May 6, 2022 Read Together

May 6, 2022 Read Together

May 6, 2022

Jeremiah 27

Submit to the king of Babylon and live

Early in the rule of Judah’s King Zedekiah, Josiah’s son, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: This is what the Lord said to me: Make a yoke of straps and bars and wear it on your neck. Then send word to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon through their representatives who have come to Jerusalem to Judah’s King Zedekiah. Tell them to say to their masters: The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: Say this to your masters:

By my great power and outstretched arm, I have made the earth and the people and animals that are on it. I can give it to anyone I please. Now I hand over all these countries to my servant King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. I even give him the wild animals as subjects. All nations will serve him, his son and grandson, until the time for his land arrives; then many nations and great kings will conquer him.

As for the nation or country that won’t serve Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar and won’t put its neck under his yoke, I will punish it with sword, famine, and disease until I have destroyed it by his hand, declares the Lord. As for you, don’t listen to your prophets, diviners, dreamers, mediums, or your sorcerers who say to you, “Don’t serve the king of Babylon.” 10 They are lying to you, and their lies will lead to banishment from your land. I will drive you out, and you will perish. 11 But any nation that puts its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serves him, I will let stay in its land to till it and live on it, declares the Lord.

12 I delivered the same message to Judah’s King Zedekiah: If you want to live, put your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him and his people. 13 Why should you and your people die by sword, famine, and disease, as the Lord pronounced against any nation that won’t serve the king of Babylon? 14 Pay no attention to the words of the prophets who encourage you not to serve the king of Babylon, for they are lying to you. 15 I haven’t sent these prophets, declares the Lord; they are prophesying falsely in my name. If you listen to them, I will drive you out, and you will perish, both you and your prophets!

16 Then I spoke to the priests and all this people: This is what the Lord says: Don’t listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you, “In a short while, the temple equipment will be brought back from Babylon.” They are prophesying a lie to you. 17 Don’t listen to them; serve the king of Babylon and live. Otherwise, this city will be reduced to ruin. 18 If they are really prophets and have the Lord’s word, let them intercede with the Lord of heavenly forces not to let the equipment left in the Lord’s temple and in the royal palace of Judah and Jerusalem be carted off to Babylon.

19 This is what the Lord of heavenly forces proclaims about the pillars, the Sea, the stands, and the rest of the equipment left in this city, 20 which Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar didn’t plunder when he deported Jeconiah the son of Judah’s King Jehoiakim from Jerusalem to Babylon, along with all the officials of Judah and Jerusalem. 21 Yes, this is what the Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims about the equipment that is left in the Lord’s temple and in the royal palace in Judah, and in Jerusalem: 22 They will be carted off to Babylon where they will remain until the day I come looking for them, declares the Lord; then I will bring them back and restore them to this place.

Jeremiah 28

Prophet against prophet

That same year, early in the rule of Judah’s King Zedekiah, in the fifth month of his fourth year, the prophet Hananiah, Azzur’s son from Gibeon, spoke to me in the Lord’s temple before the priests and all the people. He said: “The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. In two years I will restore to this place all of the temple equipment that Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar carted off to Babylon. I will also restore to this place Judah’s King Jeconiah, Jehoiakim’s son, along with all the exiles from Judah who were deported to Babylon, for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon, declares the Lord.”

Then the prophet Jeremiah responded to Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the Lord’s temple. The prophet Jeremiah said: “Indeed. May the Lord do just as you have said! May the Lord fulfill the words that you have prophesied and bring back from Babylon the equipment of the Lord’s temple and all the exiles to this place. However, listen closely to what I have to say to you and all the people: The prophets who came before you and me long ago prophesied war, disaster, and disease against many lands and great kingdoms. So the prophet who prophesies peace is recognized as one who is actually sent by the Lord only when that prophet’s message is fulfilled.”

10 Then the prophet Hananiah took hold of the yoke that was on the prophet Jeremiah’s neck and broke it. 11 He said before all the people, “This is what the Lord says: Just as this yoke has been broken, I will break the yoke of Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar from the neck of all the nations within two years.” Then the prophet Jeremiah walked away.

12 Sometime after Hananiah had broken the yoke that was on Jeremiah’s neck, the Lord told him: 13 Go, say to Hananiah, The Lord proclaims: You have broken a wooden yoke, but I will replace it with an iron one. 14 The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: I will put iron yokes on the necks of all these nations, and they will serve Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar; even the wild animals will be subject to him!

15 Then the prophet Jeremiah said to the prophet Hananiah: “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord hasn’t sent you. All you are doing is persuading these people to believe a lie. 16 Therefore, the Lord proclaims: I’m going to send you somewhere—right off the face of the earth! Before the year ends, you will die since you have incited rebellion against the Lord.” 17 The prophet Hananiah died in the seventh month of that year.

Jeremiah 29

Disturbing hope: Settle down in Babylon

The prophet Jeremiah sent a letter from Jerusalem to the few surviving elders among the exiles, to the priests and the prophets, and to all the people Nebuchadnezzar had taken to Babylon from Jerusalem. The letter was sent after King Jeconiah, the queen mother, the court officials, the government leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, and the craftsmen and smiths had left Jerusalem. It was delivered to Babylon by Elasah, Shaphan’s son, and Gemariah, Hilkiah’s son—two men dispatched to Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar by King Zedekiah.

The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims to all the exiles I have carried off from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and settle down; cultivate gardens and eat what they produce. Get married and have children; then help your sons find wives and your daughters find husbands in order that they too may have children. Increase in number there so that you don’t dwindle away. Promote the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because your future depends on its welfare.

The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: Don’t let the prophets and diviners in your midst mislead you. Don’t pay attention to your dreams. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I didn’t send them, declares the Lord.

10 The Lord proclaims: When Babylon’s seventy years are up, I will come and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope. 12 When you call me and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. 13 When you search for me, yes, search for me with all your heart, you will find me. 14 I will be present for you, declares the Lord, and I will end your captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have scattered you, and I will bring you home after your long exile, declares the Lord.

15 Yet you say, The Lord has raised up prophets for us in Babylon:

16 This is what the Lord proclaims concerning the king sitting on David’s throne and all the people who live in this city, that is, those among you who didn’t go into exile: 17 The Lord of heavenly forces proclaims: I’m going to send the sword, famine, and disease against them. I will make them like rotten figs that are too spoiled to eat. 18 I will pursue them with the sword, famine, and disease; and I will make them an object of horror to all nations on earth and an object of cursing, scorn, shock, and disgrace among all the countries where I have scattered them, 19 because they wouldn’t listen to my words, declares the Lord, which I sent them time and again through my servants the prophets. They wouldn’t listen, declares the Lord.

20 But now, all you exiles I deported from Jerusalem to Babylon, listen to the Lord’s word. 21 This is what the Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims concerning Ahab, Kolaiah’s son, and Zedekiah, Maaseiah’s son, who are prophesying lies to you in my name: I will hand them over to Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar, and he will slay them before your very eyes. 22 Because of them, all the Judean exiles in Babylon will use this curse: “The Lord make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, who were burned alive by the king of Babylon.” 23 They committed a horrible scandal in Israel—adultery with their neighbors’ wives and deceit spoken in my name, with which I had nothing to do. Yet I’m still aware of it and am witness to it, declares the Lord.

24 Tell Shemaiah the Nehelamite, 25 This is what the Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims:  You sent letters on your own accord to all the people in Jerusalem, to the priest Zephaniah, Maaseiah’s son, and to the rest of the priests. 26 You said to Zephaniah: The Lord has appointed you priest in charge of the Lord’s temple instead of Jehoiada. You are responsible for putting every madman who prophesies into stocks and neck irons. 27 So why haven’t you threatened Jeremiah of Anathoth, who pretends to be a prophet among you? 28 He has sent a letter telling those of us in Babylon: “You are going to be there a long time, so build houses and settle down, plant gardens and eat what they produce.”

29 The priest Zephaniah read this letter to the prophet Jeremiah. 30 Then the Lord’s word came to Jeremiah: 31 Send word to all the exiles: The Lord proclaims concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite: Because Shemaiah prophesied to you when I didn’t send him, and because he convinced you to believe a lie, 32 I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his descendants, declares the Lord. Not one member of this people will be around to see the good that I have in store for my people, declares the Lord, for he incited rebellion against me.


Jeremiah 30

Healing and restoration for my people

Jeremiah received the Lord’s word: The Lord, the God of Israel, proclaims: Write down in a scroll all the words I have spoken to you. The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will bring back my people Israel and Judah from captivity, says the Lord. I will bring them home to the land that I gave to their ancestors, and they will possess it. Here are the words that the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah:

The Lord proclaims:
I hear screams of panic and terror;
    no one is safe.
Ask and see:
    Can men bear children?
Then why do I see every man
    bent over in pain, as if he’s in labor?
    Why have all turned pale?
That day is awful, beyond words.
    A time of unspeakable pain
        for my people Jacob.
    But they will be delivered from it.

At that time, I will break the yoke off their necks and remove their shackles. Foreigners will no longer enslave them, declares the Lord of heavenly forces. They will serve the Lord their God and the king whom I will raise up for them from David’s family.

10 So don’t be afraid, my servant Jacob,
    declares the Lord,
        Don’t lose hope, Israel.
I will deliver you from faraway places
    and your children from the land of their exile.
        My people Jacob will again be safe and sound,
            with no one harassing them.
11 I am with you and will rescue you,
    declares the Lord.
I will put an end to all the nations
    where I have scattered you.
But I won’t put an end to you.
    I won’t let you remain unpunished:
        I will discipline you as you deserve.

12 This is what the Lord says:
Your injury is incurable;
    your illness is grave.
13 No one comes to your aid;
    no one attends to your wound;
        your disease is incurable.
14 All your lovers disregard you;
    they write you off as a lost cause,
    because I have dealt harshly with you
        as an enemy would,
    because your guilt is great
            and your sins are many.
15 Why cry out for relief from your pain?
    Your wound is incurable.
I have done these things to you,
    because your guilt is great
        and your sins are many.

16 Yet all who ravage you will be ravaged;
    all who oppress you will go into exile.
Those who rob you will be robbed,
    and all who plunder you will be plundered.
17 I will restore your health,
    and I will heal your wounds,
        declares the Lord,
    because you were labeled an outcast,
        “Zion, the lost cause.”

18 The Lord proclaims:
I will restore Jacob’s tents
    and have pity on their birthplace.
Their city will be rebuilt on its ruins
    and the palace in its rightful place.
19 There will be laughter
    and songs of thanks.
I will add to their numbers
    so they don’t dwindle away.
I will honor them
    so they aren’t humiliated.
20 Their children will thrive as they did long ago,
    and their community will be established before me.
        I will punish their oppressors.
21 They will have their own leader;
    their ruler will come from among them.
I will let him approach me,
    and he will draw near.
Who would dare approach me
    unless I let them come?
        declares the Lord.
22 You will be my people,
    and I will be your God.

23 Look! The Lord’s anger breaks out like a violent storm,
    a fierce wind that strikes the heads of the wicked.
24 The Lord’s fierce anger won’t turn back
    until God’s purposes are entirely accomplished.
In the days to come,
    you will understand what this means.

Jeremiah 31

At that time, declares the Lord,
    I will be the God of all the families of Israel,
        and they will be my people.

The Lord proclaims:
The people who survived the sword
    found grace in the wilderness.
As Israel searched for a place of rest,
    the Lord appeared to them from a distance:
I have loved you with a love that lasts forever.
    And so with unfailing love,
        I have drawn you to myself.
Again, I will build you up,
    and you will be rebuilt, virgin Israel.
Again, you will play your tambourines
    and dance with joy.
Again, you will plant vineyards
    on the hills of Samaria;
    farmers will plant and then enjoy the harvests.
The time will come when
    the watchmen shout from
        the highlands of Ephraim:
“Get ready! We’re going up to Zion
    to the Lord our God!”
The Lord proclaims:
Sing joyfully for the people of Jacob;
    shout for the leading nation.
Raise your voices with praise and call out:
    “The Lord has saved his people,
    the remaining few in Israel!”

I’m going to bring them back from the north;
    I will gather them from the ends of the earth.
Among them will be the blind and the disabled,
    expectant mothers and those in labor;
        a great throng will return here.
With tears of joy they will come;
    while they pray, I will bring them back.
I will lead them by quiet streams
    and on smooth paths so they don’t stumble.
I will be Israel’s father,
    Ephraim will be my oldest child.

10 Listen to the Lord’s word, you nations,
    and announce it to the distant islands:
The one who scattered Israel will gather them
    and keep them safe, as a shepherd his flock.
11 The Lord will rescue the people of Jacob
    and deliver them from the power of those stronger than they are.
12 They will come shouting for joy on the hills of Zion,
    jubilant over the Lord’s gifts:
        grain, wine, oil, flocks, and herds.
Their lives will be like a lush garden;
    they will grieve no more.
13 Then the young women will dance for joy;
    the young and old men will join in.
I will turn their mourning into laughter
    and their sadness into joy;
        I will comfort them.
14 I will lavish the priests with abundance
    and shower my people with my gifts,
        declares the Lord.

15 The Lord proclaims:
A voice is heard in Ramah,
    weeping and wailing.
It’s Rachel crying for her children;
    she refuses to be consoled,
    because her children are no more.
16 The Lord proclaims:
Keep your voice from crying
    and your eyes from weeping,
    because your endurance will be rewarded,
        declares the Lord.
    They will return from the land of their enemy!
17 There’s hope for your future,
    declares the Lord.
        Your children will return home!

18 I hear, yes, I hear Ephraim lamenting:
    “You disciplined me,
        and I learned my lesson,
    even though I was as stubborn as a mule.
Bring me back, let me return,
    because you are the Lord my God.
19 After I turned away from you,
    I regretted it;
    I realized what I had done,
        and I have hit myself—
    I was humiliated and disgraced,
        and I have carried this disgrace
        since I was young.”

20 Isn’t Ephraim my much-loved child?
    Don’t I utterly adore him?
Even when I scold him,
    I still hold him dear.
I yearn for him and love him deeply,
    declares the Lord.

21 Set up markers,
    put up signs;
    think about the road you have traveled,
        the path you have taken.
Return, virgin Israel;
    return to these towns of yours.
22 How long will you hem and haw,
    my rebellious daughter?
The Lord has created something new on earth:
    Virgin Israel will once again embrace her God!

23 The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: When I bring my people back from captivity, they will once again utter these words in the land and towns of Judah:

The Lord bless you,
    righteous dwelling place,
        holy mountain.

24 Those who live in Judah and its towns will dwell together with farmers and shepherds. 25 I will strengthen the weary and renew those who are weak.

26 Then I woke up and looked around. What a pleasant sleep I had!

27 The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will plant seeds in Israel and Judah, and both people and animals will spring up. 28 Just as I watched over them to dig up and pull down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring harm, so I will watch over them to build and plant, declares the Lord. 29 In those days, people will no longer say:

Sour grapes eaten by parents
    leave a bitter taste in the mouths of their children.
30 Because everyone will die for their own sins:
    whoever eats sour grapes
    will have a bitter taste in their own mouths.

31 The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. 32 It won’t be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant with me even though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 No, this is the covenant that I will make with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my Instructions within them and engrave them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 They will no longer need to teach each other to say, “Know the Lord!” because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord; for I will forgive their wrongdoing and never again remember their sins.

35 The Lord proclaims:
The one who established the sun to light up the day
    and ordered the moon and stars to light up the night,
        who stirs up the sea into crashing waves,
        whose name is the Lord of heavenly forces:
36     If the created order should vanish from my sight,
        declares the Lord,
    only then would Israel’s descendants ever stop being a nation
    before me.
37 The Lord proclaims:
If the heavens above could be measured
    and the foundation of the earth below could be fathomed,
    only then would I reject Israel’s descendants
        for what they have done,
            declares the Lord.

38 The time is coming, declares the Lord, when the city will be rebuilt for the Lord from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39 Its boundaries will extend to the Gareb Hill and around to Goah. 40 The entire valley defiled by corpses and ashes, and all the fields as far as the Kidron Valley and the Horse Gate on the east, all this will be set apart for the Lord. And the city will never again be dug up or overthrown.


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