Jeremiah 29:1-23

A Letter to the Exiles

1 This is the text of the letter 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 (This was after King Jehoiachin[a] and the queen mother, the court officials and the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the skilled workers and the artisans had gone into exile from Jerusalem.)
3 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:
4 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:
5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.
6 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 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
8 Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have.
9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the LORD.
10 This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.[b] 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.”
15 You may say, “The LORD has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,”
16 but this is what the LORD says about the king who sits on David’s throne and all the people who remain in this city, your fellow citizens who did not go with you into exile—
17 yes, this is what the LORD Almighty says: “I will send the sword, famine and plague against them and I will make them like figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten.
18 I will pursue them with the sword, famine and plague and will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth, a curse[c] and an object of horror, of scorn and reproach, among all the nations where I drive them.
19 For they have not listened to my words,” declares the LORD, “words that I sent to them again and again by my servants the prophets. And you exiles have not listened either,” declares the LORD.
20 Therefore, hear the word of the LORD, all you exiles whom I have sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon.
21 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says about Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah, who are prophesying lies to you in my name: “I will deliver them into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will put them to death before your very eyes.
22 Because of them, all the exiles from Judah who are in Babylon will use this curse: ‘May the LORD treat you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon burned in the fire.’
23 For they have done outrageous things in Israel; they have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives, and in my name they have uttered lies—which I did not authorize. I know it and am a witness to it,” declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 29:1 in Other Translations

KJV
1 Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem unto the residue of the elders which were carried away captives, and to the priests, and to the prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon;
ESV
1 These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.
NLT
1 Jeremiah wrote a letter from Jerusalem to the elders, priests, prophets, and all the people who had been exiled to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar.
MSG
1 This is the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to what was left of the elders among the exiles, to the priests and prophets and all the exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken to Babylon from Jerusalem,
CSB
1 This is the text of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the rest of the elders of the exiles, the priests, the prophets, and all the people Nebuchadnezzar had deported from Jerusalem to Babylon.

Jeremiah 29:1-23 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO JEREMIAH 29

Thus chapter contains a letter of Jeremiah to the captives in Babylon; and gives an account of another sent from thence by Shemaiah to the people at Jerusalem; and is closed with threatening him with punishment for so doing. Jeremiah's letter concerns both the captives at Babylon, and the people left at Jerusalem, The persons to whom and by whom it was sent, and the time of writing and sending it, are mentioned in Jer 29:1-3; and though the prophet was the amanuensis, God was the author of it, as well as of their captivity, Jer 29:4; the contents of, it, respecting the captives, are advices to them to provide for their comfortable settlement in Babylon, and not think of returning quickly, by building houses, planting gardens, marrying, and giving in marriage, Jer 29:5,6; and to seek and pray for the prosperity of the place where they were; in which their own was concerned, Jer 29:7; to give no heed to their false prophets and diviners, Jer 29:8,9; and to expect a return to Jerusalem at the end of seventy years; which they might be assured of, since God had resolved upon it in his own mind, Jer 29:10,11; and especially if they called upon him, prayed to him, and sought him heartily, Jer 29:12-14; the other part of the letter respects the Jews in Jerusalem; concerning whom the captives are directed to observe, that both the king and people should suffer much by sword, famine, pestilence, and captivity, with the reason of it, Jer 29:15-19; particularly it is foretold, that Ahab and Zedekiah, two lying prophets, should be made an example of vengeance; and a proverbial curse should be taken of them, because of their villany, lewdness, and lies, Jer 29:20-23; next follows some account of Shemaiah's letter from Babylon, to the people and priests at Jerusalem, stirring them up against Jeremiah the prophet; which came to be known, by the priests reading it to him, Jer 29:24-29; upon which Shemaiah is threatened with punishment, and his seed after him, Jer 29:30-32.

Jeremiah 29:1-23 In-Context

1 This is the text of the letter 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 (This was after King Jehoiachin and the queen mother, the court officials and the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the skilled workers and the artisans had gone into exile from Jerusalem.)
3 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:
4 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:
5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.
6 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 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
8 Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have.
9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the LORD.
10 This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back 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.”
15 You may say, “The LORD has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,”
16 but this is what the LORD says about the king who sits on David’s throne and all the people who remain in this city, your fellow citizens who did not go with you into exile—
17 yes, this is what the LORD Almighty says: “I will send the sword, famine and plague against them and I will make them like figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten.
18 I will pursue them with the sword, famine and plague and will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth, a curse and an object of horror, of scorn and reproach, among all the nations where I drive them.
19 For they have not listened to my words,” declares the LORD, “words that I sent to them again and again by my servants the prophets. And you exiles have not listened either,” declares the LORD.
20 Therefore, hear the word of the LORD, all you exiles whom I have sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon.
21 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says about Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah, who are prophesying lies to you in my name: “I will deliver them into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will put them to death before your very eyes.
22 Because of them, all the exiles from Judah who are in Babylon will use this curse: ‘May the LORD treat you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon burned in the fire.’
23 For they have done outrageous things in Israel; they have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives, and in my name they have uttered lies—which I did not authorize. I know it and am a witness to it,” declares the LORD.
24 Tell Shemaiah the Nehelamite,
25 “This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: You sent letters in your own name to all the people in Jerusalem, to the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, and to all the other priests. You said to Zephaniah,
26 ‘The LORD has appointed you priest in place of Jehoiada to be in charge of the house of the LORD; you should put any maniac who acts like a prophet into the stocks and neck-irons.
27 So why have you not reprimanded Jeremiah from Anathoth, who poses as a prophet among you?

Cross References 44

  • 1. ver 28
  • 2. S 2 Chronicles 36:10; S Jeremiah 13:17
  • 3. S 2 Kings 24:12; Jeremiah 22:24-28
  • 4. S 2 Kings 24:8
  • 5. S Jeremiah 24:5
  • 6. ver 28
  • 7. Jeremiah 30:19
  • 8. S Esther 3:8
  • 9. Ezra 6:10; 1 Timothy 2:1-2
  • 10. 1 John 4:1
  • 11. Jeremiah 37:9
  • 12. S Deuteronomy 13:1; S Jeremiah 23:25
  • 13. S Jeremiah 23:27
  • 14. S Jeremiah 14:14; Jeremiah 27:15; Lamentations 2:14; Ezekiel 13:6
  • 15. Jeremiah 23:21
  • 16. S 2 Chronicles 36:21; Jeremiah 25:12; S Daniel 9:2
  • 17. S Ruth 1:6
  • 18. 1 Kings 8:56; Jeremiah 32:42; Jeremiah 33:14
  • 19. S Jeremiah 16:14; S Jeremiah 24:6; Jer 21:22
  • 20. Psalms 40:5
  • 21. Isaiah 55:12
  • 22. S Job 8:7; Zechariah 8:15
  • 23. Hosea 2:23; Zephaniah 3:12; Zechariah 13:9
  • 24. S 1 Kings 8:30
  • 25. Psalms 145:19; S Isaiah 55:6
  • 26. Matthew 7:7
  • 27. S Deuteronomy 4:29; S 2 Chronicles 6:37; Jeremiah 24:7
  • 28. S Deuteronomy 30:3; Jeremiah 30:3; Ezekiel 39:25; Amos 9:14; Zephaniah 3:20
  • 29. Jeremiah 23:3-4; Jeremiah 30:10; Jeremiah 46:27; Ezekiel 37:21
  • 30. Jeremiah 27:8
  • 31. S Isaiah 5:4; Jeremiah 24:8-10
  • 32. S Jeremiah 15:4
  • 33. S Numbers 5:27; S Jeremiah 18:16; S Jeremiah 22:10; Jeremiah 44:12
  • 34. S Deuteronomy 28:25; Jeremiah 42:18
  • 35. S Deuteronomy 28:37; S Isaiah 28:22; S Micah 2:6
  • 36. Jeremiah 6:19
  • 37. Jeremiah 7:25
  • 38. S Jeremiah 25:4
  • 39. S Jeremiah 24:5
  • 40. ver 9; Jeremiah 14:14
  • 41. Daniel 3:6
  • 42. S Jeremiah 23:14
  • 43. S Hebrews 4:13
  • 44. S Genesis 31:48; S Jeremiah 7:11

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Hebrew "Jeconiah," a variant of "Jehoiachin"
  • [b]. Or "will restore your fortunes"
  • [c]. That is, their names will be used in cursing (see verse 22); or, others will see that they are cursed.
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