1 Now these are the words of the aletter which Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the rest of the elders of the exile, the priests, the prophets and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 (This was after King aJeconiah and the bqueen mother, the court officials, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, 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 aHilkiah, whom Zedekiah 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 have asent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, 5 'aBuild houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 'Take awives and become the fathers of 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 do not decrease. 7 'aSeek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and bpray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.' 8 "For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, 'Do not let your aprophets who are in your midst and your diviners bdeceive you, and do not listen to cthe dreams which they dream. 9 'For they aprophesy falsely to you in My name; bI have not sent them,' declares the Lord. 10 "For thus says the Lord, 'When aseventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My bgood word to you, to bring you back to this place. 11 'For I know the aplans that I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for bwelfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a chope. 12 'Then you will acall upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will blisten to you. 13 'You will aseek Me and find Me when you bsearch for Me with all your heart. 14 'I will be afound by you,' declares the Lord, 'and I will brestore your fortunes and will cgather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,' declares the Lord, 'and I will dbring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.' 15 "Because you have said, 'The Lord has raised up aprophets for us in Babylon'-- 16 for thus says the Lord concerning the king who sits on the throne of David, and concerning all the people who dwell in this city, your brothers who did anot go with you into exile-- 17 thus says the Lord of hosts, 'Behold, I am sending upon them the asword, famine and pestilence, and I will make them like bsplit-open figs that cannot be eaten due to rottenness. 18 'I will pursue them with the sword, with famine and with pestilence; and I will amake them a terror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a bcurse and a horror and a chissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have driven them, 19 because they have anot listened to My words,' declares the Lord, 'which I sent to them again and again by bMy servants the prophets; but you did not listen,' declares the Lord. 20 "You, therefore, hear the word of the Lord, all you exiles, whom I have asent away from Jerusalem to Babylon. 21 "Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning Ahab the son of Kolaiah and concerning Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, who are aprophesying to you falsely in My name, 'Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will slay them before your eyes. 22 'Because of them a acurse will be used by all the exiles from Judah who are in Babylon, saying, "May the Lord make you like Zedekiah and like Ahab, whom the king of Babylon broasted in the fire, 23 because they have aacted foolishly in Israel, and bhave committed adultery with their neighbors' wives and have cspoken words in My name falsely, which I did not command them; and I am He who dknows and am a witness," declares the Lord.'" 24 To aShemaiah the Nehelamite you shall speak, saying, 25 "Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, 'Because you have sent aletters in your own name to all the people who are in Jerusalem, and to bZephaniah 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 the aoverseer in the house of the Lord over every bmadman who cprophesies, to dput him in the stocks and in the iron collar, 27 now then, why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of aAnathoth who prophesies to you? 28 "For he has asent to us in Babylon, saying, 'The exile will be blong; cbuild houses and live in them and plant gardens and eat their produce.'"'" 29 aZephaniah the priest read this letter to Jeremiah the prophet. 30 Then came the word of the Lord to Jeremiah, saying, 31 "Send to aall the exiles, saying, 'Thus says the Lord concerning bShemaiah the Nehelamite, "Because Shemaiah has cprophesied to you, although I did not send him, and he has dmade you trust in a lie," 32 therefore thus says the Lord, "Behold, I am about to apunish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his descendants; he will bnot have anyone living among this people, cand he will not see the good that I am about to do to My people," declares the Lord, "because he has dpreached rebellion against the Lord."'"
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.