King Zedekiah of Judah sent to me Pashhur son of Malchiah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah with this request:
"Please speak to the Lord for us, because King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia and his army are besieging the city. Maybe the Lord will perform one of his miracles for us and force Nebuchadnezzar to retreat." 13
Then the Lord spoke to me, and I told those who had been sent to me
to tell Zedekiah that the Lord, the God of Israel, had said, "Zedekiah, I am going to defeat your army that is fighting against the king of Babylonia and his army. I will pile up your soldiers' weapons in the center of the city.
I will fight against you with all my might, my anger, my wrath, and my fury.
I will kill everyone living in this city; people and animals alike will die of a terrible disease.
But as for you, your officials, and the people who survive the war, the famine, and the disease - I will let all of you be captured by King Nebuchadnezzar and by your enemies, who want to kill you. Nebuchadnezzar will put you to death. He will not spare any of you or show mercy or pity to any of you. I, the Lord, have spoken."
Then the Lord told me to say to the people, "Listen! I, the Lord, am giving you a choice between the way that leads to life and the way that leads to death.
Anyone who stays in the city will be killed in war or by starvation or disease. But those who go out and surrender to the Babylonians, who are now attacking the city, will not be killed; they will at least escape with their life.
I have made up my mind not to spare this city, but to destroy it. It will be given over to the king of Babylonia, and he will burn it to the ground. I, the Lord, have spoken."
The Lord told me to give this message to the royal house of Judah, the descendants of David: "Listen to what I, the Lord, am saying. See that justice is done every day. Protect the person who is being cheated from the one who is cheating him. If you don't, the evil you are doing will make my anger burn like a fire that cannot be put out.
You, Jerusalem, are sitting a high above the valleys, like a rock rising above the plain. But I will fight against you. You say that no one can attack you or break through your defenses.
But I will punish you for what you have done. I will set your palace on fire, and the fire will burn down everything around it. I, the Lord, have spoken."