The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD after King Zedekiah had 1made a covenant with all the people who were in Jerusalem to 2proclaim release to them:
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that each man should set free his male servant and each man his female servant, a 3Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman; so that 4no one should keep them, a Jew his brother, in bondage.
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And all the 5officials and all the people obeyed who had entered into the covenant that each man should set free his male servant and each man his female servant, so that no one should keep them any longer in bondage; they obeyed, and set them free.
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But afterward they turned around and took back the male servants and the female servants whom they had set free, and brought them into subjection for male servants and for female servants.
Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
"Thus says the LORD God of Israel, 'I 6made a covenant with your forefathers in the day that I 7brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, saying,
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"8At the end of seven years each of you shall set free his Hebrew brother who has been sold to you and has served you six years, you shall send him out free from you; but your forefathers 9did not obey Me or incline their ear to Me.
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"Although recently you had turned and 10done what is right in My sight, each man proclaiming release to his neighbor, and you had 11made a covenant before Me 12in the house which is called by My name.
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"Yet you 13turned and 14profaned My name, and each man took back his male servant and each man his female servant whom you had set free according to their desire, and you brought them into subjection to be your male servants and female servants."'
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"Therefore thus says the LORD, 'You have not obeyed Me in proclaiming release each man to his brother and each man to his neighbor. Behold, I am 15proclaiming a release to you,' declares the LORD, 'to the 16sword, to the pestilence and to the famine; and I will make you a 17terror to all the kingdoms of the earth.
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'I will give the men who have 18transgressed My covenant, who have not fulfilled the words of the covenant which they made before Me, when they 19cut the calf in two and passed between its parts -
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the 20officials of Judah and the officials of Jerusalem, the court officers and the priests and all the people of the land who passed between the parts of the calf -
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I will give them into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who 21seek their life. And their 22dead bodies will be food for the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth.
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'23Zedekiah king of Judah and his officials I will give into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their life, and into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon which has 24gone away from you.
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'Behold, I am going to command,' declares the LORD, 'and I will bring them back to this city; and they will fight against it and 25take it and burn it with fire; and I will make the cities of Judah a 26desolation 27without inhabitant.' "
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