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.’
19 Jerusalem will bring me joy, and my people will bring me happiness. The sound of weeping or cries of sorrow will never be heard in her again. 20 Never again will one of her infants live just a few days or an old man die before his time. Indeed, no one will die before the age of one hundred; anyone who fails to reach the age of one hundred will be considered cursed. 21 They will build houses and live in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 No longer will they build a house only to have another live in it, or plant a vineyard only to have another eat its fruit, for my people will live as long as trees, and my chosen ones will enjoy to the fullest what they have produced. 23 They will not work in vain or give birth to children that will experience disaster. For the Lord will bless their children and their descendants.
Notes and References
"... for Jeremiah to suggest such activities to continue in the exile suggests these blessings can and should take place on foreign soil. The blessings of Yahweh are no longer directly connected to being a landed people in a specific area. Yahweh can bless the people even outside of Jerusalem. John Hill comes to a similar conclusion saying, “Babylon is the place in which the Deuteronomic blessings are to be realized, and the place in which [Yahweh] is accessible to the community in its worship.” According to Isaiah’s apocalyptic vision, these activities will resume again in the new creation (Isaiah 65:21–23). The present curse of Deuteronomy 28:30–31 will be undone. The directives to the exiles then have an added layer of meaning. Jeremiah suggests that promised land life-building planting, marrying / begetting children—can take place in Babylon. He encourages the exiles to live now as they did in the promised land and as they will in the future. His words encourage the exiles to embrace life in exile and not to participate in any military revolts. Surely, an astonishing message for the exiles to hear ..."
Woods, Aaron Richard Jeremiah 29 and the So-Called Jeremianic Turn: A Reading of Jeremiah 29:1–23 as a Diasporic Ethic (pp. 70-71) Emmanuel Christian Seminary, 2016
Thank you for your submission!