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God Rejects King Zedekiah’s Request

21 This is the word that the Lord spoke to Jeremiah. It came when Zedekiah king of Judah [C ruled 597–586 bc] sent Pashhur son of Malkijah [C not the same man as in 20:1; 38:1; 1 Chr. 9:12] and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah [29:25, 29; 37:3; 52:24; 2 Kin. 25:18] to Jeremiah. They said, “·Ask [Inquire of; L Seek] the Lord for us what will happen, because Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is ·attacking [fighting against] us. Maybe the Lord will do ·miracles [wonderful works] for us as he did in the past so ·Nebuchadnezzar will stop attacking us and leave [he will go up from us].”

But Jeremiah answered them, “Tell King Zedekiah this: ‘Here is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: You have weapons of war in your hands to defend yourselves against the king of Babylon and the ·Babylonians [L Chaldeans], who are all around the city wall. But I will ·make those weapons useless [turn them against you]. Soon I will ·bring [assemble] them [C the weapons] into the center of this city. In my anger, my ·very great anger [fury and great wrath], I myself will fight against you with my ·great power [outstretched hand] and ·strength [strong arm]. I will ·kill [strike] ·everything living in Jerusalem [L the inhabitants of this city]—both people and animals. They will die from ·terrible diseases [plagues; pestilence]. Then, says the Lord, I’ll hand over Zedekiah king of Judah, his officers, and the people in Jerusalem who do not die from the ·terrible diseases [plagues; pestilence] or ·battle [L sword] or ·hunger [famine], ·to [L into the hands of] Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon [L and into the hands of their enemies]. ·I will let those win who want to kill the people of Judah [L …and into the hands of those who seek their lives], so ·the people of Judah and Jerusalem will be killed in war [L he will strike them with the edge of the sword]. Nebuchadnezzar will not show any mercy or pity or ·feel sorry [compassion] for them!’

“Also tell this to this people [C of Jerusalem]: ‘This is what the Lord says: I ·will let you choose to live or die [L place before you the way of life and the way of death; Deut. 30:11–20]. Anyone who ·stays [resides] in Jerusalem will die ·in war [L by sword] or from ·hunger [famine] or from a ·terrible disease [plague; pestilence]. But anyone who goes out [C of Jerusalem] and ·surrenders to [L falls before] the ·Babylonians [L Chaldeans] who are ·attacking [L besieging] you will live. Anyone who leaves the city will save his life as if it were ·a prize won [L plunder] in war. 10 I have ·decided to make trouble for [L set my face against] this city and not ·to help it [L for good], says the Lord. I will give it to the king of Babylon, and he will burn it with fire.’

11 “Say to ·Judah’s royal family [L the house of the king of Judah]: ‘Hear the word of the Lord. 12 ·Family [L House] of David, this is what the Lord says:

You must judge people ·fairly [with justice] every morning.
    ·Save [Protect; Rescue] the person who has been robbed
    from the ·power [L hand] of his ·attacker [oppressor].
If you don’t, ·I will become very angry [L my wrath will come out like fire].
    ·My anger will be like a fire that no one can put out [L It will burn and no one can extinguish; 2 Kin. 25:9],
because you have done evil things.

13 “‘I am against you [C Jerusalem],
    you who live ·on top of the mountain
    over this valley [L in the valley, the rock of the plain], says the Lord.
You say, “·No one can attack [L Who can come down against…?] us
    or come into our ·strong city [refuge].”
14 But I will give you the punishment you deserve, says the Lord.
    I will ·start [kindle] a fire in your forests
    that will ·burn up [L devour] everything around you!’”