1 Shephatiah, Mattan's son; Gedaliah, Pashhur's son; Jucal, Shelemiah's son; and Pashhur, Malchiah's son heard what Jeremiah had been telling the people: 2 The LORD proclaims: Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine, and disease. But whoever surrenders to the Babylonians will live; yes, their lives will be spared. 3 The LORD proclaims: This city will certainly be handed over to the army of Babylon's king, who will capture it. 4 Then the officials said to the king: "This man must be put to death! By saying such things, he is discouraging the few remaining troops left in the city, as well as all the people. This man doesn't seek their welfare but their ruin!" 5 "He's in your hands," King Zedekiah said, "for the king can do nothing to stop you." 6 So they seized Jeremiah, threw him into the cistern of the royal prince Malchiah, within the prison quarters, and lowered him down by ropes. Now there wasn't any water in the cistern, only mud, and Jeremiah began to sink into the mud. 7 Ebed-melech the Cushite, a court official in the royal palace, got word that they had thrown Jeremiah into the cistern. Since the king was sitting at the Benjamin Gate, 8 Ebed-melech left the palace and said to the king: 9 "My master the king, these men have made a terrible mistake in treating the prophet Jeremiah the way they have; they have thrown him into the cistern where he will die of starvation, for there's no bread left in the city." 10 Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Cushite, "Take thirty men from here and take Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies." 11 So Ebed-melech took the men and returned to the palace, to an underground supply room, where he found some old rags and scraps of clothing. Ebed-melech lowered them down the cistern by the ropes 12 and called to Jeremiah, "Put these old rags and scraps of clothing under your arms and hold on to the ropes." When Jeremiah did this, 13 they pulled him up by the ropes and got him out of the cistern. After that Jeremiah remained in the prison quarters. 14 King Zedekiah ordered that the prophet Jeremiah be brought to him at the third entrance of the LORD's temple, where the king said to Jeremiah, "I want to ask you something, and don't hide anything from me." 15 Jeremiah replied, "If I do, you'll kill me! And if I tell you what to do, you won't listen to me!" 16 So King Zedekiah swore to Jeremiah behind closed doors, "As the LORD lives, who has given us this life, I won't put you to death and I won't hand you over to those who seek to kill you." 17 So Jeremiah said to Zedekiah: "The LORD of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: If you surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, you and your family will live, and this city will not be burned down. 18 If you don't surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, the city will be handed over to the Babylonians, who will burn it down, and you won't escape from them." 19 King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, "I'm afraid that I will fall into the hands of the Judeans who have defected to the Babylonians, and they will torture me." 20 "That won't happen," Jeremiah replied, “if you obey the LORD, whose message I bring. You will survive, and all will go well for you. 21 But if you refuse to surrender, this is what the LORD has shown me: 22 All the women left in the palace of the king of Judah will be led out to the officers of the king of Babylon. And they will say: ‘Your trusted friends have betrayed you; they have deceived you; now that your feet are stuck in the mud, they are nowhere to be found.' 23 "All your wives and children will be led out to the Babylonians, and you yourself won't escape from them. The king of Babylon will capture you, and this city will be burned down." 24 Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, "No one is to know about these matters or else you will die. 25 If the officials find out that we met, and they come and say to you, ‘Tell us what you said to the king. Don't hide anything from us; otherwise, we'll kill you. So what did the king say to you?' 26 you should say to them, ‘I was begging the king not to send me back to the house of Jonathan to die there.'" 27 Then all the officials approached Jeremiah to question him. And he responded exactly as the king had instructed him. So they stopped interrogating him because the conversation between the king and Jeremiah hadn't been overheard. 28 Jeremiah remained in the prison quarters until Jerusalem was captured.
1 In the ninth year and the tenth month of Judah's King Zedekiah, Babylon's King Nebuchadnezzar and his entire army came against Jerusalem and surrounded it. 2 In the eleventh year of Zedekiah, on the ninth day of the fourth month, they broke through the city walls. 3 Then all the commanding officers of the king of Babylon—Nergal-sharezer, Samgar-nebo, Sarsechim the chief officer, Nergal-sharezer the field commander—entered it and took their places at the middle gate with the rest of the officials of the king of Babylon. 4 When Judah's King Zedekiah and his troops saw them, they tried to escape at night through the royal gardens and the gate between the two walls, toward the desert plain. 5 But the Babylonian army chased them down and caught Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. They arrested him and brought him before Babylon's King Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah in the land of Hamath. There the king put him on trial. 6 The king of Babylon slaughtered Zedekiah's children at Riblah before his very own eyes, and the king of Babylon slaughtered all the officials of Judah. 7 Then he gouged out Zedekiah's eyes, bound him in chains, and dragged him off to Babylon. 8 The Babylonians burned down the royal palace and the houses of the people, and they destroyed the Jerusalem walls. 9 Nebuzaradan the captain of the special guard rounded up the rest of the people who were left in the city, including those who had defected to the Babylonians, and deported them to Babylon. 10 But Nebuzaradan the captain of the special guard left some of the poorest people in the land of Judah. He gave them vineyards and fields at that time. 11 Babylon's King Nebuchadnezzar gave orders concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan the captain of the special guard: 12 "Find Jeremiah and look after him; don't harm him but do whatever he asks from you." 13 So Nebuzaradan the captain of the special guard, Nebushazban the chief officer, Nergal-sharezer the field commander, and all the commanders of the king of Babylon 14 sent orders to release Jeremiah from the prison quarters. They entrusted him to Gedaliah, Ahikam's son and Shaphan's grandson, so that Jeremiah could move about freely among the people. 15 The LORD's word came to Jeremiah when he was still confined to the prison quarters: 16 Go and say to Ebed-melech the Cushite that the LORD of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: I'm about to fulfill my words concerning this city, for harm and not for good. You will witness it for yourself on that day. 17 But on that day, declares the LORD: I will rescue you; you won't be handed over to those you dread. 18 I will defend you; you won't die in battle. You will escape with your life, because you have trusted in me, declares the LORD.
1 Jeremiah received the LORD's word after Nebuzaradan the captain of the special guard had released him from Ramah. He had been bound in chains there along with all the other detainees from Jerusalem and Judah who were being sent off to Babylon. 2 The captain of the special guard located Jeremiah and said to him, "The LORD your God declared that a great disaster would overtake this place. 3 Now the LORD has made it happen. He has done just as he warned because all of you have sinned against the LORD and haven't obeyed him. That's why this has happened to you. 4 But I'm setting you free from the chains on your hands. If you would like, come with me to Babylon, and I'll take care of you. If you would rather not come with me, that's fine too. Now, the whole land lies before you; go wherever you want. 5 If you decide to remain here, stay with Gedaliah, Ahikam's son and Shaphan's grandson—the Babylonian appointee in charge of the cities of Judah. Stay with him and the people he rules or go wherever you want." Then the captain of the special guard gave him ample provisions and let him go. 6 Jeremiah went to Gedaliah, Ahikam's son at Mizpah, and he stayed with him and the people who remained in the land. 7 Some of the army officers and their troops were still hiding out in the countryside when they heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah, Ahikam's son, over the region, responsible for the men, women, and children who were the poorest in the land and who hadn't been deported to Babylon. 8 So they went out to meet Gedaliah at Mizpah: Ishmael, Nethaniah's son; Johanan and Jonathan, Kareah's sons; Seraiah son of Tanhumeth; the sons of Ephai the Netophathite; Jezaniah son of the Maacathite; and their troops. 9 Gedaliah, Ahikam's son and Shaphan's grandson, firmly assured them all: "Don't be afraid of serving the Babylonians. Remain in the land, serve the king of Babylon, and all will go well for you. 10 But me? I will stay at Mizpah so I can speak on your behalf when the Babylonians arrive. But you? Settle down in the towns you have taken; harvest the grapes, the summer fruits and figs, and then store them in your containers." 11 In the same way, all the Judeans living in Moab, Ammon, Edom, and in other countries heard that the king of Babylon had left a few people in the land and that he had put Gedaliah, Ahikam's son and Shaphan's grandson, in charge of them. 12 So they left the places where they had been scattered and returned to the land, to Gedaliah at Mizpah. There they gathered large amounts of grapes and summer fruits. 13 Johanan, Kareah's son, and all the army officers in the countryside approached Gedaliah at Mizpah 14 and said to him, "Are you aware that King Baalis of Ammon has sent Ishmael, Nethaniah's son, to kill you?" But Gedaliah, Ahikam's son, wouldn't believe them. 15 Still Johanan, Kareah's son, met with Gedaliah secretly at Mizpah and said to him, "Let me go and kill Ishmael, Nethaniah's son; no one needs to knows about this matter. Otherwise, he'll kill you, and all the Judeans who have gathered around you will be scattered, and the few who are left will perish." 16 But Gedaliah son of Ahikam told Johanan, Kareah's son, "Don't do such a thing, for what you are saying about Ishmael is wrong."
1 God, why have you abandoned us forever? Why does your anger smolder at the sheep of your own pasture? 2 Remember your congregation that you took as your own long ago, that you redeemed to be the tribe of your own possession— remember Mount Zion, where you dwell. 3 March to the unending ruins, to all that the enemy destroyed in the sanctuary. 4 Your enemies roared in your own meeting place; they set up their own signs there! 5 It looked like axes raised against a thicket of trees. 6 And then all its carvings they hacked down with hatchet and pick. 7 They set fire to your sanctuary, burned it to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of your name. 8 They said in their hearts, We'll kill all of them together! They burned all of God's meeting places in the land. 9 We don't see our own signs anymore. No prophet is left. And none of us know how long it will last. 10 How long, God, will foes insult you? Are enemies going to abuse your name forever? 11 Why do you pull your hand back? Why do you hold your strong hand close to your chest? 12 Yet God has been my king from ancient days— God, who makes salvation happen in the heart of the earth! 13 You split the sea with your power. You shattered the heads of the sea monsters on the water. 14 You crushed Leviathan's heads. You gave it to the desert dwellers for food! 15 You split open springs and streams; you made strong-flowing rivers dry right up. 16 The day belongs to you! The night too! You established both the moon and the sun. 17 You set all the boundaries of the earth in place. Summer and winter? You made them! 18 So remember this, LORD: how enemies have insulted you, how unbelieving fools have abused your name. 19 Don't deliver the life of your dove to wild animals! Don't forget the lives of your afflicted people forever! 20 Consider the covenant! Because the land's dark places are full of violence. 21 Don't let the oppressed live in shame. No, let the poor and needy praise your name! 22 God, rise up! Make your case! Remember how unbelieving fools insult you all day long. 23 Don't forget the voices of your enemies, the racket of your adversaries that never quits.
1 The nations have come into your inheritance, God! They've defiled your holy temple. They've made Jerusalem a bunch of ruins. 2 They've left your servants' bodies as food for the birds; they've left the flesh of your faithful to the wild animals of the earth. 3 They've poured out the blood of the faithful like water all around Jerusalem, and there's no one left to bury them. 4 We've become a joke to our neighbors, nothing but objects of ridicule and disapproval to those around us. 5 How long will you rage, LORD? Forever? How long will your anger burn like fire? 6 Pour out your wrath on the nations who don't know you, on the kingdoms that haven't called on your name. 7 They've devoured Jacob and demolished his pasture. 8 Don't remember the iniquities of past generations; let your compassion hurry to meet us because we've been brought so low. 9 God of our salvation, help us for the glory of your name! Deliver us and cover our sins for the sake of your name! 10 Why should the nations say, "Where's their God now?" Let vengeance for the spilled blood of your servants be known among the nations before our very eyes! 11 Let the prisoners' groaning reach you. With your powerful arm spare those who are destined to die. 12 Pay back our neighbors seven times over, right where it hurts, for the insults they used on you, Lord. 13 We are, after all, your people and the sheep of your very own pasture. We will give you thanks forever; we will proclaim your praises from one generation to the next.