Jeremiah Threatened with Death
26 1 When Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, first became king, this word came from the Lord, saying, 2 This is what the Lord has said: Take your place in the open square of the Lord's house and say to all the towns of Judah, who come into the Lord's house for worship, everything I give you orders to say to them: keep back not a word; 3 It may be that they will give ear, and that every man will be turned from his evil way, so that my purpose of sending evil on them because of the evil of their doings may be changed. 4 And you are to say to them, This is what the Lord has said: If you do not give ear to me and go in the way of my law which I have put before you, 5 And give ear to the words of my servants the prophets whom I send to you, getting up early and sending them, though you gave no attention; 6 Then I will make this house like Shiloh, and will make this town a curse to all the nations of the earth.
7 And in the hearing of the priests and the prophets and all the people, Jeremiah said these words in the house of the Lord. 8 Now, when Jeremiah had come to the end of saying everything the Lord had given him orders to say to all the people, the priests and the prophets and all the people took him by force, saying, Death will certainly be your fate. 9 Why have you said in the name of the Lord, This house will be like Shiloh, and this land a waste with no one living in it? And all the people had come together to Jeremiah in the house of the Lord. 10 And the rulers of Judah, hearing of these things, came up from the king's house to the house of the Lord, and took their seats by the new door of the Lord's house. 11 Then the priests and the prophets said to the rulers and to all the people, The right fate for this man is death; for he has said words against this town in your hearing. 12 Then Jeremiah said to all the rulers and to all the people, The Lord has sent me as his prophet to say against this house and against this town all the words which have come to your ears. 13 So now, make a change for the better in your ways and your doings, and give ear to the voice of the Lord your God; then the Lord will let himself be turned from the decision he has made against you for evil. 14 As for me, here I am in your hands: do with me whatever seems good and right in your opinion. 15 Only be certain that, if you put me to death, you will make yourselves and your town and its people responsible for the blood of one who has done no wrong: for truly, the Lord has sent me to you to say all these words in your ears.
16 Then the rulers and all the people said to the priests and the prophets, It is not right for this man to be put to death: for he has said words to us in the name of the Lord our God. 17 Then some of the responsible men of the land got up and said to all the meeting of the people, 18 Micah the Morashtite, who was a prophet in the days of Hezekiah, king of Judah, said to all the people of Judah, This is what the Lord of armies has said: Zion will become like a ploughed field, and Jerusalem will become a mass of broken walls, and the mountain of the house like the high places of the woodland. 19 Did Hezekiah and all Judah put him to death? did he not in the fear of the Lord make prayer for the grace of the Lord, and the Lord let himself be turned from the decision he had made against them for evil? By this act we might do great evil against ourselves. 20 And there was another man who was a prophet of the Lord, Uriah, the son of Shemaiah of Kiriath-jearim; he said against this town and against this land all the words which Jeremiah had said: 21 And when his words came to the ears of Jehoiakim the king and all his men of war and his captains, the king would have put him to death; but Uriah, hearing of it, was full of fear and went in flight into Egypt: 22 And Jehoiakim the king sent Elnathan, the son of Achbor, and certain men with him, into Egypt. 23 And they took Uriah out of Egypt and came back with him to Jehoiakim the king; who put him to death with the sword, and had his dead body put into the resting-place of the bodies of the common people. 24 But Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, gave Jeremiah his help, so that he was not given into the hands of the people to be put to death.
The Lesson from the Yoke-bars
27 1 When Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, first became king this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 2 This is what the Lord has said to me: Make for yourself bands and yokes and put them on your neck; 3 And send them to the king of Edom, and to the king of Moab, and to the king of the children of Ammon, and to the king of Tyre, and to the king of Zidon, by their servants who come to Jerusalem, to Zedekiah, king of Judah; 4 And give them orders to say to their masters, This is what the Lord of armies, the God of Israel, has said: Say to your masters, 5 I have made the earth, and man and beast on the face of the earth, by my great power and by my outstretched arm; and I will give it to anyone at my pleasure. 6 And now I have given all these lands into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant; and I have given the beasts of the field to him for his use. 7 And all the nations will be servants to him and to his son and to his son's son, till the time comes for his land to be overcome: and then a number of nations and great kings will take it for their use. 8 And it will come about, that if any nation does not become a servant to this same Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and does not put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, then I will send punishment on that nation, says the Lord, by the sword and need of food and by disease, till I have given them into his hands. 9 And you are not to give attention to your prophets or your readers of signs or your dreamers or those who see into the future or those who make use of secret arts, who say to you, You will not become servants of the king of Babylon: 10 For they say false words to you, so that you may be sent away far from your land, and so that you may be forced out by me and come to destruction. 11 But as for that nation which puts its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and becomes his servant, I will let that nation keep on in its land, farming it and living in it, says the Lord.
12 And I said all this to Zedekiah, king of Judah, saying, Put your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon and become his servants and his people, so that you may keep your lives. 13 Why are you desiring death, you and your people, by the sword, and because food is gone, and by disease, as the Lord has said of the nation which does not become the servant of the king of Babylon? 14 And you are not to give ear to the prophets who say to you, You will not become servants of the king of Babylon: for what they say is not true. 15 For I have not sent them, says the Lord, but they are saying what is false in my name, so that I might send you out by force, causing destruction to come on you and on your prophets. 16 And I said to the priests and to all the people, This is what the Lord has said: Give no attention to the words of your prophets who say to you, See, in a very little time now the vessels of the Lord's house will come back again from Babylon: for what they say to you is false. 17 Give no attention to them; become servants of the king of Babylon and keep yourselves from death: why let this town become a waste? 18 But if they are prophets, and if the word of the Lord is with them, let them now make request to the Lord of armies that the vessels which are still in the house of the Lord and in the house of the king of Judah and at Jerusalem, may not go to Babylon. 19 For this is what the Lord has said about the rest of the vessels which are still in this town, 20 Which Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, did not take away, when he took Jeconiah, the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, a prisoner from Jerusalem to Babylon, with all the great men of Judah and Jerusalem; 21 For this is what the Lord of armies, the God of Israel, has said about the rest of the vessels in the house of the Lord and in the house of the king of Judah and at Jerusalem: 22 They will be taken away to Babylon, and there they will be till the day when I send their punishment on them, says the Lord. Then I will take them up and put them back in their place.
Hananiah's False Prophecy
28 1 And it came about in that year, when Zedekiah first became king of Judah, in the fourth year, in the fifth month, that Hananiah, the son of Azzur the prophet, who came from Gibeon, said to Jeremiah in the house of the Lord, before the priests and all the people, 2 These are the words of the Lord of armies, the God of Israel: By me the yoke of the king of Babylon has been broken. 3 In the space of two years I will send back into this place all the vessels of the Lord's house which Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, took away from this place to Babylon: 4 And I will let Jeconiah, the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, come back to this place, with all the prisoners of Judah who went to Babylon, says the Lord: for I will have the yoke of the king of Babylon broken. 5 Then the prophet Jeremiah said to the prophet Hananiah, before the priests and all the people who had come into the house of the Lord, 6 The prophet Jeremiah said, So be it: may the Lord do so: may the Lord give effect to the words which you have said, and let the vessels of the Lord's house, and all the people who have been taken away, come back from Babylon to this place. 7 But still, give ear to this word which I am saying to you and to all the people: 8 The prophets, who were before me and before you, from early times gave word to a number of countries and great kingdoms about war and destruction and disease. 9 The prophet whose words are of peace, when his words come true, will be seen to be a prophet whom the Lord has sent.
10 Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke from the neck of the prophet Jeremiah and it was broken by his hands. 11 And before all the people Hananiah said, The Lord has said, Even so will I let the yoke of the king of Babylon be broken off the necks of all the nations in the space of two years. Then the prophet Jeremiah went away. 12 Then after the yoke had been broken off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah by Hananiah the prophet, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, 13 Go and say to Hananiah, This is what the Lord has said: Yokes of wood have been broken by you, but in their place I will make yokes of iron. 14 For the Lord of armies, the God of Israel, has said: I have put a yoke of iron on the necks of all these nations, making them servants to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon; and they are to be his servants: and in addition I have given him the beasts of the field. 15 Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, Give ear, now, Hananiah; the Lord has not sent you; but you are making this people put their faith in what is false. 16 For this reason the Lord has said, See, I will send you away from off the face of the earth: this year death will overtake you, because you have said words against the Lord. 17 So death came to Hananiah the prophet the same year, in the seventh month.
Jeremiah's Letter to the Captives
29 1 Now these are the words of the letter which Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the responsible men among those who had been taken away, and to the priests and the prophets and to all the rest of the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken away prisoners from Jerusalem to Babylon; 2 (After Jeconiah the king and the queen-mother and the unsexed servants and the rulers of Judah and Jerusalem and the expert workmen and the metal-workers had gone away from Jerusalem;) 3 By 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,) saying, 4 This is what the Lord of armies, the God of Israel, has said to all those whom I have taken away prisoners from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Go on building houses and living in them, and planting gardens and using the fruit of them; 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may have sons and daughters; and be increased in number there and do not become less. 7 And be working for the peace of the land to which I have had you taken away prisoners, and make prayer to the Lord for it: for in its peace you will have peace.
8 For this is what the Lord of armies, the God of Israel, has said: Do not let yourselves be tricked by the prophets who are among you, and the readers of signs, and give no attention to their dreams which they may have; 9 For they are saying to you what is false in my name: I have not sent them, says the Lord. 10 For this is what the Lord has said: When seventy years are ended for Babylon, I will have pity on you and give effect to my good purpose for you, causing you to come back to this place. 11 For I am conscious of my thoughts about you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you hope at the end. 12 And you will go on crying to me and making prayer to me, and I will give ear to you. 13 And you will be searching for me and I will be there, when you have gone after me with all your heart. 14 I will be near you again, says the Lord, and your fate will be changed, and I will get you together from all the nations and from all the places where I had sent you away, says the Lord; and I will take you back again to the place from which I sent you away prisoners.
15 For you have said, The Lord has given us prophets in Babylon. 16 For this is what the Lord has said about the king who is seated on the seat of David's kingdom, and about all the people living in this town, your countrymen who have not gone out with you as prisoners; 17 This is what the Lord of armies has said: See, I will send on them the sword and need of food and disease, and will make them like bad figs, which are of no use for food, they are so bad. 18 I will go after them, attacking them with the sword and with need of food and with disease, and will make them a cause of fear to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse and a wonder and a surprise and a name of shame among all the nations where I have sent them: 19 Because they have not given ear to my words, says the Lord, when I sent to them my servants the prophets, getting up early and sending them; but you did not give ear, says the Lord. 20 And now, give ear to the word of the Lord, all you whom I have sent away prisoners from Jerusalem to Babylon. 21 This is what the Lord of armies, the God of Israel, has said about Ahab, the son of Kolaiah, and about Zedekiah, the son of Maaseiah, who are saying to you what is false in my name: See, I will give them up into the hands of Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon, and he will put them to death before your eyes. 22 And their fate will be used as a curse by all the prisoners of Judah who are in Babylon, who will say, May the Lord make you like Zedekiah and like Ahab, who were burned in the fire by the king of Babylon; 23 Because they have done shame in Israel, and have taken their neighbours' wives, and in my name have said false words, which I did not give them orders to say; and I myself am the witness, says the Lord.
24 About Shemaiah the Nehelamite. 25 Shemaiah the Nehelamite sent a letter in his name to Zephaniah, the son of Maaseiah the priest, saying, 26 The Lord has made you priest in place of Jehoiada the priest, to be an overseer in the house of the Lord for every man who is off his head and is acting as a prophet, to put such men in prison and in chains. 27 So why have you made no protest against Jeremiah of Anathoth, who is acting as a prophet to you? 28 For he has sent to us in Babylon saying, The time will be long: go on building houses and living in them, and planting gardens and using the fruit of them. 29 And Zephaniah the priest made clear to Jeremiah the prophet what was said in the letter, reading it to him. 30 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, saying, 31 Send to all those who have been taken away, saying, This is what the Lord has said about Shemaiah the Nehelamite: Because Shemaiah has been acting as a prophet to you, and I did not send him, and has made you put your faith in what is false; 32 For this cause the Lord has said, Truly I will send punishment on Shemaiah and on his seed; not a man of his family will have a place among this people, and he will not see the good which I am going to do to my people, says the Lord: because he has said words against the Lord.