Then King Zedekiah sent someone to get Jeremiah the prophet and bring him to the third entrance to the Temple of the Lord. The king said to Jeremiah, "I am going to ask you something. Do not hide anything from me, but tell me everything honestly."
Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, "If I give you an answer, you will surely kill me. And even if I give you advice, you will not listen to me."
But King Zedekiah made a secret promise to Jeremiah, "As surely as the Lord lives who has given us breath and life, I will not kill you. And I promise not to hand you over to the officers who want to kill you."
Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, "This is what the Lord God All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: 'If you surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, your life will be saved. Jerusalem will not be burned down, and you and your family will live.
But if you refuse to surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, Jerusalem will be handed over to the Babylonian army, and they will burn it down. And you yourself will not escape from them.'"
Then King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, "I'm afraid of some Jews who have already gone over to the side of the Babylonian army. If the Babylonians hand me over to them, they will treat me badly."
But Jeremiah answered, "The Babylonians will not hand you over to the Jews. Obey the Lord by doing what I tell you. Then things will go well for you, and your life will be saved.
But if you refuse to surrender to the Babylonians, the Lord has shown me what will happen.
All the women left in the palace of the king of Judah will be brought out and taken to the important officers of the king of Babylon. Your women will make fun of you with this song: 'Your good friends misled you and were stronger than you. While your feet were stuck in the mud, they left you.'
"All your wives and children will be brought out and given to the Babylonian army. You yourself will not even escape from them. You will be taken prisoner by the king of Babylon, and Jerusalem will be burned down."
Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, "Do not tell anyone that I have been talking to you, or you will die.
If the officers find out I talked to you, they will come to you and say, 'Tell us what you said to King Zedekiah and what he said to you. Don't keep any secrets from us. If you don't tell us everything, we will kill you.'
If they ask you, tell them, 'I was begging the king not to send me back to Jonathan's house to die.'"
All the officers did come to question Jeremiah. So he told them everything the king had ordered him to say. Then the officers said no more to Jeremiah, because no one had heard what Jeremiah and the king had discussed.