After Jehoiachina1 son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and the officials, the artisans and the other skilled workers of Judah were carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the LORD showed me two baskets of figs2 placed in front of the temple of the LORD.
One basket had very good figs, like those that ripen early;3 the other basket had very bad4 figs, so bad they could not be eaten.
Then the LORD asked me, "What do you see,5 Jeremiah?" "Figs," I answered. "The good ones are very good, but the bad 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 sent6 away from this place to the land of the Babylonians.b6
My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back7 to this land. I will build8 them up and not tear them down; I will plant9 them and not uproot them.
I will give them a heart to know10 me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people,11 and I will be their God, for they will return12 to me with all their heart.138
" 'But like the bad14 figs, which are so bad they cannot be eaten,' says the LORD, 'so will I deal with Zedekiah15 king of Judah, his officials16 and the survivors17 from Jerusalem, whether they remain in this land or live in Egypt.189
I will make them abhorrent19 and an offense to all the kingdoms of the earth, a reproach and a byword,20 a cursec21 and an object of ridicule, wherever I banish22 them.
I will send the sword,23 famine24 and plague25 against them until they are destroyed from the land I gave to them and their ancestors.26' "