The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, after King Zedekiah had made an agreement with all the people in Jerusalem, to give news in public that servants were to be made free;
That every man was to let his Hebrew man-servant and his Hebrew servant-girl go free; so that no one might make use of a Jew, his countryman, as a servant:
And this was done by all the rulers and the people who had taken part in the agreement, and every one let his man-servant and his servant-girl go free, not to be used as servants any longer; they did so, and let them go.
But later, they took back again the servants and the servant-girls whom they had let go free, and put them again under the yoke as servants and servant-girls.
For this reason the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,
The Lord, the God of Israel, has said, I made an agreement with your fathers on the day when I took them out of Egypt, out of the prison-house, saying,
At the end of seven years every man is to let go his countryman who is a Hebrew, who has become yours for a price and has been your servant for six years; you are to let him go free: but your fathers gave no attention and did not give ear.
And now, turning away from evil, you had done what is right in my eyes, giving a public undertaking for every man to make his neighbour free; and you had made an agreement before me in the house which is named by my name:
But again you have put shame on my name, and you have taken back, every one his man-servant and his servant-girl, whom you had sent away free, and you have put them under the yoke again to be your servants and servant-girls.
And so the Lord has said, You have not given ear to me and undertaken publicly, every man to let loose his countryman and his neighbour: see, I undertake to let loose against you the sword and disease and need of food; and I will send you wandering among all the kingdoms of the earth.
And I will give the men who have gone against my agreement and have not given effect to the words of the agreement which they made before me, when the ox was cut in two and they went between the parts of it,
The rulers of Judah and the rulers of Jerusalem, the unsexed servants and the priests and all the people of the land who went between the parts of the ox,
Even these I will give up into the hands of their haters and into the hands of those who have designs against their lives: and their dead bodies will become food for the birds of heaven and the beasts of the earth.
And Zedekiah, king of Judah, and his rulers I will give into the hands of their haters and into the hands of those who have designs against their lives, and into the hands of the king of Babylon's army which has gone away from you.
See, I will give orders, says the Lord, and make them come back to this town; and they will make war on it and take it and have it burned with fire: and I will make the towns of Judah waste and unpeopled.