The word came to Jeremiah from the LORD after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people1 in Jerusalem to proclaim freedom2 for the slaves.
References for Jeremiah 34:8
Everyone was to free his Hebrew slaves, both male and female; no one was to hold a fellow Jew in bondage.3
References for Jeremiah 34:9
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 minds4 and took back the slaves they had freed and enslaved them again.
References for Jeremiah 34:11
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 forefathers5 when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.6 I said,
References for Jeremiah 34:13
'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.'7 Your fathers, however, did not listen to me or pay attention8 to me.
References for Jeremiah 34:14
Recently you repented and did what is right in my sight: Each of you proclaimed freedom to his countrymen.9 You even made a covenant before me in the house that bears my Name.10
References for Jeremiah 34:15
But now you have turned around11 and profaned12 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.
References for Jeremiah 34:16
"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,13 declares the LORD--'freedom' to fall by the sword, plague14 and famine.15 I will make you abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth.16
References for Jeremiah 34:17