Two Letters to the Diaspora

Jeremiah 29 [36]: 1-32

1 And these are the words of the book which Jeremiah sent out from Jerusalem to the elders of the captivity and to the priests and to the false prophets, a letter to Babylon in captivity and to the whole host 2 after the departure of Jechonias the king and the queen and the eunuchs and the entirety of the free and the captive and the craftsman from Jerusalem 3 by the hand of Eleasan, son of Saphan, and Gamarios son of Chelkios, whom Sedekiasm king of Judah sent to the king of Babylon in Babylon saying, thus said the god of Israel to the captivity which I deported from Jerusalem: 5 Build houses and dwell in them and grow orchards and eat the fruit of them 6 and take wives and give birth to sons and daughters and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands and be multiplied and not diminished, 7 and seek peace in the land to which I have deported you, and in that place pray for them to the lord, because in the peace of that land there will be peace for you. 8 For thus said the lord: Let not the false prophets who are among you persuade you, and let not your seers persuade you and do not heed your dreams which you dream, 9 because they prophesy unjust things for you against my name and I did not send them. 10  For thus said the lord: When you are nearly completed seventy years in Babylon, I will number you and I will impose my words upon you of recalling your host to this place: 11 and I will calculate a calculation of peace for you, and of giving you these things, not evils. 12  And pray to me and I will heed you; 13 And seek me out and you will find me because you will seek me in your whole heart, 14 and I will be manifest to you – because you said, “The lord has placed prophets for us in Babylon,” 21 thus said the lord concerning Achiab and concerning Sedekias, Behold, I give them into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will smite them before your eyes 22 and they will receive from them a curse in the entire captivity in Judah in Babylon, saying, “May the lord make you as he made Sedekian and Achiab, whom the king of Babylon fried in fire,” 23 by which they made lawless conduct in Israel and they adulterated the wives of their fellow citizens and they pronounced word in my name which I did not prescribe for them and I am witness says the lord.

24 And he says to Samaias the Nelamite, 25 “I did not send you by my name,” and to Sophonias the son of Mahasaios, “Tell the priest: 26 The lord gave you into the priesthood instead of the priest Jodae to become a commander in the house of the lord for every person who prophecies and for every man who divines, and you will give him to the guard-house and to the trap-door. 27 And now, for what reason did you revile together Jeremiah from Anathoth who prophesied to you? 28 Was he not sent to you in Babylon for this purpose, saying, It is far away; build houses and dwell in them, and plant orchards and eat their fruit?

29 And Sophonias read the book into the ears of Jeremiah, 30 and the word of the lord came to Jeremiah, saying, 31 Send to the captivity saying, Thus said the lord concerning Samaias the Nelamite: Since Samaias prophesied to you and I did not send him and he made you to be persuaded by injustices, 32 because of this, thus said the lord, Behold, I will reflect upon Samaias and upon his tribe and there will not be a person among them in your midst to see the good things, that which I will make for you they will not see.

2 Maccabees 1:1-9

1 For the brethren, those Jews throughout the captivity, greetings, the brethren, the Jews in Jerusalem, those in the land of Judea, good peace; 2 and may god do good for you and may he remember his covenant with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, his faithful servants; 3 and may he give you courage in everything to worship him and to do his will with great courage and with a willing spirit; 4 and may he reveal our courage in his law and in his command and may he make peace 5 and may he heed your entreaties and may he reconcile with you and may he not abandon you at a wretched time.

6 And presently here we are offering prayers on your behalf. 7 During the reign of Demetrius, in the one hundred sixty-ninth year, we Jews wrote to you in the oppression and in the peak coming upon us in those years after which Jason revolted and those with him from the holy land and from the kingdom 8 and they burned the gates and shed innocent blood; and we beseeched the lord and we were heard and we brought in a sacrifice and the finest flour and lighted the lamps and set out the loaves. 9 And now so that you might lead the days of the tabernacles of the month of Chaseleus during the one hundred eighty eighth year.

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