1And these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the remainder of the older men of the exiled people and to the priests and to the prophets and to all the people, whom Neb‧u‧chad‧nez′zar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon,2after Jec‧o‧ni′ah the king and the lady and the court officials, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, and the craftsmen and the builders of bulwarks had gone forth from Jerusalem.3It was by the hand of El‧a′sah the son of Sha′phan and Gem‧a‧ri′ah the son of Hil‧ki′ah, whom Zed‧e‧ki′ah the king of Judah sent to Babylon to Neb‧u‧chad‧nez′zar the king of Babylon, saying:
4“This is what Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel, has said to all the exiled people, whom I have caused to go into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon,5‘Build houses and inhabit [them], and plant gardens and eat their fruitage.6Take wives and become father to sons and to daughters; and take wives for YOUR own sons and give YOUR own daughters to husbands, that they may give birth to sons and to daughters; and become many there, and do not become few.7Also, seek the peace of the city to which I have caused YOU to go into exile, and pray in its behalf to Jehovah, for in its peace there will prove to be peace for YOU yourselves.8For this is what Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel, has said: “Let not YOUR prophets who are in among YOU and YOUR practicers of divination deceive YOU, and do not YOU listen to their dreams that they are dreaming.9For ‘it is in falsehood that they are prophesying to YOU in my name. I have not sent them,’ is the utterance of Jehovah.”’”
10“For this is what Jehovah has said, ‘In accord with the fulfilling of seventy years at Babylon I shall turn my attention to YOU people, and I will establish toward YOU my good word in bringing YOU back to this place.’
11“‘For I myself well know the thoughts that I am thinking toward YOU,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘thoughts of peace, and not of calamity, to give YOU a future and a hope.12And YOU will certainly call me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to YOU.’
13“‘And YOU will actually seek me and find [me], for YOU will search for me with all YOUR heart.14And I will let myself be found by YOU,’ is the utterance of Jehovah. ‘And I will gather YOUR body of captives and collect YOU together out of all the nations and out of all the places to which I have dispersed YOU,’ is the utterance of Jehovah. ‘And I will bring YOU back to the place from which I caused YOU to go into exile.’
15“But YOU have said, ‘Jehovah has raised up for us prophets in Babylon.’
16“For this is what Jehovah has said to the king sitting on the throne of David and to all the people dwelling in this city, YOUR brothers that have not gone forth with YOU into exile,17‘This is what Jehovah of armies has said: “Here I am sending against them the sword, the famine and the pestilence, and I will make them like the burst‐open figs that cannot be eaten for badness.”’
18“‘And I will pursue after them with the sword, with the famine and with the pestilence, and I will give them for a quaking to all the kingdoms of the earth, for a curse and for an object of astonishment and for a whistling at and for a reproach among all the nations to which I shall certainly disperse them,19due to the fact that they have not listened to my words,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘that I have sent to them with my servants the prophets, getting up early and sending [them].’
“‘But YOU have not listened,’ is the utterance of Jehovah.
20“And as for YOU, hear the word of Jehovah, all you exiled people, whom I have sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon.21This is what Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel, has said concerning A′hab the son of Ko‧lai′ah and to Zed‧e‧ki′ah the son of Ma‧a‧sei′ah, who are prophesying to YOU falsehood in my own name, ‘Here I am giving them into the hand of Neb‧u‧chad‧rez′zar the king of Babylon, and he must strike them down before YOUR eyes.22And from them a malediction will certainly be taken on the part of the entire body of exiles of Judah that is in Babylon, saying: “May Jehovah make you like Zed‧e‧ki′ah and like A′hab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire!”23for the reason that they have carried on senselessness in Israel, and they keep committing adultery with the wives of their companions and keep speaking falsely in my own name the word that I did not command them.
“‘“And I am the One knowing and am a witness,” is the utterance of Jehovah.’”
24“And to She‧mai′ah of Ne‧hel′am you will say,25‘This is what Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel, has said: “For the reason that you yourself have sent in your name letters to all the people who are in Jerusalem, and to Zeph‧a‧ni′ah the son of Ma‧a‧sei′ah, the priest, and to all the priests, saying,26‘Jehovah himself has made you priest instead of Je‧hoi′a‧da the priest, in order to become the grand overseer of the house of Jehovah toward any man maddened and behaving like a prophet, and you must put him into the stocks and into the pillory;27now, then, why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of An′a‧thoth, who is behaving as a prophet to YOU people?28For that is why he has sent to us at Babylon, saying: “It is long drawn out! Build houses and inhabit [them], and plant gardens and eat their fruitage,—”’”’”
29And Zeph‧a‧ni′ah the priest proceeded to read this letter in the ears of Jeremiah the prophet.
30Then the word of Jehovah occurred to Jeremiah, saying:31“Send to all the exiled people, saying, ‘This is what Jehovah has said concerning She‧mai′ah of Ne‧hel′am: “For the reason that She‧mai′ah has prophesied to YOU people, but I myself did not send him, and he tried to make YOU trust in falsehood,32therefore this is what Jehovah has said, ‘Here I am turning my attention upon She‧mai′ah of Ne‧hel′am and upon his offspring.’
“‘“‘He will not come to have a man dwelling in the midst of this people; and he will not look upon the good that I am doing for my people,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘for he has spoken outright revolt against Jehovah.’”’”