Then King Zedekiah sent for me. He had me brought to the third entrance to the LORD's temple. "I want to ask you something," the king said to me. "Don't hide anything from me."
I said to Zedekiah, "Suppose I give you an answer. You will kill me, won't you? Suppose I give you good advice. You won't listen to me, will you?"
But King Zedekiah took an oath. He promised me secretly, "I won't kill you. And I won't hand you over to those who want to take your life. That's just as sure as the LORD is alive. He's the one who has given us breath."
So I said to Zedekiah, "The LORD God who rules over all is the God of Israel. He says, 'Give yourself up to the officers of the king of Babylonia. Then your life will be spared. And this city will not be burned down. You and your family will remain alive.
" 'But what if you do not give yourself up to them? Then this city will be handed over to the Babylonians. They will burn it down. And you yourself will not escape from their powerful hands.' "
King Zedekiah said to me, "I'm afraid of some of the Jews. They are the ones who have gone over to the side of the Babylonians. The Babylonians might hand me over to them. And those Jews will treat me badly."
"They won't hand you over to them," I replied. "Obey the Lord. Do what I tell you to do. Then things will go well with you. Your life will be spared.
"Don't refuse to give yourself up. The LORD has shown me what will happen if you do.
All of the women who are left in your palace will be brought out. They'll be given to the officials of the king of Babylonia. Those women will say to you, " 'Your trusted friends have tricked you. They have gotten the best of you. Your feet are sunk down in the mud. Your friends have deserted you.'
"All of your wives and children will be brought out to the Babylonians. You yourself won't escape from their powerful hands. You will be captured by the king of Babylonia. And this city will be burned down."
Then Zedekiah said to me, "Don't let anyone know about the talk we've had. If you do, you might die.
Suppose the officials find out that I've talked with you. And suppose they come to you and say, 'Tell us what you said to the king. Tell us what the king said to you. Don't hide it from us. If you do, we'll kill you.'
Then tell them, 'I was begging the king not to send me back to Jonathan's house. I don't want to die there.' "
All of the officials came to me. And they questioned me. I told them everything the king had ordered me to say. None of them had heard what I told the king. So they didn't say anything else to me.
I remained in the courtyard of the guard. I stayed there until the day Jerusalem was captured.