Jeremiah in Prison

37 Zedekiah(A) son of Josiah was made king(B) of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; he reigned in place of Jehoiachin[a](C) son of Jehoiakim. Neither he nor his attendants nor the people of the land paid any attention(D) to the words the Lord had spoken through Jeremiah the prophet.

King Zedekiah, however, sent(E) Jehukal(F) son of Shelemiah with the priest Zephaniah(G) son of Maaseiah to Jeremiah the prophet with this message: “Please pray(H) to the Lord our God for us.”

Now Jeremiah was free to come and go among the people, for he had not yet been put in prison.(I) Pharaoh’s army had marched out of Egypt,(J) and when the Babylonians[b] who were besieging Jerusalem heard the report about them, they withdrew(K) from Jerusalem.(L)

Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire(M) of me, ‘Pharaoh’s army, which has marched(N) out to support you, will go back to its own land, to Egypt.(O) Then the Babylonians will return and attack this city; they will capture(P) it and burn(Q) it down.’

“This is what the Lord says: Do not deceive(R) yourselves, thinking, ‘The Babylonians will surely leave us.’ They will not! 10 Even if you were to defeat the entire Babylonian[c] army that is attacking you and only wounded men were left in their tents, they would come out and burn(S) this city down.”

11 After the Babylonian army had withdrawn(T) from Jerusalem because of Pharaoh’s army, 12 Jeremiah started to leave the city to go to the territory of Benjamin to get his share of the property(U) among the people there. 13 But when he reached the Benjamin Gate,(V) the captain of the guard, whose name was Irijah son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah, arrested him and said, “You are deserting to the Babylonians!”(W)

14 “That’s not true!” Jeremiah said. “I am not deserting to the Babylonians.” But Irijah would not listen to him; instead, he arrested(X) Jeremiah and brought him to the officials. 15 They were angry with Jeremiah and had him beaten(Y) and imprisoned(Z) in the house(AA) of Jonathan the secretary, which they had made into a prison.

16 Jeremiah was put into a vaulted cell in a dungeon, where he remained a long time. 17 Then King Zedekiah sent(AB) for him and had him brought to the palace, where he asked(AC) him privately,(AD) “Is there any word from the Lord?”

“Yes,” Jeremiah replied, “you will be delivered(AE) into the hands of the king of Babylon.”

18 Then Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, “What crime(AF) have I committed against you or your attendants or this people, that you have put me in prison? 19 Where are your prophets(AG) who prophesied to you, ‘The king of Babylon will not attack you or this land’? 20 But now, my lord the king, please listen. Let me bring my petition before you: Do not send me back to the house of Jonathan the secretary, or I will die there.”(AH)

21 King Zedekiah then gave orders for Jeremiah to be placed in the courtyard of the guard and given a loaf of bread from the street of the bakers each day until all the bread(AI) in the city was gone.(AJ) So Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard.(AK)

Jeremiah Thrown Into a Cistern

38 Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur(AL), Jehukal[d](AM) son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur son of Malkijah heard what Jeremiah was telling all the people when he said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague,(AN) but whoever goes over to the Babylonians[e] will live. They will escape with their lives; they will live.’(AO) And this is what the Lord says: ‘This city will certainly be given into the hands of the army of the king of Babylon, who will capture it.’”(AP)

Then the officials(AQ) said to the king, “This man should be put to death.(AR) He is discouraging(AS) the soldiers who are left in this city, as well as all the people, by the things he is saying to them. This man is not seeking the good of these people but their ruin.”

“He is in your hands,”(AT) King Zedekiah answered. “The king can do nothing(AU) to oppose you.”

So they took Jeremiah and put him into the cistern of Malkijah, the king’s son, which was in the courtyard of the guard.(AV) They lowered Jeremiah by ropes(AW) into the cistern; it had no water in it,(AX) only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud.(AY)

But Ebed-Melek,(AZ) a Cushite,[f] an official[g](BA) in the royal palace, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern. While the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate,(BB) Ebed-Melek went out of the palace and said to him, “My lord the king, these men have acted wickedly in all they have done to Jeremiah the prophet. They have thrown him into a cistern,(BC) where he will starve to death when there is no longer any bread(BD) in the city.”

10 Then the king commanded Ebed-Melek the Cushite, “Take thirty men from here with you and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.”

11 So Ebed-Melek took the men with him and went to a room under the treasury in the palace. He took some old rags and worn-out clothes from there and let them down with ropes(BE) to Jeremiah in the cistern. 12 Ebed-Melek the Cushite said to Jeremiah, “Put these old rags and worn-out clothes under your arms to pad the ropes.” Jeremiah did so, 13 and they pulled him up with the ropes and lifted him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard.(BF)

Zedekiah Questions Jeremiah Again

14 Then King Zedekiah sent(BG) for Jeremiah the prophet and had him brought to the third entrance to the temple of the Lord. “I am going to ask you something,” the king said to Jeremiah. “Do not hide(BH) anything from me.”

15 Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “If I give you an answer, will you not kill me? Even if I did give you counsel, you would not listen to me.”

16 But King Zedekiah swore this oath secretly(BI) to Jeremiah: “As surely as the Lord lives, who has given us breath,(BJ) I will neither kill you nor hand you over to those who want to kill you.”(BK)

17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “This is what the Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you surrender(BL) to the officers of the king of Babylon, your life will be spared and this city will not be burned down; you and your family will live.(BM) 18 But if you will not surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, this city will be given into the hands(BN) of the Babylonians and they will burn(BO) it down; you yourself will not escape(BP) from them.’”

19 King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid(BQ) of the Jews who have gone over(BR) to the Babylonians, for the Babylonians may hand me over to them and they will mistreat me.”

20 “They will not hand you over,” Jeremiah replied. “Obey(BS) the Lord by doing what I tell you. Then it will go well(BT) with you, and your life(BU) will be spared. 21 But if you refuse to surrender, this is what the Lord has revealed to me: 22 All the women(BV) left in the palace of the king of Judah will be brought out to the officials of the king of Babylon. Those women will say to you:

“‘They misled you and overcame you—
    those trusted friends(BW) of yours.
Your feet are sunk in the mud;(BX)
    your friends have deserted you.’

23 “All your wives and children(BY) will be brought out to the Babylonians. You yourself will not escape(BZ) from their hands but will be captured(CA) by the king of Babylon; and this city will[h] be burned down.”(CB)

24 Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Do not let anyone know(CC) about this conversation, or you may die. 25 If the officials hear that I talked with you, and they come to you and say, ‘Tell us what you said to the king and what the king said to you; do not hide it from us or we will kill you,’ 26 then tell(CD) them, ‘I was pleading with the king not to send me back to Jonathan’s house(CE) to die there.’”

27 All the officials did come to Jeremiah and question him, and he told them everything the king had ordered him to say. So they said no more to him, for no one had heard his conversation with the king.

28 And Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard(CF) until the day Jerusalem was captured.

The Fall of Jerusalem(CG)

This is how Jerusalem(CH) was taken: 39 In the ninth year of Zedekiah(CI) king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar(CJ) king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army and laid siege(CK) to it. And on the ninth day of the fourth(CL) month of Zedekiah’s eleventh year, the city wall(CM) was broken through.(CN) Then all the officials(CO) of the king of Babylon came and took seats in the Middle Gate: Nergal-Sharezer of Samgar, Nebo-Sarsekim a chief officer, Nergal-Sharezer a high official and all the other officials of the king of Babylon. When Zedekiah king of Judah and all the soldiers saw them, they fled; they left the city at night by way of the king’s garden, through the gate between the two walls,(CP) and headed toward the Arabah.[i](CQ)

But the Babylonian[j] army pursued them and overtook Zedekiah(CR) in the plains of Jericho. They captured(CS) him and took him to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon at Riblah(CT) in the land of Hamath, where he pronounced sentence on him. There at Riblah the king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes and also killed all the nobles(CU) of Judah. Then he put out Zedekiah’s eyes(CV) and bound him with bronze shackles to take him to Babylon.(CW)

The Babylonians[k] set fire(CX) to the royal palace and the houses of the people and broke down the walls(CY) of Jerusalem. Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard carried into exile to Babylon the people who remained in the city, along with those who had gone over to him,(CZ) and the rest of the people.(DA) 10 But Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard left behind in the land of Judah some of the poor people, who owned nothing; and at that time he gave them vineyards and fields.

11 Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had given these orders about Jeremiah through Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard: 12 “Take him and look after him; don’t harm(DB) him but do for him whatever he asks.” 13 So Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard, Nebushazban a chief officer, Nergal-Sharezer a high official and all the other officers(DC) of the king of Babylon 14 sent and had Jeremiah taken out of the courtyard of the guard.(DD) They turned him over to Gedaliah(DE) son of Ahikam,(DF) the son of Shaphan,(DG) to take him back to his home. So he remained among his own people.(DH)

15 While Jeremiah had been confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the Lord came to him: 16 “Go and tell Ebed-Melek(DI) the Cushite, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I am about to fulfill my words(DJ) against this city—words concerning disaster,(DK) not prosperity. At that time they will be fulfilled before your eyes. 17 But I will rescue(DL) you on that day, declares the Lord; you will not be given into the hands of those you fear. 18 I will save(DM) you; you will not fall by the sword(DN) but will escape with your life,(DO) because you trust(DP) in me, declares the Lord.’”

Jeremiah Freed

40 The word came to Jeremiah from the Lord after Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard had released him at Ramah.(DQ) He had found Jeremiah bound in chains among all the captives(DR) from Jerusalem and Judah who were being carried into exile to Babylon. When the commander(DS) of the guard found Jeremiah, he said to him, “The Lord your God decreed(DT) this disaster(DU) for this place.(DV) And now the Lord has brought it about; he has done just as he said he would. All this happened because you people sinned(DW) against the Lord and did not obey(DX) him. But today I am freeing(DY) you from the chains(DZ) on your wrists. Come with me to Babylon, if you like, and I will look after you; but if you do not want to, then don’t come. Look, the whole country lies before you; go wherever you please.”(EA) However, before Jeremiah turned to go,[l] Nebuzaradan added, “Go back to Gedaliah(EB) son of Ahikam,(EC) the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has appointed(ED) over the towns(EE) of Judah, and live with him among the people, or go anywhere else you please.”(EF)

Then the commander gave him provisions and a present(EG) and let him go. So Jeremiah went to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah(EH) and stayed with him among the people who were left behind in the land.

Gedaliah Assassinated(EI)

When all the army officers and their men who were still in the open country heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam as governor(EJ) over the land and had put him in charge of the men, women and children who were the poorest(EK) in the land and who had not been carried into exile to Babylon, they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah(EL)—Ishmael(EM) son of Nethaniah, Johanan(EN) and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite,(EO) and Jaazaniah[m] the son of the Maakathite,(EP) and their men. Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, took an oath to reassure them and their men. “Do not be afraid to serve(EQ) the Babylonians,[n](ER)” he said. “Settle down in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well with you.(ES) 10 I myself will stay at Mizpah(ET) to represent you before the Babylonians who come to us, but you are to harvest the wine,(EU) summer fruit and olive oil, and put them in your storage jars,(EV) and live in the towns you have taken over.”(EW)

11 When all the Jews in Moab,(EX) Ammon, Edom(EY) and all the other countries(EZ) heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant in Judah and had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, as governor over them, 12 they all came back to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah, from all the countries where they had been scattered.(FA) And they harvested an abundance of wine and summer fruit.

13 Johanan(FB) son of Kareah and all the army officers still in the open country came to Gedaliah at Mizpah(FC) 14 and said to him, “Don’t you know that Baalis king of the Ammonites(FD) has sent Ishmael(FE) son of Nethaniah to take your life?” But Gedaliah son of Ahikam did not believe them.

15 Then Johanan(FF) son of Kareah said privately to Gedaliah in Mizpah, “Let me go and kill(FG) Ishmael son of Nethaniah, and no one will know it. Why should he take your life and cause all the Jews who are gathered around you to be scattered(FH) and the remnant(FI) of Judah to perish?”

16 But Gedaliah son of Ahikam said to Johanan(FJ) son of Kareah, “Don’t do such a thing! What you are saying about Ishmael is not true.”

41 In the seventh month Ishmael(FK) son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, who was of royal blood and had been one of the king’s officers, came with ten men to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah. While they were eating together there, Ishmael(FL) son of Nethaniah and the ten men who were with him got up and struck down Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, with the sword,(FM) killing the one whom the king of Babylon had appointed(FN) as governor over the land.(FO) Ishmael also killed all the men of Judah who were with Gedaliah at Mizpah, as well as the Babylonian[o] soldiers who were there.

The day after Gedaliah’s assassination, before anyone knew about it, eighty men who had shaved off their beards,(FP) torn their clothes(FQ) and cut(FR) themselves came from Shechem,(FS) Shiloh(FT) and Samaria,(FU) bringing grain offerings and incense(FV) with them to the house of the Lord.(FW) Ishmael son of Nethaniah went out from Mizpah to meet them, weeping(FX) as he went. When he met them, he said, “Come to Gedaliah son of Ahikam.”(FY) When they went into the city, Ishmael son of Nethaniah and the men who were with him slaughtered them and threw them into a cistern.(FZ) But ten of them said to Ishmael, “Don’t kill us! We have wheat and barley, olive oil and honey, hidden in a field.”(GA) So he let them alone and did not kill them with the others. Now the cistern where he threw all the bodies of the men he had killed along with Gedaliah was the one King Asa(GB) had made as part of his defense(GC) against Baasha(GD) king of Israel. Ishmael son of Nethaniah filled it with the dead.

10 Ishmael made captives of all the rest of the people(GE) who were in Mizpah—the king’s daughters(GF) along with all the others who were left there, over whom Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam. Ishmael son of Nethaniah took them captive and set out to cross over to the Ammonites.(GG)

11 When Johanan(GH) son of Kareah and all the army officers who were with him heard about all the crimes Ishmael son of Nethaniah had committed, 12 they took all their men and went to fight(GI) Ishmael son of Nethaniah. They caught up with him near the great pool(GJ) in Gibeon. 13 When all the people(GK) Ishmael had with him saw Johanan son of Kareah and the army officers who were with him, they were glad. 14 All the people Ishmael had taken captive at Mizpah(GL) turned and went over to Johanan son of Kareah. 15 But Ishmael son of Nethaniah and eight of his men escaped(GM) from Johanan and fled to the Ammonites.

Flight to Egypt

16 Then Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers(GN) who were with him led away all the people of Mizpah who had survived,(GO) whom Johanan had recovered from Ishmael son of Nethaniah after Ishmael had assassinated Gedaliah son of Ahikam—the soldiers, women, children and court officials he had recovered from Gibeon. 17 And they went on, stopping at Geruth Kimham(GP) near Bethlehem(GQ) on their way to Egypt(GR) 18 to escape the Babylonians.[p] They were afraid(GS) of them because Ishmael son of Nethaniah had killed Gedaliah(GT) son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon had appointed as governor over the land.

42 Then all the army officers, including Johanan(GU) son of Kareah and Jezaniah[q] son of Hoshaiah,(GV) and all the people from the least to the greatest(GW) approached Jeremiah the prophet and said to him, “Please hear our petition and pray(GX) to the Lord your God for this entire remnant.(GY) For as you now see, though we were once many, now only a few(GZ) are left. Pray that the Lord your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do.”(HA)

“I have heard you,” replied Jeremiah the prophet. “I will certainly pray(HB) to the Lord your God as you have requested; I will tell(HC) you everything the Lord says and will keep nothing back from you.”(HD)

Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true(HE) and faithful(HF) witness(HG) against us if we do not act in accordance with everything the Lord your God sends you to tell us. Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it will go well(HH) with us, for we will obey(HI) the Lord our God.”

Ten days later the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah. So he called together Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers(HJ) who were with him and all the people from the least to the greatest.(HK) He said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your petition,(HL) says:(HM) 10 ‘If you stay in this land,(HN) I will build(HO) you up and not tear you down; I will plant(HP) you and not uproot you,(HQ) for I have relented concerning the disaster I have inflicted on you.(HR) 11 Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon,(HS) whom you now fear.(HT) Do not be afraid of him, declares the Lord, for I am with you and will save(HU) you and deliver you from his hands.(HV) 12 I will show you compassion(HW) so that he will have compassion on you and restore you to your land.’(HX)

13 “However, if you say, ‘We will not stay in this land,’ and so disobey(HY) the Lord your God, 14 and if you say, ‘No, we will go and live in Egypt,(HZ) where we will not see war or hear the trumpet(IA) or be hungry for bread,’(IB) 15 then hear the word of the Lord,(IC) you remnant of Judah. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you are determined to go to Egypt and you do go to settle there, 16 then the sword(ID) you fear(IE) will overtake you there, and the famine(IF) you dread will follow you into Egypt, and there you will die.(IG) 17 Indeed, all who are determined to go to Egypt to settle there will die by the sword, famine and plague;(IH) not one of them will survive or escape the disaster I will bring on them.’ 18 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘As my anger and wrath(II) have been poured out on those who lived in Jerusalem,(IJ) so will my wrath be poured out on you when you go to Egypt. You will be a curse[r](IK) and an object of horror,(IL) a curse[s] and an object of reproach;(IM) you will never see this place again.’(IN)

19 “Remnant(IO) of Judah, the Lord has told you, ‘Do not go to Egypt.’(IP) Be sure of this: I warn you today 20 that you made a fatal mistake when you sent me to the Lord your God and said, ‘Pray to the Lord our God for us; tell us everything he says and we will do it.’(IQ) 21 I have told you today, but you still have not obeyed the Lord your God in all he sent me to tell you.(IR) 22 So now, be sure of this: You will die by the sword, famine(IS) and plague(IT) in the place where you want to go to settle.”(IU)

43 When Jeremiah had finished telling the people all the words of the Lord their God—everything the Lord had sent him to tell them(IV) Azariah son of Hoshaiah(IW) and Johanan(IX) son of Kareah and all the arrogant(IY) men said to Jeremiah, “You are lying!(IZ) The Lord our God has not sent you to say, ‘You must not go to Egypt to settle there.’(JA) But Baruch(JB) son of Neriah is inciting you against us to hand us over to the Babylonians,[t] so they may kill us or carry us into exile to Babylon.”(JC)

So Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers and all the people(JD) disobeyed the Lord’s command(JE) to stay in the land of Judah.(JF) Instead, Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers led away all the remnant of Judah who had come back to live in the land of Judah from all the nations where they had been scattered.(JG) They also led away all those whom Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard had left with Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan—the men, the women,(JH) the children and the king’s daughters. And they took Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch(JI) son of Neriah along with them. So they entered Egypt(JJ) in disobedience to the Lord and went as far as Tahpanhes.(JK)

In Tahpanhes(JL) the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “While the Jews are watching, take some large stones(JM) with you and bury them in clay in the brick(JN) pavement at the entrance to Pharaoh’s palace(JO) in Tahpanhes. 10 Then say to them, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I will send for my servant(JP) Nebuchadnezzar(JQ) king of Babylon, and I will set his throne(JR) over these stones I have buried here; he will spread his royal canopy(JS) above them. 11 He will come and attack Egypt,(JT) bringing death(JU) to those destined(JV) for death, captivity to those destined for captivity,(JW) and the sword to those destined for the sword.(JX) 12 He will set fire(JY) to the temples(JZ) of the gods(KA) of Egypt; he will burn their temples and take their gods captive.(KB) As a shepherd picks(KC) his garment clean of lice, so he will pick Egypt clean and depart. 13 There in the temple of the sun[u](KD) in Egypt he will demolish the sacred pillars(KE) and will burn down the temples of the gods of Egypt.’”

Disaster Because of Idolatry

44 This word came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews living in Lower Egypt(KF)—in Migdol,(KG) Tahpanhes(KH) and Memphis(KI)—and in Upper Egypt:(KJ) “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: You saw the great disaster(KK) I brought on Jerusalem and on all the towns of Judah.(KL) Today they lie deserted and in ruins(KM) because of the evil(KN) they have done. They aroused my anger(KO) by burning incense(KP) to and worshiping other gods(KQ) that neither they nor you nor your ancestors(KR) ever knew. Again and again(KS) I sent my servants the prophets,(KT) who said, ‘Do not do this detestable(KU) thing that I hate!’ But they did not listen or pay attention;(KV) they did not turn from their wickedness(KW) or stop burning incense(KX) to other gods.(KY) Therefore, my fierce anger was poured out;(KZ) it raged against the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem and made them the desolate ruins(LA) they are today.

“Now this is what the Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Why bring such great disaster(LB) on yourselves by cutting off from Judah the men and women,(LC) the children and infants, and so leave yourselves without a remnant?(LD) Why arouse my anger with what your hands have made,(LE) burning incense(LF) to other gods in Egypt,(LG) where you have come to live?(LH) You will destroy yourselves and make yourselves a curse[v] and an object of reproach(LI) among all the nations on earth. Have you forgotten the wickedness committed by your ancestors(LJ) and by the kings(LK) and queens(LL) of Judah and the wickedness committed by you and your wives(LM) in the land of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem?(LN) 10 To this day they have not humbled(LO) themselves or shown reverence,(LP) nor have they followed my law(LQ) and the decrees(LR) I set before you and your ancestors.(LS)

11 “Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty,(LT) the God of Israel, says: I am determined to bring disaster(LU) on you and to destroy all Judah. 12 I will take away the remnant(LV) of Judah who were determined to go to Egypt to settle there. They will all perish in Egypt; they will fall by the sword or die from famine. From the least to the greatest,(LW) they will die by sword or famine.(LX) They will become a curse and an object of horror, a curse and an object of reproach.(LY) 13 I will punish(LZ) those who live in Egypt with the sword,(MA) famine and plague,(MB) as I punished Jerusalem. 14 None of the remnant of Judah who have gone to live in Egypt will escape or survive to return to the land of Judah, to which they long to return and live; none will return except a few fugitives.”(MC)

15 Then all the men who knew that their wives(MD) were burning incense(ME) to other gods, along with all the women(MF) who were present—a large assembly—and all the people living in Lower and Upper Egypt,(MG) said to Jeremiah, 16 “We will not listen(MH) to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord!(MI) 17 We will certainly do everything we said we would:(MJ) We will burn incense(MK) to the Queen of Heaven(ML) and will pour out drink offerings to her just as we and our ancestors, our kings and our officials(MM) did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem.(MN) At that time we had plenty of food(MO) and were well off and suffered no harm.(MP) 18 But ever since we stopped burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring out drink offerings(MQ) to her, we have had nothing and have been perishing by sword and famine.(MR)

19 The women added, “When we burned incense(MS) to the Queen of Heaven(MT) and poured out drink offerings to her, did not our husbands(MU) know that we were making cakes(MV) impressed with her image(MW) and pouring out drink offerings to her?”

20 Then Jeremiah said to all the people, both men and women, who were answering him, 21 “Did not the Lord remember(MX) and call to mind the incense(MY) burned in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem(MZ) by you and your ancestors,(NA) your kings and your officials and the people of the land?(NB) 22 When the Lord could no longer endure(NC) your wicked actions and the detestable things you did, your land became a curse(ND) and a desolate waste(NE) without inhabitants, as it is today.(NF) 23 Because you have burned incense and have sinned against the Lord and have not obeyed him or followed(NG) his law or his decrees(NH) or his stipulations, this disaster(NI) has come upon you, as you now see.”(NJ)

24 Then Jeremiah said to all the people, including the women,(NK) “Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah in Egypt.(NL) 25 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: You and your wives(NM) have done what you said you would do when you promised, ‘We will certainly carry out the vows we made to burn incense and pour out drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven.’(NN)

“Go ahead then, do what you promised! Keep your vows!(NO) 26 But hear the word of the Lord, all you Jews living in Egypt:(NP) ‘I swear(NQ) by my great name,’ says the Lord, ‘that no one from Judah living anywhere in Egypt will ever again invoke my name or swear, “As surely as the Sovereign(NR) Lord lives.”(NS) 27 For I am watching(NT) over them for harm,(NU) not for good; the Jews in Egypt will perish(NV) by sword and famine(NW) until they are all destroyed.(NX) 28 Those who escape the sword(NY) and return to the land of Judah from Egypt will be very few.(NZ) Then the whole remnant(OA) of Judah who came to live in Egypt will know whose word will stand(OB)—mine or theirs.(OC)

29 “‘This will be the sign(OD) to you that I will punish(OE) you in this place,’ declares the Lord, ‘so that you will know that my threats of harm against you will surely stand.’(OF) 30 This is what the Lord says: ‘I am going to deliver Pharaoh(OG) Hophra king of Egypt into the hands of his enemies who want to kill him, just as I gave Zedekiah(OH) king of Judah into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the enemy who wanted to kill him.’”(OI)

A Message to Baruch

45 When Baruch(OJ) son of Neriah(OK) wrote on a scroll(OL) the words Jeremiah the prophet dictated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim(OM) son of Josiah king of Judah, Jeremiah said this to Baruch: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch: You said, ‘Woe(ON) to me! The Lord has added sorrow(OO) to my pain;(OP) I am worn out with groaning(OQ) and find no rest.’(OR) But the Lord has told me to say to you, ‘This is what the Lord says: I will overthrow what I have built and uproot(OS) what I have planted,(OT) throughout the earth.(OU) Should you then seek great(OV) things for yourself? Do not seek them.(OW) For I will bring disaster(OX) on all people,(OY) declares the Lord, but wherever you go I will let you escape(OZ) with your life.’”(PA)


  1. Jeremiah 37:1 Hebrew Koniah, a variant of Jehoiachin
  2. Jeremiah 37:5 Or Chaldeans; also in verses 8, 9, 13 and 14
  3. Jeremiah 37:10 Or Chaldean; also in verse 11
  4. Jeremiah 38:1 Hebrew Jukal, a variant of Jehukal
  5. Jeremiah 38:2 Or Chaldeans; also in verses 18, 19 and 23
  6. Jeremiah 38:7 Probably from the upper Nile region
  7. Jeremiah 38:7 Or a eunuch
  8. Jeremiah 38:23 Or and you will cause this city to
  9. Jeremiah 39:4 Or the Jordan Valley
  10. Jeremiah 39:5 Or Chaldean
  11. Jeremiah 39:8 Or Chaldeans
  12. Jeremiah 40:5 Or Jeremiah answered
  13. Jeremiah 40:8 Hebrew Jezaniah, a variant of Jaazaniah
  14. Jeremiah 40:9 Or Chaldeans; also in verse 10
  15. Jeremiah 41:3 Or Chaldean
  16. Jeremiah 41:18 Or Chaldeans
  17. Jeremiah 42:1 Hebrew; Septuagint (see also 43:2) Azariah
  18. Jeremiah 42:18 That is, your name will be used in cursing (see 29:22); or, others will see that you are cursed.
  19. Jeremiah 42:18 That is, your name will be used in cursing (see 29:22); or, others will see that you are cursed.
  20. Jeremiah 43:3 Or Chaldeans
  21. Jeremiah 43:13 Or in Heliopolis
  22. Jeremiah 44:8 That is, your name will be used in cursing (see 29:22); or, others will see that you are cursed; also in verse 12; similarly in verse 22.

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