Judah Is Like Two Baskets of Figs
1King Jehoiachin was forced to leave Jerusalem. He was the son of Jehoiakim. Jehoiachin was taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. The officials and all the skilled workers were forced to leave with him. After they left, the Lord showed me two baskets of figs. They were in front of his temple. 2One basket had very good figs in it. They were like figs that ripen early. The other basket had very bad figs in it. In fact, they were so bad they couldn’t even be eaten.
3Then the Lord asked me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”
“Figs,” I answered. “The good ones are very good. But the others are so bad they can’t be eaten.”
4Then a message from the Lord came to me. The Lord said, 5“I am the Lord, the God of Israel. I say, ‘I consider the people who were forced to leave Judah to be like these good figs. I sent them away from this place. I forced them to go to Babylon. 6My eyes will watch over them. I will be good to them. And I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up. I will not tear them down. I will plant them. I will not pull them up by the roots. 7I will change their hearts. Then they will know that I am the Lord. They will be my people. And I will be their God. They will return to me with all their heart.
8“ ‘But there are also bad figs. In fact, they are so bad they can’t be eaten,’ says the Lord. ‘Zedekiah, the king of Judah, is like these bad figs. So are his officials and the people of Jerusalem who are still left alive. I will punish them whether they remain in this land or live in Egypt. 9I will make all the kingdoms on earth displeased with them. In fact, they will hate them a great deal. They will shake their heads at them. They will curse them and make fun of them. All this will happen no matter where I force them to go. 10I will send war, hunger and plague against them. They will be destroyed from the land I gave them and their people of long ago.’ ”