38 Now Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jehucal 1 son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur 2 son of Malkijah had heard 3 the things that Jeremiah had been telling the people. They had heard him say, 2 “The Lord says, ‘Those who stay in this city will die in battle or of starvation or disease. 4 Those who leave the city and surrender to the Babylonians 5 will live. They will escape with their lives.’” 6 3 They had also heard him say, 7 “The Lord says, ‘This city will certainly be handed over to the army of the king of Babylon. They will capture it.’” 8 4 So these officials said to the king, “This man must be put to death. For he is demoralizing 9 the soldiers who are left in the city as well as all the other people there by these things he is saying. 10 This 11 man is not seeking to help these people but is trying to harm them.” 12 5 King Zedekiah said to them, “Very well, you can do what you want with him. 13 For I cannot do anything to stop you.” 14 6 So the officials 15 took Jeremiah and put him in the cistern 16 of Malkijah, one of the royal princes, 17 that was in the courtyard of the guardhouse. There was no water in the cistern, only mud. So when they lowered Jeremiah into the cistern with ropes he sank in the mud. 18
7 An Ethiopian, Ebed Melech, 19 a court official in the royal palace, heard that Jeremiah had been put 20 in the cistern. While the king was holding court 21 at the Benjamin Gate, 8 Ebed Melech departed the palace and went to speak to the king. He said to him, 9 “Your royal Majesty, those men have been very wicked in all that they have done to the prophet Jeremiah. They have thrown him into a cistern and he is sure to die of starvation there because there is no food left in the city. 22 10 Then the king gave Ebed Melech the Ethiopian the following order: “Take thirty 23 men with you from here and go pull the prophet Jeremiah out of the cistern before he dies.” 11 So Ebed Melech took the men with him and went to a room under the treasure room in the palace. 24 He got some worn-out clothes and old rags 25 from there and let them down by ropes to Jeremiah in the cistern. 12 Ebed Melech 26 called down to Jeremiah, “Put these rags and worn-out clothes under your armpits to pad the ropes. 27 Jeremiah did as Ebed Melech instructed. 28 13 So they pulled Jeremiah up from the cistern with ropes. Jeremiah, however, still remained confined 29 to the courtyard of the guardhouse.
14 Some time later 30 Zedekiah sent and had Jeremiah brought to him at the third entrance 31 of the Lord’s temple. The king said to Jeremiah, “I would like to ask you a question. Do not hide anything from me when you answer.” 32 15 Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “If I answer you, you will certainly kill me. 33 If I give you advice, you will not listen to me.” 16 So King Zedekiah made a secret promise to Jeremiah and sealed it with an oath. He promised, 34 “As surely as the Lord lives who has given us life and breath, 35 I promise you this: I will not kill you or hand you over to those men who want to kill you.” 36
17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “The Lord, the God who rules over all, the God of Israel, 37 says, ‘You must surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon. If you do, your life will be spared 38 and this city will not be burned down. Indeed, you and your whole family will be spared. 18 But if you do not surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, this city will be handed over to the Babylonians 39 and they will burn it down. You yourself will not escape from them.’” 40 19 Then King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Judeans who have deserted to the Babylonians. 41 The Babylonians might hand me over to them and they will torture me.” 42 20 Then Jeremiah answered, “You will not be handed over to them. Please obey the Lord by doing what I have been telling you. 43 Then all will go well with you and your life will be spared. 44 21 But if you refuse to surrender, the Lord has shown me a vision of what will happen. Here is what I saw: 22 All the women who are left in the royal palace of Judah will be led out to the officers of the king of Babylon. They will taunt you saying, 45
‘Your trusted friends misled you;
they have gotten the best of you.
Now that your feet are stuck in the mud,
they have turned their backs on you.’ 46
23 “All your wives and your children will be turned over to the Babylonians. 47 You yourself will not escape from them but will be captured by the 48 king of Babylon. This city will be burned down.” 49
24 Then Zedekiah told Jeremiah, “Do not let anyone know about the conversation we have had. 50 If you do, you will die. 51 25 The officials may hear that I have talked with you. They may come to you and say, ‘Tell us what you said to the king and what the king said to you. 52 Do not hide anything from us. If you do, we will kill you.’ 53 26 If they do this, tell 54 them, ‘I was pleading with the king not to send me back to die in the dungeon of Jonathan’s house.’” 55 27 All the officials did indeed come and question Jeremiah. 56 He told them exactly what the king had instructed him to say. 57 They stopped questioning him any further because no one had actually heard their conversation. 58 28 So Jeremiah remained confined 59 in the courtyard of the guardhouse until the day Jerusalem 60 was captured.
The following events occurred when Jerusalem 61 was captured. 62
39 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came against Jerusalem with his whole army and laid siege to it. The siege began in the tenth month of the ninth year that Zedekiah ruled over Judah. 1 2 It lasted until the ninth day of the fourth month of Zedekiah’s eleventh year. 2 On that day they broke through the city walls. 3 Then Nergal-Sharezer of Samgar, Nebo-Sarsekim, who was a chief officer, Nergal-Sharezer, who was a high official, 3 and all the other officers of the king of Babylon came and set up quarters 4 in the Middle Gate. 5 4 When King Zedekiah of Judah and all his soldiers saw them, they tried to escape. They departed from the city during the night. They took a path through the king’s garden and passed out through the gate between the two walls. 6 Then they headed for the Jordan Valley. 7 5 But the Babylonian 8 army chased after them. They caught up with Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho 9 and captured him. 10 They took him to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon at Riblah 11 in the territory of Hamath and Nebuchadnezzar passed sentence on him there. 6 There at Riblah the king of Babylon had Zedekiah’s sons put to death while Zedekiah was forced to watch. The king of Babylon also had all the nobles of Judah put to death. 7 Then he had Zedekiah’s eyes put out and had him bound in chains 12 to be led off to Babylon. 8 The Babylonians 13 burned down the royal palace, the temple of the Lord, and the people’s homes, 14 and they tore down the wall of Jerusalem. 15 9 Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard, 16 took captive the rest of the people who were left in the city. He carried them off to Babylon along with the people who had deserted to him. 17 10 But he 18 left behind in the land of Judah some of the poor people who owned nothing. He gave them fields and vineyards at that time.
11 Now King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had issued orders concerning Jeremiah. He had passed them on through Nebuzaradan, the captain of his royal guard, 19 12 “Find Jeremiah 20 and look out for him. 21 Do not do anything to harm him, 22 but do with him whatever he tells you.” 13 So Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard, Nebushazban, who was a chief officer, Nergal-Sharezer, who was a high official, 23 and all the other officers of the king of Babylon 14 sent and had Jeremiah brought from the courtyard of the guardhouse. They turned him over to Gedaliah, 24 the son of Ahikam and the grandson of Shaphan, to take him home with him. 25 But Jeremiah stayed among the people. 26
15 Now the Lord had spoken to Jeremiah while he was still confined in the courtyard of the guardhouse, 28 16 “Go 29 and tell Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, ‘The Lord God of Israel who rules over all says, “I will carry out against this city what I promised. It will mean disaster and not good fortune for it. 30 When that disaster happens, you will be there to see it. 31 17 But I will rescue you when it happens. 32 I, the Lord, affirm it! 33 You will not be handed over to those whom you fear. 34 18 I will certainly save you. You will not fall victim to violence. 35 You will escape with your life 36 because you trust in me. I, the Lord, affirm it!”’” 37
40 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah 1 after Nebuzaradan the captain of the royal guard had set him free at Ramah. 2 He had taken him there in chains 3 along with all the people from Jerusalem 4 and Judah who were being carried off to exile to Babylon. 2 The captain of the royal guard took Jeremiah aside and said to him, “The Lord your God threatened this place with this disaster. 3 Now he has brought it about. The Lord has done just as he threatened to do. This disaster has happened because you people sinned against the Lord and did not obey him. 5 4 But now, Jeremiah, today I will set you free 6 from the chains on your wrists. If you would like to come to Babylon with me, come along and I will take care of you. 7 But if you prefer not to come to Babylon with me, you are not required to do so. 8 You are free to go anywhere in the land you want to go. 9 Go wherever you choose.” 10 5 Before Jeremiah could turn to leave, the captain of the guard added, “Go back 11 to Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon appointed to govern 12 the towns of Judah. Go back and live with him 13 among the people. Or go wherever else you choose.” Then the captain of the guard gave Jeremiah some food and a present and let him go. 6 So Jeremiah went to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah 14 and lived there with him. He stayed there to live among the people who had been left in the land of Judah. 15
7 Now some of the officers of the Judean army and their troops had been hiding in the countryside. They heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam to govern 16 the country. They also heard that he had been put in charge over the men, women, and children from the poorer classes of the land who had not been carried off into exile in Babylon. 17 8 So 18 all these officers and their troops came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. The officers who came were Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah son of the Maacathite. 19 9 Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, took an oath so as to give them and their troops some assurance of safety. 20 “Do not be afraid to submit to the Babylonians. 21 Settle down in the land and submit to the king of Babylon. Then things will go well for you. 10 I for my part will stay at Mizpah to represent you before the Babylonians 22 whenever they come to us. You for your part go ahead and harvest the wine, the dates, the figs, 23 and the olive oil, and store them in jars. Go ahead and settle down in the towns that you have taken over.” 24 11 Moreover, all the Judeans who were in Moab, Ammon, Edom, and all the other countries heard what had happened. They heard that the king of Babylon had allowed some people to stay in Judah and that he had appointed Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, to govern them. 12 So all these Judeans returned to the land of Judah from the places where they had been scattered. They came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. Thus they harvested a large amount of wine and dates and figs. 25
13 Johanan and all the officers of the troops that had been hiding in the open country came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. 14 They said to him, “Are you at all aware 26 that King Baalis of Ammon has sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to kill you?” But Gedaliah son of Ahikam would not believe them. 15 Then Johanan son of Kareah spoke privately to Gedaliah there at Mizpah, “Let me go and kill Ishmael the son of Nethaniah before anyone knows about it. Otherwise he will kill you 27 and all the Judeans who have rallied around you will be scattered. Then what remains of Judah will disappear.” 16 But Gedaliah son of Ahikam said to Johanan son of Kareah, “Do not do that 28 because what you are saying about Ishmael is not true.” 29