The LORD spoke through Jeremiah when King Zedekiah sent Pashhur son of Malkijah and Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, the priest, to speak with him. They begged Jeremiah,
"Please ask the LORD to help us. King Nebuchadnezzar a of Babylon has begun his attack on Judah. Perhaps the LORD will be gracious and do a mighty miracle as he has done in the past. Perhaps he will force Nebuchadnezzar to withdraw his armies."
Jeremiah replied, "Go back to King Zedekiah and tell him,
'This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I will make your weapons useless against the king of Babylon and the Babylonians b who are attacking you. Yes, I will bring your enemies right into the heart of this city.
I myself will fight against you with great power, for I am very angry. You have made me furious!
I will send a terrible plague upon this city, and both people and animals will die.
And then, says the LORD, even after King Zedekiah, his officials, and everyone else in the city have survived war, famine, and disease, I will hand them over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. He will slaughter them all without mercy, pity, or compassion.'
"Tell all the people, 'This is what the LORD says: Take your choice of life or death!
Everyone who stays in Jerusalem will die from war, famine, or disease, but those who go out and surrender to the Babylonians will live.
For I have decided to bring disaster and not good upon this city, says the LORD. It will be captured by the king of Babylon, and he will reduce it to ashes.'
"Say to the royal family of Judah, 'Listen to this message from the LORD!
This is what the LORD says to the dynasty of David: Give justice to the people you judge! Help those who have been robbed; rescue them from their oppressors. Do what is right, or my anger will burn like an unquenchable fire because of all your sins.
I will fight against this city of Jerusalem that boasts, "We are safe on our mountain! No one can touch us here."
And I myself will punish you for your sinfulness, says the LORD. I will light a fire in your forests that will burn up everything around you.'"
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)