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Jeremiah 21 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

God Rejects King Zedekiah’s Request

21 This is the message that came to Jeremiah from the Lord. This was when King Zedekiah of Judah sent Pashhur[a] son of Malkijah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah to Jeremiah. They brought a message for Jeremiah. They said to Jeremiah, “Pray to the Lord for us. Ask him what will happen. We want to know, because King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon is attacking us. Maybe the Lord will do great things for us, as he did in the past. Maybe he will make Nebuchadnezzar stop attacking us and leave.”

Then Jeremiah answered Pashhur and Zephaniah. He said, “Tell King Zedekiah, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: You have weapons of war in your hands that you are using to defend yourselves from the Babylonians and their king. But I will make those weapons worthless.

“‘The army from Babylon is outside the wall all around the city. Soon I will bring that army into Jerusalem. I myself will fight against you people of Judah. I will fight against you with my own powerful hand. I am very angry with you, so I will fight against you with my own powerful arm. I will fight very hard against you and show how angry I am. I will kill everything living in Jerusalem, both people and animals. They will die from a terrible disease that will spread all through the city. After that happens,’” says the Lord, “‘I will give King Zedekiah of Judah and all his officials to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. And I will give to Nebuchadnezzar the people who remain alive in Jerusalem—those who did not die from the terrible disease and the people who did not die in war or from hunger. I will give them all to King Nebuchadnezzar. The people of Judah will be captured by their enemies who want to kill them. Nebuchadnezzar’s army will use their swords to kill the people of Judah and Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar will not show any mercy. He will not feel sorry for them.’

“Also tell the people of Jerusalem, ‘This is what the Lord says: Understand that I will let you choose to live or die. Anyone who stays in Jerusalem will die in war or from hunger or disease. But anyone who goes out of Jerusalem and surrenders to the Babylonians attacking you will live. Only those who leave the city will win anything in this war—their lives! 10 I have decided to make trouble for the city of Jerusalem. I will not help this city! I will give it to the king of Babylon, who will burn it with fire.’” This message is from the Lord.

11 “Say this to Judah’s royal family: ‘Listen to the message from the Lord. 12 Family of David, this is what the Lord says:

“‘You must judge people fairly every day.
    Protect the victims from the criminals.
If you don’t do that, I will become very angry.
    My anger will be like a fire that no one will be able to put out.
    This will happen because you have done evil things.’

13 “Jerusalem, I am against you.
    You sit on top of the mountain.
    You sit like a queen over this valley.
You people of Jerusalem say,
    ‘No one can attack us.
    No one can come into our strong city.’”
This message is from the Lord.

14 “You will get the punishment you deserve.
    I will start a fire in your forests
    that will completely burn everything around you.”
This message is from the Lord.


  1. Jeremiah 21:1 Pashhur This is not the same Pashhur as the man in Jer. 20:1.
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International

Jeremiah 21 New International Version (NIV)

God Rejects Zedekiah’s Request

21 The word came to Jeremiah from the Lord when King Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur son of Malkijah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah. They said: “Inquire now of the Lord for us because Nebuchadnezzar[a] king of Babylon is attacking us. Perhaps the Lord will perform wonders for us as in times past so that he will withdraw from us.”

But Jeremiah answered them, “Tell Zedekiah, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I am about to turn against you the weapons of war that are in your hands, which you are using to fight the king of Babylon and the Babylonians[b] who are outside the wall besieging you. And I will gather them inside this city. I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm in furious anger and in great wrath. I will strike down those who live in this city—both man and beast—and they will die of a terrible plague. After that, declares the Lord, I will give Zedekiah king of Judah, his officials and the people in this city who survive the plague, sword and famine, into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and to their enemies who want to kill them. He will put them to the sword; he will show them no mercy or pity or compassion.’

“Furthermore, tell the people, ‘This is what the Lord says: See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death. Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague. But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; they will escape with their lives. 10 I have determined to do this city harm and not good, declares the Lord. It will be given into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will destroy it with fire.’

11 “Moreover, say to the royal house of Judah, ‘Hear the word of the Lord. 12 This is what the Lord says to you, house of David:

“‘Administer justice every morning;
    rescue from the hand of the oppressor
    the one who has been robbed,
or my wrath will break out and burn like fire
    because of the evil you have done—
    burn with no one to quench it.
13 I am against you, Jerusalem,
    you who live above this valley
    on the rocky plateau, declares the Lord
you who say, “Who can come against us?
    Who can enter our refuge?”
14 I will punish you as your deeds deserve,
    declares the Lord.
I will kindle a fire in your forests
    that will consume everything around you.’”


  1. Jeremiah 21:2 Hebrew Nebuchadrezzar, of which Nebuchadnezzar is a variant; here and often in Jeremiah and Ezekiel
  2. Jeremiah 21:4 Or Chaldeans; also in verse 9
New International Version (NIV)

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