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Jeremiah 34:3-13 (New International Reader's Version)

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3 You will not escape from his powerful hand. You will certainly be captured. You will be handed over to him. You will see the king of Babylonia with your own eyes. He will speak with you face to face. And you will go to Babylon. 4 " ' "But listen to my promise, Zedekiah. Listen, king of Judah. I say that you will not be killed with a sword. 5 You will die in a peaceful way. People made fires to honor the kings who died before you. In the same way, they will make a fire in your honor. They will sob over you. They will say, 'My poor master!' I myself make this promise," announces the Lord.' " 6 Then I, the prophet Jeremiah, told all of that to King Zedekiah in Jerusalem. 7 At that time Nebuchadnezzar's armies were fighting against Jerusalem. They were also fighting against Lachish and Azekah. Those two cities were still holding out. They were the only cities left in Judah that had high walls around them.

The People Set Their Slaves Free

8 A message came to me from the Lord. King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all of the people in Jerusalem. He had told them to set their Hebrew slaves free. 9 All of them had to do it. That applied to male and female slaves alike. No one was allowed to hold another Jew as a slave. 10 So all of the officials and people entered into that covenant. They agreed to set their male and female slaves free. They agreed not to hold them as slaves anymore. Instead, they set them free. 11 But later they changed their minds. They took back the people they had set free. They made them slaves again. 12 Then a message came to me from the Lord. 13 The LORD is the God of Israel. He says, "I made a covenant with your people long ago. I brought them out of Egypt. That is the land where they were slaves. I said,
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