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.