'Every seventh year each of you must free any fellow Hebrew who has sold himself to you. After he has served you six years, you must let him go free.'a1 Your fathers, however, did not listen to me or pay attention2 to me.
Recently you repented and did what is right in my sight: Each of you proclaimed freedom to his countrymen.3 You even made a covenant before me in the house that bears my Name.416
But now you have turned around5 and profaned6 my name; each of you has taken back the male and female slaves you had set free to go where they wished. You have forced them to become your slaves again.
"Therefore, this is what the LORD says: You have not obeyed me; you have not proclaimed freedom for your fellow countrymen. So I now proclaim 'freedom' for you,7 declares the LORD--'freedom' to fall by the sword, plague8 and famine.9 I will make you abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth.1018
The men who have violated my covenant11 and have not fulfilled the terms of the covenant they made before me, I will treat like the calf they cut in two and then walked between its pieces.1219
The leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the court officials,13 the priests and all the people of the land who walked between the pieces of the calf,
I will hand over14 to their enemies who seek their lives.15 Their dead bodies will become food for the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth.1621
"I will hand Zedekiah17 king of Judah and his officials18 over to their enemies19 who seek their lives, to the army of the king of Babylon,20 which has withdrawn21 from you.
I am going to give the order, declares the LORD, and I will bring them back to this city. They will fight against it, take22 it and burn23 it down. And I will lay waste24 the towns of Judah so no one can live there."