Jeremiah 34-36 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Jeremiah Warns Zedekiah
34 King Nebuchadnezzar[a] had a large army made up of people from every kingdom in his empire. He and his army were attacking Jerusalem and all the nearby towns, when the Lord told me 2 to say to King Zedekiah:[b]
I am the Lord, and I am going to let Nebuchadnezzar capture this city and burn it down. 3 You will be taken prisoner and brought to Nebuchadnezzar, and he will speak with you face to face. Then you will be led away to Babylonia.
4 Zedekiah, I promise that you won’t die in battle. 5 You will die a peaceful death. People will mourn when you die, and they will light bonfires in your honor, just as they did for your ancestors, the kings who ruled before you.
6 I went to Zedekiah and told him what the Lord had said. 7 Meanwhile, the king of Babylonia was trying to break through the walls of Lachish, Azekah, and Jerusalem, the only three towns of Judah that had not been captured.
The People Break a Promise
8-10 King Zedekiah,[c] his officials, and everyone else in Jerusalem made an agreement to free all Hebrew[d] men and women who were slaves. No Jew would keep another as a slave. And so, all the Jewish slaves were given their freedom.
11 But those slave owners changed their minds and forced their former slaves back into slavery.
12 That’s when the Lord told me to say to the people:
13 I am the Lord God of Israel, and I made an agreement with your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, where they had been slaves. 14 As part of this agreement, you must let a Hebrew slave go free after six years of service.
Your ancestors did not obey me, 15-16 but you decided to obey me and do the right thing by setting your Hebrew slaves completely free. You even went to my temple, and in my name you made an agreement to set them free. But you have abused my name, because you broke your agreement and forced your former slaves back into slavery.
17 You have disobeyed me by not giving your slaves their freedom. So I will give you freedom—the freedom to die in battle or from disease or hunger. I will make you disgusting to all other nations on earth.
18 You asked me to be a witness when you made the agreement to set your slaves free. And as part of the ceremony you cut a calf into two parts, then walked between the parts. But you people of Jerusalem have broken that agreement as well as my agreement with Israel. So I will do to you what you did to that calf. 19-20 I will let your enemies take all of you prisoner, including the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the royal officials, the priests, and everyone else who walked between the two parts of the calf. These enemies will kill you and leave your bodies lying on the ground as food for birds and wild animals.
21-22 These enemies are King Nebuchadnezzar[e] of Babylonia and his army. They have stopped attacking Jerusalem, but they want to kill King Zedekiah and his high officials. So I will command them to return and attack again. This time they will conquer the city and burn it down, and they will capture Zedekiah and his officials. I will also let them destroy the towns of Judah, so that no one can live there any longer.
Learn a Lesson from the Rechabites
35 When Jehoiakim[f] was king of Judah, the Lord told me, 2 “Go to the Rechabite clan and invite them to meet you in one of the side rooms[g] of the temple. When they arrive, offer them a drink of wine.”
3 So I went to Jaazaniah,[h] the leader of the clan, and I invited him and all the men of his clan. 4 I brought them into the temple courtyard and took them upstairs to a room belonging to the prophets who were followers of Hanan son of Igdaliah. It was next to a room belonging to some of the officials, and that room was over the one belonging to Maaseiah, a priest who was one of the high officials in the temple.[i]
5 I set out some large bowls full of wine together with some cups, and then I said to the Rechabites, “Have some wine!”
6 But they answered:
No! The ancestor of our clan, Jonadab son of Rechab,[j] made a rule that we must obey. He said, “Don’t ever drink wine 7 or build houses or plant crops and vineyards. Instead, you must always live in tents and move from place to place. If you obey this command, you will live a long time.”
8-10 Our clan has always obeyed Jonadab’s command. To this very day, we and our wives and sons and daughters don’t drink wine or build houses or plant vineyards or crops. And we have lived in tents, 11 except now we have to live inside Jerusalem because Nebuchadnezzar[k] has taken over the countryside with his army from Babylonia and Syria.
12-13 Then the Lord told me to say to the people of Judah and Jerusalem:
I, the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, want you to learn a lesson 14 from the Rechabite clan. Their ancestor Jonadab told his descendants never to drink wine, and to this very day they have obeyed him. But I have spoken to you over and over, and you haven’t obeyed me! 15 You refused to listen to my prophets, who kept telling you, “Stop doing evil and worshiping other gods! Start obeying the Lord, and he will let you live in this land he gave your ancestors.”
16 The Rechabites have obeyed the command of their ancestor Jonadab, but you have not obeyed me, 17 your God. I am the Lord All-Powerful, and I warned you about the terrible things that would happen to you if you did not listen to me. You have ignored me, so now disaster will strike you. I, the Lord, have spoken.
The Lord Makes a Promise to the Rechabites
18 Then the Lord told me to say to the Rechabite clan:
I am the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel. You have obeyed your ancestor Jonadab, 19 so I promise that your clan will be my servants and will never die out.
King Jehoiakim Burns Jeremiah’s First Scroll
36 During the fourth year that Jehoiakim[l] son of Josiah[m] was king of Judah, the Lord said to me, “Jeremiah, 2 since the time Josiah was king, I have been speaking to you about Israel, Judah, and the other nations. Now, get a scroll[n] and write down everything I have told you, 3 then read it to the people of Judah. Maybe they will stop sinning when they hear what terrible things I plan for them. And if they turn to me, I will forgive them.”
4 I sent for Baruch son of Neriah and asked him to help me. I repeated everything the Lord had told me, and Baruch wrote it all down on a scroll. 5 Then I said,
Baruch, the officials refuse to let me go into the Lord’s temple, 6 so you must go instead. Wait for the next holy day when the people of Judah come to the temple to pray and to go without eating.[o] Then take this scroll to the temple and read it aloud. 7 The Lord is furious, and if the people hear how he is going to punish them, maybe they will ask to be forgiven.
8-10 In the ninth month[p] of the fifth year that Jehoiakim was king, the leaders set a day when everyone who lived in Jerusalem or who was visiting here had to pray and go without eating. So Baruch took the scroll to the upper courtyard of the temple. He went over to the side of the courtyard and stood in a covered area near New Gate, where he read the scroll aloud.
This covered area belonged to Gemariah,[q] one of the king’s highest officials. 11 Gemariah’s son Micaiah was there and heard Baruch read what the Lord had said. 12 When Baruch finished reading, Micaiah went down to the palace. His father Gemariah was in the officials' room, meeting with the rest of the king’s officials, including Elishama, Delaiah, Elnathan, and Zedekiah.[r] 13 Micaiah told them what he had heard Baruch reading to the people. 14 Then the officials sent Jehudi and Shelemiah[s] to tell Baruch, “Bring us that scroll.”
When Baruch arrived with the scroll, 15 the officials said, “Please sit down and read it to us,” which he did. 16 After they heard what was written on the scroll, they were worried and said to each other, “The king needs to hear this!” Turning to Baruch, they asked, 17 “Did someone tell you what to write on this scroll?”
18 “Yes, Jeremiah did,” Baruch replied. “I wrote down just what he told me.”
19 The officials said, “You and Jeremiah must go into hiding, and don’t tell anyone where you are.”
20-22 The officials put the scroll in Elishama’s room and went to see the king, who was in one of the rooms where he lived and worked during the winter. It was the ninth month[t] of the year, so there was a fire burning in the fireplace,[u] and the king was sitting nearby. After the officials told the king about the scroll, he sent Jehudi to get it. Then Jehudi started reading the scroll to the king and his officials. 23-25 But every time Jehudi finished reading three or four columns, the king would tell him to cut them off with his penknife and throw them in the fire. Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah begged the king not to burn the scroll, but he ignored them, and soon there was nothing left of it.
The king and his servants listened to what was written on the scroll, but they were not afraid, and they did not tear their clothes in sorrow.[v]
Jeremiah’s Second Scroll
27 I had told Baruch what to write on that first scroll,[y] but King Jehoiakim[z] had burned it. So the Lord told me 28 to get another scroll and write down everything that had been on the first one. 29 Then he told me to say to King Jehoiakim:
Not only did you burn Jeremiah’s scroll, you had the nerve to ask why he had written that the king of Babylonia would attack and ruin the land, killing all the people and even the animals. 30 So I, the Lord, promise that you will be killed and your body thrown out on the ground. The sun will beat down on it during the day, and the frost will settle on it at night. And none of your descendants will ever be king of Judah. 31 You, your children, and your servants are evil, and I will punish all of you. I warned you and the people of Judah and Jerusalem that I would bring disaster, but none of you have listened. So now you are doomed!
32 After the Lord finished speaking to me, I got another scroll and gave it to Baruch. Then I told him what to write, so this second scroll would contain even more than was on the scroll Jehoiakim had burned.
Hebrews 2 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
This Great Way of Being Saved
2 We must give our full attention to what we were told, so that we won’t drift away. 2 The message spoken by angels proved to be true, and all who disobeyed or rejected it were punished as they deserved. 3 So if we refuse this great way of being saved, how can we hope to escape? The Lord himself was the first to tell about it, and people who heard the message proved to us that it was true. 4 God himself showed that his message was true by working all kinds of powerful miracles and wonders. He also gave his Holy Spirit to anyone he chose to.
The One Who Leads Us To Be Saved
5 We know that God did not put the future world under the power of angels. 6 Somewhere in the Scriptures someone says to God,
“What makes you care
God has put everything under our power and has not left anything out of our power. But we still don’t see it all under our power. 9 What we do see is Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels. Because of God’s wonderful kindness, Jesus died for everyone. And now that Jesus has suffered and died, he is crowned with glory and honor!
10 Everything belongs to God, and all things were created by his power. So God did the right thing when he made Jesus perfect by suffering, as Jesus led many of God’s children to be saved and to share in his glory. 11 Jesus and the people he makes holy all belong to the same family. That is why he isn’t ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters. 12 He even said to God,
“I will tell them your name
13 He also said,
“I will trust God.”
Then he said,
“Here I am with the children
14 We are people of flesh and blood. That is why Jesus became one of us. He died to destroy the devil, who had power over death. 15 But he also died to rescue all of us who live each day in fear of dying. 16 Jesus clearly did not come to help angels, but he did come to help Abraham’s descendants. 17 He had to be one of us, so that he could serve God as our merciful and faithful high priest and sacrifice himself for the forgiveness of our sins. 18 And now that Jesus has suffered and was tempted, he can help anyone else who is tempted.
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