1. And these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the rest of the elders of the exile, and to the priests, and to the prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon.
2. (After Jeconiah the king, and the queen mother, and the officials, the rulers of Judah and Jerusalem, and the craftsmen, and the smiths, had departed from Jerusalem.)
3. The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan, and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah the king of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, saying,
4. “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I caused to be exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon,
5. ‘Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their fruit.
6. Take wives and beget sons and daughters. And take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters, that you may be multiplied there and not become few.
7. And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be exiled, and pray to the LORD for it. For in its peace you shall have peace.’ ”
8. “For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Do not let your prophets and your diviners in your midst deceive you, nor hearken to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed.
9. For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them,’ says the LORD.
10. For thus says the LORD, ‘When according to My Word seventy years have been fulfilled for Babylon, I will visit you and confirm My good Word to you, to bring you back to this place.
11. For I know the purposes which I am purposing for you,’ says the LORD; ‘purposes of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
12. Then you shall call on Me, and you shall go and pray to Me, and I will hearken to you.
13. And you shall seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
14. And I will be found by you,’ says the LORD; ‘and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places where I have driven you,’ says the LORD. ‘And I will bring you again into the place from where I caused you to be carried away captive.’ ”
15. “Because you have said, ‘The LORD has raised us up prophets in Babylon;’
16. Therefore thus says the LORD of the king who sits on the throne of David, and of all the people who dwell in this city, and of your brethren who have not gone out with you into captivity;
17. Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Behold, I will send on them the sword, the famine, and the plague, and will make them like worthless figs which cannot be eaten because they are so rotten.
18. And I will pursue them with the sword, with the famine, and with the plague, and will make them an astonishment to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, and a waste, and a hissing, and a reproach, among all the nations where I have driven them,
19. Because they have not hearkened to My words,’ says the LORD, ‘which I sent to them by My servants the prophets, again and again; but you would not hear,’ says the LORD.”
20. “Therefore hear the Word of the LORD, all you exiles, whom I have sent from Jerusalem to Babylon;
21. Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, about Ahab the son of Kolaiah and of Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, who prophesy a lie to you in My name, ‘Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall kill them before your eyes.
22. And this curse shall be used because of them by all the exiles of Judah who are in Babylon, saying, “May the LORD make you like Zedekiah and like Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire,”
23. Because they have committed vile deeds in Israel, and have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives, and have spoken lying words in My name, which I have not commanded them; for I am He who knows and am a witness,’ says the LORD.”
24. “You shall also speak to Shemaiah the Nehelamite, saying,
25. ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, “You have sent letters in your name to all the people who are at Jerusalem, and to Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, and to all the priests, saying,
26. ‘The LORD has made you priest instead of Jehoiada the priest, to be officers in the house of the LORD, over every madman who prophesies, that you should put him into the stocks and into the collar.
27. Now therefore why have you not reproved Jeremiah of Anathoth, who prophesies to you?
28. For this cause he sent to us in Babylon, saying, “This exile is long. Build houses and live in them, and plant gardens and eat their fruit.” ’ ” ’ ”
29. And Zephaniah the priest read this letter in the ears of Jeremiah the prophet.
30. And the Word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying,
31. “Send to all the exiles, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite, “Because Shemaiah has prophesied to you, and I didnot send him, and he caused you to trust in a lie,”
32. Therefore thus says the LORD, “Behold, I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his seed. He shall not have a man to dwell among this people; nor shall he behold the good which I shall do for My people,” says the LORD, “because he has taught rebellion against the LORD.” ’ ”
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