A message came to me from the Lord. It was shortly after Zedekiah became king of Judah. He was the son of Josiah.
The LORD said, "Make a yoke out of ropes and wooden boards. Put it on your neck.
"Then write down a message for the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre and Sidon. Give it to their messengers who have come to Jerusalem. They have come to see Zedekiah, the king of Judah.
Give them a message for the kings who sent them. It should say, 'The LORD who rules over all is the God of Israel. He says, "Here is what I want you to tell your masters.
I reached out my great and powerful arm. I made the earth. I made its people and animals. And I can give the earth to anyone I please.
" ' "Now I will hand all of your countries over to my servant Nebuchadnezzar. He is king of Babylonia. I will put even the wild animals under his control.
All of the nations will serve him and his son and grandson. After that, I will judge his land. Then many nations and great kings will make him serve them.
" ' "But suppose any nation or kingdom will not serve Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylonia. And suppose it refuses to put its neck under his yoke. Then I will punish that nation with war, hunger and plague," announces the Lord. "I will punish it until his powerful hand destroys it.
" ' "So do not listen to your prophets. Do not listen to those who claim to have secret knowledge. Do not listen to those who try to explain your dreams. Do not listen to those who get messages from people who have died. Do not listen to those who practice evil magic. All of them will tell you, 'You won't serve the king of Babylonia.'
" ' "But they prophesy lies to you. If you listen to them, you will be removed far away from your lands. I will drive you away from them. And you will die.
" ' "But suppose any nation will put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylonia. And suppose it serves him. Then I will let that nation remain in its own land. I will let its people plow the land and live there," ' " announces the Lord.
I gave the same message to Zedekiah, the king of Judah. I said, "Put your neck under the yoke of the king of Babylonia. Obey him. Serve his people. Then you will live.
Why should you and your people die? Why should you die of war, hunger and plague? That's what the LORD said would happen to any nation that won't serve the king of Babylonia.
"Don't listen to the words of the prophets who say to you, 'You won't serve the king of Babylonia.' They are prophesying lies to you.
'I have not sent them,' announces the Lord. 'They are prophesying lies in my name. So I will drive you away from your land. And you will die. So will the prophets who prophesy to you.' "
Then I spoke to the priests and all of those people. I said, "The LORD says, 'Do not listen to the prophets who say, "Very soon the articles from the LORD's house will be brought back from Babylon." They are prophesying lies to you.
Do not listen to them. Serve the king of Babylonia. Then you will live. Why should this city be destroyed?
" 'If they are prophets and have received a message from me, let them pray to me. I am the LORD who rules over all. Those prophets should pray that what is still in Jerusalem will remain here. They should pray that the articles in my house and the king's palace will not be taken to Babylon.
" 'I am the LORD who rules over all. Do you know what those articles are? They include the two pillars in front of the temple. They include the huge metal bowl. They include the bronze stands that can be moved around. And they include the other articles that are left in this city.
Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylonia, did not take those things away at first. That was when he took King Jehoiachin from Jerusalem to Babylon. He also took all of the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem along with him. Jehoiachin is the son of Jehoiakim.
" 'I am the LORD who rules over all. I am the God of Israel. Here is what will happen to the things that are left in my house, the king's palace and Jerusalem.
They will be taken to Babylon. They will remain there until the day I come for them,' announces the Lord. 'Then I will bring them back. I will return them to this place.' "