Jeremiah 37-39Contemporary English Version (CEV)
King Zedekiah Asks Jeremiah To Pray
37 King Nebuchadnezzar[a] of Babylonia had removed Jehoiachin[b] son of Jehoiakim[c] from being the king of Judah and had made Josiah’s[d] son Zedekiah[e] king instead.[f] 2 But Zedekiah, his officials, and everyone else in Judah ignored everything the Lord had told me.
3-5 Later, the Babylonian army attacked Jerusalem, but they left after learning that the Egyptian army[g] was headed in this direction.
One day, Zedekiah sent Jehucal and the priest Zephaniah[h] to talk with me. At that time, I was free to go wherever I wanted, because I had not yet been put in prison. Jehucal and Zephaniah said, “Jeremiah, please pray to the Lord our God for us.”
6-7 Then the Lord told me to send them back to Zedekiah with this message:
Zedekiah, you wanted Jeremiah to ask me, the Lord)God of Israel, what is going to happen. So I will tell you. The king of Egypt and his army came to your rescue, but soon they will go back to Egypt. 8 Then the Babylonians will return and attack Jerusalem, and this time they will capture the city and set it on fire. 9 Don’t fool yourselves into thinking that the Babylonians will leave as they did before. 10 Even if you could defeat their entire army, their wounded survivors would still be able to leave their tents and set Jerusalem on fire.
Jeremiah Is Put in Prison
11 The Babylonian army had left because the Egyptian army was on its way to help us. 12 So I decided to leave Jerusalem and go to the territory of the Benjamin tribe to claim my share of my family’s land. 13 I was leaving Jerusalem through Benjamin Gate, when I was stopped by Irijah,[i] the officer in charge of the soldiers at the gate. He said, “Jeremiah, you’re under arrest for trying to join the Babylonians.”
14 “I’m not trying to join them!” I answered. But Irijah wouldn’t listen, and he took me to the king’s officials. 15-16 They were angry and ordered the soldiers to beat me. Then I was taken to the house that belonged to Jonathan, one of the king’s officials. It had been turned into a prison, and I was kept in a basement room.
After I had spent a long time there, 17 King Zedekiah secretly had me brought to his palace, where he asked, “Is there any message for us from the Lord?”
“Yes, there is, Your Majesty,” I replied. “The Lord is going to let the king of Babylonia capture you.”
18 Then I continued, “Your Majesty, why have you put me in prison? Have I committed a crime against you or your officials or the nation? 19 Have you locked up the prophets who lied to you and said that the king of Babylonia would never attack Jerusalem? 20 Please, don’t send me back to that prison at Jonathan’s house. If you do, I will die.”
21 King Zedekiah had me taken to the prison cells in the courtyard of the palace guards. He told the soldiers to give me a loaf of bread[j] from one of the bakeries every day until the city ran out of grain.
Jeremiah Is Held Prisoner in a Dry Well
38 One day, Shephatiah, Gedaliah, Jehucal,[k] and Pashhur[l] heard me tell the people of Judah 2-3 that the Lord had said, “If you stay here in Jerusalem, you will die in battle or from disease or hunger, and the Babylonian army will capture the city anyway. But if you surrender to the Babylonians, they will let you live.”
4 So the four of them went to the king and said, “You should put Jeremiah to death, because he is making the soldiers and everyone else lose hope. He isn’t trying to help our people; he’s trying to harm them.”
5 Zedekiah replied, “Do what you want with him. I can’t stop you.”
6 Then they took me back to the courtyard of the palace guards and let me down with ropes into the well that belonged to Malchiah, the king’s son. There was no water in the well, and I sank down in the mud.
7-8 Ebedmelech from Ethiopia[m] was an official at the palace, and he heard what they had done to me. So he went to speak with King Zedekiah, who was holding court at Benjamin Gate. 9 Ebedmelech said, “Your Majesty, Jeremiah is a prophet, and those men were wrong to throw him into a well. And when Jerusalem runs out of food, Jeremiah will starve to death down there.”
10 Zedekiah answered, “Take thirty[n] of my soldiers and pull Jeremiah out before he dies.”
11 Ebedmelech and the soldiers went to the palace and got some rags from the room under the treasury. He used ropes to lower them into the well. 12 Then he said, “Put these rags under your arms so the ropes won’t hurt you.” After I did, 13 the men pulled me out. And from then on, I was kept in the courtyard of the palace guards.
King Zedekiah Questions Jeremiah
15 “Why?” I replied. “You won’t listen, and you might even have me killed!”
16 He said, “I swear in the name of the living Lord our Creator that I won’t have you killed. No one else can hear what we say, and I won’t let anyone kill you.”
17 Then I told him that the Lord had said: “Zedekiah, I am the Lord God All-Powerful, the God of Israel. I promise that if you surrender to King Nebuchadnezzar’s[q] officers, you and your family won’t be killed, and Jerusalem won’t be burned down. 18 But if you don’t surrender, I will let the Babylonian army capture Jerusalem and burn it down, and you will be taken prisoner.”
19 Zedekiah answered, “I can’t surrender to the Babylonians. I’m too afraid of the Jews that have already joined them. The Babylonians might hand me over to those Jews, and they would torture me.”
20 I said, “If you will just obey the Lord, the Babylonians won’t hand you over to those Jews. You will be allowed to live, and all will go well for you. 21 But the Lord has shown me that if you refuse to obey, 22 then the women of your palace will be taken prisoner by Nebuchadnezzar’s officials. And those women will say to you:
Friends you trusted led you astray.
23 The Babylonian army will take your wives and children captive, you will be taken as a prisoner to the King of Babylonia, and Jerusalem will be burned down.”[r]
24 Zedekiah said, “Jeremiah, if you tell anyone what we have talked about, you might lose your life. 25 And I’m sure that if my officials hear about our meeting, they will ask you what we said to each other. They might even threaten to kill you if you don’t tell them. 26 So if they question you, tell them you were begging me not to send you back to the prison at Jonathan’s house, because going back there would kill you.”
27 The officials did come and question me about my meeting with the king, and I told them exactly what he had ordered me to say. They never spoke to me about the meeting again, since no one had heard us talking.
28 I was held in the courtyard of the palace guards until the day Jerusalem was captured.
Jerusalem Is Captured by the Babylonians
39 1-3 In the tenth month[s] of the ninth year that Zedekiah[t] was king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar[u] and the Babylonian army began their attack on Jerusalem. They kept the city surrounded for a year and a half. Then, on the ninth day of the fourth month[v] of the eleventh year that Zedekiah was king, they broke through the city walls.
After Jerusalem was captured,[w] Nebuchadnezzar’s highest officials,[x] including Nebo Sarsechim[y] and Nergal Sharezer from Simmagir,[z] took their places at Middle Gate to show they were in control of the city.[aa]
4 When King Zedekiah and his troops saw that Jerusalem had been captured, they tried to escape from the city that same night. They went to the king’s garden, where they slipped through the gate between the two city walls[ab] and headed toward the Jordan River valley. 5 But the Babylonian troops caught up with them near Jericho. They arrested Zedekiah and took him to the town of Riblah in the land of Hamath, where Nebuchadnezzar put him on trial, then found him guilty 6 and gave orders for him to be punished. Zedekiah’s sons were killed there in front of him, and so were the leaders of Judah’s ruling families. 7 His eyes were poked out, and he was put in chains, so he could be dragged off to Babylonia.
8 Meanwhile, the Babylonian army had burned the houses in Jerusalem, including[ac] the royal palace, and they had broken down the city walls. 9 Nebuzaradan, the Babylonian officer in charge of the guards, led away everyone from the city as prisoners, even those who had deserted to Nebuchadnezzar. 10 Only the poorest people who owned no land were left behind in Judah, and Nebuzaradan gave them fields and vineyards.
11 Nebuchadnezzar had given the following orders to Nebuzaradan: 12 “Find Jeremiah and keep him safe. Take good care of him and do whatever he asks.”
13 Nebuzaradan, Nebushazban, Nergal Sharezer, and the other officers of King Nebuchadnezzar 14 sent some of their troops to bring me from the courtyard of the royal palace guards. They put me in the care of Gedaliah son of Ahikam[ad] and told him to take me to my home. And so I was allowed to stay with the people who remained in Judah.
The Lord Promises To Protect Ebedmelech
15 While I was a prisoner in the courtyard of the palace guard, the Lord told me to say 16 to Ebedmelech from Ethiopia:[ae]
I am the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel. I warned everyone that I would bring disaster, not prosperity, to this city. Now very soon I will do what I said, and you will see it happen. 17-18 But because you trusted me,[af] I will protect you from the officials of Judah, and when Judah is struck by disaster, I will rescue you and keep you alive. I, the Lord, have spoken.
Hebrews 3Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Jesus Is Greater than Moses
3 My friends, God has chosen you to be his holy people. So think about Jesus, the one we call our apostle and high priest! 2 Jesus was faithful to God, who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in serving all of[a] God’s people. 3 But Jesus deserves more honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house deserves more honor than the house. 4 Of course, every house is built by someone, and God is really the one who built everything.
5 Moses was a faithful servant and told God’s people what would be said in the future. 6 But Christ is the Son in charge of God’s people. And we are those people, if we keep on being brave and don’t lose hope.
A Rest for God’s People
7 It is just as the Holy Spirit says,
“If you hear God’s voice today,
10 “Then God got tired of them
12 My friends, watch out! Don’t let evil thoughts or doubts make any of you turn from the living God. 13 You must encourage one another each day. And you must keep on while there is still a time that can be called “today.” If you don’t, then sin may fool some of you and make you stubborn. 14 We were sure about Christ when we first became his people. So let’s hold tightly to our faith until the end. 15 The Scriptures say,
“If you hear his voice today,
16 Who were those people that heard God’s voice and rebelled? Weren’t they the same ones that came out of Egypt with Moses? 17 Who were the people that made God angry for forty years? Weren’t they the ones that sinned and died in the desert? 18 And who did God say would never enter his place of rest? Weren’t they the ones that disobeyed him? 19 We see that those people did not enter the place of rest because they did not have faith.
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