Zedekiah’s Request Denied

21 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord when King Zedekiah sent Pashhur(A) son of Malchijah and the priest Zephaniah(B) son of Maaseiah to Jeremiah, asking, “Inquire of the Lord on our behalf, since King Nebuchadnezzar[a](C) of Babylon is making war against us. Perhaps the Lord will perform for us something like all his past wondrous works so that Nebuchadnezzar will withdraw from us.”

But Jeremiah answered, “This is what you are to say to Zedekiah: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I am about to repel the weapons of war in your hands,(D) those you are using to fight the king of Babylon and the Chaldeans[b] who are besieging you outside the wall, and I will bring them into the center of this city.(E) I myself will fight against you(F) with an outstretched hand and a strong arm,(G) with anger, fury, and intense wrath. I will strike the residents of this city, both people and animals. They will die in a severe plague. Afterward—this is the Lord’s declaration—King Zedekiah of Judah, his officers, and the people—those in this city who survive the plague, the sword, and the famine—I will hand over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon,(H) to their enemies, yes, to those who intend to take their lives. He will put them to the sword; he won’t spare them or show pity or compassion.’(I)

A Warning for the People

“But tell this people, ‘This is what the Lord says: Look, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death.(J) Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine, and plague, but whoever goes out and surrenders to the Chaldeans who are besieging you will live and will retain his life like the spoils of war.(K) 10 For I have set my face against this city to bring disaster and not good(L)—this is the Lord’s declaration. It will be handed over to the king of Babylon, who will burn it.’(M)

11 “And to the house of the king of Judah say this: ‘Hear the word of the Lord! 12 House of David, this is what the Lord says:

Administer justice every morning,
and rescue the victim of robbery
from his oppressor,(N)
or my anger will flare up like fire
and burn unquenchably
because of your evil deeds.
13 Beware! I am against you,(O)
you who sit above the valley,
you atop the rocky plateau—
this is the Lord’s declaration—
you who say, “Who can come down against us?(P)
Who can enter our hiding places?”
14 I will punish you according to what you have done(Q)
this is the Lord’s declaration.
I will kindle a fire in your forest(R)
that will consume everything around it.’”(S)

Judgment against Sinful Kings

22 This is what the Lord says: “Go down to the palace of the king of Judah and announce this word there. You are to say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, king of Judah, you who sit on the throne of David(T)—you, your officers, and your people who enter these gates. This is what the Lord says: Administer justice and righteousness.(U) Rescue the victim of robbery from his oppressor.(V) Don’t exploit or brutalize the resident alien, the fatherless, or the widow.(W) Don’t shed innocent blood in this place. For if you conscientiously carry out this word, then kings sitting on David’s throne will enter through the gates of this palace(X) riding on chariots and horses—they, their officers, and their people. But if you do not obey these words, then I swear by myself(Y)—this is the Lord’s declaration—that this house will become a ruin.’”(Z)

For this is what the Lord says concerning the house of the king of Judah:

“You are like Gilead(AA) to me,
or the summit of Lebanon,
but I will certainly turn you into a wilderness,
uninhabited cities.
I will set apart destroyers(AB) against you,
each with his weapons.
They will cut down the choicest of your cedars
and throw them into the fire.

“Many nations will pass by this city and ask one another, ‘Why did the Lord do such a thing to this great city?’ They will answer, ‘Because they abandoned the covenant(AC) of the Lord their God and bowed in worship to other gods and served them.’”(AD)

A Message concerning Shallum

10 Do not weep for the dead;
do not mourn for him.
Weep bitterly for the one who has gone away,
for he will never return again
and see his native land.(AE)

11 For this is what the Lord says concerning Shallum(AF) son of Josiah, king of Judah, who became king in place of his father Josiah, and who has left this place: “He will never return here again, 12 but he will die in the place where they deported him, never seeing this land again.”

A Message concerning Jehoiakim

13 Woe for the one who builds his palace
through unrighteousness,(AG)
his upstairs rooms through injustice,
who makes his neighbor serve without pay
and will not give him his wages,(AH)
14 who says, “I will build myself a massive palace,
with spacious upstairs rooms.”
He will cut windows[c] in it,
and it will be paneled with cedar(AI)
and painted bright red.
15 Are you a king because you excel in cedar?
Didn’t your father eat and drink
and administer justice and righteousness?(AJ)
Then it went well with him.
16 He took up the case of the poor and needy;(AK)
then it went well.
Is this not what it means to know me?
This is the Lord’s declaration.
17 But you have eyes and a heart for nothing
except your own dishonest profit,
shedding innocent blood
and committing extortion and oppression.(AL)

18 Therefore, this is what the Lord says concerning Jehoiakim(AM) son of Josiah, king of Judah:

They will not mourn for him, saying,
“Woe, my brother!” or “Woe, my sister!”
They will not mourn for him, saying,
“Woe, lord! Woe, his majesty!”
19 He will be buried like a donkey,(AN)
dragged off and thrown
outside Jerusalem’s gates.

20 Go up to Lebanon and cry out;
raise your voice in Bashan;
cry out from Abarim,(AO)
for all your lovers[d] have been crushed.(AP)
21 I spoke to you when you were secure.
You said, “I will not listen.”
This has been your way since youth;(AQ)
indeed, you have never listened to me.
22 The wind will take charge of[e] all your shepherds,
and your lovers will go into captivity.
Then you will be ashamed and humiliated(AR)
because of all your evil.
23 You residents of Lebanon,
nestled among the cedars,
how you will groan[f] when pains come on you,
agony like a woman in labor.(AS)

A Message concerning Coniah

24 “As I live”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“though you, Coniah[g](AT) son of Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, were a signet ring(AU) on my right hand, I would tear you from it. 25 In fact, I will hand you over to those you dread,(AV) who intend to take your life, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the Chaldeans. 26 I will hurl you and the mother who gave birth(AW) to you into another land,(AX) where neither of you were born, and there you will both die. 27 They will never return to the land they long to return to.”

28 Is this man Coniah a despised, shattered pot,(AY)
a jar no one wants?
Why are he and his descendants hurled out
and cast into a land they have not known?
29 Earth, earth, earth,
hear the word of the Lord!

30 This is what the Lord says:

Record this man as childless,(AZ)
a man who will not be successful in his lifetime.
None of his descendants will succeed
in sitting on the throne of David(BA)
or ruling again in Judah.

Footnotes

  1. 21:2 Lit Nebuchadrezzar
  2. 21:4 = Babylonians
  3. 22:14 Lit my windows
  4. 22:20 Or friends, or allies, also in v. 22
  5. 22:22 Lit will shepherd
  6. 22:23 LXX, Syr, Vg; MT reads will be pitied
  7. 22:24 = Jehoiachin

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