21 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah 1 when King Zedekiah 2 sent to him Pashhur son of Malkijah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah. 3 Zedekiah sent them to Jeremiah to ask, 4 2 “Please ask the Lord to come and help us, 5 because King Nebuchadnezzar 6 of Babylon is attacking us. Maybe the Lord will perform one of his miracles as in times past and make him stop attacking us and leave.” 7 3 Jeremiah answered them, “Tell Zedekiah 4 that the Lord, the God of Israel, says, 8 ‘The forces at your disposal 9 are now outside the walls fighting against King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and the Babylonians 10 who have you under siege. I will gather those forces back inside the city. 11 5 In anger, in fury, and in wrath I myself will fight against you with my mighty power and great strength! 12 6 I will kill everything living in Jerusalem, 13 people and animals alike! They will die from terrible diseases. 7 Then 14 I, the Lord, promise that 15 I will hand over King Zedekiah of Judah, his officials, and any of the people who survive the war, starvation, and disease. I will hand them over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and to their enemies who want to kill them. He will slaughter them with the sword. He will not show them any mercy, compassion, or pity.’
8 “But 16 tell the people of Jerusalem 17 that the Lord says, ‘I will give you a choice between two courses of action. One will result in life; the other will result in death. 18 9 Those who stay in this city will die in battle or of starvation or disease. Those who leave the city and surrender to the Babylonians who are besieging it will live. They will escape with their lives. 19 10 For I, the Lord, say that 20 I am determined not to deliver this city but to bring disaster on it. 21 It will be handed over to the king of Babylon and he will destroy it with fire.’” 22
11 The Lord told me to say 23 to the royal court 24 of Judah,
“Listen to what the Lord says,
12 O royal family descended from David. 25
The Lord says:
‘See to it that people each day 26 are judged fairly. 27
Deliver those who have been robbed from those 28 who oppress them.
Otherwise, my wrath will blaze out against you.
It will burn like a fire that cannot be put out
because of the evil that you have done. 29
13 Listen, you 30 who sit enthroned above the valley on a rocky plateau.
I am opposed to you,’ 31 says the Lord. 32
‘You boast, “No one can swoop down on us.
No one can penetrate into our places of refuge.” 33
14 But I will punish you as your deeds deserve,’
says the Lord. 34
‘I will set fire to your palace;
it will burn up everything around it.’” 35
22 The Lord told me, 1 “Go down 2 to the palace of the king of Judah. Give him a message from me there. 3 2 Say: ‘Listen, O king of Judah who follows in David’s succession. 4 You, your officials, and your subjects who pass through the gates of this palace must listen to what the Lord says. 5 3 The Lord says, “Do what is just and right. Deliver those who have been robbed from those 6 who oppress them. Do not exploit or mistreat foreigners who live in your land, children who have no fathers, or widows. 7 Do not kill innocent people 8 in this land. 4 If you are careful to 9 obey these commands, then the kings who follow in David’s succession and ride in chariots or on horses will continue to come through the gates of this palace, as will their officials and their subjects. 10 5 But, if you do not obey these commands, I solemnly swear 11 that this palace will become a pile of rubble. I, the Lord, affirm it!” 12
6 “‘For the Lord says concerning the palace of the king of Judah,
“This place looks like a veritable forest of Gilead to me.
It is like the wooded heights of Lebanon in my eyes.
But I swear that I will make it like a wilderness
whose towns have all been deserted. 13
7 I will send men against it to destroy it 14
with their axes and hatchets.
They will hack up its fine cedar panels and columns
and throw them into the fire.
8 “‘People from other nations will pass by this city. They will ask one another, “Why has the Lord done such a thing to this great city?” 9 The answer will come back, “It is because they broke their covenant with the Lord their God and worshiped and served other gods.”
10 “‘Do not weep for the king who was killed.
Do not grieve for him.
But weep mournfully for the king who has gone into exile.
For he will never return to see his native land again. 15
11 “‘For the Lord has spoken about Shallum son of Josiah, who succeeded his father as king of Judah but was carried off into exile. He has said, “He will never return to this land. 16 12 For he will die in the country where they took him as a captive. He will never see this land again.” 17
13 “‘Sure to be judged 18 is the king who builds his palace using injustice
and treats people unfairly while adding its upper rooms. 19
He makes his countrymen work for him for nothing.
He does not pay them for their labor.
14 He says, “I will build myself a large palace
with spacious upper rooms.”
He cuts windows in its walls,
panels it 20 with cedar, and paints its rooms red. 21
15 Does it make you any more of a king
that you outstrip everyone else in 22 building with cedar?
Just think about your father.
He was content that he had food and drink. 23
He did what was just and right. 24
So things went well with him.
16 He upheld the cause of the poor and needy.
So things went well for Judah.’ 25
The Lord says,
‘That is a good example of what it means to know me.’ 26
17 But you are always thinking and looking
for ways to increase your wealth by dishonest means.
Your eyes and your heart are set
on killing some innocent person
and committing fraud and oppression. 27
18 So 28 the Lord has this to say about Josiah’s son, King Jehoiakim of Judah:
People will not mourn for him, saying,
“This makes me sad, my brother!
This makes me sad, my sister!”
They will not mourn for him, saying,
“Poor, poor lord! Poor, poor majesty!” 29
19 He will be left unburied just like a dead donkey.
His body will be dragged off and thrown outside the gates of Jerusalem.’” 30
20 People of Jerusalem, 31 go up to Lebanon and cry out in mourning.
Go to the land of Bashan and cry out loudly.
Cry out in mourning from the mountains of Moab. 32
For your allies 33 have all been defeated.
21 While you were feeling secure I gave you warning. 34
But you said, “I refuse to listen to you.”
That is the way you have acted from your earliest history onward. 35
Indeed, you have never paid attention to me.
22 My judgment will carry off all your leaders like a storm wind! 36
Your allies will go into captivity.
Then you will certainly 37 be disgraced and put to shame
because of all the wickedness you have done.
23 You may feel as secure as a bird
nesting in the cedars of Lebanon.
But oh how you 38 will groan 39 when the pains of judgment come on you.
They will be like those of a woman giving birth to a baby. 40
24 The Lord says, 41
“As surely as I am the living God, you, Jeconiah, 42 king of Judah, son of Jehoiakim, will not be the earthly representative of my authority. Indeed, I will take that right away from you. 43 25 I will hand you over to those who want to take your life and of whom you are afraid. I will hand you over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and his Babylonian 44 soldiers. 26 I will force you and your mother who gave you birth into exile. You will be exiled to 45 a country where neither of you were born, and you will both die there. 27 You will never come back to this land to which you will long to return!” 46
28 This man, Jeconiah, will be like a broken pot someone threw away.
He will be like a clay vessel 47 that no one wants. 48
Why will he and his children be forced into exile?
Why will they be thrown out into a country they know nothing about? 49
29 O land of Judah, land of Judah, land of Judah! 50
Listen to what the Lord has to say!
30 The Lord says,
“Enroll this man in the register as though he were childless. 51
Enroll him as a man who will not enjoy success during his lifetime.
For none of his sons will succeed in occupying the throne of David
or ever succeed in ruling over Judah.”