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Jeremiah 29:1–31:40

Jeremiah’s Letter to the Exiles

29 These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to ithe surviving elders of the exiles, and to jthe priests, jthe prophets, and jall the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. This was after kKing Jeconiah and the queen mother, the eunuchs, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metal workers had departed from Jerusalem. The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of lShaphan and Gemariah the son of mHilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. It said: “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: nBuild houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and opray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: pDo not let your prophets and qyour diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream,1 for rit is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; sI did not send them, declares the Lord.

10 “For thus says the Lord: tWhen seventy years are completed for Babylon, uI will visit you, vand I will fulfill to you my promise vand bring you back to this place. 11 wFor I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare2 and not for evil, xto give you a future and a hope. 12 yThen you will call upon me and come and pray to me, yand I will hear you. 13 zYou will seek me and find me, when you seek me awith all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, band I will restore your fortunes and cgather you from all the nations and all the places dwhere I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

15 “Because you have said, ‘The Lord has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,’ 16 thus says the Lord concerning ethe king who sits on the throne of David, and concerning all the people who dwell in this city, your kinsmen who did not go out with you into exile: 17 ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, behold, I am sending on them fsword, famine, and pestilence, and I will make them like gvile figs that are so rotten they cannot be eaten. 18 I will pursue them with fsword, famine, and pestilence, hand will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, ito be a curse, a terror, a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations dwhere I have driven them, 19 because they did not pay attention to my words, declares the Lord, jthat I persistently sent to you by my servants the prophets, but you would not listen, declares the Lord.’ 20 Hear the word of the Lord, all you exiles kwhom I sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon: 21 ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning Ahab the son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, lwho are prophesying a lie to you in my name: Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall strike them down before your eyes. 22 mBecause of them nthis curse shall be used by all the exiles from Judah in Babylon: “The Lord make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, owhom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire,” 23 because they have done an outrageous thing in Israel, pthey have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives, and pthey have spoken in my name lying words that I did not command them. qI am the one who knows, qand I am witness, declares the Lord.’ ”

Shemaiah’s False Prophecy

24 To rShemaiah of Nehelam you shall say: 25 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: You have sent letters in your name to all the people who are in Jerusalem, and to sZephaniah the son of tMaaseiah the priest, and to all the priests, saying, 26 ‘The Lord has made you priest instead of Jehoiada the priest, to have ucharge in the house of the Lord vover every madman who prophesies, to put him in wthe stocks and neck irons. 27 Now why have you not rebuked Jeremiah xof Anathoth who is prophesying to you? 28 For he has sent to us in Babylon, saying, “Your exile will be long; ybuild houses and live in them, and plant gardens and eat their produce.” ’ ”

29 sZephaniah the priest read this letter in the hearing of Jeremiah the prophet. 30 zThen the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 31 “Send to all the exiles, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord concerning aShemaiah of Nehelam: Because aShemaiah had prophesied to you bwhen I did not send him, and has made you trust in a lie, 32 therefore thus says the Lord: Behold, I will punish aShemaiah of Nehelam and his descendants. He shall not have anyone living among this people, cand he shall not see the good that I will do to my people, declares the Lord, dfor he has spoken rebellion against the Lord.’ ”

Restoration for Israel and Judah

30 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: eWrite in a book all the words that I have spoken to you. fFor behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, gwhen I will restore hthe fortunes of my people, iIsrael and Judah, says the Lord, jand I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it.”

These are the words that the Lord spoke concerning iIsrael and Judah:

“Thus says the Lord:

We have heard a cry of panic,

of terror, and no peace.

Ask now, and see,

can a man bear a child?

kWhy then do I see every man

with his hands on his stomach klike a woman in labor?

lWhy has every face turned pale?

Alas! mThat day is so great

nthere is none like it;

it is a time of distress for Jacob;

yet he shall be saved out of it.

“And it shall come to pass in that day, declares the Lord of hosts, that I will obreak his pyoke from off your neck, and I will oburst your bonds, qand foreigners shall no more make a servant of him.1 But they shall serve the Lord their God and rDavid their king, whom I will raise up for them.

10  s“Then fear not, tO Jacob my servant, declares the Lord,

nor be dismayed, O Israel;

for behold, sI will save you from far away,

uand your offspring from the land of their captivity.

sJacob shall return and have quiet and ease,

and none shall make him afraid.

11  vFor I am with you to save you,

declares the Lord;

vI will make a full end of all the nations

among whom I scattered you,

but of you I will not make a full end.

vI will wdiscipline you in just measure,

and I will by no means leave you unpunished.

12  “For thus says the Lord:

xYour hurt is incurable,

yand your wound is grievous.

13  There is none to uphold your cause,

no medicine for your wound,

zno healing for you.

14  aAll your lovers have forgotten you;

they care nothing for you;

for I have dealt you the blow of ban enemy,

the punishment cof a merciless foe,

because your guilt is great,

dbecause your sins are flagrant.

15  xWhy do you cry out over your hurt?

xYour pain is incurable.

Because your guilt is great,

dbecause your sins are flagrant,

I have done these things to you.

16  eTherefore all who devour you shall be devoured,

and fall your foes, every one of them, shall go into captivity;

gthose who plunder you shall be plundered,

hand all who prey on you I will make a prey.

17  iFor I will restore jhealth to you,

and kyour wounds I will heal,

declares the Lord,

because lthey have called you an outcast:

l‘It is Zion, for whom no one cares!’

18  “Thus says the Lord:

Behold, mI will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob

and have compassion on his dwellings;

the city shall be rebuilt on nits mound,

and the palace shall stand where it used to be.

19  oOut of them shall come songs of thanksgiving,

and the voices of those who celebrate.

pI will multiply them, and they shall not be few;

I will make them honored, and they shall not be small.

20  qTheir children shall be as they were of old,

and their congregation shall be established before me,

and I will punish all who oppress them.

21  rTheir prince shall be one of themselves;

rtheir ruler shall come out from their midst;

sI will make him draw near, and he shall approach me,

tfor who would dare of himself to approach me?

declares the Lord.

22  uAnd you shall be my people,

and I will be your God.”

23  vBehold wthe storm of the Lord!

Wrath has gone forth,

a whirling tempest;

it will burst upon the head of the wicked.

24  xThe fierce anger of the Lord will not turn back

until he has executed and accomplished

the intentions of his mind.

yIn the latter days you will understand this.

The Lord Will Turn Mourning to Joy

31 z“At that time, declares the Lord, aI will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they shall be my people.”

Thus says the Lord:

“The people who survived the sword

found grace in the wilderness;

bwhen Israel sought for rest,

the Lord appeared to him1 from far away.

cI have loved you with an everlasting love;

therefore dI have continued emy faithfulness to you.

fAgain I will build you, and you shall be built,

O virgin Israel!

gAgain you shall adorn yourself with tambourines

and shall go forth in hthe dance of the merrymakers.

iAgain you shall plant vineyards

on the mountains of Samaria;

the planters shall plant

and shall enjoy the fruit.

For there shall be a day when watchmen will call

in jthe hill country of Ephraim:

k‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion,

to the Lord our God.’ ”

For thus says the Lord:

l“Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,

and raise shouts for mthe chief of the nations;

proclaim, give praise, and say,

n‘O Lord, save your people,

the remnant of Israel.’

Behold, I will bring them ofrom the north country

and pgather them from qthe farthest parts of the earth,

among them rthe blind and the lame,

the pregnant woman and she who is in labor, together;

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