God Rejects Zedekiah’s Request

21 The word came to Jeremiah from the Lord when King Zedekiah(A) sent to him Pashhur(B) son of Malkijah and the priest Zephaniah(C) son of Maaseiah. They said: “Inquire(D) now of the Lord for us because Nebuchadnezzar[a](E) king of Babylon(F) is attacking us. Perhaps the Lord will perform wonders(G) 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(H) 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(I) you. And I will gather them inside this city. I myself will fight(J) against you with an outstretched hand(K) and a mighty arm(L) in furious anger and in great wrath. I will strike(M) down those who live in this city—both man and beast—and they will die of a terrible plague.(N) After that, declares the Lord, I will give Zedekiah(O) king of Judah, his officials and the people in this city who survive the plague,(P) sword and famine, into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon(Q) and to their enemies(R) who want to kill them.(S) He will put them to the sword;(T) he will show them no mercy or pity or compassion.’(U)

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

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

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

Judgment Against Wicked Kings

22 This is what the Lord says: “Go down to the palace of the king(AO) of Judah and proclaim this message there: ‘Hear(AP) the word of the Lord to you, king of Judah, you who sit on David’s throne(AQ)—you, your officials and your people who come through these gates.(AR) This is what the Lord says: Do what is just(AS) and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor(AT) the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow,(AU) and do not shed innocent blood(AV) in this place. For if you are careful to carry out these commands, then kings(AW) who sit on David’s throne will come through the gates of this palace, riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by their officials and their people. But if you do not obey(AX) these commands, declares the Lord, I swear(AY) by myself that this palace will become a ruin.’”

For this is what the Lord says about the palace of the king of Judah:

“Though you are like Gilead(AZ) to me,
    like the summit of Lebanon,(BA)
I will surely make you like a wasteland,(BB)
    like towns not inhabited.
I will send destroyers(BC) against you,
    each man with his weapons,
and they will cut(BD) up your fine cedar beams
    and throw them into the fire.(BE)

“People from many nations will pass by this city and will ask one another, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this great city?’(BF) And the answer will be: ‘Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God and have worshiped and served other gods.(BG)’”


  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

Warning to Zedekiah

34 While Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army and all the kingdoms and peoples(A) in the empire he ruled were fighting against Jerusalem(B) and all its surrounding towns, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Go to Zedekiah(C) king of Judah and tell him, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am about to give this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down.(D) You will not escape from his grasp but will surely be captured and given into his hands.(E) You will see the king of Babylon with your own eyes, and he will speak with you face to face. And you will go to Babylon.

“‘Yet hear the Lord’s promise to you, Zedekiah king of Judah. This is what the Lord says concerning you: You will not die by the sword;(F) you will die peacefully. As people made a funeral fire(G) in honor of your predecessors, the kings who ruled before you, so they will make a fire in your honor and lament, “Alas,(H) master!” I myself make this promise, declares the Lord.’”

Then Jeremiah the prophet told all this to Zedekiah king of Judah, in Jerusalem, while the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and the other cities of Judah that were still holding out—Lachish(I) and Azekah.(J) These were the only fortified cities left in Judah.

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Jeremiah Buys a Field

32 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth(A) year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth(B) year of Nebuchadnezzar. The army of the king of Babylon was then besieging(C) Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was confined(D) in the courtyard of the guard(E) in the royal palace of Judah.

Now Zedekiah king of Judah had imprisoned him there, saying, “Why do you prophesy(F) as you do? You say, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am about to give this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will capture(G) it. Zedekiah(H) king of Judah will not escape(I) the Babylonians[a](J) but will certainly be given into the hands of the king of Babylon, and will speak with him face to face and see him with his own eyes. He will take(K) Zedekiah to Babylon, where he will remain until I deal with him,(L) declares the Lord. If you fight against the Babylonians, you will not succeed.’”(M)

Jeremiah said, “The word of the Lord came to me: Hanamel son of Shallum your uncle is going to come to you and say, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth,(N) because as nearest relative it is your right and duty(O) to buy it.’

“Then, just as the Lord had said, my cousin Hanamel came to me in the courtyard of the guard and said, ‘Buy my field(P) at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. Since it is your right to redeem it and possess it, buy it for yourself.’

“I knew that this was the word of the Lord; so I bought the field(Q) at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel and weighed out for him seventeen shekels[b] of silver.(R) 10 I signed and sealed the deed,(S) had it witnessed,(T) and weighed out the silver on the scales. 11 I took the deed of purchase—the sealed copy containing the terms and conditions, as well as the unsealed copy— 12 and I gave this deed to Baruch(U) son of Neriah,(V) the son of Mahseiah, in the presence of my cousin Hanamel and of the witnesses who had signed the deed and of all the Jews sitting in the courtyard of the guard.

13 “In their presence I gave Baruch these instructions: 14 ‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Take these documents, both the sealed(W) and unsealed copies of the deed of purchase, and put them in a clay jar so they will last a long time. 15 For this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.’(X)

16 “After I had given the deed of purchase to Baruch(Y) son of Neriah, I prayed to the Lord:

17 “Ah, Sovereign Lord,(Z) you have made the heavens and the earth(AA) by your great power and outstretched arm.(AB) Nothing is too hard(AC) for you. 18 You show love(AD) to thousands but bring the punishment for the parents’ sins into the laps(AE) of their children(AF) after them. Great and mighty God,(AG) whose name is the Lord Almighty,(AH) 19 great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds.(AI) Your eyes are open to the ways of all mankind;(AJ) you reward each person according to their conduct and as their deeds deserve.(AK) 20 You performed signs and wonders(AL) in Egypt(AM) and have continued them to this day, in Israel and among all mankind, and have gained the renown(AN) that is still yours. 21 You brought your people Israel out of Egypt with signs and wonders, by a mighty hand(AO) and an outstretched arm(AP) and with great terror.(AQ) 22 You gave them this land you had sworn to give their ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey.(AR) 23 They came in and took possession(AS) of it, but they did not obey you or follow your law;(AT) they did not do what you commanded them to do. So you brought all this disaster(AU) on them.

24 “See how the siege ramps(AV) are built up to take the city. Because of the sword, famine and plague,(AW) the city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians who are attacking it. What you said(AX) has happened,(AY) as you now see. 25 And though the city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians, you, Sovereign Lord, say to me, ‘Buy the field(AZ) with silver and have the transaction witnessed.(BA)’”

26 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 27 “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind.(BB) Is anything too hard for me?(BC) 28 Therefore this is what the Lord says: I am about to give this city into the hands of the Babylonians and to Nebuchadnezzar(BD) king of Babylon, who will capture it.(BE) 29 The Babylonians who are attacking this city will come in and set it on fire; they will burn it down,(BF) along with the houses(BG) where the people aroused my anger by burning incense on the roofs to Baal and by pouring out drink offerings(BH) to other gods.(BI)

30 “The people of Israel and Judah have done nothing but evil in my sight from their youth;(BJ) indeed, the people of Israel have done nothing but arouse my anger(BK) with what their hands have made,(BL) declares the Lord. 31 From the day it was built until now, this city(BM) has so aroused my anger and wrath that I must remove(BN) it from my sight. 32 The people of Israel and Judah have provoked(BO) me by all the evil(BP) they have done—they, their kings and officials,(BQ) their priests and prophets, the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem. 33 They turned their backs(BR) to me and not their faces; though I taught(BS) them again and again, they would not listen or respond to discipline.(BT) 34 They set up their vile images(BU) in the house that bears my Name(BV) and defiled(BW) it. 35 They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom(BX) to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molek,(BY) though I never commanded—nor did it enter my mind(BZ)—that they should do such a detestable(CA) thing and so make Judah sin.(CB)

36 “You are saying about this city, ‘By the sword, famine and plague(CC) it will be given into the hands of the king of Babylon’; but this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 37 I will surely gather(CD) them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger(CE) and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety.(CF) 38 They will be my people,(CG) and I will be their God. 39 I will give them singleness(CH) of heart and action, so that they will always fear(CI) me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them. 40 I will make an everlasting covenant(CJ) with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire(CK) them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me.(CL) 41 I will rejoice(CM) in doing them good(CN) and will assuredly plant(CO) them in this land with all my heart and soul.(CP)

42 “This is what the Lord says: As I have brought all this great calamity(CQ) on this people, so I will give them all the prosperity I have promised(CR) them. 43 Once more fields will be bought(CS) in this land of which you say, ‘It is a desolate(CT) waste, without people or animals, for it has been given into the hands of the Babylonians.’ 44 Fields will be bought for silver, and deeds(CU) will be signed, sealed and witnessed(CV) in the territory of Benjamin, in the villages around Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the towns of the hill country, of the western foothills and of the Negev,(CW) because I will restore(CX) their fortunes,[c] declares the Lord.”

Promise of Restoration

33 While Jeremiah was still confined(CY) in the courtyard(CZ) of the guard, the word of the Lord came to him a second time:(DA) “This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth,(DB) the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name:(DC) ‘Call(DD) to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable(DE) things you do not know.’ For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says about the houses in this city and the royal palaces of Judah that have been torn down to be used against the siege(DF) ramps(DG) and the sword in the fight with the Babylonians[d]: ‘They will be filled with the dead bodies of the people I will slay in my anger and wrath.(DH) I will hide my face(DI) from this city because of all its wickedness.

“‘Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal(DJ) my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace(DK) and security. I will bring Judah(DL) and Israel back from captivity[e](DM) and will rebuild(DN) them as they were before.(DO) I will cleanse(DP) them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive(DQ) all their sins of rebellion against me. Then this city will bring me renown,(DR) joy, praise(DS) and honor(DT) before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble(DU) at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.’


  1. Jeremiah 32:4 Or Chaldeans; also in verses 5, 24, 25, 28, 29 and 43
  2. Jeremiah 32:9 That is, about 7 ounces or about 200 grams
  3. Jeremiah 32:44 Or will bring them back from captivity
  4. Jeremiah 33:5 Or Chaldeans
  5. Jeremiah 33:7 Or will restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel

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