Jeremiah 37-41 Amplified Bible (AMP)
Jeremiah Warns against Trust in Pharaoh
37 Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made Zedekiah the son of Josiah king in the land of Judah so he reigned as king instead of Coniah (also called Jeconiah and Jehoiachin) the son of Jehoiakim. 2 But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land listened to the words of the Lord which He spoke through the prophet Jeremiah.
3 Yet King Zedekiah sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah [along] with Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “Please pray [now] to the Lord our God for us.” 4 Now Jeremiah was coming and going among the people, for they had not [yet] put him in prison. 5 Meanwhile, Pharaoh’s army had set out from Egypt; and when the Chaldeans who were besieging Jerusalem heard the news about them, they withdrew from Jerusalem.
6 Then the word of the Lord came to the prophet Jeremiah: 7 “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘This is what you are to say to the king of Judah, who sent you to Me to inquire of Me: “Behold, Pharaoh’s army, which has come out to help you, will return to Egypt, to their own land. 8 And the Chaldeans [of Babylon] will come again and fight against this city, and they will capture it and set it on fire.”’ 9 Thus says the Lord, ‘Do not deceive yourselves, saying, “The Chaldeans will certainly stay away from us,” for they will not stay away. 10 For even if you had defeated the whole army of the Chaldeans who fight against you, and there remained only the wounded men among them, yet they would rise up, every man confined in his tent, and burn down this city with fire.’”
11 Now it happened when the army of the Chaldeans departed from Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh’s [approaching] army, 12 that Jeremiah left Jerusalem [during the withdrawal of the Chaldean invaders] to go to [Anathoth, his hometown, in] the land of Benjamin to take possession of [the title to] the land [which he had purchased] there among the people. 13 When he was at the Gate of Benjamin, a captain of the guard whose name was Irijah, the son of Shelemiah the son of Hananiah was there; and he seized and arrested Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “You are deserting to join the Chaldeans [of Babylon]!” 14 But Jeremiah said, “That is a lie! I am not deserting to join the Chaldeans.” But the guard would not listen to him. So Irijah took Jeremiah and brought him to the princes (court officials). 15 The princes were enraged with Jeremiah and beat him and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe—for they had made that the prison. 16 When Jeremiah had come into [a]the vaulted cell in the dungeon and had remained there many days,
17 Zedekiah the king sent and brought him out; and in his palace the king secretly asked him, “Is there any word from the Lord?” And Jeremiah said, “There is!” Then he said, “You will be handed over to the king of Babylon.” 18 Moreover, Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, “In what way have I sinned against you, or against your servants, or against this people, that you have put me in prison? 19 Where then are your prophets who prophesied to you, saying, ‘The king of Babylon will not come against you or against this land?’ 20 Therefore now, please listen, O my lord the king; please let my petition come before you and be acceptable and do not make me return to the house of Jonathan the scribe, that I may not die there.” 21 Then King Zedekiah commanded, and they committed Jeremiah to the court of the guardhouse, and a [round] loaf of bread from the bakers’ street was given to him daily, until all the bread in the city was gone. So Jeremiah remained [imprisoned] in the court of the guardhouse.
Jeremiah Thrown into the Cistern
38 Now Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, and Jucal (also called Jehucal) the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchijah heard the words that Jeremiah was speaking to all the people, saying, 2 “So says the Lord, ‘He who remains in this city will die by the sword, by famine, and by virulent disease (pestilence), but he who goes out to the Chaldeans [of Babylon] will live and have his [own] life as a reward and stay alive.’ 3 Thus says the Lord, ‘This city will certainly be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon and he will take it.’” 4 Therefore the princes (court officials) said to the king, “Please [we implore you] let this man [Jeremiah] be put to death; for [speaking] in this way he discourages and weakens [the will of] the soldiers who remain in this city and he discourages and weakens [the will of] all the people by speaking such words to them; for this man is not seeking the well-being of these people, but rather their harm.” 5 Then King Zedekiah [fearing the princes] said, “Listen, he is in your hand; for the king is in no position to do anything against you.” 6 So they took Jeremiah and threw him into the [b]cistern of Malchijah the king’s son, which was in the court of the guardhouse; and they let Jeremiah down [into the cistern] with ropes. Now there was no water in the cistern but only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud. 7 Now Ebed-melech the Ethiopian (Cushite), one of the eunuchs who was in the king’s palace, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the cistern, and while the king was sitting in the Gate of Benjamin, 8 Ebed-melech went out of the king’s palace and spoke to the king, saying, 9 “My lord the king, these men have acted wickedly in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet whom they have thrown into the cistern; and he will die [of hunger] where he is because of the famine, for there is no more bread in the city.” 10 Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, “Take thirty men from here with you and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.” 11 So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went into the palace of the king to a place under the storeroom and took from there old rags and worn-out clothes and let them down by ropes into the cistern to Jeremiah. 12 Then Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, “Now put these old rags and worn-out clothes under your armpits, then place the ropes under the padding”; and Jeremiah did so. 13 So they pulled Jeremiah up with the ropes and took him up out of the cistern; and Jeremiah remained in the court of the guardhouse.
14 Then King Zedekiah sent and had Jeremiah the prophet brought to him at the third entrance that is in the house of the Lord. And the king said to Jeremiah, “I am going to ask you something; hide nothing from me.” 15 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “If I tell you, will you not certainly put me to death? Even if I do give you advice, you will not listen to me.” 16 But King Zedekiah swore secretly to Jeremiah, “As the Lord lives, who made our lives, be assured that I will not put you to death or put you into the hand of these men who are seeking your life.”
Interview with Zedekiah
17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “Thus says the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘If you will go out and surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, then you will live and this city will not be burned with fire; and you and your household will live. 18 But if you will not go out to the officers of the king of Babylon, then this city will be given into the hand of the Chaldeans [of Babylon] and they will set it on fire; and you yourself will not escape from their hand.’” 19 Then King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Jews [my former subjects] who have deserted to join the Chaldeans, for the enemy may put me into their hand and they will mock me and abuse me.” 20 But Jeremiah said, “They will not hand you over [to them]. Please obey [the voice of] the Lord [who speaks to you through me] in what I am saying to you. Then it will go well with you and you will live. 21 But if you keep refusing to go out and surrender to them, this is the word [and the vision] which the Lord has shown me: 22 ‘Then behold, all the women who are left in the palace of the king of Judah will be brought out to the officers of the king of Babylon and those women will say [to you, King Zedekiah],
“Your close friends
23 Also, all your wives and your children will be brought out to the Chaldeans; and you yourself will not escape from their hand, but you will be seized by the king of Babylon, and this city [Jerusalem] will be burned down with fire.’”
24 Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Let no man know about this conversation and you will not die. 25 But if the princes (court officials) hear that I have talked with you, and they come to you and say, ‘Tell us now what you said to the king and what he said to you; do not hide it from us and we will not execute you,’ 26 then you are to say to them, ‘I was presenting my [humble] petition and plea to the king so that he would not send me back to Jonathan’s house to die there.’” 27 Then all the princes (court officials) came to Jeremiah and asked him [just what King Zedekiah had anticipated they would ask], and he reported to them in accordance with all that the king had commanded. So they stopped questioning him, since the conversation [with the king] had not been overheard. 28 So Jeremiah remained in the court of the guardhouse until the day that Jerusalem was captured [by the Chaldeans of Babylon].
39 Now regarding the capture of Jerusalem: In the ninth year of [the reign of] Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and besieged it; 2 and in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, they breached the wall and broke into the city. 3 Then all the officials of the king of Babylon came in and sat in the Middle Gate [establishing both military control of the city and their authority to judge the captives]: Nergal-sar-ezer, Samgar-nebu, Sar-sekim the Rab-saris (chief of the eunuchs), and [c]Nergal-sar-ezer the Rab-mag (chief of the magicians), with all the rest of the officials of the king of Babylon. 4 When Zedekiah the king of Judah and all the men of war saw them, they fled and escaped from the city at night by way of the king’s garden, through the gate between the two walls; and the king went out toward the Arabah (Jordan Valley). 5 But the Chaldean (Babylonian) army pursued them and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. When they had seized him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon at Riblah in the [Aramean] land of Hamath, where he passed sentence on him. 6 Then at Riblah the king of Babylon killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes; the king of Babylon also killed all the nobles of Judah. 7 Moreover, he blinded Zedekiah and bound him with bronze shackles to take him to Babylon. 8 The Chaldeans also burned down the king’s palace and the houses of the people, and they broke down the walls of Jerusalem. 9 Then Nebuzaradan the [chief executioner and] captain of the bodyguard took the rest of the people who remained in the city, along with those who had deserted and surrendered to him, and the rest of the [so-called better class of] people who were left and carried them into exile in Babylon. 10 But Nebuzaradan the [Babylonian] captain of the bodyguard left behind in the land of Judah some of the poor people who had nothing, and gave them vineyards and fields at that time.
11 Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave orders concerning Jeremiah through Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard, saying, 12 “Take him and look after him; do nothing to harm him, but rather deal with him just as he asks of you.” 13 So Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard sent word, along with Nebushazban the Rab-saris (chief of the high officials), and Nergal-sar-ezer the Rab-mag (chief of the magicians), and all the leading officers of the king of Babylon; 14 they even sent and took Jeremiah out of the court of the guardhouse and entrusted him to Gedaliah [a prominent citizen], the son of Ahikam [who had once saved Jeremiah’s life], the son of Shaphan, to take him home [with him to Mizpah]. So Jeremiah [was released and] lived among the people.
15 Now the word of the Lord had come to Jeremiah while he was [still] confined in the court of the guardhouse, saying, 16 “Go and speak to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold, I am about to bring My words [of judgment] against this city through disaster and not for good; and they will take place before you on that day. 17 But I will [d]protect you [Ebed-melech] on that day,” says the Lord, “and you will not be handed over to the men of whom you are afraid. 18 For I will certainly rescue you; and you will not fall by the sword, but you will have your [own] life as a reward of battle, because you have placed your trust in Me,” says the Lord.’”
Jeremiah Remains in Judah
40 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord after Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard had released him from Ramah, when he had taken him bound in chains among all the captives of Jerusalem and Judah who were being taken as exiles to Babylon. 2 And the captain of the bodyguard had taken Jeremiah and said to him, “The Lord your God promised this disaster on this place. 3 Now the Lord has brought it about and has done just as He promised. Because you [people of Judah] have sinned against the Lord and did not listen to and honor His voice, therefore this thing has happened to you. 4 But now, listen carefully, [because of your innocence] I am freeing you today from the chains which are on your hands. If you would prefer to come with me to Babylon, come, and I will look after you [carefully]; but if you would prefer not to come with me to Babylon, then do not do so. Look, all the land is before you; go wherever it seems good and right (convenient) for you to go.” 5 While Jeremiah was still hesitating, the captain of the bodyguard said, “Go on back then to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has appointed [governor] over the cities of Judah, and stay with him among the people; or else go wherever it seems right for you to go.” So the captain of the bodyguard gave him an allowance of food and a gift and let him go. 6 Then Jeremiah went to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam at Mizpah and stayed with him among the people who were left in the land.
7 Now when all the commanders of the forces that were [scattered] in the open country [of Judah] and their men heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam governor in the land [of Judah] and had put him in charge of the men, women, and children, those of the poorest of the land who had not been exiled to Babylon, 8 they went to Gedaliah at Mizpah—Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah the son of the Maacathite, they and their men. 9 Then Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, swore to them and their men, saying, “Do not be afraid to serve the Chaldeans; stay in this land and serve the king of Babylon, that it may go well with you. 10 As for me, I am going to stay at Mizpah to stand [for you] before the Chaldeans who come to us [ministering to them and looking after the king’s interests]; but as for you, gather in wine, summer fruit and oil and store them in your utensils [designed for such purposes], and live in your cities that you have taken over.” 11 Likewise, when all the Jews who were in Moab and among the people of Ammon and in Edom and who were in all the [other] countries heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant [of the people] in Judah and had appointed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan over them [as governor], 12 then all the Jews returned from all the places to which they had been driven and came back to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah, and gathered a great abundance of wine and summer fruits.
13 Moreover, Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were [scattered] in the open country came to Gedaliah at Mizpah 14 and said to him, “Do you know that Baalis the king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to take your life?” But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam did not believe them. 15 Then Johanan the son of Kareah spoke secretly to Gedaliah in Mizpah, saying, “Let me go and kill Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and not a man will know [who is responsible]. Why should he kill you and cause all the Jews who are gathered near you to be scattered and the remnant of Judah to perish?” 16 But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said to Johanan the son of Kareah, “Do not do this thing, for you are lying about Ishmael.”
Gedaliah Is Murdered
41 Now in the [e]seventh month Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the royal family [of David] and one of the princes of the king, came [at the instigation of the Ammonites] with ten men to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam in Mizpah. As they were eating a meal together there in Mizpah, 2 Ishmael the son of Nethaniah and the ten men who were with him got up and struck down Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, with the sword and killed the one whom the king of Babylon had appointed [governor] over the land. 3 Ishmael also killed all the Jews who were [at the banquet] with Gedaliah at Mizpah, in addition to the Chaldean soldiers who were there.
4 Now it happened on the second day after the killing of Gedaliah, before anyone knew about it, 5 that eighty men came from Shechem, from Shiloh, and from Samaria with their beards shaved off and their clothes torn and their bodies cut, carrying in their hands grain offerings and incense to present at the [site of the] house of the Lord [in Jerusalem]. 6 Then Ishmael the son of Nethaniah went out from Mizpah to meet them, weeping [false tears] as he went. As he met them, he said to them, “Come to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam!” 7 Yet when they came into the city, Ishmael the son of Nethaniah and the men who were with him slaughtered them and threw them into the cistern (underground water reservoir). 8 But ten men who were among them said to Ishmael, “Do not kill us! We have stores of wheat and barley and oil and honey hidden in the field.” So he stopped and did not kill them along with their companions.
9 Now the cistern into which Ishmael had thrown all the corpses of the men whom he had killed along with Gedaliah was the one which King Asa [of Judah] had made [about three hundred years earlier] on account of King Baasha of Israel [believing that Baasha would lay siege to Mizpah]. Ishmael the son of Nethaniah filled it with [the bodies of] those who were killed. 10 Then Ishmael took captive all the rest of the people who were in Mizpah—even the king’s daughters (ladies of the court) and all the people who remained in Mizpah, whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard had put under the charge of Gedaliah the son of Ahikam. Ishmael the son of Nethaniah took them captive and crossed over [the Jordan] to [meet his allies] the Ammonites.
Johanan Rescues the People
11 But when Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were with him heard of the murderous behavior of Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, 12 they took all their men and went to fight with Ishmael the son of Nethaniah and found him by the great pool in Gibeon. 13 Now when all the [captive] people who were with Ishmael saw Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were with him, they were glad. 14 So all the people whom Ishmael had taken captive from Mizpah turned around and came back, and joined Johanan the son of Kareah. 15 But Ishmael the son of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with eight men and went to join the Ammonites. 16 Then Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were with him took from Mizpah all the people whom he had rescued from Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, after Ishmael had killed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam: the soldiers, the women, the children, and the high officials whom Johanan had brought back from Gibeon. 17 And they went and stayed in Geruth [the lodging place of] Chimham, which is near Bethlehem, intending to go to Egypt 18 because of the Chaldeans; for they were afraid of them because Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had killed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon had appointed [governor] over the land [and whose death the king might avenge].
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
It looks like you’re already subscribed to Bible Gateway Plus! To manage your subscription, visit your Bible Gateway account settings.
Upgrade to the best Bible Gateway experience! With Bible Gateway Plus, you gain instant access to a digital Bible study library, including complete notes from the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible and the New Bible Commentary. Try it free for 30 days!
Three easy steps to start your free trial subscription to Bible Gateway Plus.