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11 Now when nthe Chaldean army had withdrawn from Jerusalem at the approach of Pharaoh's army, 12 Jeremiah set out from Jerusalem to go to othe land of Benjamin pto receive his portion there qamong the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.
The Fall of Jerusalem
39 nIn the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 In the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, a breach was made in the city. 3 Then all othe officials of the king of Babylon came pand sat in the middle gate: Nergal-sar-ezer of Samgar, Nebu-sar-sekim qthe Rab-saris, Nergal-sar-ezer the Rab-mag, with all the rest of the officers of the king of Babylon. 4 When Zedekiah king of Judah and all the soldiers saw them, they fled, going out of the city at night by way of the king's garden through the gate between the two walls; and they went toward rthe Arabah. 5 But the army of the Chaldeans pursued them and overtook Zedekiah in sthe plains of Jericho. And when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, at tRiblah, in the land of Hamath; uand he passed sentence on him. 6 The king of Babylon vslaughtered the sons of Zedekiah at tRiblah before his eyes, and the king of Babylon vslaughtered all the nobles of Judah. 7 wHe put out the eyes of Zedekiah and bound him in chains to take him to Babylon. 8 xThe Chaldeans burned the king's house and the house of the people, yand broke down the walls of Jerusalem. 9 Then zNebuzaradan, the acaptain of the guard, carried into exile to Babylon the rest of the people who were left in the city, bthose who had deserted to him, and the people who remained. 10 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, cleft in the land of Judah some of the poor people who owned nothing, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time.
The Lord Delivers Jeremiah
11 Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave command concerning Jeremiah through Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, saying, 12 d“Take him, look after him well, and do him no harm, but deal with him as he tells you.” 13 So eNebuzaradan the captain of the guard, Nebushazban the Rab-saris, Nergal-sar-ezer the Rab-mag, eand all the chief officers of the king of Babylon 14 sent and took Jeremiah from fthe court of the guard. They entrusted him to gGedaliah the son of hAhikam, son of iShaphan, that he should take him home. So jhe lived among the people.
15 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah kwhile he was shut up in the court of the guard: 16 “Go, and say to lEbed-melech the Ethiopian, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: mBehold, I will fulfill my words against this city for harm and nnot for good, and they shall be accomplished before you on that day. 17 But I will deliver you on that day, declares the Lord, and you shall not be given into the hand of the men oof whom you are afraid. 18 For I will surely save you, and you shall not fall by the sword, but you shall have your plife as a prize of war, qbecause you have put your trust in me, declares the Lord.’”
Jeremiah Remains in Judah
40 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord rafter Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from sRamah, when he took him tbound in chains along with all the captives of Jerusalem and Judah who were being exiled to Babylon. 2 The captain of the guard took Jeremiah and said to him, u“The Lord your God pronounced this disaster against this place. 3 The Lord has brought it about, and has done as he said. vBecause you sinned against the Lord and did not obey his voice, this thing has come upon you. 4 Now, behold, I release you today from tthe chains on your hands. wIf it seems good to you to come with me to Babylon, come, and I will look after you well, wbut if it seems wrong to you to come with me to Babylon, do not come. xSee, the whole land is before you; go wherever you think it good and right to go. 5 If you remain,1 then return to yGedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, zwhom the king of Babylon appointed governor of the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people. Or go wherever you think it right to go.” So the captain of the guard gave him an allowance of food and a present, and let him go. 6 Then Jeremiah went to yGedaliah the son of Ahikam, at aMizpah, and lived with him bamong the people cwho were left in the land.
7 dWhen all the captains of the forces in the open country and their men heard that ethe king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam governor in the land and had committed to him men, women, and children, those of fthe poorest of the land who had not been taken into exile to Babylon, 8 they went to Gedaliah at aMizpah—gIshmael the son of Nethaniah, hJohanan the son of Kareah, Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, iJezaniah the son of the Maacathite, they and their men. 9 Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, swore to them and their men, saying, “Do not be afraid to serve the Chaldeans. Dwell in the land and serve the king of Babylon, jand it shall be well with you. 10 As for me, I will dwell at aMizpah, to represent you before the Chaldeans who will come to us. But as for you, lgather wine and summer fruits and oil, and store them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that you have taken.” 11 Likewise, when all the Judeans who were in mMoab and among nthe Ammonites and in oEdom and in other lands heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant in Judah and had appointed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, as governor over them, 12 pthen all the Judeans returned from all the places to which they had been driven and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah. And they qgathered wine and summer fruits in great abundance.
13 Now rJohanan the son of Kareah and sall the leaders of the forces in the open country came to Gedaliah at Mizpah 14 and said to him, “Do you know that Baalis the king of tthe Ammonites has sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to take your life?” But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam would not believe them. 15 Then Johanan the son of Kareah spoke secretly to Gedaliah at Mizpah, “Please let me go and strike down Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and no one will know it. Why should he take your life, so that all the Judeans who are gathered about you would be scattered, uand the remnant of Judah would perish?” 16 But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said to Johanan the son of Kareah, “You shall not do this thing, for you are speaking falsely of Ishmael.”
41 vIn the seventh month, Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, son of Elishama, of the royal family, one of the chief officers of the king, came with ten men to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, at wMizpah. As they xate bread together there at Mizpah, 2 yIshmael the son of Nethaniah and the ten men with him rose up and struck down Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, with the sword, and killed him, zwhom the king of Babylon had appointed governor in the land. 3 Ishmael also struck down all the Judeans who were with Gedaliah at wMizpah, and the Chaldean soldiers who happened to be there.
4 On the day after the murder of Gedaliah, before anyone knew of it, 5 eighty men arrived from aShechem and bShiloh and cSamaria, with dtheir beards shaved and etheir clothes torn, and dtheir bodies gashed, fbringing grain offerings and incense to present at the temple of the Lord. 6 And Ishmael the son of Nethaniah came out from gMizpah to meet them, weeping as he came. As he met them, he said to them, “Come in to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam.” 7 When they came into the city, Ishmael the son of Nethaniah and the men with him slaughtered them and cast them into a cistern. 8 But there were ten men among them who said to Ishmael, “Do not put us to death, for we have hstores of wheat, barley, oil, and honey hidden in the fields.” So he refrained and did not put them to death with their companions.
9 Now the cistern into which Ishmael had thrown all the bodies of the men whom he had struck down along with1 Gedaliah was the large cistern that iKing Asa had made for defense against iBaasha king of Israel; Ishmael the son of Nethaniah filled it with the slain. 10 Then Ishmael took captive all the rest of the people who were in Mizpah, jthe king's daughters and all the people who were left at Mizpah, whom kNebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, had committed to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam. Ishmael the son of Nethaniah took them captive and set out to cross over to lthe Ammonites.
11 But when mJohanan the son of Kareah and nall the leaders of the forces with him heard of all the evil that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had done, 12 they took all their men and went to fight against Ishmael the son of Nethaniah. They came upon him at othe great pool that is in pGibeon. 13 And when all the people who were with Ishmael saw Johanan the son of Kareah and qall the leaders of the forces with him, they rejoiced. 14 rSo all the people whom Ishmael had carried away captive from Mizpah turned around and came back, and went to Johanan the son of Kareah. 15 But Ishmael the son of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with eight men, and went to sthe Ammonites. 16 Then Johanan the son of Kareah and qall the leaders of the forces with him took from Mizpah all the rest of the people whom he had recovered from Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, after he had struck down Gedaliah the son of Ahikam—soldiers, twomen, children, and eunuchs, whom Johanan brought back from uGibeon. 17 And they went and stayed at Geruth vChimham near wBethlehem, intending to go to Egypt 18 because of the Chaldeans. For they were afraid of them, because Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had struck down Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, xwhom the king of Babylon had made governor over the land.