1 This is the Copy of the letter, that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem unto the prisoners: the Senators, priests, prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had led unto Babylon: 2 after the time that king Jechoniah, and his Queen, his chamberlains the princes of Judah and Jerusalem the workmasters of Jerusalem were departed thither. 3 Which letter Elasah the son of Shaphan and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah did bear, whom Zedekiah the king of Judah sent unto Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon. These were the words of Jeremiah's letter:
4 "Thus hath the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, spoken unto all the prisoners, that were led from Jerusalem unto Babylon: 5 Build you houses to dwell therein; plant you gardens, that ye may enjoy the fruits thereof; 6 take you wives, to bear you sons and daughters; provide wives for your sons, and husbands for your daughters, that they may get sons and daughters, and that ye may multiply there. Labour not to be few, 7 but seek after peace and prosperity of the city wherein ye be prisoners, and pray unto God for it. For in the peace thereof, shall your peace be.
8 "For thus sayeth the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel: Let not those prophets and soothsayers that be among you deceive you: and believe not your own dreams. 9 For why? They preach you lies in my name, and I have not sent them, sayeth the LORD.
10 But thus sayeth the LORD: When ye have fulfilled seventy years at Babylon, I will bring you home, and of mine own goodness I will carry you hither again to this place. 11 For I know what I have devised for you sayeth the LORD. My thoughts are to give you peace, and not trouble, which I give you already; and that ye might have hope again. 12 Ye shall cry unto me, ye shall go and call upon me, and I shall hear you. 13 Ye shall seek me, and find me: Yea, if so be that ye seek me with your whole heart, 14 I will be found of you, sayeth the LORD. And will deliver you out of prison, and gather you together again out of all places, wherein I have scattered you, sayeth the LORD: and will bring you again to the same place, from whence I caused you to be carried away captive.
15 "But whereas ye say that God hath raised you up prophets at Babylon: 16 Thus hath the LORD spoken concerning the king that sitteth in the stool of David, and all the people that dwell in this city, your brethren that are not gone with you into captivity. 17 Thus, I say, speaketh the LORD of Hosts: Behold, I will send a sword, hunger and pestilence upon them, and will make them like untimely figs, that may not be eaten for bitterness. 18 And I will persecute them with the sword, with hunger and death. I will deliver them up to be vexed of all kingdoms, to be cursed, abhorred, laughed to scorn, and put to confusion of all the people, among whom I have scattered them: 19 and that because they have not been obedient unto my commandments, sayeth the LORD; which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets. I stood up early, and sent unto them, but they would not hear, sayeth the LORD.
20 Hear therefore the word of the LORD, all ye prisoners, whom I sent from Jerusalem unto Babylon. 21 Thus hath the LORD of Hosts the God of Israel spoken, of Ahab the son of Kolaiah, and of Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, which prophesy lies unto you in my name: Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, that he may slay them before your eyes. 22 And all the prisoners of Judah that are in Babylon, shall take upon them this term of cursing, and say, 'Now God do unto thee, as he did unto Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire; 23 Because they sinned shamefully in Israel. For they have not only defiled their neighbours' wives, but also preached lying words in my name, which I have not commanded them. This I testify, and assure, sayeth the LORD.
24 "But as for Shemaiah the Nehelamite thou shalt speak unto him: 25 Thus sayeth the LORD of Hosts the God of Israel: Because thou hast sealed letters under thy name unto all the people that is at Jerusalem, and to Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, yea and sent them to all the priests: wherein thou writest thus unto him: 26 'The LORD hath ordained thee to be priest instead of Jehoiada the priest, that thou shouldest be the chief in the house of the LORD above all prophets, and preachers, and that thou mightest put them in prison, or in the stocks. 27 How happeneth it then, that thou hast not reproved Jeremiah of Anathoth, which never leaveth of his prophesying? 28 And beside all this, he hath sent us word unto Babylon, and told us plainly, that our captivity shall long endure: that we should build us houses to dwell therein, and to plant us gardens, that we might enjoy the fruit thereof.'
29 Which letter Zephaniah the priest did read, and let Jeremiah the prophet hear it.
30 Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying: 31 Send word to all them that be in captivity, on this manner: Thus hath the LORD spoken concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite: Because that Shemaiah hath prophesied unto you without my commission, and brought you into a false hope, 32 therefore thus the LORD doth certify you: Behold, I will visit Shemaiah the Nehelamite, and his seed: so that none of his shall remain among this people, and none of them shall see the good, that I will do for this people, sayeth the LORD. For he hath preached falsely of the LORD."