Zedekiah to Die in Babylon
34 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, when cNebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army dand all the kingdoms of the earth under his dominion and all the peoples were fighting against Jerusalem and all of its cities: 2 “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Go and speak to eZedekiah king of Judah and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: fBehold, I am giving this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire. 3 gYou shall not escape from his hand but shall surely be captured and delivered into his hand. gYou shall see the king of Babylon eye to eye and speak with him face to face. And you shall go to Babylon.’ 4 Yet hear the word of the Lord, O Zedekiah king of Judah! hThus says the Lord concerning you: h‘You shall not die by the sword. 5 You shall die in peace. iAnd as spices were burned for your fathers, the former kings who were before you, so people shall jburn spices for you kand lament for you, saying, “Alas, lord!”’ For I have spoken the word, declares the Lord.”
6 Then Jeremiah the prophet spoke all these words to Zedekiah king of Judah, in Jerusalem, 7 when the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and against all the cities of Judah that were left, lLachish and mAzekah, nfor these were the only ofortified cities of Judah that remained.
8 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, after King Zedekiah phad made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem qto make a proclamation of liberty to them, 9 rthat everyone should set free his Hebrew slaves, male and female, sso that no one should enslave a Jew, his brother. 10 And they obeyed, all the officials and all the people who had entered into the covenant that everyone would set free his slave, male or female, so that they would not be enslaved again. They obeyed and set them free. 11 But afterward they turned around and took back the male and female slaves rthey had set free, and brought them into subjection as slaves. 12 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 13 “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I myself made a covenant with your fathers when tI brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, saying, 14 u‘At the end of seven years each of you must set free the fellow Hebrew who has been sold to you and has served you six years; ryou must set him free from your service.’ But vyour fathers did not listen to me or incline their ears to me. 15 You recently repented and did what was right in my eyes qby proclaiming liberty, each to his neighbor, and wyou made a covenant before me in the xhouse that is called by my name, 16 but then you turned around yand profaned my name when each of you took back his male and female slaves, zwhom you had set free according to their desire, and you brought them into subjection to be your slaves.
17 “Therefore, thus says the Lord: You have not obeyed me qby proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother and to his neighbor; abehold, I proclaim to you liberty bto the sword, to pestilence, and to famine, declares the Lord. cI will make you a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth. 18 And the men who transgressed my covenant and did not keep the terms of wthe covenant that they made before me, I will make them like1 dthe calf that they cut in two and passed between its parts— 19 the officials of Judah, the officials of Jerusalem, ethe eunuchs, the priests, and all the people of the land who passed between the parts of the calf. 20 And I will give them into the hand of their enemies fand into the hand of those who seek their lives. gTheir dead bodies shall be food for the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth. 21 And hZedekiah king of Judah and his officials I will give into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their lives, into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon iwhich has withdrawn from you. 22 Behold, jI will command, declares the Lord, and will kbring them back to this city. kAnd they will fight against it and take it and burn it with fire. lI will make the cities of Judah a desolation mwithout inhabitant.”
The Obedience of the Rechabites
35 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the days of nJehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah: 2 “Go to the house of the oRechabites and speak with them and bring them to the house of the Lord, into one of pthe chambers; then offer them wine to drink.” 3 So I took Jaazaniah the son of Jeremiah, son of Habazziniah and his brothers and all his sons and the whole house of the Rechabites. 4 I brought them to the house of the Lord into pthe chamber of the sons of Hanan the son of Igdaliah, qthe man of God, which was near pthe chamber of the officials, above pthe chamber of rMaaseiah the son of Shallum, skeeper of the threshold. 5 Then I set before the Rechabites pitchers full of wine, and cups, and I said to them, “Drink wine.” 6 But they answered, “We will drink no wine, for tJonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, ‘You shall not drink wine, neither you nor your sons forever. 7 You shall not build a house; you shall not sow seed; you shall not plant or have a vineyard; but you shall live in tents all your days, uthat you may live many days in the land where you sojourn.’ 8 We have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he commanded us, to drink no wine all our days, ourselves, our wives, our sons, or our daughters, 9 and not to build houses to dwell in. We have no vineyard or field or seed, 10 but we have lived in tents and have obeyed and done all that Jonadab our father commanded us. 11 But vwhen Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against the land, we said, ‘Come, and let us go to Jerusalem for fear of wthe army of the Chaldeans and wthe army of the Syrians.’ xSo we are living in Jerusalem.”
12 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 13 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Go and say to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, yWill you not receive instruction and listen to my words? declares the Lord. 14 The command that Jonadab the son of Rechab gave to his sons, to drink no wine, has been kept, and they drink none to this day, for they have obeyed their father’s command. I have spoken to you zpersistently, but you have not listened to me. 15 I have sent to you all my servants the prophets, sending them zpersistently, saying, a‘Turn now every one of you from his evil way, and amend your deeds, and bdo not go after other gods to serve them, and then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to you and your fathers.’ cBut you did not incline your ear or listen to me. 16 The sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have kept the command that their father gave them, but this people has not obeyed me. 17 Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing upon Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the disaster that I have pronounced against them, dbecause I have spoken to them and they have not listened, dI have called to them and they have not answered.”
18 But to the house of the Rechabites Jeremiah said, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father and kept all his precepts and done all that he commanded you, 19 therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Jonadab the son of Rechab shall never lack a man eto stand before me.”
Jehoiakim Burns Jeremiah’s Scroll
36 In the ffourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Take ga scroll and hwrite on it all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel and iJudah jand all the nations, kfrom the day I spoke to you, from the days of Josiah until today. 3 lIt may be that the house of Judah will hear all the disaster that I intend to do to them, mso that every one may turn from his evil way, and nthat I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.”
4 Then Jeremiah called oBaruch the son of Neriah, and oBaruch wrote on ga scroll at the dictation of Jeremiah all the words of the Lord that he had spoken to him. 5 And Jeremiah ordered oBaruch, saying, p“I am banned from going to the house of the Lord, 6 so you are to go, and qon a day of fasting in the hearing of all the people in the Lord’s house you shall read the words of the Lord from the scroll that you have written at my dictation. You shall read them also in the hearing of all the men of Judah who come out of their cities. 7 lIt may be that their plea for mercy will come before the Lord, mand that every one will turn from his evil way, for great is the anger and wrath that the Lord has pronounced against this people.” 8 And Baruch the son of Neriah did all that Jeremiah the prophet ordered him about reading from the scroll the words of the Lord in the Lord’s house.
9 rIn the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, sin the ninth month, all the people in Jerusalem and all the people who came from the cities of Judah to Jerusalem tproclaimed a fast before the Lord. 10 Then, in the hearing of all the people, Baruch read the words of Jeremiah from the scroll, in the house of the Lord, in uthe chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the secretary, which was in the upper court, at the entry of the New Gate of the Lord’s house.
11 When Micaiah the son of Gemariah, son of vShaphan, heard all the words of the Lord from the scroll, 12 he went down to the king’s house, into the secretary’s chamber, and wall the officials were sitting there: xElishama the secretary, yDelaiah the son of Shemaiah, yElnathan zthe son of Achbor, yGemariah the son of zShaphan, Zedekiah the son of Hananiah, and all the officials. 13 And Micaiah told them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the scroll in the hearing of the people. 14 Then all the officials sent Jehudi the son of Nethaniah, son of aShelemiah, son of Cushi, to say to Baruch, “Take in your hand the scroll that you read in the hearing of the people, and come.” So Baruch the son of Neriah took the scroll in his hand and came to them. 15 And they said to him, “Sit down and read it.” So Baruch read it to them. 16 When they heard all the words, they turned one to another in fear. And they said to Baruch, b“We must report all these words to the king.” 17 Then they asked Baruch, “Tell us, please, how did you write all these words? Was it at his dictation?” 18 Baruch answered them, “He dictated all these words to me, cwhile I wrote them with ink on the scroll.” 19 Then the officials said to Baruch, “Go and hide, you and Jeremiah, and let no one know where you are.”
20 So they went into the court to the king, having put the scroll in dthe chamber of Elishama the secretary, and they reported all the words to the king. 21 Then the king sent Jehudi to get the scroll, and he took it from the chamber of Elishama the secretary. And Jehudi read it to the king and all the officials who stood beside the king. 22 It was ethe ninth month, and the king was sitting in fthe winter house, and there was a fire burning in the fire pot before him. 23 As Jehudi read three or four columns, the king would cut them off with a knife and throw them into the fire in the fire pot, until the entire scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the fire pot. 24 Yet gneither the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words was afraid, hnor did they tear their garments. 25 Even when iElnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah jurged the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them. 26 And the king commanded Jerahmeel the kking’s son and Seraiah the son of Azriel and lShelemiah the son of Abdeel to seize mBaruch the secretary and Jeremiah the prophet, but the Lord hid them.
27 Now after the king had burned the scroll with the words that Baruch wrote at Jeremiah’s dictation, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 28 “Take another scroll and write on it all the former words that were in the first scroll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah has burned. 29 And concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah you shall say, ‘Thus says the Lord, You have burned this scroll, saying, n“Why have you written in it that the king of Babylon will certainly come and destroy this land, and will cut off from it man and beast?” 30 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah: oHe shall have none pto sit on the throne of David, qand his dead body shall be cast out to the heat by day and the frost by night. 31 rAnd I will punish him and his offspring and his servants for their iniquity. I will bring upon them and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem and upon the people of Judah all the disaster that I have pronounced against them, but they would not hear.’”
32 Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to sBaruch the scribe, the son of Neriah, who twrote on it at the dictation of Jeremiah all the words of the scroll that Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire. And many similar words were added to them.
Jeremiah Warns Zedekiah
37 uZedekiah the son of Josiah, vwhom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah, reigned instead of wConiah the son of Jehoiakim. 2 xBut neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land listened to the words of the Lord that he spoke through Jeremiah the prophet.
3 King Zedekiah sent yJehucal the son of zShelemiah, and aZephaniah the priest, the son of bMaaseiah, to Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “Please cpray for us to the Lord our God.” 4 dNow Jeremiah was still going in and out among the people, efor he had not yet been put in prison. 5 fThe army of Pharaoh had come out of Egypt. And when gthe Chaldeans who were besieging Jerusalem heard news about them, hthey withdrew from Jerusalem.
6 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet: 7 “Thus says the Lord, God of Israel: Thus shall you say to the king of Judah who isent you to me to inquire of me, ‘Behold, jPharaoh’s army that came to help you is about to kreturn to Egypt, to its own land. 8 And lthe Chaldeans shall come back and fight against this city. lThey shall capture it and burn it with fire. 9 Thus says the Lord, Do not deceive yourselves, saying, “The Chaldeans will surely go away from us,” for they will not go away. 10 mFor even if you should defeat the whole army of Chaldeans who are fighting against you, and there remained of them only wounded men, every man in his tent, they would rise up and lburn this city with fire.’”
11 Now when nthe Chaldean army had withdrawn from Jerusalem at the approach of Pharaoh’s army, 12 Jeremiah set out from Jerusalem to go to othe land of Benjamin pto receive his portion there qamong the people. 13 When he was at rthe Benjamin Gate, a sentry there named Irijah the son of sShelemiah, son of Hananiah, seized Jeremiah the prophet, saying, t“You are deserting to the Chaldeans.” 14 And Jeremiah said, “It is a lie; I am not deserting to the Chaldeans.” But Irijah would not listen to him, and seized Jeremiah and brought him to uthe officials. 15 And the officials were enraged at Jeremiah, and they beat him vand imprisoned him in the house of Jonathan the secretary, for it had been made a prison.
16 wWhen Jeremiah had come to the dungeon cells and remained there many days, 17 King Zedekiah sent for him and received him. The king questioned him xsecretly in his house and said, “Is there any word from the Lord?” Jeremiah said, “There is.” Then he said, y“You shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon.” 18 Jeremiah also said to King Zedekiah, “What wrong have I done to you or your servants or this people, vthat you have put me in prison? 19 zWhere are your prophets who prophesied to you, saying, ‘The king of Babylon will not come against you and against this land’? 20 Now hear, please, O my lord the king: alet my humble plea come before you and bdo not send me back to the house of Jonathan the secretary, lest I die there.” 21 So King Zedekiah gave orders, and they committed Jeremiah to cthe court of the guard. And a loaf of bread was given him daily from the bakers’ street, duntil all the bread of the city was gone. So Jeremiah remained in cthe court of the guard.
Jeremiah Cast into the Cistern
38 Now Shephatiah the son of Mattan, Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, eJucal the son of Shelemiah, and fPashhur the son of Malchiah heard the words that Jeremiah was saying to all the people: 2 “Thus says the Lord: gHe who stays in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, gbut he who goes out to the Chaldeans shall live. He shall have his life as a prize of war, and live. 3 Thus says the Lord: hThis city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon and be taken.” 4 Then the officials said to the king, i“Let this man be put to death, jfor he is weakening the hands of the soldiers who are left in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man is not seeking kthe welfare of this people, but their harm.” 5 King Zedekiah said, “Behold, he is in your hands, lfor the king can do nothing against you.” 6 So they took Jeremiah mand cast him into the cistern of Malchiah, the king’s son, which was in nthe court of the guard, letting Jeremiah down oby ropes. pAnd there was no water in the cistern, but only mud, and qJeremiah sank in the mud.
Jeremiah Rescued from the Cistern
7 When rEbed-melech sthe Ethiopian, ta eunuch who was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern—the king was sitting uin the Benjamin Gate— 8 rEbed-melech went from the king’s house and said to the king, 9 “My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they did to Jeremiah the prophet by casting him into the cistern, and he will die there of vhunger, wfor there is no bread left in the city.” 10 Then the king commanded rEbed-melech the Ethiopian, “Take thirty men with you from here, and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.” 11 So rEbed-melech took the men with him and went to the house of the king, to a wardrobe in the storehouse, and took from there old rags and worn-out clothes, which he let down to Jeremiah in the cistern xby ropes. 12 Then rEbed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, “Put the rags and clothes between your armpits and xthe ropes.” Jeremiah did so. 13 Then they drew Jeremiah up with xropes and lifted him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in the ncourt of the guard.
Jeremiah Warns Zedekiah Again
14 King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah the prophet and received him at the third entrance of the temple of the Lord. The king said to Jeremiah, “I will ask you a question; hide nothing from me.” 15 Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “If I tell you, will you not surely put me to death? And if I give you counsel, you will not listen to me.” 16 Then King Zedekiah swore ysecretly to Jeremiah, z“As the Lord lives, awho made our souls, I will not put you to death or deliver you into the hand of bthese men who seek your life.”
17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: cIf you will surrender to dthe officials of the king of Babylon, ethen your life shall be spared, and this city shall not be burned with fire, and you and your house shall live. 18 But if you do not surrender to dthe officials of the king of Babylon, fthen this city shall be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, fand they shall burn it with fire, and you shall not escape from their hand.” 19 King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Judeans gwho have deserted to the Chaldeans, lest I be handed over to them and they deal cruelly with me.” 20 Jeremiah said, “You shall not be given to them. Obey now the voice of the Lord in what I say to you, hand it shall be well with you, and your life shall be spared. 21 But if you refuse to csurrender, this is the vision which the Lord has shown to me: 22 Behold, all the women left in the house of the king of Judah were being led out to the officials of the king of Babylon and were saying,
i“‘Your trusted friends have deceived you
and prevailed against you;
now that your feet are sunk in the mud,
they turn away from you.’
23 All your wives and jyour sons shall be led out to the Chaldeans, and you yourself shall not escape from their hand, but shall be seized by the king of Babylon, and this city shall be burned with fire.”
24 Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Let no one know of these words, and you shall not die. 25 If kthe officials hear that I have spoken with you and come to you and say to you, ‘Tell us what you said to the king and what the king said to you; hide nothing from us and we will not put you to death,’ 26 then you shall say to them, l‘I made a humble plea to the king that he would not send me back to the house of Jonathan to die there.’” 27 Then all the officials came to Jeremiah and asked him, and he answered them as the king had instructed him. So they stopped speaking with him, for the conversation had not been overheard. 28 And Jeremiah remained min the court of the guard until the day that Jerusalem was taken.