Jeremiah 29 – “A Letter to the Exiles”

letter writingHebrew-English Text

I. Summary

Jeremiah sends a letter to the Babylonian exiles encouraging them to prosper and multiply until their 70 year exile is complete. The letter also dooms the false prophets of Babylon and the people of Jerusalem.

II. Photo

Jeremiah sends a letter: “These are the words of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the remaining elders among the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.” (v. 1)

III. Select Verses

4-7: Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Take 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. But 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.

10-11: For thus says the LORD: Only when Babylon’s seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.

13-14a: When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the LORD

24-32: To Shemaiah of Nehelam you shall say: Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: In your own name you sent a letter to all the people who are in Jerusalem, and to the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, and to all the priests, saying, The LORD himself has made you priest instead of the priest Jehoiada, so that there may be officers in the house of the LORD to control any madman who plays the prophet, to put him in the stocks and the collar. So now why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of Anathoth who plays the prophet for you? For he has actually sent to us in Babylon, saying, “It will be a long time; build houses and live in them, and plant gardens and eat what they produce.” The priest Zephaniah read this letter in the hearing of the prophet Jeremiah. Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: Send to all the exiles, saying, Thus says the LORD concerning Shemaiah of Nehelam: Because Shemaiah has prophesied to you, though I did not send him, and has led you to trust in a lie, therefore thus says the LORD: I am going to punish Shemaiah of Nehelam and his descendants; he shall not have anyone living among this people to see the good that I am going to do to my people, says the LORD, for he has spoken rebellion against the LORD.

IV. Outline

1-3. Introduction to Jeremiah’s letter to the exiles

4-32. The Letter

4. Introduction from Yahweh

5-7. Prosper and multiply in Babylon

8-9. The prophets in Babylon are false

10-14. After 70 years Yahweh will return the exiles

15. The people’s belief that prophets have risen in Babylon

16-19. The king and people of Jerusalem will be destroyed

20-23. The false prophets Ahab and Zedekiah will be burned in Babylon and become a byword for cursing

24-32. The false prophet Shemaiah will be punished for sending a letter to Jerusalem trying to suppress Jeremiah


V. Comment

No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used

(see “Commentaries” page)

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