28 The following events occurred in that same year, early in the reign of King Zedekiah of Judah. To be more precise, it was the fifth month of the fourth year of his reign. 1 The prophet Hananiah son of Azzur, who was from Gibeon, spoke to Jeremiah 2 in the Lord’s temple in the presence of the priests and all the people. 3 2 “The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 4 says, ‘I will break the yoke of servitude 5 to the king of Babylon. 3 Before two years are over, I will bring back to this place everything that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took from it and carried away to Babylon. 4 I will also bring back to this place Jehoiakim’s son King Jeconiah of Judah and all the exiles who were taken to Babylon.’ Indeed, the Lord affirms, 6 ‘I will break the yoke of servitude to the king of Babylon.’”
5 Then the prophet Jeremiah responded to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the Lord’s temple. 6 The prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen! May the Lord do all this! May the Lord make your prophecy come true! May he bring back to this place from Babylon all the valuable articles taken from the Lord’s temple and the people who were carried into exile. 7 But listen to what I say to you and to all these people. 7 8 From earliest times, the prophets who preceded you and me invariably 8 prophesied war, disaster, 9 and plagues against many countries and great kingdoms. 9 So if a prophet prophesied 10 peace and prosperity, it was only known that the Lord truly sent him when what he prophesied came true.”
10 The prophet Hananiah then took the yoke off the prophet Jeremiah’s neck and broke it. 11 Then he spoke up in the presence of all the people. “The Lord says, ‘In the same way I will break the yoke of servitude of all the nations to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon 11 before two years are over.’” After he heard this, the prophet Jeremiah departed and went on his way. 12
12 But shortly after the prophet Hananiah had broken the yoke off the prophet Jeremiah’s neck, the Lord spoke to Jeremiah. 13 “Go and tell Hananiah that the Lord says, 13 ‘You have indeed broken the wooden yoke. But you have 14 only succeeded in replacing it with an iron one! 15 14 For the Lord God of Israel who rules over all 16 says, “I have put an irresistible yoke of servitude on all these nations 17 so they will serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. And they will indeed serve him. I have even given him control over the wild animals.”’” 18 15 Then the prophet Jeremiah told the prophet Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord did not send you! You are making these people trust in a lie! 19 16 So the Lord says, ‘I will most assuredly remove 20 you from the face of the earth. You will die this very year because you have counseled rebellion against the Lord.’” 21
17 In the seventh month of that very same year 22 the prophet Hananiah died.
29 The prophet Jeremiah sent a letter to the exiles Nebuchadnezzar had carried off from Jerusalem 1 to Babylon. It was addressed to the elders who were left among the exiles, to the priests, to the prophets, and to all the other people who were exiled in Babylon. 2 2 He sent it after King Jeconiah, the queen mother, the palace officials, 3 the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metal workers had been exiled from Jerusalem. 4 3 He sent it with Elasah son of Shaphan 5 and Gemariah son of Hilkiah. 6 King Zedekiah of Judah had sent these men to Babylon to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. 7 The letter said:
4 “The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 8 says to all those he sent 9 into exile to Babylon from Jerusalem, 10 5 ‘Build houses and settle down. Plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters. Find wives for your sons and allow your daughters get married so that they too can have sons and daughters. Grow in number; do not dwindle away. 7 Work to see that the city where I sent you as exiles enjoys peace and prosperity. Pray to the Lord for it. For as it prospers you will prosper.’
8 “For the Lord God of Israel who rules over all 11 says, ‘Do not let the prophets or those among you who claim to be able to predict the future by divination 12 deceive you. And do not pay any attention to the dreams that you are encouraging them to dream. 9 They are prophesying lies to you and claiming my authority to do so. 13 But I did not send them. I, the Lord, affirm it!’ 14
10 “For the Lord says, ‘Only when the seventy years of Babylonian rule 15 are over will I again take up consideration for you. 16 Then I will fulfill my gracious promise to you and restore 17 you to your homeland. 18 11 For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. 19 ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you 20 a future filled with hope. 21 12 When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, 22 I will hear your prayers. 23 13 When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul, 24 14 I will make myself available to you,’ 25 says the Lord. 26 ‘Then I will reverse your plight 27 and will regather you from all the nations and all the places where I have exiled you,’ says the Lord. 28 ‘I will bring you back to the place from which I exiled you.’
15 “You say, ‘The Lord has raised up prophets of good news 29 for us here in Babylon.’ 16 But just listen to what the Lord has to say about 30 the king who occupies David’s throne and all your fellow countrymen who are still living in this city of Jerusalem 31 and were not carried off into exile with you. 17 The Lord who rules over all 32 says, ‘I will bring war, 33 starvation, and disease on them. I will treat them like figs that are so rotten 34 they cannot be eaten. 18 I will chase after them with war, 35 starvation, and disease. I will make all the kingdoms of the earth horrified at what happens to them. I will make them examples of those who are cursed, objects of horror, hissing scorn, and ridicule among all the nations where I exile them. 19 For they have not paid attention to what I said to them through my servants the prophets whom I sent to them over and over again,’ 36 says the Lord. 37 ‘And you exiles 38 have not paid any attention to them either,’ says the Lord. 39 20 ‘So pay attention to what I, the Lord, have said, 40 all you exiles whom I have sent to Babylon from Jerusalem.’
21 “The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 41 also has something to say about Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah, who are prophesying lies to you and claiming my authority to do so. 42 ‘I will hand them over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and he will execute them before your very eyes. 22 And all the exiles of Judah who are in Babylon will use them as examples when they put a curse on anyone. They will say, “May the Lord treat you like Zedekiah and Ahab whom the king of Babylon roasted to death in the fire!” 43 23 This will happen to them because they have done what is shameful 44 in Israel. They have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives and have spoken lies while claiming my authority. 45 They have spoken words that I did not command them to speak. I know what they have done. I have been a witness to it,’ says the Lord.” 46
24 The Lord told Jeremiah, “Tell 47 Shemaiah the Nehelamite 48 25 that the Lord God of Israel who rules over all 49 has a message for him. 50 Tell him, 51 ‘On your own initiative 52 you sent a letter 53 to the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah 54 and to all the other priests and to all the people in Jerusalem. 55 In your letter you said to Zephaniah, 56 26 “The Lord has made you priest in place of Jehoiada. 57 He has put you in charge in the Lord’s temple of controlling 58 any lunatic 59 who pretends to be a prophet. 60 And it is your duty to put any such person in the stocks 61 with an iron collar around his neck. 62 27 You should have reprimanded Jeremiah from Anathoth who is pretending to be a prophet among you! 63 28 For he has even sent a message to us here in Babylon. He wrote and told us, 64 “You will be there a long time. Build houses and settle down. Plant gardens and eat what they produce.”’” 65
29 Zephaniah the priest read that letter to the prophet Jeremiah. 66 30 Then the Lord spoke to Jeremiah. 31 “Send a message to all the exiles in Babylon. Tell them, ‘The Lord has spoken about Shemaiah the Nehelamite. “Shemaiah has spoken to you as a prophet even though I did not send him. He is making you trust in a lie. 67 32 Because he has done this,” 68 the Lord says, “I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his whole family. There will not be any of them left to experience the good things that I will do for my people. I, the Lord, affirm it! For he counseled rebellion against the Lord.”’” 69
30 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah. 1 2 “The Lord God of Israel says, 2 ‘Write everything that I am about to tell you in a scroll. 3 3 For I, the Lord, affirm 4 that the time will come when I will reverse the plight 5 of my people, Israel and Judah,’ says the Lord. ‘I will bring them back to the land I gave their ancestors 6 and they will take possession of it once again.’” 7
4 So here is what the Lord has to say about Israel and Judah. 8
5 Yes, 9 here is what he says:
“You hear cries of panic and of terror;
there is no peace in sight. 10
6 Ask yourselves this and consider it carefully: 11
Have you ever seen a man give birth to a baby?
Why then do I see all these strong men
grabbing their stomachs in pain like 12 a woman giving birth?
And why do their faces
turn so deathly pale?
7 Alas, what a terrible time of trouble it is! 13
There has never been any like it.
It is a time of trouble for the descendants of Jacob,
but some of them will be rescued out of it. 14
8 When the time for them to be rescued comes,” 15
says the Lord who rules over all, 16
“I will rescue you from foreign subjugation. 17
I will deliver you from captivity. 18
Foreigners will then no longer subjugate them.
9 But they will be subject 19 to the Lord their God
and to the Davidic ruler whom I will raise up as king over them. 20
10 So I, the Lord, tell you not to be afraid,
you descendants of Jacob, my servants. 21
Do not be terrified, people of Israel.
For I will rescue you and your descendants
from a faraway land where you are captives. 22
The descendants of Jacob will return to their land and enjoy peace.
They will be secure and no one will terrify them. 23
11 For I, the Lord, affirm 24 that
I will be with you and will rescue you.
I will completely destroy all the nations where I scattered you.
But I will not completely destroy you.
I will indeed discipline you, but only in due measure.
I will not allow you to go entirely unpunished.” 25
12 Moreover, 26 the Lord says to the people of Zion, 27
“Your injuries are incurable;
your wounds are severe. 28
13 There is no one to plead your cause.
There are no remedies for your wounds. 29
There is no healing for you.
14 All your allies have abandoned you. 30
They no longer have any concern for you.
For I have attacked you like an enemy would.
I have chastened you cruelly.
For your wickedness is so great
and your sin is so much. 31
15 Why do you complain about your injuries,
that your pain is incurable?
I have done all this to you
because your wickedness is so great
and your sin is so much.
16 But 32 all who destroyed you will be destroyed.
All your enemies will go into exile.
Those who plundered you will be plundered.
I will cause those who pillaged you to be pillaged. 33
17 Yes, 34 I will restore you to health.
I will heal your wounds.
I, the Lord, affirm it! 35
For you have been called an outcast,
Zion, whom no one cares for.”
18 The Lord says,
“I will restore the ruined houses of the descendants of Jacob.
I will show compassion on their ruined homes. 36
Every city will be rebuilt on its former ruins. 37
Every fortified dwelling will occupy its traditional site. 38
19 Out of those places you will hear songs of thanksgiving 39
and the sounds of laughter and merriment.
I will increase their number and they will not dwindle away. 40
I will bring them honor and they will no longer be despised.
20 The descendants of Jacob will enjoy their former privileges.
Their community will be reestablished in my favor 41
and I will punish all who try to oppress them.
21 One of their own people will be their leader.
Their ruler will come from their own number. 42
I will invite him to approach me, and he will do so. 43
For no one would dare approach me on his own. 44
I, the Lord, affirm it! 45
22 Then you will again be my people
and I will be your God. 46
23 Just watch! The wrath of the Lord
will come like a storm.
Like a raging storm it will rage down
on the heads of those who are wicked.
24 The anger of the Lord will not turn back
until he has fully carried out his intended purposes.
In days to come you will come to understand this. 47