¶ NOW these are the words of the letter which Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to Babylon, to the rest of the elders who were in exile and to the priests and to the false prophets and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried captive from Jerusalem to Babylon
(After Jeconiah the king and the queen and the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, and the craftsmen and the guard had departed from Jerusalem),
By the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan, and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, saying,
Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who are carried away captives, from Jerusalem to Babylon:
Build houses and live in them;
and plant gardens and eat the fruit of them;
Take wives and beget 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 not decrease.
And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray to the LORD for it;
for in the peace thereof shall you have peace.
¶ For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, neither listen to your dreams which you dream.
For they prophesy falsely to you in my name;
I have not sent them, says the LORD.
For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon I will deliver you and perform my good word toward you in bringing you back to this country.
For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a good hope at the end.
Then you shall call upon me and pray to me.
And when you shall seek me with all your heart, you shall find me, says the LORD.
And I will bring back your exiles, and I will gather you from all the nations and from all the lands where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I caused you to be carried away captive.
Because you have said, The LORD has raised us up prophets in Babylon;
Therefore, thus says the LORD concerning the king who sits on the throne of David and concerning all the people who dwell in this city and your brethren who did not go out with you into captivity;
Thus says the LORD of hosts: Behold, I will send upon them the sword, famine, and pestilence, and I will make them like bad figs which are so bad that they cannot be eaten.
And I will pursue them with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence, and I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be an astonishment, a curse, a reproach, and a hissing among all the nations where I have driven them,
Because they did not hearken to my words, and I sent to them all my servants the prophets, warning them in advance, but they did not listen to them, says the LORD.
Hear therefore the word of the LORD, all you exiles who were carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon;
Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning Ahab, the son of Kolaiah, and concerning Zedekiah the son of Maasiah, who prophesy lies to you: Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon;
and he shall slay them before your eyes;
And of them shall be taken up a curse by all the exiles who are in Babylon;
they shall say, The LORD make you like Zedekiah and like Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire;
Because they have done wickedness in Israel and have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives and have spoken lying words in my name, which I have not commanded them;
even I know and I am a witness, says the LORD.
¶ And to Shemaiah the Nehelamite, you shall say,
Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Because you have sent a letter in his name to all the people who are in Jerusalem and to Zephaniah the son of Maasiah the priest and to all the priests, saying,
The LORD has made you priest instead of Jehoiadah the priest, to be an officer in the house of the LORD over every man who acts foolishly and prophesies falsehood, to put him in prison and in the stocks.
Now, therefore, why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of Anathoth, who prophesies to you?
For he has sent to us in Babylon, saying, You shall remain there for a long time;
therefore, build houses and dwell in them;
and plant gardens and eat the fruit of them.
And Zephaniah the priest read this letter in the ears of Jeremiah the prophet.
Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying,
Send to all of them who are in captivity, saying, Thus says the LORD concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite: Because Shemaiah has prophesied to you the thing which I did not send him to prophesy and has caused you to trust in a lie;
Therefore, thus says the LORD: Behold, I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his posterity;
he shall not have a man to dwell among this people;
neither shall he see the good which I will do for my people, says the LORD, because he has spoken iniquity against the LORD.