Message to the Exiles

1 Now these are the words of the 1letter which Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the rest of the elders of the exile, the priests, the prophets and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.
2 (This was after King 2Jeconiah and the 3queen mother, the court officials, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen and the smiths had departed from Jerusalem.)
3 The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan, and Gemariah the son of 4Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, saying,
4 "Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have 5sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon,
5 '6Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce.
6 'Take 7wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease.
7 '8Seek the welfare of the city where * I have sent you into exile, and 9pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.'
8 "For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, 'Do not let your 10prophets who are in your midst and your diviners 11deceive you, and do not listen to 12the dreams which they dream.
9 'For they 13prophesy falsely to you in My name; 14I have not sent them,' declares the LORD.
10 "For thus says the LORD, 'When 15seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My 16good word to you, to bring you back to this place.
11 'For I know the 17plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for 18welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a 19hope.
12 'Then you will 20call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will 21listen to you.
13 'You will 22seek Me and find Me when you 23search for Me with all your heart.
14 'I will be 24found by you,' declares the LORD, 'and I will 25restore your fortunes and will 26gather you from all the nations and from all the places where * I have driven you,' declares the LORD, 'and I will 27bring you back to the place from where * I sent you into exile.'
15 "Because you have said, 'The LORD has raised up 28prophets for us in Babylon '-
16 for thus says the LORD concerning the king who sits on the throne of David, and concerning all the people who dwell in this city, your brothers who did 29not go with you into exile -
17 thus says the LORD of hosts, 'Behold, I am sending upon them the 30sword, famine and pestilence, and I will make them like 31split-open figs that cannot be eaten due to rottenness.
18 'I will pursue them with the sword, with famine and with pestilence; and I will 32make them a terror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a 33curse and a horror and a 34hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where * I have driven them,
19 because * they have 35not listened to My words,' declares the LORD, 'which I sent to them again and again by 36My servants the prophets; but you did not listen,' declares the LORD.
20 "You, therefore, hear the word of the LORD, all you exiles, whom I have 37sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon.
21 "Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning Ahab the son of Kolaiah and concerning Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, who are 38prophesying to you falsely in My name, 'Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will slay them before your eyes.
22 'Because of them a 39curse will be used by all the exiles from Judah who are in Babylon, saying, "May the LORD make you like Zedekiah and like Ahab, whom the king of Babylon 40roasted in the fire,
23 because * they have 41acted foolishly in Israel, and 42have committed adultery with their neighbors' wives and have 43spoken words in My name falsely, which I did not command them; and I am He who 44knows and am a witness," declares the LORD.' "
24 To 45Shemaiah the Nehelamite you shall speak, saying,
25 "Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, 'Because * you have sent 46letters in your own name to all the people who are in Jerusalem, and to 47Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, and to all the priests, saying,
26 "The LORD has made you priest instead of Jehoiada the priest, to be the 48overseer in the house of the LORD over every 49madman who 50prophesies, to 51put him in the stocks and in the iron collar,
27 now then, why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of 52Anathoth who prophesies to you?
28 "For he has 53sent to us in Babylon, saying, 'The exile will be 54long; 55build houses and live in them and plant gardens and eat their produce.' ""'
30 Then came the word of the LORD to Jeremiah, saying,
31 "Send to 57all the exiles, saying, 'Thus says the LORD concerning 58Shemaiah the Nehelamite, "Because * Shemaiah has 59prophesied to you, although I did not send him, and he has 60made you trust in a lie,"
32 therefore thus says the LORD, "Behold, I am about to 61punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his descendants; he will 62not have anyone living among this people, 63and he will not see the good that I am about to do to My people," declares the LORD, "because he has 64preached rebellion against the LORD.""'