"My master, O king - these men are committing a great crime in what they're doing, throwing Jeremiah the prophet into the cistern and leaving him there to starve. He's as good as dead. There isn't a scrap of bread left in the city."
So the king ordered Ebed-melek the Ethiopian, "Get three men and pull Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies."
Ebed-melek got three men and went to the palace wardrobe and got some scraps of old clothing, which they tied together and lowered down with ropes to Jeremiah in the cistern.
Ebed-melek the Ethiopian called down to Jeremiah, "Put these scraps of old clothing under your armpits and around the ropes." Jeremiah did what he said.
And so they pulled Jeremiah up out of the cistern by the ropes. But he was still confined in the courtyard of the palace guard.
Later, King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah the prophet and had him brought to the third entrance of the Temple of God. The king said to Jeremiah, "I'm going to ask you something. Don't hold anything back from me."
Jeremiah said, "If I told you the whole truth, you'd kill me. And no matter what I said, you wouldn't pay any attention anyway."
Zedekiah swore to Jeremiah right there, but in secret, "As sure as God lives, who gives us life, I won't kill you, nor will I turn you over to the men who are trying to kill you."
So Jeremiah told Zedekiah, "This is the Message from God, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel: 'If you will turn yourself over to the generals of the king of Babylon, you will live, this city won't be burned down, and your family will live.
But if you don't turn yourself over to the generals of the king of Babylon, this city will go into the hands of the Chaldeans and they'll burn it down. And don't for a minute think there's any escape for you.'"
King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, "But I'm afraid of the Judeans who have already deserted to the Chaldeans. If they get hold of me, they'll rough me up good."
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)