1Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the residue of the elders of the captivity, and to the priests, to the prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon,
2(after Jeconiah the king, the queen mother, the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the smiths, had departed from Jerusalem),
3by the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan, and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, (whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon). It said:
4The LORD of Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives whom I have caused to be carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon:
5“Build houses and dwell in them. Plant gardens and eat their fruit.
6Take wives and father sons and daughters. Take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters. Multiply there, and don’t be diminished.
7Seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the LORD for it; for in its peace you will have peace.”
8For the LORD of Armies, the God of Israel says: “Don’t let your prophets who are amongst you and your diviners deceive you. Don’t listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamt.
9For they prophesy falsely to you in my name. I have not sent them,” says the LORD.
10For the LORD says, “After seventy years are accomplished for Babylon, I will visit you and perform my good word towards you, in causing you to return to this place.
11For I know the thoughts that I think towards you,” says the LORD, “thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope and a future.
12You shall call on me, and you shall go and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
13You shall seek me, and find me, when you search for me with all your heart.
14I will be found by you,” says the LORD, “and I will turn again your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD. I will bring you again to the place from where I caused you to be carried away captive.”
15Because you have said, “The LORD has raised us up prophets in Babylon;”
16the LORD says concerning the king who sits on David’s throne, and concerning all the people who dwell in this city, your brothers who haven’t gone with you into captivity;
17the LORD of Armies says: “Behold, I will send on them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, and will make them like rotten figs that can’t be eaten, they are so bad.
18I will pursue after them with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, and will deliver them to be tossed back and forth amongst all the kingdoms of the earth, to be an object of horror, an astonishment, a hissing, and a reproach amongst all the nations where I have driven them,
19because they have not listened to my words,” says the LORD, “with which I sent to them my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; but you would not hear,” says the LORD.
20Hear therefore the LORD’s word, all you captives, whom I have sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon.
21The LORD of Armies, the God of Israel, says concerning Ahab the son of Kolaiah, and concerning 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 will kill them before your eyes.
22A curse will be taken up about them by all the captives of Judah who are in Babylon, saying, ‘The LORD make you like Zedekiah and like Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire;’
23because they have done foolish things in Israel, and have committed adultery with their neighbours’ wives, and have spoken words in my name falsely, which I didn’t command them. I am he who knows, and am witness,” says the LORD.
24Concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite you shall speak, saying,
25“The LORD of Armies, the God of Israel, says, ‘Because you have sent letters in your own 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 in the place of Jehoiada the priest, that there may be officers in the LORD’s house, for every man who is crazy, and makes himself a prophet, that you should put him in the stocks and in shackles.
27Now therefore, why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of Anathoth, who makes himself a prophet to you,
28because he has sent to us in Babylon, saying, The captivity is long. Build houses, and dwell in them. Plant gardens, and eat their fruit?” ’ ”
29Zephaniah the priest read this letter in the hearing of Jeremiah the prophet.
30Then the LORD’s word came to Jeremiah, saying,
31“Send to all of the captives, saying, ‘The LORD says concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite: “Because Shemaiah has prophesied to you, and I didn’t send him, and he has caused you to trust in a lie;”
32therefore the LORD says, “Behold, I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his offspring. He will not have a man to dwell amongst this people. He won’t see the good that I will do to my people,” says the LORD, “because he has spoken rebellion against the LORD.” ’ ”