Jeremiah 26-27Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Jeremiah’s Message in the Temple
26 Soon after Jehoiakim[a] became king of Judah, the Lord said:
2 Jeremiah, I have a message for everyone who comes from the towns of Judah to worship in my temple. Go to the temple courtyard and speak every word that I tell you. 3 Maybe the people will listen this time. And if they stop doing wrong, I will change my mind and not punish them for their sins. 4 Tell them that I have said:
You have refused to listen to me and to obey my laws and teachings. 5 Again and again I have sent my servants the prophets to preach to you, but you ignored them as well. Now I am warning you that if you don’t start obeying me right away, 6 I will destroy this temple, just as I destroyed the town of Shiloh.[b] Then everyone on earth will use the name “Jerusalem” as a curse word.
Jeremiah on Trial
7 The prophets, the priests, and everyone else in the temple heard what I said, 8-9 and as soon as I finished, they all crowded around me and started shouting, “Why did you preach that the Lord will destroy this temple, just as he destroyed Shiloh? Why did you say that Jerusalem will be empty and lie in ruins? You ought to be put to death for saying such things in the Lord’s name!” Then they had me arrested.
10 The royal officers heard what had happened, and they came from the palace to the new gate of the temple to be the judges at my trial.[c] 11 While they listened, the priests and the prophets said to the crowd, “All of you have heard Jeremiah prophesy that Jerusalem will be destroyed. He deserves the death penalty.”
12-13 Then I told the judges and everyone else:
The Lord himself sent me to tell you about the terrible things he will do to you, to Jerusalem, and to the temple. But if you change your ways and start obeying the Lord, he will change his mind.
14 You must decide what to do with me. Just do whatever you think is right. 15 But if you put me to death, you and everyone else in Jerusalem will be guilty of murdering an innocent man, because everything I preached came from the Lord.
16 The judges and the other people told the priests and prophets, “Since Jeremiah only told us what the Lord our God had said, we don’t think he deserves to die.”
17 Then some of the leaders from other towns stepped forward. They told the crowd that 18 years ago when Hezekiah[d] was king of Judah, a prophet named Micah from the town of Moresheth had said:
“I, the Lord All-Powerful, say
19 Then the leaders continued:
No one put Micah to death for saying that. Instead, King Hezekiah prayed to the Lord with fear and trembling and asked him to have mercy. Then the Lord decided not to destroy Jerusalem, even though he had already said he would.
People of Judah, if Jeremiah is killed, we will bring a terrible disaster on ourselves.
20-24 After these leaders finished speaking, an important man named Ahikam son of Shaphan spoke up for me as well. And so, I wasn’t handed over to the crowd to be killed.
Uriah the Prophet
While Jehoiakim[f] was still king of Judah, a man named Uriah son of Shemaiah left his hometown of Kiriath-Jearim and came to Jerusalem. Uriah was one of the Lord’s prophets, and he was saying the same things about Judah and Jerusalem that I had been saying. And when Jehoiakim and his officials and military officers heard what Uriah said, they tried to arrest him, but he escaped to Egypt. So Jehoiakim sent Elnathan son of Achbor and some other men after Uriah, and they brought him back. Then Jehoiakim had Uriah killed and his body dumped in a common burial pit.
Slaves of Nebuchadnezzar
27 1-2 Not long after Zedekiah became king of Judah,[g] the Lord told me:
Jeremiah, make a wooden yoke[h] with leather straps, and place it on your neck. 3 Then send a message to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon. Some officials from these countries are in Jerusalem, meeting with Zedekiah. 4 So have them tell their kings that I have said:
I am the All-Powerful Lord God of Israel, 5 and with my power I created the earth, its people, and all animals. I decide who will rule the earth, 6-7 and I have chosen my servant King Nebuchadnezzar[i] of Babylonia to rule all nations, including yours. I will even let him rule the wild animals. All nations will be slaves of Nebuchadnezzar, his son, and his grandson. Then many nations will join together, and their kings will be powerful enough to make slaves of the Babylonians.
8 This yoke stands for the power of King Nebuchadnezzar, and I will destroy any nation that refuses to obey him. Nebuchadnezzar will attack, and many will die in battle or from hunger and disease. 9 You might have people in your kingdom who claim they can tell the future by magic or by talking with the dead or by dreams or messages from a god. But don’t pay attention if any of them tell you not to obey Nebuchadnezzar. 10 If you listen to such lies, I will have you dragged far from your country and killed. 11 But if you and your nation are willing to obey Nebuchadnezzar, I will let you stay in your country, and your people will continue to live and work on their farms.
12 After I had spoken to the officials from the nearby kingdoms, I went to King Zedekiah and told him the same thing. Then I said:
Zedekiah, if you and the people of Judah want to stay alive, you must obey Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians. 13 But if you refuse, then you and your people will die from war, hunger, and disease, just as the Lord has warned. 14 Your prophets have told you that you don’t need to obey Nebuchadnezzar, but don’t listen to their lies. 15 Those prophets claim to be speaking for the Lord, but he didn’t send them. They are lying! If you do what they say, he will have both you and them dragged off to another country and killed. The Lord has spoken.
16 When I finished talking to the king, I went to the priests and told them that the Lord had said:
Don’t listen to the prophets when they say that very soon the Babylonians will return the things they took from my temple. Those prophets are lying! 17 If you choose to obey the king of Babylonia, you will live. But if you listen to those prophets, this whole city will be nothing but a pile of rubble.
18 If I really had spoken to those prophets, they would know what I am going to do. Then they would be begging me not to let everything else be taken from the temple and the king’s palace and the rest of Jerusalem. 19-21 After all, when Nebuchadnezzar took King Jehoiachin[j] to Babylonia as a prisoner, he didn’t take everything of value from Jerusalem. He left the bronze pillars, the huge bronze bowl called the Sea, and the movable bronze stands in the temple, and he left a lot of other valuable things in the palace and in the rest of Jerusalem.
But now I, the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, say that all these things 22 will be taken to Babylonia, where they will remain until I decide to bring them back to Jerusalem. I, the Lord, have spoken.
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