King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah the prophet and received him at the third entrance of the Lord's temple. The king said to Jeremiah, "I am going to ask you something; don't hide anything from me."
Jeremiah replied to Zedekiah, "If I tell you, you will kill me, won't you? Besides, if I give you advice, you won't listen to me anyway."
King Zedekiah swore to Jeremiah in private, "As the Lord lives, who has given us this life, I will not kill you or hand you over to these men who want to take your life."
Jeremiah therefore said to Zedekiah, "This is what the Lord, the God of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: 'If indeed you surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then you will live, this city will not be burned down, and you and your household will survive.
But if you do not surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then this city will be handed over to the Chaldeans. They will burn it down, and you yourself will not escape from them.' "
But King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, "I am worried about the Judeans who have deserted to the Chaldeans. They may hand me over to them to abuse me."a20
"They will not hand you over," Jeremiah replied. "Obey the voice of the Lord in what I am telling you, so it may go well for you and you can live.
But if you refuse to surrender, this is the verdictb that the Lord has shown me:
'All the womenc who remain in the palace of Judah's king will be brought out to the officials of the king of Babylon and will say: Your trusted friendsd mislede you and overcame you. Your feet sank into the mire, and they deserted you.
All your wives and sons will be brought out to the Chaldeans. You yourself will not escape from them, for you will be seized by the king of Babylon and this city will burn down.' "
Then Zedekiah warned Jeremiah, "Don't let anyone know about these things or you will die.
If the officials hear that I have spoken with you and come and demand of you, 'Tell us what you said to the king; don't hide anything from us and we won't kill you. Also, what did the king say to you?'
then you will tell them, 'I was bringing before the king my petition that he not return me to the house of Jonathan to die there.' "f27
When all the officials came to Jeremiah and questioned him, he reported the exact words to them the king had commanded, and they quit speaking with him because nothing had been heard.