The word came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.
So Jeremiah the prophet said to all the people of Judah and to all those living in Jerusalem:
For twenty-three years--from the thirteenth year of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah until this very day--the word of the LORD has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened.
And though the LORD has sent all his servants the prophets to you again and again, you have not listened or paid any attention.
They said, "Turn now, each of you, from your evil ways and your evil practices, and you can stay in the land the LORD gave to you and your fathers for ever and ever.
Do not follow other gods to serve and worship them; do not provoke me to anger with what your hands have made. Then I will not harm you."
"But you did not listen to me," declares the LORD, "and you have provoked me with what your hands have made, and you have brought harm to yourselves."
Therefore the LORD Almighty says this: "Because you have not listened to my words,
I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon," declares the LORD, "and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy them and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin.
I will banish from them the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, the sound of millstones and the light of the lamp.
This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
"But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt," declares the LORD, "and will make it desolate forever.
I will bring upon that land all the things I have spoken against it, all that are written in this book and prophesied by Jeremiah against all the nations.
They themselves will be enslaved by many nations and great kings; I will repay them according to their deeds and the work of their hands."
This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me: "Take from my hand this cup filled with the wine of my wrath and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it.
When they drink it, they will stagger and go mad because of the sword I will send among them."
So I took the cup from the LORD's hand and made all the nations to whom he sent me drink it:
Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, its kings and officials, to make them a ruin and an object of horror and scorn and cursing, as they are today;
Pharaoh king of Egypt, his attendants, his officials and all his people,
and all the foreign people there; all the kings of Uz; all the kings of the Philistines (those of Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and the people left at Ashdod);
Edom, Moab and Ammon;
all the kings of Tyre and Sidon; the kings of the coastlands across the sea;
Dedan, Tema, Buz and all who are in distant places;
all the kings of Arabia and all the kings of the foreign people who live in the desert;
all the kings of Zimri, Elam and Media;
and all the kings of the north, near and far, one after the other--all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. And after all of them, the king of Sheshach will drink it too.
"Then tell them, 'This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Drink, get drunk and vomit, and fall to rise no more because of the sword I will send among you.'
But if they refuse to take the cup from your hand and drink, tell them, 'This is what the LORD Almighty says: You must drink it!
See, I am beginning to bring disaster on the city that bears my Name, and will you indeed go unpunished? You will not go unpunished, for I am calling down a sword upon all who live on the earth, declares the LORD Almighty.'
"Now prophesy all these words against them and say to them: " 'The LORD will roar from on high; he will thunder from his holy dwelling and roar mightily against his land. He will shout like those who tread the grapes, shout against all who live on the earth.
The tumult will resound to the ends of the earth, for the LORD will bring charges against the nations; he will bring judgment on all mankind and put the wicked to the sword,' " declares the LORD.
This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Look! Disaster is spreading from nation to nation; a mighty storm is rising from the ends of the earth."
At that time those slain by the LORD will be everywhere--from one end of the earth to the other. They will not be mourned or gathered up or buried, but will be like refuse lying on the ground.
Weep and wail, you shepherds; roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock. For your time to be slaughtered has come; you will fall and be shattered like fine pottery.
The shepherds will have nowhere to flee, the leaders of the flock no place to escape.
Hear the cry of the shepherds, the wailing of the leaders of the flock, for the LORD is destroying their pasture.
The peaceful meadows will be laid waste because of the fierce anger of the LORD.
Like a lion he will leave his lair, and their land will become desolate because of the sword of the oppressor and because of the LORD's fierce anger.
Early in the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came from the LORD:
"This is what the LORD says: Stand in the courtyard of the LORD's house and speak to all the people of the towns of Judah who come to worship in the house of the LORD. Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word.
Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from his evil way. Then I will relent and not bring on them the disaster I was planning because of the evil they have done.
Say to them, 'This is what the LORD says: If you do not listen to me and follow my law, which I have set before you,
and if you do not listen to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you again and again (though you have not listened),
then I will make this house like Shiloh and this city an object of cursing among all the nations of the earth.' "
The priests, the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speak these words in the house of the LORD.
But as soon as Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the LORD had commanded him to say, the priests, the prophets and all the people seized him and said, "You must die!
Why do you prophesy in the LORD's name that this house will be like Shiloh and this city will be desolate and deserted?" And all the people crowded around Jeremiah in the house of the LORD.
When the officials of Judah heard about these things, they went up from the royal palace to the house of the LORD and took their places at the entrance of the New Gate of the LORD's house.
Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and all the people, "This man should be sentenced to death because he has prophesied against this city. You have heard it with your own ears!"
Then Jeremiah said to all the officials and all the people: "The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the things you have heard.
Now reform your ways and your actions and obey the LORD your God. Then the LORD will relent and not bring the disaster he has pronounced against you.
As for me, I am in your hands; do with me whatever you think is good and right.
Be assured, however, that if you put me to death, you will bring the guilt of innocent blood on yourselves and on this city and on those who live in it, for in truth the LORD has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing."
Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and the prophets, "This man should not be sentenced to death! He has spoken to us in the name of the LORD our God."
Some of the elders of the land stepped forward and said to the entire assembly of people,
"Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah. He told all the people of Judah, 'This is what the LORD Almighty says: " 'Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.'
"Did Hezekiah king of Judah or anyone else in Judah put him to death? Did not Hezekiah fear the LORD and seek his favor? And did not the LORD relent, so that he did not bring the disaster he pronounced against them? We are about to bring a terrible disaster on ourselves!"
(Now Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath Jearim was another man who prophesied in the name of the LORD; he prophesied the same things against this city and this land as Jeremiah did.
When King Jehoiakim and all his officers and officials heard his words, the king sought to put him to death. But Uriah heard of it and fled in fear to Egypt.
King Jehoiakim, however, sent Elnathan son of Acbor to Egypt, along with some other men.
They brought Uriah out of Egypt and took him to King Jehoiakim, who had him struck down with a sword and his body thrown into the burial place of the common people.)
Furthermore, Ahikam son of Shaphan supported Jeremiah, and so he was not handed over to the people to be put to death.
Early in the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD:
This is what the LORD said to me: "Make a yoke out of straps and crossbars and put it on your neck.
Then send word to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre and Sidon through the envoys who have come to Jerusalem to Zedekiah king of Judah.
Give them a message for their masters and say, 'This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "Tell this to your masters:
With my great power and outstretched arm I made the earth and its people and the animals that are on it, and I give it to anyone I please.
Now I will hand all your countries over to my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; I will make even the wild animals subject to him.
All nations will serve him and his son and his grandson until the time for his land comes; then many nations and great kings will subjugate him.
" ' "If, however, any nation or kingdom will not serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon or bow its neck under his yoke, I will punish that nation with the sword, famine and plague, declares the LORD, until I destroy it by his hand.
So do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your interpreters of dreams, your mediums or your sorcerers who tell you, 'You will not serve the king of Babylon.'
They prophesy lies to you that will only serve to remove you far from your lands; I will banish you and you will perish.
But if any nation will bow its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him, I will let that nation remain in its own land to till it and to live there, declares the LORD." ' "
I gave the same message to Zedekiah king of Judah. I said, "Bow your neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon; serve him and his people, and you will live.
Why will you and your people die by the sword, famine and plague with which the LORD has threatened any nation that will not serve the king of Babylon?
Do not listen to the words of the prophets who say to you, 'You will not serve the king of Babylon,' for they are prophesying lies to you.
'I have not sent them,' declares the LORD. 'They are prophesying lies in my name. Therefore, I will banish you and you will perish, both you and the prophets who prophesy to you.' "
Then I said to the priests and all these people, "This is what the LORD says: Do not listen to the prophets who say, 'Very soon now the articles from the LORD's house will be brought back from Babylon.' They are prophesying lies to you.
Do not listen to them. Serve the king of Babylon, and you will live. Why should this city become a ruin?
If they are prophets and have the word of the LORD, let them plead with the LORD Almighty that the furnishings remaining in the house of the LORD and in the palace of the king of Judah and in Jerusalem not be taken to Babylon.
For this is what the LORD Almighty says about the pillars, the Sea, the movable stands and the other furnishings that are left in this city,
which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon did not take away when he carried Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, along with all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem--
yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says about the things that are left in the house of the LORD and in the palace of the king of Judah and in Jerusalem:
'They will be taken to Babylon and there they will remain until the day I come for them,' declares the LORD. 'Then I will bring them back and restore them to this place.' "