Jeremiah Rescued from the Dungeon
38 1 Now it came to the ears of Shephatiah, the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah, the son of Pashhur, and Jucal, the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur, the son of Malchiah, that Jeremiah had said to all the people, 2 These are the words of the Lord: Whoever goes on living in this town will come to his death by the sword or through need of food or by disease: but whoever goes out to the Chaldaeans will keep his life out of the power of the attackers and be safe. 3 The Lord has said, This town will certainly be given into the hands of the army of the king of Babylon, and he will take it. 4 Then the rulers said to the king, Let this man be put to death, because he is putting fear into the hearts of the men of war who are still in the town, and into the hearts of the people, by saying such things to them: this man is not working for the well-being of the people, but for their damage. 5 Then Zedekiah the king said, See, he is in your hands: for the king was not able to do anything against them. 6 So they took Jeremiah and put him into the water-hole of Malchiah, the king's son, in the place of the armed watchmen: and they let Jeremiah down with cords. And in the hole there was no water, but wet earth: and Jeremiah went down into the wet earth. 7 Now it came to the ears of Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, an unsexed servant in the king's house, that they had put Jeremiah into the water-hole; the king at that time being seated in the doorway of Benjamin: 8 And Ebed-melech went out from the king's house and said to the king, 9 My lord the king, these men have done evil in all they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have put into the water-hole; and he will come to his death in the place where he is through need of food: for there is no more bread in the town. 10 Then the king gave orders to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Take with you three men from here and get Jeremiah out of the water-hole before death overtakes him. 11 So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went into the house of the king, to the place where the clothing was kept, and got from there old clothing and bits of old cloth, and let them down by cords into the water-hole where Jeremiah was. 12 And Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, Put these bits of old cloth under your arms under the cords. And Jeremiah did so. 13 So pulling Jeremiah up with the cords they got him out of the water-hole: and Jeremiah was kept in the place of the armed watchmen.
Zedekiah Seeks Counsel from Jeremiah
14 Then King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah the prophet and took him into the rulers' doorway in the house of the Lord: and the king said to Jeremiah, I have a question to put to you; keep nothing back from me. 15 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, If I give you the answer to your question, will you not certainly put me to death? and if I make a suggestion to you, you will not give it a hearing. 16 So King Zedekiah gave his oath to Jeremiah secretly, saying, By the living Lord, who gave us our life, I will not put you to death, or give you up to these men who are desiring to take your life. 17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, These are the words of the Lord, the God of armies, the God of Israel: If you go out to the king of Babylon's captains, then you will have life, and the town will not be burned with fire, and you and your family will be kept from death: 18 But if you do not go out to the king of Babylon's captains, then this town will be given into the hands of the Chaldaeans and they will put it on fire, and you will not get away from them. 19 And King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, I am troubled on account of the Jews who have gone over to the Chaldaeans, for fear that they may give me up to them and they will put me to shame. 20 But Jeremiah said, They will not give you up: be guided now by the word of the Lord as I have given it to you, and it will be well for you, and you will keep your life. 21 But if you do not go out, this is what the Lord has made clear to me: 22 See, all the rest of the women in the house of the king of Judah will be taken out to the king of Babylon's captains, and these women will say, Your nearest friends have been false to you and have got the better of you: they have made your feet go deep into the wet earth, and they are turned away back from you. 23 And they will take all your wives and your children out to the Chaldaeans: and you will not get away out of their hands, but will be taken by the hands of the king of Babylon: and this town will be burned with fire. 24 Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, Let no man have knowledge of these words, and you will not be put to death. 25 But if it comes to the ears of the rulers that I have been talking with you, and they come and say to you, Give us word now of what you have said to the king and what the king said to you, keeping nothing back and we will not put you to death; 26 Then you are to say to them, I made my request to the king, that he would not send me back to my death in Jonathan's house. 27 Then all the rulers came to Jeremiah, questioning him: and he gave them an answer in the words the king had given him orders to say. So they said nothing more to him; for the thing was not made public. 28 So Jeremiah was kept in the place of the armed watchmen till the day when Jerusalem was taken.
The Fall of Jerusalem
39 1 And it came about, that when Jerusalem was taken, (in the ninth year of Zedekiah, king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon, with all his army, came against Jerusalem, shutting it in on every side; 2 In the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, the town was broken into:) 3 All the captains of the king of Babylon came in and took their places in the middle doorway of the town, Nergal-shar-ezer, ruler of Sin-magir, the Rabmag, and Nebushazban, the Rab-saris, and all the captains of the king of Babylon. 4 And when Zedekiah, king of Judah, and all the men of war saw it, they went in flight from the town by night, by the way of the king's garden, through the doorway between the two walls: and they went out by the Arabah. 5 But the Chaldaean army went after them and overtook Zedekiah in the lowlands of Jericho: and they made him a prisoner and took him up to Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon, to Riblah in the land of Hamath, to be judged by him. 6 Then the king of Babylon put the sons of Zedekiah to death before his eyes in Riblah: and the king of Babylon put to death all the great men of Judah. 7 And more than this, he put out Zedekiah's eyes, and had him put in chains to take him away to Babylon. 8 And the Chaldaeans put the king's house on fire, as well as the houses of the people, and had the walls of Jerusalem broken down. 9 Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the armed men, took away to Babylon as prisoners, all the rest of the workmen who were still in the town, as well as those who had given themselves up to him, and all the rest of the people. 10 But Nebuzaradan, the captain of the armed men, let the poorest of the people, who had nothing whatever, go on living in the land of Judah, and gave them vine-gardens and fields at the same time.
Nebuchadrezzar's Care for Jeremiah
11 Now Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon, gave orders about Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan, the captain of the armed men, saying, 12 Take him and keep an eye on him and see that no evil comes to him; but do with him whatever he says to you. 13 So Nebuzaradan, the captain of the armed men, sent Nebushazban, the Rab-saris, and Nergal-shar-ezer, the Rabmag, and all the chief captains of the king of Babylon, 14 And they sent and took Jeremiah out of the place of the watchmen, and gave him into the care of Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, to take him to his house: so he was living among the people.
Ebed-melech Assured of Deliverance
15 Now the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah while he was shut up in the place of the armed watchmen, saying, 16 Go and say to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, This is what the Lord of armies, the God of Israel, has said: See, my words will come true for this town, for evil and not for good: they will come about before your eyes on that day. 17 But I will keep you safe on that day, says the Lord: you will not be given into the hands of the men you are fearing. 18 For I will certainly let you go free, and you will not be put to the sword, but your life will be given to you out of the hands of your attackers: because you have put your faith in me, says the Lord.
Jeremiah and the Remnant with Gedaliah
40 1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, after Nebuzaradan, the captain of the armed men, had let him go from Ramah, when he had taken him; for he had been put in chains, among all the prisoners of Jerusalem and Judah who were taken away prisoners to Babylon. 2 And the captain of the armed men took Jeremiah and said to him, The Lord your God gave word of the evil which was to come on this place: 3 *** and the Lord has made it come, and has done as he said; because of your sin against the Lord in not giving ear to his voice; and that is why this thing has come on you. 4 Now see, this day I am freeing you from the chains which are on your hands. If it seems good to you to come with me to Babylon, then come, and I will keep an eye on you; but if it does not seem good to you to come with me to Babylon, then do not come: see, all the land is before you; if it seems good and right to you to go on living in the land, 5 Then go back to Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has made ruler over the towns of Judah, and make your living-place with him among the people; or go wherever it seems right to you to go. So the captain of the armed men gave him food and some money and let him go. 6 So Jeremiah went to Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, in Mizpah, and was living with him among the people who were still in the land.
7 Now when it came to the ears of all the captains of the forces who were in the field, and their men, that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, ruler in the land, and had put under his care the men and women and children, all the poorest of the land, those who had not been taken away to Babylon; 8 Then they came to Gedaliah in Mizpah, even Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah, and Johanan, the son of Kareah, and Seraiah, the son of Tanhumeth, and the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah, the son of the Maacathite, they and their men. 9 And Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, took an oath to them and their men, saying, Have no fear of the servants of the Chaldaeans: go on living in the land, and become the servants of the king of Babylon, and all will be well. 10 As for me, I will be living in Mizpah as your representative before the Chaldaeans who come to us: but you are to get in your wine and summer fruits and oil and put them in your vessels, and make living-places for yourselves in the towns which you have taken. 11 In the same way, when all the Jews who were in Moab and among the children of Ammon and in Edom and in all the countries, had news that the king of Babylon had let Judah keep some of its people and that he had put over them Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan; 12 Then all the Jews came back from all the places to which they had gone in flight, and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah, to Mizpah, and got in a great store of wine and summer fruit.
Ishmael's Conspiracy against Gedaliah
13 Now Johanan, the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces which were in the field, came to Gedaliah in Mizpah, 14 And said to him, Has it come to your knowledge that Baalis, the king of the children of Ammon, has sent Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah, to take your life? But Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, put no faith in what they said. 15 Then Johanan, the son of Kareah, said to Gedaliah in Mizpah secretly, Let me now go and put Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah, to death without anyone's knowledge: why let him take your life so that all the Jews who have come together to you may be sent in flight, and the rest of the men of Judah come to an end? 16 But Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, said to Johanan, the son of Kareah, You are not to do this: for what you say about Ishmael is false.
An Appeal to God against the Enemy
74 1 Of God, why have you put us away from you for ever? why is the fire of your wrath smoking against the sheep who are your care? 2 Keep in mind your band of worshippers, for whom you gave payment in the days which are past, whom you took for yourself as the people of your heritage; even this mountain of Zion, which has been your resting-place. 3 Go up and see the unending destruction; all the evil which your haters have done in the holy place; 4 Sending out their voices like lions among your worshippers; they have put up their signs to be seen. 5 They are cutting down, like a man whose blade is lifted up against the thick trees. 6 Your doors are broken down with hammers and iron blades. 7 They have put on fire your holy place; they have made the place of your name unclean, pulling it down to the earth. 8 They have said in their hearts, Let us put an end to them all together; they have given over to the fire all God's places of worship in the land. 9 We do not see our signs: there is no longer any prophet, or anyone among us to say how long. 10 O God, how long will those who are against us say cruel things? will the hater go on looking down on your name for ever? 11 Why are you keeping back your hand, and covering your right hand in your robe?
12 For from the past God is my King, working salvation in the earth. 13 The sea was parted in two by your strength; the heads of the great sea-beasts were broken. 14 The heads of the great snake were crushed by you; you gave them as food to the fishes of the sea. 15 You made valleys for fountains and springs; you made the ever-flowing rivers dry. 16 The day is yours and the night is yours: you made the light and the sun. 17 By you all the limits of the earth were fixed; you have made summer and winter.
18 Keep this in mind, O Lord, that your haters have said cruel things, and that your name has been looked down on by a people of evil behaviour. 19 O give not the soul of your dove to the hawk; let not the life of the poor go out of your memory for ever. 20 Keep in mind your undertaking; for the dark places of the earth are full of pride and cruel acts. 21 O let not the crushed be turned back in shame; let the low man and the poor give praise to your name. 22 Up! O God, be the judge of your cause; keep in mind the bitter things which the man of evil behaviour says against you every day. 23 Keep in mind the voice of your haters; the outcry of those who come against you goes up every day.
A Lament over the Destruction of Jerusalem
79 1 O God, the nations have come into your heritage; they have made your holy Temple unclean; they have made Jerusalem a mass of broken walls. 2 They have given the bodies of your servants as food to the birds of the air, and the flesh of your saints to the beasts of the earth. 3 Their blood has been flowing like water round about Jerusalem; there was no one to put them in their last resting-place. 4 We are looked down on by our neighbours, we are laughed at and made sport of by those who are round us. 5 How long, O Lord? will you be angry for ever? will your wrath go on burning like fire?
6 Let your wrath be on the nations who have no knowledge of you, and on the kingdoms who have not made prayer to your name. 7 For they have taken Jacob for their meat, and made waste his house. 8 Do not keep in mind against us the sins of our fathers; let your mercy come to us quickly, for we have been made very low. 9 Give us help, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; take us out of danger and give us forgiveness for our sins, because of your name. 10 Why may the nations say, Where is their God? Let payment for the blood of your servants be made openly among the nations before our eyes. 11 Let the cry of the prisoner come before you; with your strong arm make free the children of death; 12 And give punishment seven times over into the breast of our neighbours for the bitter words which they have said against you, O Lord. 13 So we your people, and the sheep of your flock, will give you glory for ever: we will go on praising you through all generations.