Jeremiah 27

Judah's people will serve King Nebuchadnezzar

1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah when Josiah's son Zedekiah became king of Judah. 2 The Lord said to me, ‘Use wood and leather to make a yoke. Tie the yoke around your neck. 3 Then send a message to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre and Sidon. Those kings have officers who have come to see King Zedekiah of Judah here in Jerusalem. 4 Give them this message to tell their masters:

27:2A yoke means hard work. A farmer put a yoke around the necks of his oxen when he wanted them to pull a plough.

“The Lord Almighty, Israel's God, says, ‘Tell this to your masters: 5 I used my great power and strength to make this earth, as well as the people and the animals who live on it. I give these things that I have made to anyone that I choose. 6 Now I choose to give all your countries to my servant Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. He will rule over you and even over the wild animals. 7 People from all nations will serve him. They will also serve his son and his grandson until the time of their kingdom has finished. Then great kings and people from many other nations will take away his power. 8 But if the people of any nation or kingdom refuse to serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, I will punish those people. They must agree to work for him, like oxen that have a yoke around their necks. If they refuse, I will cause the king of Babylon to punish that nation. I will destroy them with war, famine or disease.

9 So do not listen to your prophets, or to your diviners. Do not listen to people who use dreams or magic or the spirits of dead people to tell you what will happen. Those people tell you that you will not have to serve the king of Babylon. 10 But the things that they say are lies, so do not agree with them. It will cause me to take you away from your own land. I will remove you to a country that is far away and you will die there. 11 But if the people of any nation agree to serve the king of Babylon, I will let them stay in their own land. If they work for him, with his yoke around their necks, they can continue to grow crops and live in their own land.’ That is what the Lord says.” ’

12 I gave the same message to King Zedekiah of Judah. I told him, ‘Put the yoke of the king of Babylon around your neck. Agree to work for him and for his people. Then you will continue to live. 13 You and your people do not need to die. But war, famine or disease will destroy any nation that refuses to serve the king of Babylon. The Lord has said that this will happen. 14 So do not listen to the words of the prophets who say, “You will not have to serve the king of Babylon.” The things that they prophesy are lies. 15 The Lord says, “I have not sent those prophets. They are using my name to tell you lies. If you agree with them, I will chase you all out of the land, including those false prophets. You will die in a foreign land.” ’

16 I also spoke to the priests and to all the people. I told them, ‘The Lord says, “Do not listen to the words of your prophets. They say that the people of Babylon will soon bring back the valuable things that they took from the Lord's temple. But the things that they tell you are lies. 17 Do not listen to them. Agree to serve the king of Babylon. Then you will continue to live. This city does not need to become a heap of stones!”

18 Perhaps you think that they are true prophets who speak the Lord's messages. Then tell them to pray to the Lord Almighty for help. They should ask him to keep safe the valuable things that remain in Jerusalem. They should pray that the things in the Lord's temple and in the king's palace would not be taken away to Babylon. 19 The Lord Almighty has already spoken about the valuable things that remain in this city. He has spoken about the two bronze pillars, the big bronze bath which is called “the Sea”, and the bronze carts to carry water. 20 King Nebuchadnezzar did not take these things away with him when he took the king of Judah away as prisoner. He took away Jehoiakim's son, King Jeconiah of Judah, as well as the important people of Judah and Jerusalem. 21 Yes, Israel's God, the Lord Almighty has spoken about the things that still remain in Jerusalem, in the Lord's temple and in the king's palace. 22 He has said, “King Nebuchadnezzar's men will take them away to Babylon. They will remain there until I decide to do something with them. Then I will bring them back here to Jerusalem again.” That is what the Lord says. ’

27:19These were all things that the priests used in the temple. See 1 Kings 7:13-28.