29 These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the rest of the elders among the exiled people, the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, 2 after King Jec·o·niʹah,+ the queen mother,*+ the court officials, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, and the craftsmen and the metalworkers* had gone out of Jerusalem.+ 3 He sent the letter by the hand of El·aʹsah the son of Shaʹphan+ and Gem·a·riʹah the son of Hil·kiʹah, whom King Zed·e·kiʹah+ of Judah sent to Babylon to King Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar of Babylon. It said: 4 “This is what Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel, says to all the exiled people, whom I have caused to go into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, 5 ‘Build houses and live in them. Plant gardens and eat their fruit. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Become many there, and do not decrease. 7 And seek the peace of the city to which I have exiled you, and pray in its behalf to Jehovah, for in its peace you will have peace.+ 8 For this is what Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you,+ and do not listen to the dreams that they are dreaming. 9 For ‘they are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,’+ declares Jehovah.”’” 10 “For this is what Jehovah says, ‘When 70 years at Babylon are fulfilled, I will turn my attention to you,+ and I will make good my promise by bringing you back to this place.’+ 11 “‘For I well know the thoughts that I am thinking toward you,’ declares Jehovah, ‘thoughts of peace, and not of calamity,+ to give you a future and a hope.+ 12 And you will call me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.’+ 13 “‘You will seek me and find me,+ for you will search for me with all your heart.+ 14 And I will let you find me,’+ declares Jehovah. ‘And I will gather your captives and collect you together out of all the nations and places to which I have dispersed you,’+ declares 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 prophets for us in Babylon.’ 16 “For this is what Jehovah says to the king sitting on the throne of David+ and to all the people dwelling in this city, your brothers who have not gone with you into exile, 17 ‘This is what Jehovah of armies says: “Here I am sending against them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence,*+ and I will make them like rotten* figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten.”’+ 18 “‘And I will pursue them with the sword,+ with famine, and with pestilence, and I will make them an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth,+ and a curse, and an object of astonishment, something to whistle at,+ and a reproach among all the nations to which I disperse them,+ 19 because they have not listened to my words that I sent to them with my servants the prophets,’ declares Jehovah, ‘sending them again and again.’*+ “‘But you have not listened,’+ declares Jehovah. 20 “Therefore, hear the word of Jehovah, all you exiled people, whom I have sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon. 21 This is what Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel, says concerning Aʹhab the son of Ko·laiʹah and concerning Zed·e·kiʹah the son of Ma·a·seiʹah, who are prophesying lies to you in my name,+ ‘Here I am giving them into the hand of King Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar* of Babylon, and he will strike them down before your eyes. 22 And what happens to them will become a curse spoken by all the exiles of Judah in Babylon: “May Jehovah make you like Zed·e·kiʹah and like Aʹhab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire!” 23 for they have acted disgracefully in Israel,+ committing adultery with the wives of their neighbors and speaking false words in my name that I did not command them.+ “‘“I am the One who knows, and I am a witness,”+ declares Jehovah.’” 24 “And to She·maiʹah+ of Ne·helʹam you will say, 25 ‘This is what Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel, says: “Because you sent in your name letters to all the people who are in Jerusalem, to Zeph·a·niʹah+ son of Ma·a·seiʹah, the priest, and to all the priests, saying, 26 ‘Jehovah has made you priest instead of Je·hoiʹa·da the priest to become the overseer of the house of Jehovah, to be in charge of any madman who acts like a prophet and to put him into the stocks and into the pillory;*+ 27 why, then, have you not rebuked Jeremiah of Anʹa·thoth,+ who is acting as a prophet for you?+ 28 For he even sent to us at Babylon, saying: “It will be a long time! Build houses and live in them. Plant gardens and eat their fruit,+—”’”’” 29 When Zeph·a·niʹah+ the priest read this letter in the hearing of Jeremiah the prophet, 30 the word of Jehovah came to Jeremiah, saying: 31 “Send to all the exiled people, saying, ‘This is what Jehovah says concerning She·maiʹah of Ne·helʹam: “Because She·maiʹah prophesied to you, though I did not send him, and he tried to make you trust in lies,+ 32 therefore this is what Jehovah says, ‘Here I am turning my attention to She·maiʹah of Ne·helʹam and his descendants. Not one man of his will survive among this people, and he will not see the good that I will do for my people,’ declares Jehovah, ‘for he has urged rebellion against Jehovah.’”’”
^ Or “the lady.”
^ Or possibly, “builders of bulwarks.”
^ Or “disease.”
^ Or possibly, “burst.”
^ Lit., “rising up early and sending.”
^ Lit., “Nebuchadrezzar,” a variant spelling.
^ Or “neck irons.”