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Zedekiah's Request to Jeremiah

37 (A)King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia made Zedekiah son of Josiah king of Judah in the place of Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim. But neither Zedekiah nor his officials nor the people obeyed the message which the Lord had given me.

King Zedekiah sent Jehucal son of Shelemiah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah to ask me to pray to the Lord our God on behalf of our nation. I had not yet been put in prison and was still moving about freely among the people. The Babylonian army had been besieging Jerusalem, but when they heard that the Egyptian army had crossed the Egyptian border, they retreated.

Then the Lord, the God of Israel, told me to say to Zedekiah, “The Egyptian army is on its way to help you, but it will return home. Then the Babylonians will come back, attack the city, capture it, and burn it down. I, the Lord, warn you not to deceive yourselves into thinking that the Babylonians will not come back, because they will. 10 Even if you defeat the whole Babylonian army, so that only wounded men are left, lying in their tents, they would still get up and burn this city to the ground.”

Jeremiah Is Arrested and Imprisoned

11 The Babylonian army retreated from Jerusalem because the Egyptian army was approaching. 12 So I started to leave Jerusalem and go to the territory of Benjamin to take possession of my share of the family property. 13 But when I reached the Benjamin Gate, the officer in charge of the soldiers on duty there, a man by the name of Irijah, the son of Shelemiah and grandson of Hananiah, stopped me and said, “You are deserting to the Babylonians!”

14 I answered, “That's not so! I'm not deserting.” But Irijah would not listen to me. Instead, he arrested me and took me to the officials. 15 They were furious with me and had me beaten and locked up in the house of Jonathan, the court secretary, whose house had been made into a prison. 16 I was put in an underground cell and kept there a long time.

17 Later on King Zedekiah sent for me, and there in the palace he asked me privately, “Is there any message from the Lord?”

“There is,” I answered, and added, “You will be handed over to the king of Babylonia.” 18 Then I asked, “What crime have I committed against you or your officials or this people, to make you put me in prison? 19 What happened to your prophets who told you that the king of Babylonia would not attack you or the country? 20 And now, Your Majesty, I beg you to listen to me and do what I ask. Please do not send me back to the prison in Jonathan's house. If you do, I will surely die there.”

21 So King Zedekiah ordered me to be locked up in the palace courtyard. I stayed there, and each day I was given a loaf of bread from the bakeries until all the bread in the city was gone.

Jeremiah in Prison

37 Zedekiah(A) son of Josiah was made king(B) of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; he reigned in place of Jehoiachin[a](C) son of Jehoiakim. Neither he nor his attendants nor the people of the land paid any attention(D) to the words the Lord had spoken through Jeremiah the prophet.

King Zedekiah, however, sent(E) Jehukal(F) son of Shelemiah with the priest Zephaniah(G) son of Maaseiah to Jeremiah the prophet with this message: “Please pray(H) to the Lord our God for us.”

Now Jeremiah was free to come and go among the people, for he had not yet been put in prison.(I) Pharaoh’s army had marched out of Egypt,(J) and when the Babylonians[b] who were besieging Jerusalem heard the report about them, they withdrew(K) from Jerusalem.(L)

Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire(M) of me, ‘Pharaoh’s army, which has marched(N) out to support you, will go back to its own land, to Egypt.(O) Then the Babylonians will return and attack this city; they will capture(P) it and burn(Q) it down.’

“This is what the Lord says: Do not deceive(R) yourselves, thinking, ‘The Babylonians will surely leave us.’ They will not! 10 Even if you were to defeat the entire Babylonian[c] army that is attacking you and only wounded men were left in their tents, they would come out and burn(S) this city down.”

11 After the Babylonian army had withdrawn(T) from Jerusalem because of Pharaoh’s army, 12 Jeremiah started to leave the city to go to the territory of Benjamin to get his share of the property(U) among the people there. 13 But when he reached the Benjamin Gate,(V) the captain of the guard, whose name was Irijah son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah, arrested him and said, “You are deserting to the Babylonians!”(W)

14 “That’s not true!” Jeremiah said. “I am not deserting to the Babylonians.” But Irijah would not listen to him; instead, he arrested(X) Jeremiah and brought him to the officials. 15 They were angry with Jeremiah and had him beaten(Y) and imprisoned(Z) in the house(AA) of Jonathan the secretary, which they had made into a prison.

16 Jeremiah was put into a vaulted cell in a dungeon, where he remained a long time. 17 Then King Zedekiah sent(AB) for him and had him brought to the palace, where he asked(AC) him privately,(AD) “Is there any word from the Lord?”

“Yes,” Jeremiah replied, “you will be delivered(AE) into the hands of the king of Babylon.”

18 Then Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, “What crime(AF) have I committed against you or your attendants or this people, that you have put me in prison? 19 Where are your prophets(AG) who prophesied to you, ‘The king of Babylon will not attack you or this land’? 20 But now, my lord the king, please listen. Let me bring my petition before you: Do not send me back to the house of Jonathan the secretary, or I will die there.”(AH)

21 King Zedekiah then gave orders for Jeremiah to be placed in the courtyard of the guard and given a loaf of bread from the street of the bakers each day until all the bread(AI) in the city was gone.(AJ) So Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard.(AK)

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 37:1 Hebrew Koniah, a variant of Jehoiachin
  2. Jeremiah 37:5 Or Chaldeans; also in verses 8, 9, 13 and 14
  3. Jeremiah 37:10 Or Chaldean; also in verse 11

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