Jeremiah 34 (Lexham English Bible)

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A Message for Zedekiah

1 The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, when Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and all his army, with all [the] kingdoms of [the] earth [under] the dominion of his hand, and all the peoples [were] fighting against Jerusalem and against all its cities, {saying},a 2 "Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel: 'Go and say to Zedekiah the king of Judah, now you must say to him, "Thus says Yahweh: 'Look, I [am] going to give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will burn it with fire. 3 And you will not escape from his hand, but surely you will be captured, and into his hand you will be given, and {you will see the king of Babylon eye to eye},b and {you will speak face to face with him},c and [to] Babylon you will go.' 4 However, hear the word of Yahweh, [O] Zedekiah, the king of Judah. Thus says Yahweh concerning you: 'You will not die by the sword. 5 In peace you will die, and as [there was] burning for your ancestors,d the former kings who were {before you},e so they will burn for you, and they will lament for you, "Alas, lord!" For [the] word I have spoken,' {declares}f Yahweh." '" 6 Then Jeremiah the prophet spoke to Zedekiah the king of Judah all these words in Jerusalem 7 when the army of the king of Babylon [was] fighting against Jerusalem and against all the cities of Judah that were left over--Lachish and Azekah, for these remained among the cities of Judah, the cities of fortification.

Zedekiah’s Covenant Concerning Slaves

8 The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh after king Zedekiah {made}g a covenant with all the people who [were] in Jerusalem to proclaim release to them, 9 to let go each one his [male] slave and each one his female slave, the Hebrew and the free Hebrew, [so that] no one among the Judeansh [should] enslave his fellow countryman. 10 And all the officials and all the people obeyed, who had entered into the covenant to let go each one his [male] slave and each one his female slave, not enslaving them again, and they obeyed and they let [them]i go. 11 But {afterward}j they turned back and they brought back the [male] slaves and the female slaves whom they had let go free, and they subdued them as [male] slaves and female slaves. 12 And the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, {saying},k 13 "Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel: 'I {made}l a covenant with your ancestorsm on the day of my bringing them out from the land of Egypt, from [the] house of slaves, {saying},n 14 "At [the] end of seven years you must let go each one his fellow countryman, the Hebrew who has been sold to you and who has served you six years, and you must let him go free from you." But your ancestorso did not listen to me, and they did not incline their ears.p 15 And you turned back {recently}q and you did right in my eyes, to proclaim release each one to his neighbor, and you {made}r a covenant {before me}s in the house that is called {by}t my name. 16 But you turned back and you profaned my name when you brought back each one his [male] slave and each one his female slave, whom you had let go free according to their desire, and you subdued them to be to you as [male] slaves and as female slaves.' 17 "{Therefore}u thus says Yahweh, 'You have not listened to me to proclaim release each one to his fellow countryman and each one to his neighbor. Look, I [am] going to proclaim to you a release,' {declares}v Yahweh, 'to the sword, to the plague, and to the famine, and I will make you a terror to all the kingdoms of the earth. 18 And I will make the men who transgressed my covenant, who have not kept the words of the covenant that they {made}w {before me},x [like] the calf which they cut in two and they passed between its parts-- 19 the officials of Judah, and the officials of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land who passed between the parts of the calf-- 20 and I will give them into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of the seekers of their lives, and their dead bodiesy will become as food for the birdsz of the heavensaa and for the animalsbb of the earth. 21 And Zedekiah the king of Judah and his officials I will give into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of the seekers of their lives, and into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon, who retreated from you. 22 Look, I [am] going to command,' {declares}cc Yahweh, 'and I will bring them back to this city, and they will fight against it, and they will capture it, and they will burn it with fire, and the towns of Judah I will make a desolation {without}dd an inhabitant.'"
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