The LORD spoke to me in the tenth year that Zedekiah was king of Judah, which was also the eighteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia. 2At that time the army of the king of Babylonia was attacking Jerusalem, and I was locked up in the courtyard of the royal palace. 3King Zedekiah had imprisoned me there and had accused me of announcing that the LORD had said, “I am going to let the king of Babylonia capture this city, 4and King Zedekiah will not escape. He will be handed over to the king of Babylonia; he will see him face to face and will speak to him in person. 5Zedekiah will be taken to Babylonia, and he will remain there until I deal with him. Even if he fights the Babylonians, he will not be successful. I, the LORD, have spoken.”
6The LORD told me 7that Hanamel, my uncle Shallum's son, would come to me with the request to buy his field at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin, because I was his nearest relative and had the right to buy it for myself. 8Then, just as the LORD had said, Hanamel came to me there in the courtyard and asked me to buy the field. So I knew that the LORD had really spoken to me. 9I bought the field from Hanamel and weighed out the money to him; the price came to seventeen pieces of silver. 10I signed and sealed the deed, had it witnessed, and weighed out the money on scales. 11Then I took both copies of the deed of purchase — the sealed copy containing the contract and its conditions, and the open copy — 12and gave them to Baruch, the son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah. I gave them to him in the presence of Hanamel and of the witnesses who had signed the deed of purchase and of the people who were sitting in the courtyard. 13Before them all I said to Baruch, 14“The LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, has ordered you to take these deeds, both the sealed deed of purchase and the open copy, and to place them in a clay jar, so that they may be preserved for years to come. 15The LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, has said that houses, fields, and vineyards will again be bought in this land.”
16After I had given the deed of purchase to Baruch, I prayed, 17“Sovereign LORD, you made the earth and the sky by your great power and might; nothing is too difficult for you. 18You have shown constant love to thousands, but you also punish people for the sins of their parents. You are a great and powerful God; you are the LORD Almighty. 19You make wise plans and do mighty things; you see everything that people do, and you reward them according to their actions. 20Long ago, you performed miracles and wonders in Egypt, and you have continued to perform them to this day, both in Israel and among all the other nations, so that you are now known everywhere. 21By means of miracles and wonders that terrified our enemies, you used your power and might to bring your people Israel out of Egypt. 22You gave them this rich and fertile land, as you had promised their ancestors. 23But when they came into this land and took possession of it, they did not obey your commands or live according to your teaching; they did nothing that you had ordered them to do. And so you brought all this destruction on them.
24“The Babylonians have built siege mounds round the city to capture it, and they are attacking. War, starvation, and disease will make the city fall into their hands. You can see that all you have said has come true. 25Yet, Sovereign LORD, you are the one who ordered me to buy the field in the presence of witnesses, even though the city is about to be captured by the Babylonians.”
26Then the LORD said to me, 27“I am the LORD, the God of the whole human race. Nothing is too difficult for me. 28
I am going to give this city over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia and his army; they will capture it 29and set it on fire. They will burn it down, together with the houses where people have made me angry by burning incense to Baal on the rooftops and by pouring out wine offerings to other gods. 30From the very beginning of their history the people of Israel and the people of Judah have displeased me and made me angry by what they have done. 31The people of this city have made me angry and furious from the day it was built. I have decided to destroy it 32because of all the evil that has been done by the people of Judah and Jerusalem, together with their kings and leaders, their priests and prophets. 33They turned their backs on me; and though I kept on teaching them, they would not listen and learn. 34
They even placed their disgusting idols in the Temple built for my worship, and they have defiled it. 35
They have built altars to Baal in the Valley of Hinnom, to sacrifice their sons and daughters to the god Molech. I did not command them to do this, and it did not even enter my mind that they would do such a thing and make the people of Judah sin.”
36The LORD, the God of Israel, said to me, “Jeremiah, the people are saying that war, starvation, and disease will make this city fall into the hands of the king of Babylonia. Now listen to what else I have to say. 37I am going to gather the people from all the countries where I have scattered them in my anger and fury, and I am going to bring them back to this place and let them live here in safety. 38Then they will be my people, and I will be their God. 39I will give them a single purpose in life: to honour me for all time, for their own good and the good of their descendants. 40I will make an eternal covenant with them. I will never stop doing good things for them, and I will make them fear me with all their heart, so that they will never turn away from me. 41I will take pleasure in doing good things for them, and I will establish them permanently in this land.
42“Just as I have brought this disaster on these people, so I am going to give them all the good things that I have promised. 43The people are saying that this land will be like a desert where neither people nor animals live, and that it will be given over to the Babylonians. But fields will once again be bought in this land. 44People will buy them, and the deeds will be signed, sealed, and witnessed. This will take place in the territory of Benjamin, in the villages round Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah, and in the towns in the hill country, in the foothills, and in southern Judah. I will restore the people to their land. I, the LORD, have spoken.”
331While I was still in prison in the courtyard, the LORD's message came to me again. 2The LORD, who made the earth, who formed it and set it in place, spoke to me. He whose name is the LORD said, 3“Call to me, and I will answer you; I will tell you wonderful and marvellous things that you know nothing about. 4I, the LORD, the God of Israel, say that the houses of Jerusalem and the royal palace of Judah will be torn down as a result of the siege and the attack. 5Some will fight against the Babylonians, who will fill the houses33.4–5 In verses 4 and 5 as a result… houses; Hebrew unclear. with the corpses of those whom I am going to strike down in my anger and fury. I have turned away from this city because of the evil things that its people have done. 6But I will heal this city and its people and restore them to health. I will show them abundant peace and security. 7I will make Judah and Israel prosperous, and I will rebuild them as they were before. 8I will purify them from the sins that they have committed against me, and I will forgive their sins and their rebellion. 9Jerusalem will be a source of joy, honour, and pride to me; and every nation in the world will fear and tremble when they hear about the good things that I do for the people of Jerusalem and about the prosperity that I bring to the city.”
10The LORD said, “People are saying that this place is like a desert, that it has no people or animals living in it. And they are right; the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem are empty; no people or animals live there. But in these places you will hear again 11
the shouts of gladness and joy and the happy sounds of wedding feasts. You will hear people sing as they bring thank-offerings to my Temple; they will say,
‘Give thanks to the LORD Almighty,
because he is good
and his love is eternal.’I will make this land as prosperous as it was before. I, the LORD, have spoken.”
12The LORD Almighty said, “In this land that is like a desert and where no people or animals live, there will once again be pastures where shepherds can take their sheep. 13In the towns of the hill country, in the foothills, and in southern Judah, in the territory of Benjamin, in the villages round Jerusalem, and in the towns of Judah, shepherds will once again count their sheep. I, the LORD, have spoken.”
The LORD said, “The time is coming when I will fulfil the promise that I made to the people of Israel and Judah. 15At that time I will choose as king a righteous descendant of David. That king will do what is right and just throughout the land. 16The people of Judah and of Jerusalem will be rescued and will live in safety. The city will be called ‘The LORD Our Salvation’. 17
I, the LORD, promise that there will always be a descendant of David to be king of Israel 18
and that there will always be priests from the tribe of Levi to serve me and to offer burnt offerings, grain offerings, and sacrifices.”
19The LORD said to me, 20“I have made a covenant with the day and with the night, so that they always come at their proper times; and that covenant can never be broken. 21In the same way I have made a covenant with my servant David that he would always have a descendant to be king, and I have made a covenant with the priests from the tribe of Levi that they would always serve me; and those covenants can never be broken. 22I will increase the number of descendants of my servant David and the number of priests from the tribe of Levi, so that it will be as impossible to count them as it is to count the stars in the sky or the grains of sand on the seashore.”
23The LORD said to me, 24“Have you noticed how people are saying that I have rejected Israel and Judah, the two families that I chose? And so they look with contempt on my people and no longer consider them a nation. 25But I, the LORD, have a covenant with day and night, and I have made the laws that control earth and sky. 26And just as surely as I have done this, so I will maintain my covenant with Jacob's descendants and with my servant David. I will choose one of David's descendants to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will be merciful to my people and make them prosperous again.”
The LORD spoke to me when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia and his army, supported by troops from all the nations and races that were subject to him, were attacking Jerusalem and its nearby towns. 2The LORD, the God of Israel, told me to go and say to King Zedekiah of Judah, “I, the LORD, will hand this city over to the king of Babylonia, and he will burn it down. 3You will not escape; you will be captured and handed over to him. You will see him face to face and talk to him in person; then you will go to Babylonia. 4Zedekiah, listen to what I say about you. You will not be killed in battle. 5You will die in peace, and as people burnt incense when they buried your ancestors, who were kings before you, in the same way they will burn incense for you. They will mourn over you and say, ‘Our king is dead!’ I, the LORD, have spoken.”
6Then I gave this message to King Zedekiah in Jerusalem 7while the army of the king of Babylonia was attacking the city. The army was also attacking Lachish and Azekah, the only other fortified cities left in Judah.
8King Zedekiah and the people of Jerusalem had made an agreement to set free 9their Hebrew slaves, both male and female, so that no one would have a fellow-Israelite as a slave. 10All the people and their leaders agreed to free their slaves and never to enslave them again. They did set them free, 11but later they changed their minds, took them back, and forced them to become slaves again.
12Then the LORD, 13the God of Israel, told me to say to the people: “I made a covenant with your ancestors when I rescued them from Egypt and set them free from slavery. I told them that 14
every seven years they were to set free any Hebrew slave who had served them for six years. But your ancestors would not pay any attention to me or listen to what I said. 15Just a few days ago you changed your minds and did what pleased me. All of you agreed to set your fellow-Israelites free, and you made a covenant in my presence, in the Temple where I am worshipped. 16But then you changed your minds again and dishonoured me. All of you took back the slaves whom you had set free as they desired, and you forced them into slavery again. 17So now, I, the LORD, say that you have disobeyed me: you have not given your fellow-Israelites their freedom. Very well, then, I will give you freedom: the freedom to die by war, disease, and starvation. I will make every nation in the world horrified at what I do to you. 18-19The officials of Judah and of Jerusalem, together with the palace officials, the priests, and all the leaders, made a covenant with me by walking between the two halves of a bull that they had cut in two. But they broke the covenant and did not keep its terms. So I will do to these people what they did to the bull. 20I will hand them over to their enemies, who want to kill them, and their corpses will be eaten by birds and wild animals. 21I will also hand over King Zedekiah of Judah and his officials to those who want to kill them. I will hand them over to the Babylonian army, which has stopped its attack against you. 22I will give the order, and they will return to this city. They will attack it, capture it, and burn it down. I will make the towns of Judah like a desert where no one lives. I, the LORD, have spoken.”