"My lord king, these men have been evil in all they have done to Jeremiah the prophet. They have dropped him into the cistern where he will die from hunger, because there is no more bread in the city."
So the king commanded Ebed-melech, the Cushite, "Take from here 30 men under your authority and pull Jeremiah the prophet up from the cistern before he dies."
So Ebed-melech took the men under his authority and went to the king's palace to a place below the storehouse.a From there he took old rags and worn-out clothes and lowered them by ropes to Jeremiah in the cistern.
Ebed-melech the Cushite cried out to Jeremiah, "Place these old rags and clothes between your armpits and the ropes." Jeremiah did so,
and they pulled him up with the ropes and lifted him out of the cistern, but he continued to stay in the guard's courtyard.
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."b