The Bible – Old Testament
1 The LORD showed me two baskets of figs placed before the temple of the LORD. – This was after Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had exiled from Jerusalem Jeconiah, son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, the artisans and the skilled workers, and brought them to Babylon. –
One basket contained excellent figs, the early-ripening kind. But the other basket contained very bad figs, so bad they could not be eaten.
Then the LORD said to me: What do you see, Jeremiah? “Figs,” I replied; “the good ones are very good, but the bad ones very bad, so bad they cannot be eaten.”
Thereupon this word of the LORD came to me:
Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Like these good figs, even so will I regard with favor Judah’s exiles whom I sent away from this place into the land of the Chaldeans.
I will look after them for their good, and bring them back to this land, to build them up, not to tear them down; to plant them, not to pluck them out.
I will give them a heart with which to understand that I am the LORD. They shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.
And like the figs that are bad, so bad they cannot be eaten – yes, thus says the LORD – even so will I treat Zedekiah, king of Judah, and his princes, the remnant of Jerusalem remaining in this land and those who have settled in the land of Egypt.
I will make them an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, a reproach and a byword, a taunt and a curse, in all the places to which I will drive them.
I will send upon them the sword, famine, and pestilence, until they have disappeared from the land which I gave them and their fathers.
1 [1-10] Jeremiah, like Ezekiel, saw that no good could be expected from the people who had been left in Judah under Zedekiah or who had fled into Egypt; good was to be hoped for only from those who would pass through the purifying experience of the exile to form the new Israel.