This is the text of the letter1 that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.2
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(This was after King Jehoiachin3 and the queen mother,4 the court officials and the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen and the artisans had gone into exile from Jerusalem.)
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He entrusted the letter to Elasah son of Shaphan and to Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. It said:
This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried5 into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:
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"Build6 houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.
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Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease.7
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Also, seek8 the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray9 to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper."
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Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "Do not let the prophets10 and diviners among you deceive11 you. Do not listen to the dreams12 you encourage them to have.13
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They are prophesying lies14 to you in my name. I have not sent15 them," declares the LORD.
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This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years16 are completed for Babylon, I will come to you17 and fulfill my gracious promise18 to bring you back19 to this place.
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For I know the plans20 I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper21 you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.22
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Then you will call23 upon me and come and pray24 to me, and I will listen25 to you.
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You will seek26 me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.27
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I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back28 from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."29
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