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There is a concept that while a positive prophecy must come to pass (at least when it is a national prophecy) a negative one can be retracted if the subjects to teshuvah (repent)? While there a number of places where this idea is found, I would like to know if anyone can identify a particular posuk (verse) in Sefer Yirmeyahu where I once saw this idea stated explicitly? (This isn't rhetorical, can't remember where it is anymore).

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  • I remember seeing this idea illustrated recently in Daf Yomi. Maybe that will make your hunt easier. Mod: This was written on the day Sanhedrin 91 was being studied.
    – Yahu
    Commented May 14, 2010 at 6:38
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    an upvote for a name-appropriate question!
    – Jeremy
    Commented May 14, 2010 at 16:11
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    Appropriate for me, or appropriate for you? :)
    – Yirmeyahu
    Commented May 14, 2010 at 16:18
  • possibly a useful source: dafyomi.org/index.php?masechta=shabbos&daf=55a
    – Baby Seal
    Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 20:20

1 Answer 1

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Jeremiah 28:8--9

ח הַנְּבִיאִים, אֲשֶׁר הָיוּ לְפָנַי וּלְפָנֶיךָ--מִן-הָעוֹלָם: וַיִּנָּבְאוּ אֶל-אֲרָצוֹת רַבּוֹת, וְעַל-מַמְלָכוֹת גְּדֹלוֹת, לְמִלְחָמָה, וּלְרָעָה וּלְדָבֶר. ט הַנָּבִיא, אֲשֶׁר יִנָּבֵא לְשָׁלוֹם--בְּבֹא, דְּבַר הַנָּבִיא, יִוָּדַע הַנָּבִיא, אֲשֶׁר-שְׁלָחוֹ יְהוָה בֶּאֱמֶת. י

And see context in the preceding above verses. Paraphrasing slightly: a different prophet just said "everything will be hunky-dory", to which Jeremiah replies "Amen, I hope you're right! ... May prophets including myself have prophesied calamities, only some of which have happened; only a prophecy for the good is carved in stone."

(Chief Rabbi Sacks discussed this in Shoftim 5769. He quotes Rambam's formulation of the concept in Chapter 10 of Yesodei HaTorah; hat tip to Machon Mamre for hyperlinking the citation to Jeremiah.)

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