Jeremiah 38; Jeremiah 39; Jeremiah 40; Psalm 74; Psalm 79

1 Shephatiah, Gedaliah, Jehucal and Pashhur heard what I was telling all of the people. Shephatiah was the son of Mattan. Gedaliah was the son of Pashhur. Jehucal was the son of Shelemiah. And Pashhur was the son of Malkijah. Those four men heard me say, 2 "The LORD says, 'Those who stay in this city will die of war, hunger or plague. But those who go over to the side of the Babylonians will live. They will escape with their lives. They will remain alive.' 3 The LORD also says, 'This city will certainly be handed over to the armies of the king of Babylonia. They will capture it.' " 4 Then those officials said to the king, "That man should be put to death. What he says is making the soldiers who are left in this city lose hope. It's making all of the people lose hope too. He isn't interested in what is best for the people. In fact, he's trying to destroy them." 5 "He's in your hands," King Zedekiah answered. "I can't do anything to oppose you." 6 So they took me and put me into an empty well. It belonged to Malkijah. He was a member of the royal court. His well was in the courtyard of the guard. Zedekiah's men lowered me by ropes into the well. It didn't have any water in it. All it had was mud. And I sank down into the mud. 7 Ebed-Melech was an official in the royal palace. He was from the land of Cush. He heard that I had been put into the well. The king was sitting by the Benjamin Gate at that time. 8 Ebed-Melech went out of the palace. He said to the king, 9 "My king and master, everything those men have done to the prophet Jeremiah is evil. They have thrown him into an empty well. Soon there won't be any more bread in the city. Then he'll starve to death." 10 So the king gave an order to Ebed-Melech from Cush. He said, "Take 30 men from here with you. Lift the prophet Jeremiah out of the well before he dies." 11 Then Ebed-Melech took the men with him. He went to a room under the place in the palace where the treasures were stored. He got some old rags and worn-out clothes from there. Then he let them down with ropes to me in the well. 12 Ebed-Melech from Cush told me what to do. He said, "Put these old rags and worn-out clothes under your arms. They'll pad the ropes." So I did. 13 Then the men pulled me up with the ropes. They lifted me out of the well. And I remained in the courtyard of the guard. 14 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." 15 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?" 16 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." 17 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. 18 " '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.' " 19 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." 20 "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. 21 "Don't refuse to give yourself up. The LORD has shown me what will happen if you do. 22 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.' 23 "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." 24 Then Zedekiah said to me, "Don't let anyone know about the talk we've had. If you do, you might die. 25 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.' 26 Then tell them, 'I was begging the king not to send me back to Jonathan's house. I don't want to die there.' " 27 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. 28 I remained in the courtyard of the guard. I stayed there until the day Jerusalem was captured.
1 Here is how Jerusalem was captured. Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylonia, marched out against it. He came with all of his armies and attacked it. It was in the ninth year that Zedekiah was king of Judah. It was in the tenth month. 2 The city wall was broken through. It happened on the ninth day of the fourth month. It was in the 11th year of Zedekiah's rule. 3 All of the officials of the king of Babylonia came. They took seats near the Middle Gate. Nergal-Sharezer from Samgar was there. Nebo-Sarsekim, a chief officer, was also there. So was Nergal-Sharezer, a high official. And all of the other officials of the king of Babylonia were there too. 4 King Zedekiah and all of the soldiers saw them. Then they ran away. They left the city at night. They went by way of the king's garden. They went out through the gate between the two walls. And they headed toward the Arabah Valley. 5 But the armies of Babylonia chased them. They caught up with Zedekiah in the flatlands near Jericho. They captured him there. And they took him to Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylonia. He was at Riblah in the land of Hamath. That's where Nebuchadnezzar decided how he would be punished. 6 The king of Babylonia killed the sons of Zedekiah at Riblah. He forced Zedekiah to watch it with his own eyes. He also killed all of the nobles of Judah. 7 Then he poked out Zedekiah's eyes. He put him in bronze chains. And he took him to Babylon. 8 The Babylonians set the royal palace on fire. They also set fire to the houses of the people. And they broke down the walls of Jerusalem. 9 Nebuzaradan was commander of the royal guard. Some people still remained in the city. But he took them away to Babylon as prisoners. He also took along those who had gone over to his side. And he took the rest of the people. 10 Nebuzaradan, the commander of the guard, left some of the poor people of Judah behind. They didn't own anything. So at that time he gave them vineyards and fields. 11 Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylonia, had given orders about me. He had given them to Nebuzaradan, the commander of the royal guard. Nebuchadnezzar had said, 12 "Take him. Look after him. Don't harm him. Do for him anything he asks." 13 So that's what Nebuzaradan, the commander of the guard, did. Nebushazban and Nergal-Sharezer were with him. So were all of the other officers of the king of Babylonia. Nebushazban was a chief officer. Nergal-Sharezer was a high official. All of those men 14 sent for me. They had me taken out of the courtyard of the guard. They turned me over to Gedaliah. They told him to take me back to my home. So I remained among my own people. Gedaliah was the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan. 15 A message came to me from the Lord. It came while I was being kept in the courtyard of the guard. He said, 16 "Go. Speak to Ebed-Melech from Cush. Tell him, 'The LORD who rules over all is the God of Israel. He says, "I am about to make the words I spoke against this city come true. I will not give success to it. Instead, I will bring horrible trouble on it. At that time my words will come true. You will see it with your own eyes. 17 " ' "But I will save you on that day," announces the Lord. "You will not be handed over to those you are afraid of. 18 I will save you. You will not be killed with a sword. Instead, you will escape with your life. That is because you trust in me," announces the Lord.' "
1 A message came to me from the Lord. It came after Nebuzaradan, the commander of the royal guard, had set me free at Ramah. I was being held by chains when he found me. I was among all of the prisoners from Jerusalem and Judah. We were being taken to Babylon. 2 But the commander of the guard found me. He said to me, "The LORD your God ordered that this place be destroyed. 3 And now he has brought it about. He has done exactly what he said he would do. All of these things have happened because you people sinned against the Lord. You didn't obey him. 4 But today I'm setting you free from the chains that are on your wrists. Come with me to Babylon if you want to. I'll take good care of you there. But if you don't want to come, then don't. The whole country lies in front of you. Go anywhere you want to." 5 But before I turned to go, Nebuzaradan continued, "Go back to Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam. The king of Babylonia has appointed Gedaliah to be over the towns of Judah. Go and live with him among your people. Or go anywhere else you want to." Ahikam was the son of Shaphan. The commander gave me food and water. He also gave me a gift. Then he let me go. 6 So I went to Mizpah to see Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam. I stayed with him. I lived among the people who were left behind in the land. 7 Some of Judah's army officers and their men were still in the open country. They heard that the king of Babylonia had appointed Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, as governor over Judah. He had put him in charge of the men, women and children who were still there. They were the poorest people in the land. They hadn't been taken to Babylon. 8 When the army officers and their men heard those things, they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah, came. So did Johanan and Jonathan, the sons of Kareah. Seraiah, the son of Tanhumeth, also came. The sons of Ephai from Netophah came too. And so did Jaazaniah, the son of the Maacathite. All of their men came with them. 9 Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, took an oath to give hope to all of those men. He spoke in a kind way to them. He said, "Don't be afraid to serve the Babylonians. Settle down in the land of Judah. Serve the king of Babylonia. Then things will go well with you. 10 I myself will stay at Mizpah. I'll speak for you to the officials of Babylonia who come to us. But you must harvest the wine, summer fruit and olive oil. Put them in your jars. Store them up. And live in the towns you have taken over." 11 All of the Jews in Moab, Ammon and Edom heard what had happened. So did the Jews in all of the other countries. They heard that the king of Babylonia had left some people behind in Judah. They also heard that he had appointed Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, as governor over them. Ahikam was the son of Shaphan. 12 When they heard those things, all of them came back to the land of Judah. They went to Gedaliah at Mizpah. They came from all of the countries where they had been scattered. And they harvested a large amount of wine and summer fruit. 13 Johanan and all of the other army officers who were still in the open country came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. Johanan was the son of Kareah. 14 The officers said to Gedaliah, "Don't you know that Baalis, the king of Ammon, has sent someone to take your life? It's Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah." But Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, didn't believe them. 15 Then Johanan, the son of Kareah, spoke in private to Gedaliah in Mizpah. He said, "Let me go and kill Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah. No one will know about it. Why should he take your life? Why should he cause all of the Jews who are gathered around you to be scattered? Why should he cause the people who remain in Judah to die?" 16 But Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, spoke to Johanan, the son of Kareah. He said, "Don't do an awful thing like that! What you are saying about Ishmael isn't true."
1 God, why have you turned your back on us for so long? Why does your anger burn against us? We are your very own sheep. 2 Remember that you chose us to be your own people a long time ago. Remember that you set us free from slavery to be your very own tribe. Remember Mount Zion, where you lived. 3 Walk through this place that has been torn down beyond repair. See how completely your enemies have destroyed the temple! 4 In the place where you used to meet with us, your enemies have shouted, "We've won the battle!" They have set up their flags to show they have beaten us. 5 They acted like people cutting down a forest with axes. 6 They smashed all of the beautiful wooden walls with their axes and hatchets. 7 They burned your temple to the ground. They polluted the place where your Name is. 8 They had said in their hearts, "We will crush them completely!" They burned every place where you were worshiped in the land. 9 You don't give us miraculous signs anymore. There aren't any prophets left. None of us knows how long that will last. 10 God, how long will your enemies make fun of you? Will they attack you with their words forever? 11 Why don't you help us? Why do you hold back your powerful right hand? Use your strong arms to destroy your enemies! 12 God, you have been my king for a long time. The whole earth has seen you save us over and over again. 13 You parted the Red Sea by your power. You broke the heads of that sea monster in Egypt. 14 You crushed the heads of the sea monster Leviathan. You fed it to the creatures of the desert. 15 You opened up streams and springs. You dried up rivers that flow all year long. 16 You rule over the day and the night. You created the sun and the moon. 17 You decided where the borders of the earth would be. You made both summer and winter. 18 Lord, remember how your enemies have made fun of you. Remember how foolish people have attacked you with their words. 19 Don't hand Israel, your dove, over to those wild animals. Don't forget your suffering people forever. 20 Honor the covenant you made with us. Horrible things are happening in every dark corner of the land. 21 Don't let your suffering people be put to shame. May those who are poor and needy praise you. 22 God, rise up. Stand up for your cause. Remember how foolish people make fun of you all day long. 23 Pay close attention to the shouts of your enemies. The trouble they cause never stops.
1 God, an army from the nations has attacked your land. They have polluted your holy temple. They have completely destroyed Jerusalem. 2 They have given the dead bodies of your people as food to the birds of the air. They have given the bodies of your faithful people to the animals of the earth. 3 They have poured out the blood of your people like water all around Jerusalem. No one is left to bury the dead. 4 We are something our neighbors joke about. The nations around us laugh at us and make fun of us. 5 Lord, how long will you be angry with us? Will it be forever? How long will your jealousy burn like fire? 6 Pour out your burning anger on the nations that don't pay any attention to you. Pour it out on the kingdoms that don't worship you. 7 They have swallowed up the people of Jacob. They have destroyed Israel's homeland. 8 Don't hold against us the sins of our people who lived before us. May you be quick to show us your tender love. We are in great need. 9 God our Savior, help us. Then glory will come to you. Be true to your name. Save us and forgive our sins. 10 Why should the nations say, "Where is their God?" Show the nations that you punish those who kill your people. We want to see it happen. 11 Listen to the groans of the prisoners. Use your powerful arm to save the lives of those who have been sentenced to death. 12 Lord, our neighbors have laughed at you. Pay them back seven times for what they have done. 13 We are your people. We are your very own sheep. We will praise you forever. For all time to come we will keep on praising you.
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