Jeremiah Warns against Trust in Pharaoh

37 Now (A)Zedekiah the son of Josiah whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had (B)made king in the land of Judah, reigned as king in place of (C)Coniah the son of Jehoiakim. But (D)neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land listened to the words of the Lord which He spoke through Jeremiah the prophet.

Yet (E)King Zedekiah sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and (F)the priest Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, to Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “(G)Please pray to the Lord our God in our behalf.” Now Jeremiah was still coming and going among the people, for they had not yet (H)put him in prison. Meanwhile, (I)Pharaoh’s army had set out from Egypt; and when the Chaldeans who had been besieging Jerusalem heard the report about them, they (J)withdrew from Jerusalem.

Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: ‘(K)This is what you are to say to the king of Judah, who sent you to Me to inquire of Me: “Behold, (L)Pharaoh’s army, which has come out to help you, is going to return to its own land of Egypt. Then the Chaldeans will (M)return and fight against this city, and they will capture it and burn it with fire.”’ This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not (N)deceive yourselves, saying, “The Chaldeans will certainly go away from us,” for they will not go. 10 For (O)even if you had defeated the entire army of Chaldeans who were fighting against you, and there were only wounded men left among them, each man in his tent, they would rise up and (P)burn this city with fire.’”

Jeremiah Imprisoned

11 Now it happened when the army of the Chaldeans had withdrawn from Jerusalem because of Pharaoh’s army, 12 that Jeremiah left Jerusalem to go to the land of Benjamin in order to (Q)take [a]possession of some property there among the people. 13 While he was at the (R)Gate of Benjamin, a captain of the guard whose name was Irijah, the son of Shelemiah the son of Hananiah was there; and he (S)arrested Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “You are deserting to the Chaldeans!” 14 But Jeremiah said, “(T)A lie! I am not deserting to the Chaldeans”; yet he would not listen to him. So Irijah arrested Jeremiah and brought him to the officials. 15 Then the officials were (U)angry at Jeremiah and they beat him, and (V)put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe, for they had made it into the prison. 16 For Jeremiah had come into the [b](W)dungeon, that is, the vaulted cell; and Jeremiah stayed there many days.

17 Now King Zedekiah sent men and took him out; and in his palace the king (X)secretly asked him and said, “Is there a (Y)word from the Lord?” And Jeremiah said, “There is!” Then he said, “You will be (Z)handed over to the king of Babylon!” 18 Moreover, Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, “(AA)In what way have I sinned against you, or your servants, or this people, that you have put me in prison? 19 And (AB)where are your prophets who prophesied to you, saying, ‘The (AC)king of Babylon will not come against you or against this land’? 20 But now, please listen, my lord the king; please let my (AD)plea [c]come before you and do not make me return to the house of Jonathan the scribe, so that I will not die there.” 21 Then King Zedekiah gave a command, and they placed Jeremiah in custody in the (AE)courtyard of the guardhouse, and gave him a loaf of (AF)bread daily from the bakers’ street, until all the bread in the city was (AG)gone. So Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guardhouse.

Jeremiah Thrown into the Cistern

38 Now Shephatiah the son of Mattan, Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, Jucal the (AH)son of Shelemiah, and (AI)Pashhur the son of Malchijah heard the words that Jeremiah was speaking to all the people, saying, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Anyone who (AJ)stays in this city will die by the (AK)sword, by famine, or by plague; but anyone who surrenders to the Chaldeans will live and have his own (AL)life as plunder, and stay alive.’ This is what the Lord says: ‘This city will certainly be (AM)handed over to the army of the king of Babylon and he will capture it.’” Then the (AN)officials said to the king, “Please have this man put to death, since he is [d](AO)discouraging the men of war who are left in this city and [e]all the people, by speaking words like these to them; for this man (AP)is not seeking the well-being of this people, but rather their harm.” And King Zedekiah said, “Behold, he is in your [f]hands; for the king (AQ)can do nothing against you.” So they took Jeremiah and threw him into the (AR)cistern of Malchijah the king’s son, which was in the courtyard of the guardhouse; and they let Jeremiah down with ropes. Now in the cistern there was no water but only (AS)mud, and Jeremiah sank into the mud. But (AT)Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, a [g](AU)eunuch, while he was in the king’s palace, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the cistern. Now the king was sitting at the (AV)Gate of Benjamin; and Ebed-melech went out from the king’s palace and spoke to the king, saying, “My lord the king, these men have acted wickedly in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet whom they have thrown into the cistern; and he will die right where he is because of the famine, for there is (AW)no more bread in the city.” 10 Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, “Take thirty men from here [h]under your authority and bring Jeremiah the prophet up from the cistern before he dies.” 11 So Ebed-melech took the men under his [i]authority and went into the king’s palace to a place beneath the storeroom, and took from there worn-out clothes and worn-out rags, and let them down by ropes into the cistern to Jeremiah. 12 Then Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, “Now put these worn-out clothes and rags under your armpits under the ropes”; and Jeremiah did so. 13 So they pulled Jeremiah out with the ropes and lifted him out of the cistern, and Jeremiah stayed in the (AX)courtyard of the guardhouse.

Zedekiah Seeks an Answer from God

14 Then King Zedekiah (AY)sent word and [j]had Jeremiah the prophet brought to him at the third entrance that is in the house of the Lord; and the king said to Jeremiah, “I am going to (AZ)ask you something; do not hide anything from me.” 15 And Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “(BA)If I tell you, will you not certainly put me to death? Besides, if I give you advice, you will not listen to me.” 16 But King Zedekiah swore to Jeremiah in (BB)secret, saying, “As the Lord lives, who made this [k](BC)life for us, I certainly will not put you to death, nor will I hand you over to (BD)these men who are seeking your [l]life.”

17 So Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “This is what the Lord (BE)God of armies, the (BF)God of Israel says: ‘If you will indeed (BG)surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, then [m]you will live, this city will not be burned with fire, and you and your household will [n]survive. 18 But if you do (BH)not surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, then this city (BI)will be handed over to the Chaldeans; and they will burn it with fire, and (BJ)you yourself will not escape from their hands.’” 19 Then King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am (BK)in fear of the Jews who have (BL)deserted to the Chaldeans, for they may hand me over to them, and they will (BM)abuse me.” 20 But Jeremiah said, “They will not turn you over. Please [o](BN)obey the Lord in what I am saying to you, so that it may go (BO)well for you and [p](BP)you may live. 21 But if you keep refusing to surrender, this is the word which the Lord has shown me: 22 ‘Behold, all of the (BQ)women who have been left in the palace of the king of Judah are going to be brought out to the officers of the king of Babylon; and those women will say,

[q]Your close friends
Have misled and overpowered you;
While your feet were sunk in the mire,
They turned back.”

23 They are also going to bring out all your wives and your (BR)sons to the Chaldeans, and (BS)you yourself will not escape from their hand, but will be seized by the hand of the king of Babylon, and (BT)this city will be burned with fire.’”

24 Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Let no one know about these words, and you will not die. 25 But if the (BU)officials hear that I have talked with you and come to you and say to you, ‘Tell us now what you said to the king and what the king said to you; do not hide it from us and we will not put you to death,’ 26 then you are to say to them, ‘I was (BV)presenting my plea before the king, not to make me return to the house of Jonathan to die there.’” 27 Then all the officials came to Jeremiah and questioned him. So he reported to them in accordance with all these words which the king had commanded; and they stopped speaking with him, since the [r]conversation had not been overheard. 28 So Jeremiah (BW)stayed in the courtyard of the guard until the day that Jerusalem was captured.


  1. Jeremiah 37:12 Or part in a dividing
  2. Jeremiah 37:16 Lit house of the cistern-pit
  3. Jeremiah 37:20 Lit fall
  4. Jeremiah 38:4 Lit making slack the hands of
  5. Jeremiah 38:4 Lit the hands of all
  6. Jeremiah 38:5 Lit hand
  7. Jeremiah 38:7 Or high official
  8. Jeremiah 38:10 Lit in your hand
  9. Jeremiah 38:11 Lit hand
  10. Jeremiah 38:14 Lit took Jeremiah the prophet to him
  11. Jeremiah 38:16 Lit soul
  12. Jeremiah 38:16 Lit soul
  13. Jeremiah 38:17 Lit your soul
  14. Jeremiah 38:17 Lit live
  15. Jeremiah 38:20 Lit listen to the voice of
  16. Jeremiah 38:20 Lit your soul
  17. Jeremiah 38:22 Lit The men of your peace
  18. Jeremiah 38:27 Lit word