Jeremiah 29

1Jeremiah sent a letter to the Jewish captives in Babylon. He sent it to the elders ˻(leaders)˼, the priests, the prophets, and all the other people that were living in Babylon. These were the people that Nebuchadnezzar took from Jerusalem and brought to Babylon. 2(This letter was sent after King Jehoiachin, the queen mother, the officials and the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the carpenters, and the metal workers had been taken from Jerusalem.) 3Zedekiah sent Elasah and Gemariah to King Nebuchadnezzar. Zedekiah was the king of Judah. Elasah was the son of Shaphan. And Gemariah was the son of Hilkiah. Jeremiah gave the letter to those men to take to Babylon. This is what the letter said: 4The Lord All-Powerful, the God of the people of Israel, says these things to all those people he sent into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5“Build houses and live in them. Settle in the land. Plant gardens and eat the food you grow. 6Get married and have sons and daughters. Find wives for your sons. And let your daughters be married. Do that so they also may have sons and daughters. Have many children and grow in number in Babylon. Don’t become fewer in number. 7Also, do good things for the city I sent you to. Pray to the Lord for the city you are living in. Why? Because if there is peace in that city, then you will have peace also.” 8The Lord All-Powerful, the God of the people of Israel, says: “Don’t let your prophets and the people that practice magic fool you. Don’t listen to the dreams they have. 9They are preaching lies. And they are saying that their message is from me. But I didn’t send it.” This message is from the Lord. 10This is what the Lord says: “Babylon will be powerful for 70 years. After that time, I will come to you people that are living in Babylon. I will keep my good promise to bring you back to Jerusalem. 11I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future. 12Then you people will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me. And I will listen to you. 13You people will search for me. And when you search for me with all your heart, you will find me. 14I will let you find me.” This message is from the Lord. “And I will bring you back from your captivity. I forced you to leave this place. But I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have sent you,”—this message is from the Lord—”and I will bring you back to this place.” 15You people might say, “But the Lord has given us prophets here in Babylon.” 16But the Lord says these things about your relatives that were not carried away to Babylon. I am talking about the king that is sitting on David’s throne now and all the other people that are still in the city of Jerusalem. 17The Lord All-Powerful says: “I will soon send the sword, hunger, and terrible sicknesses against those people that are still in Jerusalem. And I will make them the same as bad figs, which are too rotten to eat. 18I will chase those people that are still in Jerusalem with the sword, with hunger, and terrible sicknesses. And I will make it so that all the kingdoms of the earth will be frightened at what has happened to those people. Those people will be destroyed. People will whistle with amazement when they hear about the things that happened. And people use them as an example when they ask for bad things to happen to people. People will insult them wherever I force those people to go. 19I will make all those things happen because those people of Jerusalem have not listened to my message.” This message is from the Lord. “I sent my message to them again and again. I used my servants, the prophets, to give my messages to those people. But the people didn’t listen.” This message is from the Lord. 20“You people are captives. I forced you to leave Jerusalem and go to Babylon. So, listen to the message from the Lord.” 21The Lord All-Powerful says this about Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah: “These two men have been preaching lies to you. They have said that their message is from me. ˻But they were lying.˼ I will give those two prophets to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. And Nebuchadnezzar will kill those prophets in front of all you people that are captives in Babylon. 22All of the Jewish captives will use those men as examples when they ask for bad things to happen to other people. Those captives will say: 'May the Lord treat you like Zedekiah and Ahab. The king of Babylon burned those two in the fire!’ 23Those two prophets did very bad things among the people of Israel. They did the sin of adultery with their neighbors’ wives. They also spoke lies and said those lies were a message from me, the Lord. I did not tell them to do those things. I know what they have done. I am a witness.” This message is from the Lord. 24Also give a message to Shemaiah. Shemaiah is from the Nehelam family. 25The Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: “Shemaiah, you sent letters to all the people in Jerusalem. And you sent letters to the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah. You also sent letters to all the priests. You sent those letters in your own name and not by the authority of the Lord. 26Shemaiah, this is what you said in your letter to Zephaniah: 'Zephaniah, the Lord has made you priest in place of Jehoiada. You are to be in charge of the Lord’s temple. You should arrest anyone that acts like a crazy person and acts like a prophet. You should put that person’s feet between large blocks of wood and put neck-irons on him. 27Now, Jeremiah is acting like a prophet. So why have you not arrested him? 28Jeremiah has sent this message to us in Babylon: “You people in Babylon will be there for a long time. So build houses and settle down. Plant gardens and eat what you grow.’” 29Zephaniah the priest read the letter to Jeremiah the prophet. 30Then the message from the Lord came to Jeremiah: 31“Jeremiah, send this message to all the captives in Babylon: 'This is what the Lord says about Shemaiah, the man from the Nehelam family: Shemaiah has preached to you, but I didn’t send him. Shemaiah has made you believe a lie. 32Because Shemaiah has done that, this is what the Lord says: I will soon punish Shemaiah, the man from the Nehelam family. I will completely destroy his family. And he will not share in the good things I will do for my people.’” This message is from the Lord. “'I will punish Shemaiah because he has taught the people to turn against the Lord.’”

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