Passage: Jeremiah 28, 29, 30 (RSV)

Jeremiah 28

1In that same year, at the beginning of the reign of Zedeki'ah king of Judah, in the fifth month of the fourth year, Hanani'ah the son of Azzur, the prophet from Gibeon, spoke to me in the house of the LORD, in the presence of the priests and all the people, saying,
2"Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon.
3Within two years I will bring back to this place all the vessels of the LORD's house, which Nebuchadnez'zar king of Babylon took away from this place and carried to Babylon.
4I will also bring back to this place Jeconi'ah the son of Jehoi'akim, king of Judah, and all the exiles from Judah who went to Babylon, says the LORD, for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon."
5Then the prophet Jeremiah spoke to Hanani'ah the prophet in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the LORD;
6and the prophet Jeremiah said, "Amen! May the LORD do so; may the LORD make the words which you have prophesied come true, and bring back to this place from Babylon the vessels of the house of the LORD, and all the exiles.
7Yet hear now this word which I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people.
8The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms.
9As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes to pass, then it will be known that the LORD has truly sent the prophet."
10Then the prophet Hanani'ah took the yoke-bars from the neck of Jeremiah the prophet, and broke them.
11And Hanani'ah spoke in the presence of all the people, saying, "Thus says the LORD: Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnez'zar king of Babylon from the neck of all the nations within two years." But Jeremiah the prophet went his way.
12Sometime after the prophet Hanani'ah had broken the yoke-bars from off the neck of Jeremiah the prophet, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah:
13"Go, tell Hanani'ah, `Thus says the LORD: You have broken wooden bars, but I will make in their place bars of iron.
14For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: I have put upon the neck of all these nations an iron yoke of servitude to Nebuchadnez'zar king of Babylon, and they shall serve him, for I have given to him even the beasts of the field.'"
15And Jeremiah the prophet said to the prophet Hanani'ah, "Listen, Hanani'ah, the LORD has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie.
16Therefore thus says the LORD: `Behold, I will remove you from the face of the earth. This very year you shall die, because you have uttered rebellion against the LORD.'"
17In that same year, in the seventh month, the prophet Hanani'ah died.

Jeremiah 29

1These are the words of the letter which Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnez'zar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.
2This was after King Jeconi'ah, and the queen mother, the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the smiths had departed from Jerusalem.
3The letter was sent by the hand of Ela'sah the son of Shaphan and Gemari'ah the son of Hilki'ah, whom Zedeki'ah king of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnez'zar king of Babylon. It said:
4"Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:
5Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce.
6Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.
7But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
8For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams which they dream,
9for it is a lie which they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, says the LORD.
10"For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfil to you my promise and bring you back to this place.
11For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
12Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.
13You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart,
14I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
15"Because you have said, `The LORD has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,' --
16Thus says the LORD concerning the king who sits on the throne of David, and concerning all the people who dwell in this city, your kinsmen who did not go out with you into exile:
17`Thus says the LORD of hosts, Behold, I am sending on them sword, famine, and pestilence, and I will make them like vile figs which are so bad they cannot be eaten.
18I will pursue them with sword, famine, and pestilence, and will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, a terror, a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have driven them,
19because they did not heed my words, says the LORD, which I persistently sent to you by my servants the prophets, but you would not listen, says the LORD.' --
20Hear the word of the LORD, all you exiles whom I sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon:
21`Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning Ahab the son of Kola'iah and Zedeki'ah the son of Ma-asei'ah, who are prophesying a lie to you in my name: Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadrez'zar king of Babylon, and he shall slay them before your eyes.
22Because of them this curse shall be used by all the exiles from Judah in Babylon: "The LORD make you like Zedeki'ah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire,"
23because they have committed folly in Israel, they have committed adultery with their neighbors' wives, and they have spoken in my name lying words which I did not command them. I am the one who knows, and I am witness, says the LORD.'"
24To Shemai'ah of Nehel'am you shall say:
25"Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: You have sent letters in your name to all the people who are in Jerusalem, and to Zephani'ah the son of Ma-asei'ah the priest, and to all the priests, saying,
26`The LORD has made you priest instead of Jehoi'ada the priest, to have charge in the house of the LORD over every madman who prophesies, to put him in the stocks and collar.
27Now why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of An'athoth who is prophesying to you?
28For he has sent to us in Babylon, saying, "Your exile will be long; build houses and live in them, and plant gardens and eat their produce."'"
29Zephani'ah the priest read this letter in the hearing of Jeremiah the prophet.
30Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah:
31"Send to all the exiles, saying, `Thus says the LORD concerning Shemai'ah of Nehel'am: Because Shemai'ah has prophesied to you when I did not send him, and has made you trust in a lie,
32therefore thus says the LORD: Behold, I will punish Shemai'ah of Nehel'am and his descendants; he shall not have any one living among this people to see the good that I will do to my people, says the LORD, for he has talked rebellion against the LORD.'"

Jeremiah 30

1The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD:
2"Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you.
3For behold, days are coming, says the LORD, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the LORD, and I will bring them back to the land which I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it."
4These are the words which the LORD spoke concerning Israel and Judah:
5"Thus says the LORD: We have heard a cry of panic, of terror, and no peace.
6Ask now, and see, can a man bear a child? Why then do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labor? Why has every face turned pale?
7Alas! that day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it.
8"And it shall come to pass in that day, says the LORD of hosts, that I will break the yoke from off their neck, and I will burst their bonds, and strangers shall no more make servants of them.
9But they shall serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.
10"Then fear not, O Jacob my servant, says the LORD, nor be dismayed, O Israel; for lo, I will save you from afar, and your offspring from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease, and none shall make him afraid.
11For I am with you to save you, says the LORD; I will make a full end of all the nations among whom I scattered you, but of you I will not make a full end. I will chasten you in just measure, and I will by no means leave you unpunished.
12"For thus says the LORD: Your hurt is incurable, and your wound is grievous.
13There is none to uphold your cause, no medicine for your wound, no healing for you.
14All your lovers have forgotten you; they care nothing for you; for I have dealt you the blow of an enemy, the punishment of a merciless foe, because your guilt is great, because your sins are flagrant.
15Why do you cry out over your hurt? Your pain is incurable. Because your guilt is great, because your sins are flagrant, I have done these things to you.
16Therefore all who devour you shall be devoured, and all your foes, every one of them, shall go into captivity; those who despoil you shall become a spoil, and all who prey on you I will make a prey.
17For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, says the LORD, because they have called you an outcast: `It is Zion, for whom no one cares!'
18"Thus says the LORD: Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob, and have compassion on his dwellings; the city shall be rebuilt upon its mound, and the palace shall stand where it used to be.
19Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving, and the voices of those who make merry. I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will make them honored, and they shall not be small.
20Their children shall be as they were of old, and their congregation shall be established before me; and I will punish all who oppress them.
21Their prince shall be one of themselves, their ruler shall come forth from their midst; I will make him draw near, and he shall approach me, for who would dare of himself to approach me? says the LORD.
22And you shall be my people, and I will be your God."
23Behold the storm of the LORD! Wrath has gone forth, a whirling tempest; it will burst upon the head of the wicked.
24The fierce anger of the LORD will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intents of his mind. In the latter days you will understand this.

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