The word came to Jeremiah from the LORD when King Zedekiah1 sent to him Pashhur2 son of Malkijah and the priest Zephaniah3 son of Maaseiah. They said:
"Inquire4 now of the LORD for us because Nebuchadnezzara5 king of Babylon6 is attacking us. Perhaps the LORD will perform wonders7 for us as in times past so that he will withdraw from us."
But Jeremiah answered them, "Tell Zedekiah,
'This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I am about to turn8 against you the weapons of war that are in your hands, which you are using to fight the king of Babylon and the Babyloniansb who are outside the wall besieging9 you. And I will gather them inside this city.
I myself will fight10 against you with an outstretched hand11 and a mighty arm12 in anger and fury and great wrath.
I will strike13 down those who live in this city--both men and animals--and they will die of a terrible plague.147
After that, declares the LORD, I will hand over Zedekiah15 king of Judah, his officials and the people in this city who survive the plague,16 sword and famine, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon17 and to their enemies18 who seek their lives.19 He will put them to the sword;20 he will show them no mercy or pity or compassion.'218
"Furthermore, tell the people, 'This is what the LORD says: See, I am setting before you the way of life22 and the way of death.
Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague.23 But whoever goes out and surrenders24 to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; he will escape with his life.2510
I have determined to do this city harm26 and not good, declares the LORD. It will be given into the hands27 of the king of Babylon, and he will destroy it with fire.'2811
"Moreover, say to the royal house29 of Judah, 'Hear the word of the LORD;
O house of David, this is what the LORD says: " 'Administer justice30 every morning; rescue from the hand of his oppressor31 the one who has been robbed, or my wrath will break out and burn like fire32 because of the evil33 you have done-- burn with no one to quench34 it.
I am against35 you, [ Jerusalem,] you who live above this valley36 on the rocky plateau, declares the LORD-- you who say, "Who can come against us? Who can enter our refuge?"3714
I will punish you as your deeds38 deserve, declares the LORD. I will kindle a fire39 in your forests40 that will consume everything around you.' "