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21 Then King Zedekiah sent Pashhur (son of Malchiah) and Zephaniah the priest (son of Maaseiah) to Jeremiah and begged, “Ask the Lord to help us, for Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, has declared war on us! Perhaps the Lord will be gracious to us and do a mighty miracle as in olden times[a] and force Nebuchadnezzar to withdraw his forces.”

3-4 Jeremiah replied, “Go back to King Zedekiah and tell him the Lord God of Israel says, I will make all your weapons useless against the king of Babylon and the Chaldeans besieging you. In fact, I will bring your enemies right into the heart of this city, and I myself will fight against you, for I am very angry. And I will send a terrible plague on this city, and both men and animals shall die. And finally I will deliver King Zedekiah himself and all the remnant left in the city into the hands of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, to slaughter them without pity or mercy.

“Tell these people: This is what the Lord says! Take your choice of life or death! Stay here in Jerusalem and die—slaughtered by your enemies, killed by starvation and disease—or go out and surrender to the Chaldean army and live. 10 For I have set my face against this city; I will be its enemy and not its friend, says the Lord. It shall be captured by the king of Babylon and he shall reduce it to ashes.

11 “And to the king of Judah, the Lord says: 12 I am ready to judge you because of all the evil you are doing. Quick! Give justice to these you judge! Begin doing what is right before my burning fury flashes out upon you like a fire no man can quench. 13 I will fight against this city of Jerusalem that boasts, ‘We are safe; no one can touch us here!’ 14 And I myself will destroy you for your sinfulness, says the Lord. I will light a fire in the forests that will burn up everything in its path.”


  1. Jeremiah 21:2 as in olden times. King Zedekiah doubtless had in mind God’s deliverances of Jerusalem from Sennacherib, king of Assyria, in the days of Hezekiah (Isaiah 36–37). But Zedekiah’s hopes were dashed. He was Judah’s last ruler before the exile of 597 B.C.

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