We will begin this lesson in Jeremiah 29:1 "Now these [are] the
words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem unto
the residue of the elders which were carried away captives, and to the
priests, and to the prophets, and to all the people whom
Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon;"

     Many had been carried into captivity into Babylon. This letter is
sent to them. The word "residue" lets us know there had been more
elders than were living now. Jeremiah could have dictated this letter
to someone to write to the people. Jeremiah was well known to them,
because he had prophesied to them, while they were still in Jerusalem.
We discussed before, that Jeremiah had remained in Jerusalem. The
priests and prophets were treated no differently than the average
person. They were taken captive, too.

     Jeremiah 29:2 "(After that Jeconiah the king, and the queen, and
the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, and the carpenters,
and the smiths, were departed from Jerusalem;)"

     Jeconiah spent his days of captivity in Babylon. They were
departed, because they were captured. The queen, here, is possibly
speaking of the queen mother. The eunuchs were used as servants in the
king's house. They were, probably, chambermen.

     Jeremiah 29:3 "By the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan, and
Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, (whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent unto
Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon) saying,"

     This is just explaining who took them to Babylon. It appears that
Elsah and Gemariah took Jeremiah's letter to Babylon, when they took
these captives there. They were sent by Zedekiah.

     Jeremiah 29:4 "Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel,
unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be
carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon;"

     The main difference in this prophecy, and the ones we have been
reading that Jeremiah gave, is this one was written. Jeremiah sent the
message by letter, because he could not be there in person. The LORD
wants all the captives to understand that they are there, because He
wanted it that way. They are there, because God had judged them, and
now is chastening them, so they will repent and return to worship of
God.  God has not forgotten them. He still loves them. The captivity
is for their own good.

     Jeremiah 29:5 "Build ye houses, and dwell [in them]; and plant
gardens, and eat the fruit of them;"

     It appears from this, that they had hesitated to do anything
permanent, because they thought they would not be captive for long.
Now, God is telling them, it will be for a long time. They must not be
idle. They must be working while they are captives. Instead of
complaining about the captivity, they should be making the best of it.
They should build houses, and plant gardens to supply their own needs.
They must be a good example to these heathen people. In an unusual
way, they will represent God to these heathens. The way they live in
adverse circumstances, will tell their heathen captives about their
faith in God.

     Jeremiah 29:6 "Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and
take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that
they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and
not diminished."

     We must remember, that they had been reduced to a remnant. Many
had died from famine, others died by the sword. The few left must now
multiply, and not die out. They are to go ahead and marry, just as
they would if they were at home. Babylon will be their home for a long

     Jeremiah 29:7 "And seek the peace of the city whither I have
caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it:
for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace."

     They should act with respect to their captors. They should pray
for the peace of Babylon, because it will bring peace to them, as
well, since they are living there now.

     Jeremiah 29:8  "For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of
Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that [be] in the
midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye
cause to be dreamed."

     Jeremiah had prophesied against these false prophets, before they
went into captivity. He now warns them again, not to listen to the
false prophets, diviners, and dreamers. Their own dreams are the ones
they have imagined. Sometimes they dream of things they were thinking
about before they went to bed. It is important to be able to determine
whether a dream is of God, or not.

     Jeremiah 29:9 "For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I
have not sent them, saith the LORD."

     They pretend they are of God by saying, "Thus saith the LORD",
but their prophecies are false. They are not of God. One false
prophecy was that they would only be in captivity just two or three

     Jeremiah 29:10  "For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy
years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good
word toward you, in causing you to return to this place."

     God does not leave them in the dark. He tells them they will be
captives for 70 years. They must keep the faith and remain loyal to
God in this heathen land. If they are faithful, God will bring them
home after the 70 years.

     Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,
saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an
expected end."

     God's thoughts are not evil toward them. He loves them. He
promises them their freedom, after the 70 years. He has given them
something to look forward to. This captivity is to make them repent
and return to God. It is for their good, not God's. God's thoughts are
upon them constantly. He loves them, and wants to fellowship with
them.  The inanimate objects, they had been worshipping, had no power
of thought. To mention the thoughts of God, shows Him to be a living

     Jeremiah 29:12 "Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and
pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you."

     God has not stopped listening to their prayers, neither has He
stopped listening for their prayers. Praying to God is a way of
fellowshipping with Him. It is, also, a way of expressing belief in
Him. "Hearken" is to listen intently.

     Jeremiah 29:13 "And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye
shall search for me with all your heart."

     God is interested in the heart of man. They had to believe in
their hearts that God existed, before they would seek Him. He is never
far away. When they seek God, it is inevitable that they will find
Him. He wants to be found. He was there all the time waiting for them
to seek Him. The heart is what man is. If the heart is right with God,
the person is saved. Read Romans chapter 10 verses 9 and 10 to see it
is the same for the Christian. Salvation is of the heart. Look, with
me, at what Jesus said about this very thing. Matthew 7:7 "Ask, and it
shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be
opened unto you:" Matthew 7:8 "For every one that asketh receiveth;
and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be
opened."  The following Scripture speaks of the importance of the
heart. Hebrews 10:22 "Let us draw near with a true heart in full
assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil
conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."

     Jeremiah 29:14 "And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I
will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the
nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the
LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to
be carried away captive."

     This is not only speaking of bringing them back from captivity to
their promised land, but it, also, speaks of them being restored to
fellowship with their God. The covenant made to Abraham is still
theirs, if they obey God. The return to their homeland is a prophecy
fulfilled just after the 70 years, but is, also, speaking of the
return of the natural Jew to the Holy Land now.

     Jeremiah 29:15  "Because ye have said, The LORD hath raised us up
prophets in Babylon;"

     This is speaking more of the present, than of the future. God is
explaining, again, why He is punishing them. They do not want to keep
Jeremiah as their prophet. They would rather listen to the false

     Jeremiah 29:16 "[Know] that thus saith the LORD of the king that
sitteth upon the throne of David, and of all the people that dwelleth
in this city, [and] of your brethren that are not gone forth with you
into captivity;"  Jeremiah 29:17 "Thus saith the LORD of hosts;
Behold, I will send upon them the sword, the famine, and the
pestilence, and will make them like vile figs, that cannot be eaten,
they are so evil."

     The throne of David had now been taken over by an evil king.
Those, who were not willing to be chastened of God by captivity, will
be thought of as God's rebellious children. They will be severly
punished. They are so evil, they will not even allow God to teach them
His ways. They refuse to receive their rightful punishment from God.
They are rebellious, and God will bring famine and the sword to
destroy them. "Vile figs" are good for nothing, but to destroy. Figs
symbolize the house of Israel.

     Jeremiah 29:18 "And I will persecute them with the sword, with
the famine, and with the pestilence, and will deliver them to be
removed to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, and an
astonishment, and an hissing, and a reproach, among all the nations
whither I have driven them:"

     We discussed that this is like rebellious children. Rebellion was
thought of as witchcraft. They had been unfaithful to God. They had an
opportunity to be chastised for their unfaithfulness, but refused even
that. Now, God has given up on changing them, and will deal harshly
with them. Everywhere they go, they will be thought of as outcasts.
They will have no respect shown them at all.

     Jeremiah 29:19 "Because they have not hearkened to my words,
saith the LORD, which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets,
rising up early and sending [them]; but ye would not hear, saith the

     They had ears to hear, but they did not hear. They did not listen
to the warnings God sent them by the prophets.

     Jeremiah 29:20  "Hear ye therefore the word of the LORD, all ye
of the captivity, whom I have sent from Jerusalem to Babylon:"

     This just repeats, again, that the captivity in Babylon was
brought on by God.

     Jeremiah 29:21 "Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel,
of Ahab the son of Kolaiah, and of Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, which
prophesy a lie unto you in my name; Behold, I will deliver them into
the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall slay them
before your eyes;"

     It appears from this, that Ahab and Zedekiah were false prophets.
They had become prophets of their own volition, and not because God
had called them. They spoke as if God had sent them. Their message was
a lie. Strangely enough Nebuchadnezzar will slay them.

     Jeremiah 29:22 "And of them shall be taken up a curse by all the
captivity of Judah which [are] in Babylon, saying, The LORD make thee
like Zedekiah and like Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the

     These false prophets were put into a fiery furnace and burned to
death. The people started calling this a curse. The punishment for
extremely sinful acts during this time was death by fire. We will
read, in the book of Daniel, how the Babylonians put Shadrach,
Meshack, and Abednego in a fiery furnace. The difference is, they
belonged to God, and God did not let the fire burn them. The false
prophets did not have God's help, and they burned.

     Jeremiah 29:23 "Because they have committed villany in Israel,
and have committed adultery with their neighbours' wives, and have
spoken lying words in my name, which I have not commanded them; even I
know, and [am] a witness, saith the LORD."

     They called themselves prophets, but they did not live the holy
set-aside life required of a prophet. In fact, they committed physical
and spiritual adultery. They were not only full of lies, but they lied
and said God speaking through them. God is the witness against them.
The villany they committed in Israel, was, probably, sexual in nature.

     Jeremiah 29:24  "[Thus] shalt thou also speak to Shemaiah the
Nehelamite, saying," Jeremiah 29:25 "Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts,
the God of Israel, saying, Because thou hast sent letters in thy name
unto all the people that [are] at Jerusalem, and to Zephaniah the son
of Maaseiah the priest, and to all the priests, saying,"

     Jeremiah had sent a letter to those in Babylon, speaking directly
of terrible things about to occur. It appears, that Shemaiah, a false
prophet, reacted by sending letters to Jerusalem and to the priests.
The worst part of the letters, was that he used the LORD's name in
them, as if the LORD had him send them.

     Jeremiah 29:26 "The LORD hath made thee priest in the stead of
Jehoiada the priest, that ye should be officers in the house of the
LORD, for every man [that is] mad, and maketh himself a prophet, that
thou shouldest put him in prison, and in the stocks."

     This was an attempt to have Jeremiah locked up as a mad man.
Shemaiah thought, if he flattered the priest, he would do as he asked.
He says, "You have the authority, just lock Jeremiah up".

     Jeremiah 29:27 "Now therefore why hast thou not reproved Jeremiah
of Anathoth, which maketh himself a prophet to you?"

     This is spoken to the priest that took the place of Jehoiada. He
is accusing Jeremiah of being a self-appointed prophet.

     Jeremiah 29:28 "For therefore he sent unto us [in] Babylon,
saying, This [captivity is] long: build ye houses, and dwell [in
them]; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them."

     He accused Jeremiah of something God had put in Jeremiah's mouth.
The accusation was truth, Jeremiah did say these things, or God did.

     Jeremiah 29:29 "And Zephaniah the priest read this letter in the
ears of Jeremiah the prophet."

     Instead of Zephaniah locking Jeremiah up as a mad man, he read
him the letter.

     Jeremiah 29:30 "Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah,

     God quickly replies to these false accusations against Jeremiah.

     Jeremiah 29:31 "Send to all them of the captivity, saying, Thus
saith the LORD concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite; Because that
Shemaiah hath prophesied unto you, and I sent him not, and he caused
you to trust in a lie:" Jeremiah 29:32 "Therefore thus saith the LORD;
Behold, I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite, and his seed: he shall
not have a man to dwell among this people; neither shall he behold the
good that I will do for my people, saith the LORD; because he hath
taught rebellion against the LORD."

     Just about the worst thing that could happen to a Hebrew, was not
to have sons to carry on the family name. Of course, this was not the
only punishment spoken against Shemaiah. He would not live to see the
return to Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity. Shemaiah was
disclosed as a false prophet {God did not send him}. The reson for the
punishment, was that he taught rebellion.

                         Jeremiah 31 Questions

1.  How did Jeremiah get his prophecy to Babylon?
2.  Who did he send it to?
3.  What does the word "residue" tell us?
4.  Name some that were carried into captivity {in verse 2}.
5.  Who were the two men who actually carried them captive to Babylon?
6.  Who really caused them to be taken captive?
7.  What did Jeremiah tell them to do {in verse 5}?
8.  Why was it so important for them to marry and have a family?
9.  Why should they pray for the peace of Babylon?
10. They were continued not to let your _________ and your _________
    deceive you.
11. The false prophets pretended they were of God by saying what?
12. After ___ years, God will visit them and cause them to return?
13. What thoughts did God have toward them?
14. What does the mention of God having thoughts show us about Him?
15. What wonderful promise does God give them in verse 12?
16. Quote Jeremiah chapter 29 verse 13.
17. Quote Matthew chapter 7 verse 7.
18. Quote Hebrews chapter 10 verse 22.
19. What is verse 14 speaking of?
20. The covenant of Abraham is still theirs, if they ______ God.
21. Because they listened to false prophets, what will happen to them?
22. They had ears to hear, but did not _______.
23. Name two of the false prophets.
24. What happened to both of them?
25. What were some of their sins, besides prophesying falsely?
26. Who sent letters that were against Jeremiah?
27. What did he want them to do to Jeremiah?
28. What was he accusing Jeremiah of?
29. What reaction did Zephaniah have to the letter?
30. What happens to Shemaiah?