In the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king of Judah, I received a message from the Lord concerning all the people of Judah. (This was the first year that Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylonia.) 1
I said to all the people of Judah and of Jerusalem,
"For twenty-three years, from the thirteenth year that Josiah son of Amon was king of Judah until this very day, the Lord has spoken to me, and I have never failed to tell you what he said. But you have paid no attention.
You would not listen or pay attention, even though the Lord has continued to send you his servants the prophets.
They told you to turn from your wicked way of life and from the evil things you are doing, so that you could go on living in the land that the Lord gave you and your ancestors as a permanent possession.
They told you not to worship and serve other gods and not to make the Lord angry by worshiping the idols you had made. If you had obeyed the Lord, then he would not have punished you.
But the Lord himself says that you refused to listen to him. Instead, you made him angry with your idols and have brought his punishment on yourselves.
"So then, because you would not listen to him, the Lord Almighty says,
"I am going to send for all the peoples from the north and for my servant, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia. I am going to bring them to fight against Judah and its inhabitants and against all the neighboring nations. I am going to destroy this nation and its neighbors and leave them in ruins forever, a terrible and shocking sight. I, the Lord, have spoken.
I will silence their shouts of joy and gladness and the happy sounds of wedding feasts. They will have no oil for their lamps, and there will be no more grain. 2
This whole land will be left in ruins and will be a shocking sight, and the neighboring nations will serve the king of Babylonia for seventy years. 3