Then the LORD asked me, “What do you see, 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 sent away from this place to the land of the Babylonians.
My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them.
I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.
“ ‘But like the bad figs, which are so bad they cannot be eaten,’ says the LORD, ‘so will I deal with Zedekiah king of Judah, his officials and the survivors from Jerusalem, whether they remain in this land or live in Egypt.
I will make them abhorrent and an offense to all the kingdoms of the earth, a reproach and a byword, a curse and an object of ridicule, wherever I banish them.
I will send the sword, famine and plague against them until they are destroyed from the land I gave to them and their ancestors.’ ”