KJV Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

I note that the LORD is in the process of announcing that their captivity would last 70 years and no less:

KJV Jeremiah 29:10 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.

To my aged soul that sounds like he's saying that they will die in exile while in the same breath he is speaking of "performing his good word" toward them (returning them to the Land).

But then he says:

KJV Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Many possibilities fly through my head (there is a lot of room in there) as to what is going on:

  • this brings to mind the 40 years in the wilderness
  • the 40 years were to kill off a single generation so the 70 years is either overkill for one generation or the second generation would be elderly
  • it is easy to see the LORD being stern and exacting the full sum of their guilt but he says he has plans for them of "peace and not of evil" and to give them "an expected end"
  • could he be referring to resurrection for generation 1 and generation 2 (who had never been to Israel) would "be returned" to Israel?
  • Do you doubt the accuracy of almost all translations (the KJV and its brothers excepted) give a very accurate version something like "to give you a hope and future" including YLT?
    – user25930
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 22:04
  • No, this is not a translation issue but a referent identification problem. What hope and future does someone have if they will die in captivity? And what hope is it to "return" elderly to a land you never lived in?
    – Ruminator
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 22:05
  • 1
    Then that is a different question from above. A very GOOD question too!
    – user25930
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 6:15

1 Answer 1


The origin of the prophesy of the 70 years of desolation of Jerusalem was written in Jeremiah 25:11 (NIV)

This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

How this seventy years calculated?

2 Kings 24:1-2 (NIV) read

1 During Jehoiakim’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon invaded the land, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years. But then he turned against Nebuchadnezzar and rebelled.

2 The Lord sent Babylonian,[a] Aramean, Moabite and Ammonite raiders against him to destroy Judah, in accordance with the word of the Lord proclaimed by his servants the prophets.

Nebuchadnezzar attacked Judah in 605BC. By that time, Jehoiakim was already his vassal for three years. So Judah served the king of Babylon began from 608BC, until Babylon fall to Persia in 538/539BC, exactly 70 years.

The next question is: "Why was it 70 years?"

Let's review Leviticus 26:33-35 (NIV)

33 I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins.

34 Then the land will enjoy its sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths.

35 All the time that it lies desolate, the land will have the rest it did not have during the sabbaths you lived in it.

Israel became a kingdom at around 1030BC when Saul was anointed king, until the return of the exile at 538BC, it passed 492 years, in between, there were seventy sabbath year. When did the land began to lose its sabbath? the Bible didn't give a clear answer. But it could begin much earlier than 1030BC, in the time of the Judges that eventually caused the Israelites asked for a king.

So the 70 years was not a punishment to the exile. It was a fulfillment of prophesy that the Lord given to His people in the Exodus.

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