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A Message for Zedekiah

21 The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh when King Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur, the son of Malchiah, and Zephaniah, the son of Maaseiah, the priest, saying,[a] “Please inquire of Yahweh on behalf of us, for Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon is fighting against us. Perhaps Yahweh will do with us according to all his miraculous acts, so that he may go up from against us.”

Then Jeremiah said to them, “Thus you shall say to Zedekiah: ‘Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel: “Look, I am about to turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands,[b] with which you are fighting against them, the king of Babylon and the Chaldeans who are laying siege to you from outside the wall, and I will gather them into the center of this city. And I myself will fight against you with outstretched hand, and with strong arm, and in anger,[c] and in fury, and in great wrath. And I will strike the inhabitants of this city, both humankind and animal; by a great plague they will die. And afterward,”[d] declares[e] Yahweh, “I will give Zedekiah, the king of Judah, and his servants, and the people, and those who remain in this city from the plague, from the sword, and from the famine, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, and into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those who seek their lives, and he will strike them with the edge[f] of the sword. He will not take pity on them, and he will not have compassion, nor will he show compassion.”’

The Way of Life and the Way of Death

“And to this people you shall say, ‘Thus says Yahweh, “Look, I am setting before you[g] the way of life and the way of death. He who stays in this city will die by the sword, or by the famine, or by the plague. And he who goes out and goes over to the Chaldeans who are laying siege to you will live, and his life will be to him as booty. 10 For I have set my face against this city for evil and not for good,” declares[h] Yahweh. It will be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will burn it with fire.”’

A Series of Messages for the House of the King of Judah

11 “And to the house of the king of Judah, ‘Hear the word of Yahweh, 12 O house of David, thus says Yahweh,

“Execute judgment in the morning, justice,
    and deliver the one who has been seized
from the hand of the oppressor,
    lest my wrath goes forth like the fire and it burns,
and there is no one who quenches it[i]
    because of the evil of your deeds.
13 Look, I am against you,
    O inhabitants[j] of the valley,
    O rock of the plain,” declares[k] Yahweh;
“you who say, ‘Who can descend against us,
    or who can enter into our hiding place?’
14 And I will punish you
    according to the fruit of your deeds,” declares[l] Yahweh,
“And I will kindle a fire in its forest,
    and it will devour all its surroundings.”’”


  1. Jeremiah 21:1 Literally “to say”
  2. Jeremiah 21:4 Hebrew “hand”
  3. Jeremiah 21:5 Literally “nose”
  4. Jeremiah 21:7 Literally “after thus”
  5. Jeremiah 21:7 Literally “a declaration of”
  6. Jeremiah 21:7 Literally “mouth”
  7. Jeremiah 21:8 Literally “to the face of you”
  8. Jeremiah 21:10 Literally “a declaration of”
  9. Jeremiah 21:12 Here the direct object is supplied from context in the English translation
  10. Jeremiah 21:13 Hebrew “inhabitant”
  11. Jeremiah 21:13 Literally “a declaration of”
  12. Jeremiah 21:14 Literally “a declaration of”