1Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving 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(this was after Jeconiah the king, the queen mother, the eunuchs, the officials 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), saying,
4 This is what Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captivity whom I have caused to be carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon:
5“Build houses, and live in them; and plant gardens, and eat their fruit.
6Take wives and father sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands so that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there; do not decrease.
7Seek the welfare of the city to which I have caused you to be carried away as captives, and pray to Yahweh for it, for in its welfare you will have your welfare.”
8For this is what Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let your prophets who are in the midst of you, and your diviners, deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that you are encouraging them to dream.
9For they prophesy falsely to you in my name. I have not sent them,” says Yahweh.
10For this is what Yahweh says, “After 70 years are accomplished for Babylon, I will visit you and perform my good word toward you by causing you to return to this place.
11For I know the plans that I have in mind for you,” says Yahweh, “plans of peace and not of evil, to give you hope and a future.
12You will call on me, and you will come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
13You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.
14I will be found by you,” says Yahweh, “and I will reverse your captivity and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,” says Yahweh, “and I will bring you again to the place from which I caused you to be carried away captive.”
15Because you have said, “Yahweh has raised us up prophets in Babylon,”
16this is what Yahweh says concerning the king who sits on the throne of David and concerning all the people who live in this city, your brothers who have not gone with you into captivity;
17this is what Yahweh of Armies says: “Behold, I will send on them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, and will make them like vile figs that cannot 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 among all the kingdoms of the earth, to be an object of horror and an astonishment, and a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have driven them;
19because they have not listened to my words,” says Yahweh, “that I sent to them by my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them again and again; but you would not listen,” says Yahweh.
20Therefore hear the word of Yahweh, all you of the captivity, whom I have sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon.
21This is what Yahweh 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.
22And because of them this curse will be used by all the captives of Judah who are in Babylon; they will say, ‘May Yahweh make you like Zedekiah and like Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire,’
23because they have worked folly in Israel and have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives, and have spoken lying words in my name that I did not command them; and I am he who knows, and am a witness,” says Yahweh.
24Concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite you are to speak, saying,
25“This is what Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, speaks, saying, 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‘Yahweh has made you priest in the place of Jehoiada the priest, to be overseers in the house of Yahweh, responsible for every man who is mad and makes himself a prophet. You are to put him in the stocks and in shackles.
27Now therefore, why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of Anathoth, who is acting like a prophet among you?
28For he has sent to us in Babylon, saying, ‘The captivity will be long. Build houses and live in them, and plant gardens and eat their fruit.’”
29Zephaniah the priest read this letter in the ears of Jeremiah the prophet.
30Then the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah, saying,
31“Send a message to all the captives in Babylon, saying, ‘This is what Yahweh says concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite: Because Shemaiah has prophesied to you (but I did not send him), and he has caused you to trust in a lie,
32therefore this is what Yahweh says: behold, I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his seed; he will not have a man to live among this people, nor will he see the good that I will do to my people, says Yahweh, because he has spoken rebellion against Yahweh.’”