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Jeremiah Chapter 29 | Parsha:

1This is the text of the letter which the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the priests, the prophets, the rest of the elders of the exile community, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon— 2after King Jeconiah, the queen mother, the eunuchs, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, and the craftsmen and smiths had left Jerusalem. 3[The letter was sent] through Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom King Zedekiah of Judah had dispatched to Babylon, to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.

4Thus said the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, to the whole community which I exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5Build houses and live in them, plant gardens and eat their fruit. 6Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters. Multiply there, do not decrease. 7And seek the welfare of the city to which I have exiled you and pray to the Lord in its behalf; for in its prosperity you shall prosper.

8For thus said the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel: Let not the prophets and diviners in your midst deceive you, and pay no heed to the dreams they dream. 9For they prophesy to you in My name falsely; I did not send them—declares the Lord.

10For thus said the Lord: When Babylon’s seventy years are over, I will take note of you, and I will fulfill to you My promise of favor—to bring you back to this place. 11For I am mindful of the plans I have made concerning you—declares the Lord—plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a hopeful future. 12When you call Me, and come and pray to Me, I will give heed to you. 13You will search for Me and find Me, if only you seek Me wholeheartedly. 14I will be at hand for you—declares the Lord—and I will restore your fortunes. And I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places to which I have banished you—declares the Lord—and I will bring you back to the place from which I have exiled you.

15But you say, “The Lord has raised up prophets for us in Babylon.”

16Thus said 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 not go out with you into exile— 17thus said the Lord of Hosts: I am going to let loose sword, famine, and pestilence against them and I will treat them as loathsome figs, so bad that they cannot be eaten. 18I will pursue them with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence; and I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, a curse and an object of horror and hissing and scorn among all the nations to which I shall banish them, 19 because they did not heed My words—declares the Lord—when I persistently sent to them My servants, the prophets, and they did not heed—declares the Lord.

20But you, the whole exile community which I banished from Jerusalem to Babylon, hear the word of the Lord! 21Thus said the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, concerning Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah, who prophesy falsely to you in My name: I am going to deliver them into the hands of King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon, and he shall put them to death before your eyes. 22And the whole community of Judah in Babylonia shall use a curse derived from their fate: “May God make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon consigned to the flames!”— 23because they did vile things in Israel, committing adultery with the wives of their fellows and speaking in My name false words which I had not commanded them. I am He who knows and bears witness—declares the Lord.

24Concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite you shall say: 25Thus said the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel: Because you sent letters in your own name to all the people in Jerusalem, to Zephaniah son of Maaseiah and to the rest of the priests, as follows, 26“The Lord appointed you priest in place of the priest Jehoiada, to exercise authority in the House of the Lord over every madman who wants to play the prophet, to put him into the stocks[cb1.5][cf11,11]g [cb0] and into the pillory. 27Now why have you not rebuked Jeremiah the Anathothite, who plays the prophet among you? 28For he has actually sent a message to us in Babylon to this effect: It will be a long time. Build houses and live in them, plant gardens and enjoy their fruit.”—

29When the priest Zephaniah read this letter in the hearing of the prophet Jeremiah, 30the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 31Send a message to the entire exile community: “Thus said the Lord concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite: Because Shemaiah prophesied to you, though I did not send him, and made you false promises, 32assuredly, thus said the Lord: I am going to punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his offspring. There shall be no man of his line dwelling among this people or seeing the good things I am going to do for My people—declares the Lord—for he has urged disloyalty toward the Lord.”

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