29:1 The prophet Jeremiah sent a letter to the exiles Nebuchadnezzar had carried off from Jerusalem to Babylon. It was addressed to the elders who were left among the exiles, to the priests, to the prophets, and to all the other people who were exiled in Babylon. 2 He sent it after King Jeconiah, the queen mother, the palace officials, the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metal workers had been exiled from Jerusalem. 3 He sent it with Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah. King Zedekiah of Judah had sent these men to Babylon to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The letter said:

4 “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all those he sent into exile to Babylon from Jerusalem, 5 ‘Build houses and settle down. Plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters. Find wives for your sons and allow your daughters to get married so that they too can have sons and daughters. Grow in number; do not dwindle away. 7 Work to see that the city where I sent you as exiles enjoys peace and prosperity. Pray to the Lord for it. For as it prospers you will prosper.’

8 “For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says, ‘Do not let the prophets among you or those who claim to be able to predict the future by divination deceive you. And do not pay any attention to the dreams that you are encouraging them to dream. 9 They are prophesying lies to you and claiming my authority to do so. But I did not send them. I, the Lord, affirm it!’

10 “For the Lord says, ‘Only when the seventy years of Babylonian rule are over will I again take up consideration for you. Then I will fulfill my gracious promise to you and restore you to your homeland. 11 For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. 12 When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, I will hear your prayers. 13 When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul, 14 I will make myself available to you,’ says the Lord. ‘Then I will reverse your plight and will regather you from all the nations and all the places where I have exiled you,’ says the Lord. ‘I will bring you back to the place from which I exiled you.’