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The Good and Bad Figs

24 Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon ·captured [exiled] ·Jehoiachin [Jeconiah] son of Jehoiakim and king of Judah, his officers, and all the craftsmen and metalworkers of Judah [C 597 bc]. He took them away from Jerusalem and brought them to Babylon. It was then that the Lord showed me two baskets of figs [C a symbol of fruitfulness (Hos. 9:11) and shelter (Mic. 4:4; Zech. 3:10)] arranged in front of the Temple of the Lord. One of the baskets had very good figs in it, like figs that ripen ·early in the season [first]. But the other basket had figs too rotten to eat.

The Lord said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”

I answered, “I see figs. The good figs are very good, but the rotten figs are too rotten to eat.”

Then the Lord spoke his word to me: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I sent the people of Judah out of their country to live in the country of Babylon. I ·think of [regard] those people as good, like these good figs. I will ·look after them [L set my eyes on them for good] and ·bring them back [return them] to this land [C of Judah]. I will not tear them down, but I will build them up. I will not pull them up, but I will plant them [C so they can grow]. I will ·make them want [L give them a heart] to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, because they will return to me with their whole hearts.

“‘But the bad figs are too rotten to eat.’ So this is what the Lord says: ‘Zedekiah king of Judah [C ruled 597–586 bc], his officers, and all the people from Jerusalem who are left alive, even those who live in Egypt, will be like those rotten figs. I will make those people ·hated [a horror; abhorrent] as an evil people by all the kingdoms of the earth. ·People will make fun of them and tell jokes about them and point fingers at them and curse them [L …a reproach, a proverb/byword, a taunt, a curse] everywhere I ·scatter [drive] them. 10 I will send ·war [sword], ·hunger [famine], and ·disease [pestilence] against them. ·I will attack them until they have all been killed. Then they will no longer be in [L …until they have been annihilated from] the land I gave to them and their ·ancestors [fathers].’”

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