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Zedekiah to Die in Exile

34 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army and all the kingdoms of the earth of his dominion and all the people fought against Jerusalem and against all the cities, saying: Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah and tell him: Thus says the Lord: I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will burn it with fire. And you will not escape out of his hand, but will surely be taken and delivered into his hand. And you will see the king of Babylon eye to eye, and he will speak with you face to face, and you will go to Babylon.

Yet hear the word of the Lord, O Zedekiah king of Judah! Thus says the Lord concerning you: You will not die by the sword. But you will die in peace; and as spices were burned for your fathers, the former kings who were before you, so they burn spices for you. And they will lament for you, saying, “Alas, lord!” For I have pronounced the word, says the Lord.

Then Jeremiah the prophet spoke all these words to Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem, when the king of Babylon’s army fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish and Azekah, for these fortified cities remained of the cities of Judah.

Slaves to be Free

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord after the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who were in Jerusalem to proclaim liberty to them: that every man should let his male slave and every man his female slave, being a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, go free so that no one should keep them, a Jew his brother, in bondage. 10 Now when all the officials and all the people who had entered into the covenant heard that everyone should let his male slave and everyone his female slave go free, so that no one should keep them any more in bondage, then they obeyed and let them go. 11 But afterward they turned around and caused the male slaves and the female slaves whom they had set free to return, and brought them into subjection for male slaves and female slaves.

12 Therefore the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: 13 Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, saying: 14 “At the end of seven years, each of you shall set free his Hebrew brother who has been sold to you; and when he has served you six years, you shall let him go free from you.” But your fathers did not obey Me nor incline their ear. 15 You recently turned and did what was right in My sight by proclaiming liberty, every man to his neighbor; and you made a covenant before Me in the house that is called by My name. 16 But then you turned around and profaned My name when every one of you took back his male and female slaves, whom you had set free, at their pleasure, and you brought them into subjection to be your slaves.

17 Therefore thus says the Lord: You have not obeyed Me in proclaiming liberty, everyone to his brother and every man to his neighbor. I proclaim a liberty to you, says the Lord, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you a terror to all the kingdoms of the earth. 18 I will give the men who have transgressed My covenant, who have not performed the words of the covenant which they had made before Me, when they cut the calf in two and passed between the parts, 19 the officials of Judah and the officials of Jerusalem, the court officers, and the priests, and all the people of the land, who passed between the parts of the calf, 20 I will even give them into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their life; and their dead bodies shall be food to the fowl of heaven and to the beasts of the earth.

21 Zedekiah king of Judah and his officials I will give into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their life and into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, which has gone away from you. 22 I will command, says the Lord, and cause them to return to this city, and they will fight against it and take it and burn it with fire; and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without an inhabitant.