Jeremiah 38–40; Psalm 74; Psalm 79

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: 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. Thus says the Lord: hThis city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon and be taken. Then the officials said to the king, iLet 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. King Zedekiah said, Behold, he is in your hands, lfor the king can do nothing against you. 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

When rEbed-melech sthe Ethiopian, ta eunuch who was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cisternthe king was sitting uin the Benjamin Gate rEbed-melech went from the king's house and said to the king, 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, zAs 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,

iYour 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, lI 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. In the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, a breach was made in the city. 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. 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. 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. 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. wHe put out the eyes of Zedekiah and bound him in chains to take him to Babylon. xThe Chaldeans burned the king's house and the house of the people, yand broke down the walls of Jerusalem. 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 dTake 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. The captain of the guard took Jeremiah and said to him, uThe Lord your God pronounced this disaster against this place. 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. 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. 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. Then Jeremiah went to yGedaliah the son of Ahikam, at aMizpah, and lived with him bamong the people cwho were left in the land.

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, they went to Gedaliah at aMizpahgIshmael 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. 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.


Arise, O God, Defend Your Cause

A Maskil1 of rAsaph.

74  O God, why do you scast us off forever?

Why does your anger tsmoke against uthe sheep of your pasture?

vRemember your congregation, which you have wpurchased of old,

which you have xredeemed to be ythe tribe of your heritage!

Remember Mount Zion, zwhere you have dwelt.

Direct your steps to athe perpetual ruins;

the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary!

Your foes have broared in the midst of your meeting place;

cthey set up their down signs for esigns.

They were like those who swing faxes

in a forest of trees.2

And all its gcarved wood

they broke down with hatchets and hammers.

They hset your sanctuary on fire;

they iprofaned jthe dwelling place of your name,

bringing it down to the ground.

They ksaid to themselves, We will utterly subdue them;

they burned all the meeting places of God in the land.

We do not see our lsigns;

mthere is no longer any prophet,

and there is none among us who knows how long.

10  How long, O God, nis the foe to scoff?

Is the enemy to revile your name forever?

11  Why odo you hold back your hand, your right hand?

Take it from the fold of your garment3 and destroy them!

12  Yet pGod my King is from of old,

working salvation in the midst of the earth.

13  You qdivided the sea by your might;

you rbroke the heads of sthe sea monsters4 on the waters.

14  You crushed the heads of tLeviathan;

you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.

15  You usplit open springs and brooks;

you vdried up ever-flowing streams.

16  Yours is the day, yours also the night;

you have established wthe heavenly lights and the sun.

17  You have xfixed all the boundaries of the earth;

you have made ysummer and winter.

18  zRemember this, O Lord, how the enemy scoffs,

and aa foolish people reviles your name.

19  Do not deliver the soul of your bdove to the wild beasts;

cdo not forget the life of your poor forever.

20  Have regard for dthe covenant,

for ethe dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence.

21  Let not fthe downtrodden gturn back in shame;

let hthe poor and needy praise your name.

22  Arise, O God, idefend your cause;

jremember how the foolish scoff at you all the day!

23  Do not forget the clamor of your foes,

kthe uproar of those who rise against you, which goes up continually!


How Long, O Lord?

A Psalm of yAsaph.

79  O God, zthe nations have come into your ainheritance;

they have defiled your bholy temple;

they have claid Jerusalem in ruins.

They have given dthe bodies of your servants

to the birds of the heavens for food,

the flesh of your efaithful to fthe beasts of the earth.

They have poured out their blood like water

all around Jerusalem,

and there was gno one to bury them.

We have become ha taunt to our neighbors,

hmocked and derided by those around us.

iHow long, O Lord? Will you be angry jforever?

Will your kjealousy lburn like fire?

mPour out your anger on the nations

that ndo not know you,

and on the kingdoms

that odo not call upon your name!

For they have devoured Jacob

and laid waste his habitation.

pDo not remember against us qour former iniquities;1

let your compassion come speedily to meet us,

for we are rbrought very low.

sHelp us, O God of our salvation,

for the glory of your name;

deliver us, and tatone for our sins,

for your uname's sake!

10  vWhy should the nations say,

Where is their God?

Let wthe avenging of the outpoured blood of your servants

be known among the nations before our eyes!

11  Let xthe groans of the prisoners come before you;

according to your great power, preserve those ydoomed to die!

12  Return zsevenfold into the alap of our neighbors

the btaunts with which they have taunted you, O Lord!

13  But we your people, the csheep of your pasture,

will dgive thanks to you forever;

from generation to generation we will recount your praise.