then would my servant David not have a descendant ruling as king on David's throne. And only then would the family of Levi not be priests serving me in the Temple. 22 But I will give many descendants to my servant David and to the family group of Levi who serve me in the Temple. They will be as many as the stars in the sky that no one can count. They will be as many as the grains of sand on the seashore that no one can measure." 23 The Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah, say-ing: 24 "Jeremiah, have you heard what the people are saying? They say: 'The Lord turned away from the two families of Israel and Judah that he chose.' Now they don't think of my people as a nation anymore!" 25 This is what the Lord says: "If I had not made my agreement with day and night, and if I had not made the laws for the sky and earth, 26 only then would I turn away from Jacob's descendants. And only then would I not let the descendants of David my servant rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But I will be kind to them and cause good things to happen to them again."
1 The Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and all the towns around it. Nebuchadnezzar had with him all his army and the armies of all the kingdoms and peoples he ruled. 2 This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, said: "Jeremiah, go to Zedekiah king of Judah and tell him: 'This is what the Lord says: I will soon hand the city of Jerusalem over to the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down! 3 You will not escape from the king of Babylon; you will surely be captured and handed over to him. You will see the king of Babylon with your own eyes, and he will talk to you face to face. And you will go to Babylon. 4 But, Zedekiah king of Judah, listen to the promise of the Lord. This is what the Lord says about you: You will not be killed with a sword. 5 You will die in a peaceful way. As people made funeral fires to honor your ancestors, the kings who ruled before you, so people will make a funeral fire to honor you. They will cry for you and sadly say, "Ah, master!" I myself make this promise to you, says the Lord.'" 6 So Jeremiah the prophet gave this message to Zedekiah in Jerusalem. 7 This was while the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and the cities of Judah that had not yet been taken -- Lachish and Azekah. These were the only strong, walled cities left in the land of Judah. 8 The Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah. This was after King Zedekiah had made an agreement with all the people in Jerusalem to free all the Hebrew slaves. 9 Everyone was supposed to free his Hebrew slaves, both male and female. No one was to keep a fellow Jew as a slave. 10 All the officers and all the people accepted this agreement; they agreed to free their male and female slaves and no longer keep them as slaves. So all the slaves were set free. 11 But after that, the people who had slaves changed their minds. So they took back the people they had set free and made them slaves again. 12 Then the Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah: 13 "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought your ancestors out of Egypt where they were slaves and made an agreement with them. 14 I said to your ancestors: 'At the end of every seven years, each one of you must set his Hebrew slaves free. If a fellow Hebrew has sold himself to you, you must let him go free after he has served you for six years.' But your ancestors did not listen or pay attention to me. 15 A short time ago you changed your hearts and did what I say is right. Each of you gave freedom to his fellow Hebrews who were slaves. And you even made an agreement before me in the place where I have chosen to be worshiped. 16 But now you have changed your minds. You have shown you do not honor me. Each of you has taken back the male and female slaves you had set free, and you have forced them to become your slaves again. 17 "So this is what the Lord says: You have not obeyed me. You have not given freedom to your fellow Hebrews, neither relatives nor friends. But now I will give freedom, says the Lord, to war, to terrible diseases, and to hunger. I will make you hated by all the kingdoms of the earth. 18 I will hand over the men who broke my agreement, who have not kept the promises they made before me. They cut a calf into two pieces before me and walked between the pieces. 19 These people made the agreement before me by walking between the pieces of the calf: the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the officers of the court, the priests, and all the people of the land. 20 So I will hand them over to their enemies and to everyone who wants to kill them. Their bodies will become food for the birds of the air and for the wild animals of the earth. 21 I will hand Zedekiah king of Judah and his officers over to their enemies, and to everyone who wants to kill them, and to the army of the king of Babylon, even though they have left Jerusalem. 22 I will give the order, says the Lord, to bring the Babylonian army back to Jerusalem. It will fight against Jerusalem, capture it, set it on fire, and burn it down. I will destroy the towns in Judah so that they become ruins where no one lives!"