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The Babylonians Withdraw to Meet a Threat from Egypt

37 And king Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, whom Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, had made king, reigned as king in the land of Judah in place of Coniah, the son of Jehoiakim. But he and his servants and the people of the land did not listen to the words of Yahweh that he spoke by the hand of Jeremiah the prophet. And king Zedekiah sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, to Jeremiah the prophet, saying,[a] “Please pray for us to Yahweh our God.” Now Jeremiah was coming and going out in the midst of the people and they had not put him in the house of imprisonment. And the army of Pharaoh had come out from Egypt, and the Chaldeans, who were laying siege to Jerusalem, heard their report and they withdrew from Jerusalem.

And the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah the prophet, saying,[b] “Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, ‘This is what you shall say to the king of Judah, who sent you to me to inquire of me, “Look, the army of Pharaoh, which set out to help you, is going to return to his land Egypt. And the Chaldeans will return, and they will fight against this city, and they will capture it, and they will burn it with fire.”’ Thus says Yahweh: ‘You must not deceive yourselves, saying,[c] “Surely the Chaldeans will go from us,” for they will not go. 10 For even if you struck the whole army of the Chaldeans who are fighting against you, and only men pierced through remained among them, each one in his tent, they would rise up and they would burn this city with fire.’”

Jeremiah is Arrested and Put in Prison

11 And then,[d] at the withdrawing of the army of the Chaldeans from Jerusalem before[e] the army of Pharaoh, 12 Jeremiah set out from Jerusalem to go to the land of Benjamin to receive a portion from there in the midst of the people. 13 And when[f] he was at the Gate of Benjamin, there was a sentry on duty[g] whose name was Irijah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah, and he seized Jeremiah the prophet, saying,[h] “You are deserting to the Chaldeans!” 14 And Jeremiah said, “That is a lie! I am not deserting to the Chaldeans.” But he would not listen to him. So Irijah seized Jeremiah and brought him to the officials. 15 And the officials were angry at Jeremiah and they struck him. And they put him in prison,[i] in the house of Jonathan the secretary, for they had converted it to the prison[j]. 16 So Jeremiah came to the dungeon[k], even to the vaulted cells, and Jeremiah stayed there many days.

17 Then King Zedekiah sent and fetched him. And the king questioned him in secrecy in his house, and he said, “Is there a word from Yahweh?” And Jeremiah said, “There is.” And he said, “You will be given into the hand of the king of Babylon.”

18 Then Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, “What did I do wrong to you, or to your servants, or to this people, that you have put me in prison?[l] 19 And where are your prophets who prophesied to you, saying,[m] ‘The king of Babylon will not come against you and against this land’? 20 Now then, my lord the king, please let my plea fall before you.[n] You must not send me back to the house of Jonathan the secretary, so that I will not die there.” 21 So King Zedekiah commanded, and they handed Jeremiah over in the courtyard of the guard, and they gave to him a round loaf of bread from the street of the bakers every day[o] until the finishing of all the bread from the city. And Jeremiah stayed in the courtyard of the guard.


  1. Jeremiah 37:3 Literally “to say”
  2. Jeremiah 37:6 Literally “to say”
  3. Jeremiah 37:9 Literally “to say”
  4. Jeremiah 37:11 Literally “And it will happen”
  5. Jeremiah 37:11 Literally “from the face of”
  6. Jeremiah 37:13 Literally “And it was”
  7. Jeremiah 37:13 Literally “an owner of supervision”
  8. Jeremiah 37:13 Literally “to say”
  9. Jeremiah 37:15 Literally “the house of the fetters”
  10. Jeremiah 37:15 Literally “house of the imprisonment”
  11. Jeremiah 37:16 Literally “house of the cistern”
  12. Jeremiah 37:18 Literally “the house of the imprisonment”
  13. Jeremiah 37:19 Literally “to say”
  14. Jeremiah 37:20 Literally “to the face of you”
  15. Jeremiah 37:21 Literally “for the day”

Jeremiah in Prison

37 Zedekiah(A) son of Josiah was made king(B) of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; he reigned in place of Jehoiachin[a](C) son of Jehoiakim. Neither he nor his attendants nor the people of the land paid any attention(D) to the words the Lord had spoken through Jeremiah the prophet.

King Zedekiah, however, sent(E) Jehukal(F) son of Shelemiah with the priest Zephaniah(G) son of Maaseiah to Jeremiah the prophet with this message: “Please pray(H) to the Lord our God for us.”

Now Jeremiah was free to come and go among the people, for he had not yet been put in prison.(I) Pharaoh’s army had marched out of Egypt,(J) and when the Babylonians[b] who were besieging Jerusalem heard the report about them, they withdrew(K) from Jerusalem.(L)

Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire(M) of me, ‘Pharaoh’s army, which has marched(N) out to support you, will go back to its own land, to Egypt.(O) Then the Babylonians will return and attack this city; they will capture(P) it and burn(Q) it down.’

“This is what the Lord says: Do not deceive(R) yourselves, thinking, ‘The Babylonians will surely leave us.’ They will not! 10 Even if you were to defeat the entire Babylonian[c] army that is attacking you and only wounded men were left in their tents, they would come out and burn(S) this city down.”

11 After the Babylonian army had withdrawn(T) from Jerusalem because of Pharaoh’s army, 12 Jeremiah started to leave the city to go to the territory of Benjamin to get his share of the property(U) among the people there. 13 But when he reached the Benjamin Gate,(V) the captain of the guard, whose name was Irijah son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah, arrested him and said, “You are deserting to the Babylonians!”(W)

14 “That’s not true!” Jeremiah said. “I am not deserting to the Babylonians.” But Irijah would not listen to him; instead, he arrested(X) Jeremiah and brought him to the officials. 15 They were angry with Jeremiah and had him beaten(Y) and imprisoned(Z) in the house(AA) of Jonathan the secretary, which they had made into a prison.

16 Jeremiah was put into a vaulted cell in a dungeon, where he remained a long time. 17 Then King Zedekiah sent(AB) for him and had him brought to the palace, where he asked(AC) him privately,(AD) “Is there any word from the Lord?”

“Yes,” Jeremiah replied, “you will be delivered(AE) into the hands of the king of Babylon.”

18 Then Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, “What crime(AF) have I committed against you or your attendants or this people, that you have put me in prison? 19 Where are your prophets(AG) who prophesied to you, ‘The king of Babylon will not attack you or this land’? 20 But now, my lord the king, please listen. Let me bring my petition before you: Do not send me back to the house of Jonathan the secretary, or I will die there.”(AH)

21 King Zedekiah then gave orders for Jeremiah to be placed in the courtyard of the guard and given a loaf of bread from the street of the bakers each day until all the bread(AI) in the city was gone.(AJ) So Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard.(AK)


  1. Jeremiah 37:1 Hebrew Koniah, a variant of Jehoiachin
  2. Jeremiah 37:5 Or Chaldeans; also in verses 8, 9, 13 and 14
  3. Jeremiah 37:10 Or Chaldean; also in verse 11