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Jeremiah 21 New Century Version (NCV)

God Rejects King Zedekiah’s Request

21 This is the word that the Lord spoke to Jeremiah. It came when Zedekiah king of Judah sent Pashhur son of Malkijah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah to Jeremiah. They said, “Ask the Lord for us what will happen, because Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is attacking us. Maybe the Lord will do miracles for us as he did in the past so Nebuchadnezzar will stop attacking us and leave.”

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, who are all around the city wall. But I will make those weapons useless. Soon I will bring them into the center of this city. In my anger, my very great anger, I myself will fight against you with my great power and strength. I will kill everything living in Jerusalem—both people and animals. They will die from terrible diseases. 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 or battle or hunger, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. I will let those win who want to kill the people of Judah, so the people of Judah and Jerusalem will be killed in war. Nebuchadnezzar will not show any mercy or pity or feel sorry for them!’

“Also tell this to the people of Jerusalem: ‘This is what the Lord says: I will let you choose to live or die. Anyone who stays in Jerusalem will die in war or from hunger or from a terrible disease. But anyone who goes out of Jerusalem and surrenders to the Babylonians who are attacking you will live. Anyone who leaves the city will save his life as if it were a prize won in war. 10 I have decided to make trouble for this city and not to help it, 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: ‘Hear the word of the Lord. 12 Family of David, this is what the Lord says:

You must judge people fairly every morning.
    Save the person who has been robbed
    from the power of his attacker.
If you don’t, I will become very angry.
    My anger will be like a fire that no one can put out,
    because you have done evil things.

13 “‘Jerusalem, I am against you,
    you who live on top of the mountain
    over this valley, says the Lord.
You say, “No one can attack us
    or come into our strong city.”
14 But I will give you the punishment you deserve, says the Lord.
    I will start a fire in your forests
    that will burn up everything around you!’”

New Century Version (NCV)

The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Jeremiah 21 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Jeremiah’s Message for Zedekiah

21 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord when King Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur the son of Malchijah, and Zephaniah the priest the son of Maaseiah, saying, “Please inquire of the Lord for us, because [a]Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is making war against us. Perhaps the Lord will deal [favorably] with us according to all His wonderful works and force him to withdraw from us.”

Then Jeremiah said to them, “Say this to Zedekiah: ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “Behold, I will turn back and dull the edge of the weapons of war that are in your hands, [those] with which you fight against the king of Babylon and the [b]Chaldeans who are besieging you outside the walls; and I will bring them into the center of this city (Jerusalem). I Myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm in anger, in fury, and in great indignation and wrath. I will also strike the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast; they will die of a great virulent disease. Then afterward,” says the Lord, “I will hand over Zedekiah king of Judah and his servants and the people in this city who survive the virulent disease, the sword, and the famine, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of their enemy, into the hand of those who seek their lives. And he will strike them with the edge of the sword; he will not spare them nor have mercy and compassion on them.”’

“And to this people you (Jeremiah) shall also say, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death. He who remains in this city [of Jerusalem] will die by the sword and by famine and by virulent disease. But he who goes outside and surrenders to the [c]Chaldeans who are besieging you will live, and his life will be like a prize of war to him. 10 For I have set My face against this city to do harm and not good,” says the Lord. “It shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon and he will burn it with fire.”’

11 “And concerning the royal house of the king of Judah [you shall say], ‘Hear the word of the Lord, 12 O house of David, thus says the Lord:

“Administer justice in the morning,
And rescue the one who has been robbed from the hand of his oppressor,
That My wrath will not roar up like fire
And burn so [hotly] that none can extinguish it,
Because of the evil of their deeds.

“Understand this, I am against you, O inhabitant of the valley,
O rock of the plain,” says the Lord
“You who say, ‘Who will come down against us?
Or who will enter into our dwelling places?’
“But I will punish you in accordance with the [appropriate] consequences of your decisions and your actions,” says the Lord.
“I will kindle a fire in your forest,
And it will devour all that is around you.”’”


  1. Jeremiah 21:2 In Hebrew there are two ways of spelling the name of the ruler of Babylon resulting in two English variations: Nebuchadnezzar and Nebuchadrezzar. Nebuchadnezzar II of the Chaldean Dynasty, more commonly known as Nebuchadnezzar the Great, ruled Babylon from 605-562 b.c. He conquered Jerusalem in 597 b.c.
  2. Jeremiah 21:4 The Chaldeans dominated and ruled Babylonia from 625 b.c., until their empire fell in 539 b.c., but they were known as early as 1000 b.c. as an aggressive, tribal people in the southern region of Babylonia. They were highly skilled in both the science of astronomy and the pseudo-science of astrology. They kept meticulous records of celestial motion and correctly calculated the length of a year to within just a few minutes. Babylon, their capital city, was the center of trade and learning in the western part of Asia. The classical literature of the Chaldeans was written in cuneiform, but the common language, both written and spoken in Babylon, was Akkadian increasingly influenced by Aramaic.
  3. Jeremiah 21:9 The Chaldeans became the dominant people in Babylonia when Merodach-baladan declared himself king of Babylon. The words “Chaldean” and “Babylonian” are used interchangeably.
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Jeremiah 21 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

The Lord Will Fight against Jerusalem

21 King Zedekiah[a] of Judah sent for Pashhur son of Malchiah and for a priest named Zephaniah son of Maaseiah. Then he told them,”Talk with Jeremiah for me.”

So they came to me and said, “King Nebuchadnezzar[b] of Babylonia has attacked Judah. Please ask the Lord to work miracles for our people, as he has done in the past, so that Nebuchadnezzar will leave us alone.”

3-7 I told them that the Lord God of Israel had told me to say to King Zedekiah:

The Babylonians have surrounded Jerusalem and want to kill you and your people. You are asking me to save you, but you have made me furious. So I will stretch out my mighty arm and fight against you myself. Your army is using spears and swords to fight the Babylonians, but I will make your own weapons turn and attack you. I will send a horrible disease to kill many of the people and animals in Jerusalem, and there will be nothing left to eat. Finally, I will let King Nebuchadnezzar and his army fight their way to the center of Jerusalem and capture everyone who is left alive, including you and your officials. But Nebuchadnezzar won’t be kind or show any mercy—he will have you killed! I, the Lord, have spoken.

Then I told them that the Lord had said:

People of Jerusalem, I, the Lord, give you the choice of life or death. The Babylonian army has surrounded Jerusalem, so if you want to live, you must go out and surrender to them. But if you want to die because of hunger, disease, or war, then stay here in the city. 10 I have decided not to rescue Jerusalem. Instead, I am going to let the king of Babylonia burn it to the ground. I, the Lord, have spoken.

The Lord Warns the King of Judah

11 Pay attention, you that belong
    to the royal family.
12 Each new day, make sure
    that justice is done,
and rescue those
    who are being robbed.
Or else my anger will flame up
like a fire that never goes out.

13 Jerusalem,
    from your mountaintop
you look out over the valleys[c]
    and think you are safe.
But I, the Lord, am angry,
14 and I will punish you
    as you deserve.
I’ll set your palace[d] on fire,
and everything around you
    will go up in smoke.


  1. 21.1 Zedekiah: See the note at 1.3.
  2. 21.2 Nebuchadnezzar: Ruled 605-562 B.C.
  3. 21.13 Jerusalem. . . valleys: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  4. 21.14 your palace: The Hebrew text has “the forest”; the largest room in the king’s palace was known as Forest Hall (see 1 Kings 7.2,3).
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