Serve Babylon or Perish. 1In the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah,* son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2The LORD said to me: Make for yourself thongs and yoke bars and put them on your shoulders. 3Send them to the kings of Edom, Moab, the Ammonites, Tyre, and Sidon, through the ambassadors who have come to Jerusalem to Zedekiah, king of Judah,* 4and command them to tell their lords: Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Thus shall you say to your lords: 5It was I who made the earth, human being and beast on the face of the earth, by my great power, with my outstretched arm; and I can give them to whomever I think fit.a 6Now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, my servant; even the wild animals I have given him to serve him.b 7All nations shall serve him and his son and his grandson, until the time comes for him and his land; then many nations and great kings will enslave him.c 8Meanwhile, the nation or the kingdom that will not serve him, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, or bend its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, I will punish that nation with sword, famine, and pestilence—oracle of the LORD—until I finish them by his hand.d
9You, however, must not listen to your prophets,* to your diviners and dreamers, to your soothsayers and sorcerers, who say to you, “Do not serve the king of Babylon.”e 10For they prophesy lies to you, so as to drive you far from your land, making me banish you so that you perish.f 11The people that bends the neck to the yoke of the king of Babylon to serve him, I will leave in peace on its own land—oracle of the LORD—to cultivate it and dwell on it.g
12To Zedekiah, king of Judah, I spoke the same words: Bend your necks to the yoke of the king of Babylon; serve him and his people, so that you may live.h 13Why should you and your people die by sword, famine, and pestilence, in accordance with the word the LORD has spoken to the nation that will not serve the king of Babylon?i 14Do not listen to the words of the prophets who say to you, “Do not serve the king of Babylon.” They prophesy lies to you!j 15I did not send them—oracle of the LORD—but they prophesy falsely in my name. As a result I must banish you, and you will perish, you and the prophets who are prophesying to you.k
16l To the priests and to all the people I said: Thus says the LORD: Do not listen to the words of your prophets who prophesy to you: “The vessels of the house of the LORD will soon be brought back from Babylon,” for they prophesy lies to you. 17Do not listen to them! Serve the king of Babylon that you may live. Why should this city become rubble? 18If they were prophets, if the word of the LORD were with them, then they would intercede with the LORD of hosts, that the vessels remaining in the house of the LORD and in the house of the king of Judah and in Jerusalem should not also go to Babylon. 19For thus says the LORD of hosts concerning the pillars, the sea, the stands, and the rest of the vessels remaining in this city, 20which Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, did not take when he exiled Jeconiah, son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, from Jerusalem to Babylon, along with all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem— 21thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning the vessels remaining in the house of the LORD, in the house of the king of Judah, and in Jerusalem:m 22To Babylon they shall go, and there they shall remain, until the day I look for them—oracle of the LORD; then I will bring them back and restore them to this place.
* [27:1–29:32] A special collection of Jeremiah’s prophecies dealing with false prophets. Stylistic peculiarities evident in the Hebrew suggest that these three chapters once existed as an independent work.
* [27:1] Zedekiah: The Hebrew text actually has “Jehoiakim,” but the content of the chapter indicates that Zedekiah is intended.
* [27:3] The time is the fourth year of Zedekiah, 594 B.C., the occasion of a delegation from the neighboring states, doubtless for the purpose of laying plans against Nebuchadnezzar.
* [27:9] Your prophets: seers and diviners served non-Israelite kings just as the professional prophets served the kings of Judah.
b. [27:6] Jer 25:9; 43:10; Ez 30:21, 25.
c. [27:7] Jer 25:11; 2 Chr 36:20.
l. [27:16] Jer 28:3; 2 Chr 36:7, 10, 18.
m. [27:21–22] 2 Kgs 25:13–17; 2 Chr 36:18, 22.