King Zedekiah sent for the prophet Jeremiah and received him at the third entrance of the temple of the Lord. The king said to Jeremiah, "I have something to ask you; do not hide anything from me."
Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, "If I tell you, you will put me to death, will you not? And if I give you advice, you will not listen to me."
So King Zedekiah swore an oath in secret to Jeremiah, "As the Lord lives, who gave us our lives, I will not put you to death or hand you over to these men who seek your life."
Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, "Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel, If you will only surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then your life shall be spared, and this city shall not be burned with fire, and you and your house shall live.
But if you do not surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then this city shall be handed over to the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and you yourself shall not escape from their hand."
King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, "I am afraid of the Judeans who have deserted to the Chaldeans, for I might be handed over to them and they would abuse me."
Jeremiah said, "That will not happen. Just obey the voice of the Lord in what I say to you, and it shall go well with you, and your life shall be spared.
But if you are determined not to surrender, this is what the Lord has shown me—
a vision of all the women remaining in the house of the king of Judah being led out to the officials of the king of Babylon and saying, "Your trusted friends have seduced you and have overcome you; Now that your feet are stuck in the mud, they desert you.'
All your wives and your children 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."
Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, "Do not let anyone else know of this conversation, or you will die.
If the officials should hear that I have spoken with you, and they should come and say to you, "Just tell us what you said to the king; do not conceal it from us, or we will put you to death. What did the king say to you?'
then you shall say to them, "I was presenting my plea to the king not to send me back to the house of Jonathan to die there.' "
All the officials did come to Jeremiah and questioned him; and he answered them in the very words the king had commanded. So they stopped questioning him, for the conversation had not been overheard.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (New Revised Standard Bible Version Online)