Then the king commanded Ebed-Melech the Cushite, "Take thirty men from here with you and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies."
So Ebed-Melech took the men with him and went to a room under the treasury in the palace. He took some old rags and worn-out clothes from there and let them down with ropes1 to Jeremiah in the cistern.
Ebed-Melech the Cushite said to Jeremiah, "Put these old rags and worn-out clothes under your arms to pad the ropes." Jeremiah did so,
and they pulled him up with the ropes and lifted him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard.2
Then King Zedekiah sent3 for Jeremiah the prophet and had him brought to the third entrance to the temple of the LORD. "I am going to ask you something," the king said to Jeremiah. "Do not hide4 anything from me."
Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, "If I give you an answer, will you not kill me? Even if I did give you counsel, you would not listen to me."
But King Zedekiah swore this oath secretly5 to Jeremiah: "As surely as the LORD lives, who has given us breath,6 I will neither kill you nor hand you over to those who are seeking your life."717
Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, "This is what the LORD God Almighty, the God of Israel, says: 'If you surrender8 to the officers of the king of Babylon, your life will be spared and this city will not be burned down; you and your family will live.918
But if you will not surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, this city will be handed over10 to the Babylonians and they will burn11 it down; you yourself will not escape12 from their hands.' "
King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, "I am afraid13 of the Jews who have gone over14 to the Babylonians, for the Babylonians may hand me over to them and they will mistreat me."
"They will not hand you over," Jeremiah replied. "Obey15 the LORD by doing what I tell you. Then it will go well16 with you, and your life17 will be spared.