you will die peacefully. As people made a funeral fire1 in honor of your fathers, the former kings who preceded you, so they will make a fire in your honor and lament, "Alas,2 O master!" I myself make this promise, declares the LORD.' "
Then Jeremiah the prophet told all this to Zedekiah king of Judah, in Jerusalem,
while the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and the other cities of Judah that were still holding out--Lachish3 and Azekah.4 These were the only fortified cities left in Judah.
The word came to Jeremiah from the LORD after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people5 in Jerusalem to proclaim freedom6 for the slaves.
Everyone was to free his Hebrew slaves, both male and female; no one was to hold a fellow Jew in bondage.710
So all the officials and people who entered into this covenant agreed that they would free their male and female slaves and no longer hold them in bondage. They agreed, and set them free.
But afterward they changed their minds8 and took back the slaves they had freed and enslaved them again.
Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah:
"This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I made a covenant with your forefathers9 when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.10 I said,
'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.'a11 Your fathers, however, did not listen to me or pay attention12 to me.
Recently you repented and did what is right in my sight: Each of you proclaimed freedom to his countrymen.13 You even made a covenant before me in the house that bears my Name.14