38 1 By the motion of the rulers Jeremiah is put into a dungeon.  14 At the request of Ebed-Melech the King commandeth Jeremiah to be brought forth of the dungeon. 17 Jeremiah showeth the King how he might escape death.

Then Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of [a]Malchiah, heard the words that Jeremiah had spoken unto all the people, saying,

Thus saith the Lord, He that remaineth in this city, shall die by the sword, by the famine and by the pestilence: but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans, shall live: for he shall have his life for [b]a prey, and shall live.

Thus saith the Lord, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babel’s army, which shall take it.

Therefore the Princes said unto the king, We beseech you, let this man be put to death: for thus he [c]weakeneth the hands of the men of war [d]that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the wealth of this people, but the hurt.

Then Zedekiah the king said, Behold, he is in your hands, for the king can deny [e]you nothing.

Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison: and they let down Jeremiah with cords: and in the dungeon there was no water but mire: so Jeremiah stuck fast in the mire.

Now when Ebed-Melech ye [f]black Moor, one of the Eunuchs which was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon, (then the king sat in the [g]gate of Benjamin)

And Ebed-Melech went out of the king’s house, and spake to the king, saying,

My lord the king, [h]these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the Prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon, and he dieth for hunger in the place where he is: for there is no more bread in the city.

10 Then the king commanded Ebed-Melech the black Moor, saying, Take from hence thirty men [i]with thee, and take Jeremiah the Prophet out of the dungeon before he die.

11 So Ebed-Melech took the men with him, and went to the house of the king under the treasury, and took there old rotten rags, and old worn clouts, and let them down by cords into the dungeon to Jeremiah.

12 And Ebed-Melech the black Moor said unto Jeremiah, Put now these old rotten rags and worn, under thine arm holes, between the cords. And Jeremiah did so.

13 So they drew up Jeremiah with cords, and took him up out of the dungeon, and Jeremiah remained in the [j]court of the prison.

14 ¶ Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took Jeremiah the Prophet unto him, into the third entry that is in the House of the Lord, and the king said unto Jeremiah, I will ask thee a thing: hide nothing from me.

15 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, If I declare it unto thee, wilt thou not slay me? and if I give thee counsel, thou wilt not hear me.

16 So the King sware secretly unto Jeremiah, saying, As the Lord liveth, that made us these souls, I will not slay thee, nor give thee into the hands of those men that seek thy life.

17 Then said Jeremiah unto Zedekiah, Thus saith the Lord God of hosts the God of Israel, If thou wilt go forth unto the king of Babel’s [k]princes, then thy soul shall live, and this city shall not be burnt up with fire, and thou shalt live, and thine house.

18 But if thou wilt not go forth to the king of Babel’s princes, then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and thou shalt not escape out of their hands.

19 And Zedekiah the king said unto Jeremiah, I am careful for the Jews that are fled unto the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hands, and they [l]mock me.

20 But Jeremiah said, They shall not deliver thee: hearken unto the voice of the Lord, I beseech thee, which I speak unto thee: so shall it be well unto thee, and thy soul shall live.

21 But if thou wilt refuse to go forth, this is the word that the Lord hath showed me.

22 And behold, all the women that are [m]left in the king of Judah’s house, shall be brought forth to the king of Babel’s princes, and those women shall say, Thy friends have persuaded thee, and have prevailed against thee: thy feet are fastened in the mire, and they are turned back.

23 So they shall bring out all thy wives, and thy children to the Chaldeans, and thou shalt not escape out of their hands, but shalt be taken by the hand of the king of Babel: and this city shalt thou cause to be burnt with fire.

24 Then said Zedekiah unto Jeremiah, Let no man know of these words, and thou shalt not die.

25 But if the princes understand that I have talked with thee, and they come unto thee, and say unto thee, Declare unto us now, what thou hast said unto the king, hide it not from us, and we will not slay thee: also what the King said unto thee,

26 Then shalt thou say unto them, I humbly [n]besought the king that he would not cause me to return to Jonathan’s house, to die there.

27 Then came all the princes unto Jeremiah and asked him, And he told them according to all these words that the king had commanded: so they left off speaking with him, for the matter was not perceived.

28 So Jeremiah abode still in the court of the prison until the day that Jerusalem was taken: and he was there when Jerusalem was taken.


  1. Jeremiah 38:1 For Zedekiah had sent these to Jeremiah, to inquire at the Lord for the state of the country now when Nebuchadnezzar came, as Jer. 21:1.
  2. Jeremiah 38:2 Read Jer. 21:9 and 45:5.
  3. Jeremiah 38:4 Or, discourageth.
  4. Jeremiah 38:4 Thus we see how the wicked when they cannot abide to hear the truth of God’s word, seek to put the ministers to death, as transgressors of policies.
  5. Jeremiah 38:5 Wherein he grievously offended in that that not only he would not hear the truth spoken by the Prophet, but also gave him to the lusts of the wicked to be cruelly entreated.
  6. Jeremiah 38:7 Hebrew, Cushite, or Ethiopian.
  7. Jeremiah 38:7 To hear matters and give sentence.
  8. Jeremiah 38:9 Hereby is declared that the Prophet found more favor at this stranger’s hands, than he did by all them of his country, which was to their great condemnation.
  9. Jeremiah 38:10 Hebrew, under thine hand.
  10. Jeremiah 38:13 Where the king had set him before to be at more liberty, as Jer. 37:21.
  11. Jeremiah 38:17 And yield thyself unto them.
  12. Jeremiah 38:19 Which declareth that he more feared the reproach of men, than the threatenings of God.
  13. Jeremiah 38:22 When Jeconiah and his mother, with others, were carried away, these women of the king’s house were left: which shall be taken, saith the Prophet, and tell the king of Babel how Zedekiah hath been seduced by his familiar friends and false prophets, which have left him in the mire.
  14. Jeremiah 38:26 Herein appeareth the infirmity of the Prophet, who did dissemble to save his life albeit it was not to the denial of his doctrine, or to the hurt of any.