Jeremiah 29

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.' ""'
29 56Zephaniah the priest read this letter to Jeremiah the prophet.
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.""'

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Jeremiah 29 Commentary

Chapter 29

Two letters to the captives in Babylon; In the first, they are recommended to be patient and composed. (1-19) In the second, judgments are denounced against the false prophets who deceived them. (20-32)

Verses 1-7 The written word of God is as truly given by inspiration of God as his spoken word. The zealous servant of the Lord will use every means to profit those who are far off, as well as those who are near him. The art of writing is very profitable for this end; and by the art of printing it is rendered most beneficial for circulating the knowledge of the word of God. God's sending to the captives by this letter would show that he had not forsaken them, though he was displeased, and corrected them. If they live in the fear of God, they may live comfortably in Babylon. In all conditions of life, it is our wisdom and duty not to throw away the comfort of what we may have, because we have not all we would have. They are directed to seek the good of the country where they were captives. While the king of Babylon protected them, they must live quiet and peaceable lives under him, in all godliness and honesty; patiently leaving it to God to work deliverance for them in due time.

Verses 8-19 Let men beware how they call those prophets whom they choose after their own fancies, and how they consider their fancies and dreams to be revelations from God. False prophets flatter people in their sins, because they love to be flattered; and they speak smoothly to their prophets, that their prophets may speak smoothly to them. God promises that they should return after seventy years were accomplished. By this it appears, that the seventy years of the captivity are not to be reckoned from the last captivity, but the first. It will be the bringing to pass of God's good word to them. This shall form God's purposes. We often do not know our own minds, but the Lord is never at an uncertainty. We are sometimes ready to fear that God's designs are all against us; but as to his own people, even that which seems evil, is for good. He will give them, not the expectations of their fears, or the expectations of their fancies, but the expectations of their faith; the end he has promised, which will be the best for them. When the Lord pours out an especial spirit of prayer, it is a good sign that he is coming toward us in mercy. Promises are given to quicken and encourage prayer. He never said, Seek ye me in vain. Those who remained at Jerusalem would be utterly destroyed, notwithstanding what the false prophets said to the contrary. The reason has often been given, and it justifies the eternal ruin of impenitent sinners; Because they have not hearkened to my words; I called, but they refused.

Verses 20-32 Jeremiah foretells judgments upon the false prophets, who deceived the Jews in Babylon. Lying was bad; lying to the people of the Lord, to delude them into a false hope, was worse; but pretending to rest their own lies upon the God of truth, was worst of all. They flattered others in their sins, because they could not reprove them without condemning themselves. The most secret sins are known to God; and there is a day coming when he will bring to light all the hidden works of darkness. Shemaiah urges the priests to persecute Jeremiah. Their hearts are wretchedly hardened who justify doing mischief by having power to do it. They were in a miserable thraldom for mocking the messengers of the Lord, and misusing his prophets; yet in their distress they trespass still more against the Lord. Afflictions will not of themselves cure men of their sins, unless the grace of God works with them. Those who slight the blessings, deserve to lose the benefit of God's word, like Shemaiah. The accusations against many active Christians in all ages, amount to no more than this, that they earnestly counsel men to attend to their true interest and duties, and to wait for the performance of God's promises in his appointed way.

Cross References 64

  • 1. 2 Chronicles 30:1, 6; Esther 9:20; Jeremiah 29:25, 29
  • 2. Jeremiah 24:12-16">2 Kin Jeremiah 24:12-16; 2 Chronicles 36:9, 10; Jeremiah 22:24-28; Jeremiah 24:1; Jeremiah 27:20
  • 3. 2 Kings 24:12, 15; Jeremiah 13:18; Jeremiah 22:26
  • 4. 1 Chronicles 6:13
  • 5. Jeremiah 24:5
  • 6. Jeremiah 29:28
  • 7. Jeremiah 16:2-4
  • 8. Daniel 4:27; Daniel 6:4, 5
  • 9. Ezra 6:10; Ezra 7:23; Daniel 4:19; 1 Timothy 2:1, 2
  • 10. Jeremiah 27:9; Jeremiah 29:1
  • 11. Jeremiah 14:14; Jeremiah 23:21; Jeremiah 27:14, 15; Jeremiah 28:15; Ephesians 5:6
  • 12. Jeremiah 23:25, 27
  • 13. Jeremiah 27:15; Jeremiah 29:21
  • 14. Jeremiah 29:31
  • 15. 2 Chronicles 36:21-23; Jeremiah 25:12; Jeremiah 27:22; Daniel 9:2; Zechariah 7:5
  • 16. Jeremiah 24:6, 7; Zephaniah 2:7
  • 17. Psalms 40:5; Jeremiah 23:5, 6; Jeremiah 30:9, 10
  • 18. Isaiah 40:9-11; Jeremiah 30:18-22
  • 19. Jeremiah 31:17; Hosea 2:15
  • 20. Psalms 50:15; Jeremiah 33:3; Daniel 9:3
  • 21. Psalms 145:19
  • 22. Deuteronomy 4:29; Psalms 32:6; Matthew 7:7
  • 23. 1 Chronicles 22:19; 2 Chronicles 22:9; Jeremiah 24:7
  • 24. Deuteronomy 30:1-10; Psalms 32:6; Isaiah 55:6
  • 25. Jeremiah 30:3; Jeremiah 32:37-41
  • 26. Isaiah 43:5, 6; Jeremiah 23:8; Jeremiah 32:37
  • 27. Jeremiah 3:14; Jeremiah 12:15; Jeremiah 16:15
  • 28. Jeremiah 29:21, 24
  • 29. Jer 38:2, 3, 17-23
  • 30. Jeremiah 27:8; Jeremiah 29:18; Jeremiah 32:24
  • 31. Jer 24:3, 8-10
  • 32. Deuteronomy 28:25; 2 Chronicles 29:8; Jeremiah 15:4; Jeremiah 24:9; Jeremiah 34:17; Ezekiel 12:15
  • 33. Isaiah 65:15; Jeremiah 42:18
  • 34. Jeremiah 25:9; Lamentations 2:15, 16
  • 35. Jeremiah 6:19
  • 36. Jeremiah 25:4; Jeremiah 26:5; Jeremiah 35:15
  • 37. Jeremiah 24:5; Ezekiel 11:9; Micah 4:10
  • 38. Jeremiah 14:14, 15; Jeremiah 29:8, 9; Lamentations 2:14; 2 Peter 2:1
  • 39. Isaiah 65:15
  • 40. Daniel 3:6, 21
  • 41. Genesis 34:7; 2 Samuel 13:12
  • 42. Jeremiah 5:8; Jeremiah 23:14
  • 43. Jer 29:8, 9, 21
  • 44. Proverbs 5:21; Jeremiah 7:11; Jeremiah 16:17; Malachi 3:5; Hebrews 4:13
  • 45. Jeremiah 29:31, 32
  • 46. Jeremiah 29:1
  • 47. 2 Kings 25:18; Jeremiah 21:1; Jeremiah 29:29; Jeremiah 37:3; Jeremiah 52:24
  • 48. Jeremiah 20:1
  • 49. 2 Kings 9:11; Hosea 9:7; Mark 3:21; John 10:20; Acts 26:24, 25; 2 Corinthians 5:13
  • 50. Deuteronomy 13:1-5; Zechariah 13:1-5
  • 51. Jeremiah 20:1, 2; Acts 16:24
  • 52. Jeremiah 1:1
  • 53. Jeremiah 29:1
  • 54. Jeremiah 29:10
  • 55. Jeremiah 29:5
  • 56. Jeremiah 29:25
  • 57. Jeremiah 29:20
  • 58. Jeremiah 29:24
  • 59. Jeremiah 14:14, 15; Jeremiah 29:9, 23; Ezek 13:8-16, 22, 23
  • 60. Jeremiah 28:15
  • 61. Jeremiah 36:31
  • 62. 1 Samuel 2:30-34; Jeremiah 22:30
  • 63. 2 Kin 7:2, 19, 20; Jeremiah 17:6; Jeremiah 29:10
  • 64. Deuteronomy 13:5; Jeremiah 28:16

Footnotes 15

Chapter Summary


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 Commentaries

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