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Jeremiah 21 International Children’s Bible (ICB)

God Rejects King Zedekiah’s Request

21 This is the word that the Lord spoke to Jeremiah. It came when Zedekiah king of Judah sent Pashhur son of Malkijah to Jeremiah. He also sent the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah. They said, “Ask the Lord for us what will happen. We want to know because Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is attacking us. Maybe the Lord will do miracles for us as he did in the past. Maybe he will make Nebuchadnezzar stop attacking us and leave.”

But Jeremiah answered them, “Tell King Zedekiah this: ‘Here is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: You have weapons of war in your hands. You are using them to defend yourselves against the king of Babylon and the Babylonians. But I will make those weapons useless. The army from Babylon is all around the outside of the city wall. Soon I will bring that army into the center of the city. I myself will fight against you with my great power and strength. I am very angry with you. So I will fight against you with my own powerful arm. I will fight very hard against you in my very great anger. I will kill everything living in Jerusalem—both people and animals. They will die from terrible diseases. Then, says the Lord, I’ll give Zedekiah king of Judah to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. I will also give Zedekiah’s officers to Nebuchadnezzar. Some of the people in Jerusalem will not die from the terrible diseases. Some will not die in battle or from hunger. I will give them also to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. I will let those win who want to kill the people of Judah. So the people of Judah and Jerusalem will be killed in war. Nebuchadnezzar will not show any mercy or pity or feel sorry for them!’

“Also tell this to the people of Jerusalem: ‘This is what the Lord says: I will let you choose to live or die. Anyone who stays in Jerusalem will die. He will die in war or from hunger or from a terrible disease. But anyone who goes out of Jerusalem and surrenders to the Babylonians who are around the city will live. Anyone who leaves the city will save his life. 10 I have decided to make trouble for this city and not to help it, says the Lord. I will give it to the king of Babylon. He will burn it with fire.’

11 “Tell these things to Judah’s royal family: ‘Hear the word of the Lord! 12 Family of David, the Lord says these things:

You must judge people fairly every day.
    Protect from criminals
    the person who has been robbed.
If you don’t do that, I will become very angry.
    My anger will be like a fire that no one can put out.
    This will happen because you have done evil things.

13 “‘Jerusalem, I am against you.
    You sit on top of the mountain.
    You sit over this valley, says the Lord.
You say, “No one can attack us.
    No one can come into our strong city.”
14 But I will give you the punishment you deserve, says the Lord.
    I will start a fire in your forests.
    It will burn up everything around you!’”

International Children’s Bible (ICB)

The Holy Bible, International Children’s Bible® Copyright© 1986, 1988, 1999, 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a division of Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.

Jeremiah 21 New International Version (NIV)

God Rejects Zedekiah’s Request

21 The word came to Jeremiah from the Lord when King Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur son of Malkijah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah. They said: “Inquire now of the Lord for us because Nebuchadnezzar[a] king of Babylon is attacking us. Perhaps the Lord will perform wonders for us as in times past so that he will withdraw from us.”

But Jeremiah answered them, “Tell Zedekiah, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I am about to turn against you the weapons of war that are in your hands, which you are using to fight the king of Babylon and the Babylonians[b] who are outside the wall besieging you. And I will gather them inside this city. I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm in furious anger and in great wrath. I will strike down those who live in this city—both man and beast—and they will die of a terrible plague. After that, declares the Lord, I will give Zedekiah king of Judah, his officials and the people in this city who survive the plague, sword and famine, into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and to their enemies who want to kill them. He will put them to the sword; he will show them no mercy or pity or compassion.’

“Furthermore, tell the people, ‘This is what the Lord says: See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death. Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague. But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; they will escape with their lives. 10 I have determined to do this city harm and not good, declares the Lord. It will be given into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will destroy it with fire.’

11 “Moreover, say to the royal house of Judah, ‘Hear the word of the Lord. 12 This is what the Lord says to you, house of David:

“‘Administer justice every morning;
    rescue from the hand of the oppressor
    the one who has been robbed,
or my wrath will break out and burn like fire
    because of the evil you have done—
    burn with no one to quench it.
13 I am against you, Jerusalem,
    you who live above this valley
    on the rocky plateau, declares the Lord
you who say, “Who can come against us?
    Who can enter our refuge?”
14 I will punish you as your deeds deserve,
    declares the Lord.
I will kindle a fire in your forests
    that will consume everything around you.’”


  1. Jeremiah 21:2 Hebrew Nebuchadrezzar, of which Nebuchadnezzar is a variant; here and often in Jeremiah and Ezekiel
  2. Jeremiah 21:4 Or Chaldeans; also in verse 9
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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