Jeremiah 38-40 Amplified Bible (AMP)
Jeremiah Thrown into the Cistern
38 Now Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, and Jucal (also called Jehucal) the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchijah heard the words that Jeremiah was speaking to all the people, saying, 2 “So says the Lord, ‘He who remains in this city will die by the sword, by famine, and by virulent disease (pestilence), but he who goes out to the Chaldeans [of Babylon] will live and have his [own] life as a reward and stay alive.’ 3 Thus says the Lord, ‘This city will certainly be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon and he will take it.’” 4 Therefore the princes (court officials) said to the king, “Please [we implore you] let this man [Jeremiah] be put to death; for [speaking] in this way he discourages and weakens [the will of] the soldiers who remain in this city and he discourages and weakens [the will of] all the people by speaking such words to them; for this man is not seeking the well-being of these people, but rather their harm.” 5 Then King Zedekiah [fearing the princes] said, “Listen, he is in your hand; for the king is in no position to do anything against you.” 6 So they took Jeremiah and threw him into the [a]cistern of Malchijah the king’s son, which was in the court of the guardhouse; and they let Jeremiah down [into the cistern] with ropes. Now there was no water in the cistern but only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud. 7 Now Ebed-melech the Ethiopian (Cushite), one of the eunuchs who was in the king’s palace, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the cistern, and while the king was sitting in the Gate of Benjamin, 8 Ebed-melech went out of the king’s palace and spoke to the king, saying, 9 “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 [of hunger] where he is because of the famine, for there is no more bread in the city.” 10 Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, “Take thirty men from here with you and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.” 11 So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went into the palace of the king to a place under the storeroom and took from there old rags and worn-out clothes and let them down by ropes into the cistern to Jeremiah. 12 Then Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, “Now put these old rags and worn-out clothes under your armpits, then place the ropes under the padding”; and Jeremiah did so. 13 So they pulled Jeremiah up with the ropes and took him up out of the cistern; and Jeremiah remained in the court of the guardhouse.
14 Then King Zedekiah sent and 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 ask you something; hide nothing from me.” 15 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “If I tell you, will you not certainly put me to death? Even if I do give you advice, you will not listen to me.” 16 But King Zedekiah swore secretly to Jeremiah, “As the Lord lives, who made our lives, be assured that I will not put you to death or put you into the hand of these men who are seeking your life.”
Interview with Zedekiah
17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “Thus says the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘If you will go out and surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, then you will live and this city will not be burned with fire; and you and your household will live. 18 But if you will not go out to the officers of the king of Babylon, then this city will be given into the hand of the Chaldeans [of Babylon] and they will set it on fire; and you yourself will not escape from their hand.’” 19 Then King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Jews [my former subjects] who have deserted to join the Chaldeans, for the enemy may put me into their hand and they will mock me and abuse me.” 20 But Jeremiah said, “They will not hand you over [to them]. Please obey [the voice of] the Lord [who speaks to you through me] in what I am saying to you. Then it will go well with you and you will live. 21 But if you keep refusing to go out and surrender to them, this is the word [and the vision] which the Lord has shown me: 22 ‘Then behold, all the women who are left in the palace of the king of Judah will be brought out to the officers of the king of Babylon and those women will say [to you, King Zedekiah],
“Your close friends
23 Also, all your wives and your children will be brought out to the Chaldeans; and you yourself will not escape from their hand, but you will be seized by the king of Babylon, and this city [Jerusalem] will be burned down with fire.’”
24 Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Let no man know about this conversation and you will not die. 25 But if the princes (court officials) hear that I have talked with you, and they come to you and say, ‘Tell us now what you said to the king and what he said to you; do not hide it from us and we will not execute you,’ 26 then you are to say to them, ‘I was presenting my [humble] petition and plea to the king so that he would not send me back to Jonathan’s house to die there.’” 27 Then all the princes (court officials) came to Jeremiah and asked him [just what King Zedekiah had anticipated they would ask], and he reported to them in accordance with all that the king had commanded. So they stopped questioning him, since the conversation [with the king] had not been overheard. 28 So Jeremiah remained in the court of the guardhouse until the day that Jerusalem was captured [by the Chaldeans of Babylon].
39 Now regarding the capture of Jerusalem: In the ninth year of [the reign of] Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and besieged it; 2 and in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, they breached the wall and broke into the city. 3 Then all the officials of the king of Babylon came in and sat in the Middle Gate [establishing both military control of the city and their authority to judge the captives]: Nergal-sar-ezer, Samgar-nebu, Sar-sekim the Rab-saris (chief of the eunuchs), and [b]Nergal-sar-ezer the Rab-mag (chief of the magicians), with all the rest of the officials of the king of Babylon. 4 When Zedekiah the king of Judah and all the men of war saw them, they fled and escaped from the city at night by way of the king’s garden, through the gate between the two walls; and the king went out toward the Arabah (Jordan Valley). 5 But the Chaldean (Babylonian) army pursued them and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. When they had seized him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon at Riblah in the [Aramean] land of Hamath, where he passed sentence on him. 6 Then at Riblah the king of Babylon killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes; the king of Babylon also killed all the nobles of Judah. 7 Moreover, he blinded Zedekiah and bound him with bronze shackles to take him to Babylon. 8 The Chaldeans also burned down the king’s palace and the houses of the people, and they broke down the walls of Jerusalem. 9 Then Nebuzaradan the [chief executioner and] captain of the bodyguard took the rest of the people who remained in the city, along with those who had deserted and surrendered to him, and the rest of the [so-called better class of] people who were left and carried them into exile in Babylon. 10 But Nebuzaradan the [Babylonian] captain of the bodyguard left behind in the land of Judah some of the poor people who had nothing, and gave them vineyards and fields at that time.
11 Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave orders concerning Jeremiah through Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard, saying, 12 “Take him and look after him; do nothing to harm him, but rather deal with him just as he asks of you.” 13 So Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard sent word, along with Nebushazban the Rab-saris (chief of the high officials), and Nergal-sar-ezer the Rab-mag (chief of the magicians), and all the leading officers of the king of Babylon; 14 they even sent and took Jeremiah out of the court of the guardhouse and entrusted him to Gedaliah [a prominent citizen], the son of Ahikam [who had once saved Jeremiah’s life], the son of Shaphan, to take him home [with him to Mizpah]. So Jeremiah [was released and] lived among the people.
15 Now the word of the Lord had come to Jeremiah while he was [still] confined in the court of the guardhouse, saying, 16 “Go and speak to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold, I am about to bring My words [of judgment] against this city through disaster and not for good; and they will take place before you on that day. 17 But I will [c]protect you [Ebed-melech] on that day,” says the Lord, “and you will not be handed over to the men of whom you are afraid. 18 For I will certainly rescue you; and you will not fall by the sword, but you will have your [own] life as a reward of battle, because you have placed your trust in Me,” says the Lord.’”
Jeremiah Remains in Judah
40 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord after Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard had released him from Ramah, when he had taken him bound in chains among all the captives of Jerusalem and Judah who were being taken as exiles to Babylon. 2 And the captain of the bodyguard had taken Jeremiah and said to him, “The Lord your God promised this disaster on this place. 3 Now the Lord has brought it about and has done just as He promised. Because you [people of Judah] have sinned against the Lord and did not listen to and honor His voice, therefore this thing has happened to you. 4 But now, listen carefully, [because of your innocence] I am freeing you today from the chains which are on your hands. If you would prefer to come with me to Babylon, come, and I will look after you [carefully]; but if you would prefer not to come with me to Babylon, then do not do so. Look, all the land is before you; go wherever it seems good and right (convenient) for you to go.” 5 While Jeremiah was still hesitating, the captain of the bodyguard said, “Go on back then to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has appointed [governor] over the cities of Judah, and stay with him among the people; or else go wherever it seems right for you to go.” So the captain of the bodyguard gave him an allowance of food and a gift and let him go. 6 Then Jeremiah went to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam at Mizpah and stayed with him among the people who were left in the land.
7 Now when all the commanders of the forces that were [scattered] in the open country [of Judah] and their men heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam governor in the land [of Judah] and had put him in charge of the men, women, and children, those of the poorest of the land who had not been exiled to Babylon, 8 they went to Gedaliah at Mizpah—Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah the son of the Maacathite, they and their men. 9 Then Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, swore to them and their men, saying, “Do not be afraid to serve the Chaldeans; stay in this land and serve the king of Babylon, that it may go well with you. 10 As for me, I am going to stay at Mizpah to stand [for you] before the Chaldeans who come to us [ministering to them and looking after the king’s interests]; but as for you, gather in wine, summer fruit and oil and store them in your utensils [designed for such purposes], and live in your cities that you have taken over.” 11 Likewise, when all the Jews who were in Moab and among the people of Ammon and in Edom and who were in all the [other] countries heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant [of the people] in Judah and had appointed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan over them [as governor], 12 then all the Jews returned from all the places to which they had been driven and came back to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah, and gathered a great abundance of wine and summer fruits.
13 Moreover, Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were [scattered] in the open country came to Gedaliah at Mizpah 14 and said to him, “Do you know that Baalis the king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to take your life?” But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam did not believe them. 15 Then Johanan the son of Kareah spoke secretly to Gedaliah in Mizpah, saying, “Let me go and kill Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and not a man will know [who is responsible]. Why should he kill you and cause all the Jews who are gathered near you to be scattered and the remnant of Judah to perish?” 16 But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said to Johanan the son of Kareah, “Do not do this thing, for you are lying about Ishmael.”
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