Jeremiah 34New Life Version (NLV)
God Speaks to Zedekiah
34 This is the word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army and all the nations of the earth that were under his rule, and all the people, were fighting against Jerusalem and all its cities: 2 “The Lord God of Israel says, ‘Go and say to Zedekiah king of Judah, “This is what the Lord says: ‘See, I am giving this city to the king of Babylon, and he will burn it with fire. 3 And you will not get away from him. You will be taken and given into his hand. You will see the king of Babylon eye to eye, and he will speak with you face to face. And you will go to Babylon.’”’ 4 Yet hear the Word of the Lord, O Zedekiah king of Judah! The Lord says this about you: ‘You will not die by the sword. 5 You will die in peace. And as spices were burned for your fathers, the kings who were before you, so they will burn spices for you and cry in sorrow for you, “It is bad, lord!”’ I Myself have said this,” says the Lord.
6 Then Jeremiah the man of God told all this to King Zedekiah of Judah in Jerusalem, 7 when the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and all the cities that were left of Judah. These cities were Lachish and Azekah. They were the only strong cities left in Judah that were ready for war.
Servants Were to Be Free
8 This is the word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, after King Zedekiah had made an agreement to set free 9 their Hebrew male and female servants so that no one would have a Hebrew servant work for him. 10 And all the leaders and all the people obeyed, who had joined in the agreement that every man should set his male and female servants free. No one was to keep them working any longer for him. So they obeyed and set them free. 11 But after this they turned around and took back the male and female servants whom they had set free. They brought them back and made them work for them again as male and female servants.
12 Then the Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, 13 “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I made an agreement with your fathers when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the house where they were made to work. I said to them, 14 “At the end of seven years each of you must set free his Hebrew brother, who has been sold to you and has served you for six years. You must send him away from you as a free man.” But your fathers did not obey Me, or listen to Me. 15 Not long ago you had turned and done what is right in My eyes. Each man told his neighbor that he was free. And you had made an agreement before Me in the house which is called by My name. 16 Yet you turned and sinned against My name. Each man took back his male and female servant whom you had set free to go where they wished. And you brought them under your power again to be your male and female servants.’
17 “So the Lord says, ‘You have not obeyed Me. Each man has not set his brother or his neighbor free. So I am letting you free,’ says the Lord, ‘free to fall by the sword, by disease, and by hunger. I will cause you to be hated and feared by all the nations of the earth. 18 I will take the men who have sinned against My agreement, who have not kept the words of the agreement they made before Me when they cut the calf in two and passed between its parts. 19 I will take these leaders of Judah, and leaders of Jerusalem, the king’s servants, the religious leaders, and all the people of the land who passed between the parts of the calf. 20 And I will give them over to those who hate them and to those who want to kill them. Their dead bodies will be food for the birds of the sky and the wild animals of the earth. 21 I will give Zedekiah king of Judah and his captains over to those who hate them and to those who want to kill them. I will give them to the army of the king of Babylon which has left from you. 22 See,’ says the Lord, ‘I will tell them to come back to this city. And they will fight against it and take it and burn it with fire. I will make the cities of Judah a waste place where no people live.’”