Jeremiah 38

Jeremiah Cast into the Cistern

1Now Shephatiah the son of Mattan, Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, aJucal the son of Shelemiah, and bPashhur the son of Malchiah heard the words that Jeremiah was saying to all the people: 2Thus says the Lord: cHe who stays in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, dbut he who goes out to the Chaldeans shall live. He shall have his life as a prize of war, and live. 3Thus says the Lord: eThis city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon and be taken.” 4Then the officials said to the king, fLet this man be put to death, gfor he is weakening the hands of the soldiers who are left in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man is not seeking hthe welfare of this people, but their harm.” 5King Zedekiah said, “Behold, he is in your hands, ifor the king can do nothing against you.” 6So they took Jeremiah jand cast him into the cistern of Malchiah, the king’s son, which was in kthe court of the guard, letting Jeremiah down lby ropes. mAnd there was no water in the cistern, but only mud, and nJeremiah sank in the mud.

Jeremiah Rescued from the Cistern

7When oEbed-melech pthe Ethiopian, qa eunuch who was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern—the king was sitting rin the Benjamin Gate 8 sEbed-melech went from the king’s house and said to the king, 9“My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they did to Jeremiah the prophet by casting him into the cistern, and he will die there of thunger, ufor there is no bread left in the city.” 10Then the king commanded vEbed-melech the Ethiopian, “Take thirty men with you from here, and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.” 11So wEbed-melech took the men with him and went to the house of the king, to a wardrobe in the storehouse, and took from there old rags and worn-out clothes, which he let down to Jeremiah in the cistern xby ropes. 12Then yEbed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, “Put the rags and clothes between your armpits and zthe ropes.” Jeremiah did so. 13Then they drew Jeremiah up with aaropes and lifted him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in the abcourt of the guard.

Jeremiah Warns Zedekiah Again

14King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah the prophet and received him at the third entrance of the temple of the Lord. The king said to Jeremiah, “I will ask you a question; hide nothing from me.” 15Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “If I tell you, will you not surely put me to death? And if I give you counsel, you will not listen to me.” 16Then King Zedekiah swore acsecretly to Jeremiah, ad“As the Lord lives, aewho made our souls, I will not put you to death or deliver you into the hand of afthese men who seek your life.”

17Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: agIf you will surrender to ahthe officials of the king of Babylon, aithen your life shall be spared, and this city shall not be burned with fire, and you and your house shall live. 18But if you do not surrender to ajthe officials of the king of Babylon, akthen this city shall be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, aland they shall burn it with fire, and you shall not escape from their hand.” 19King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Judeans amwho have deserted to the Chaldeans, lest I be handed over to them and they deal cruelly with me.” 20Jeremiah said, “You shall not be given to them. Obey now the voice of the Lord in what I say to you, anand it shall be well with you, and your life shall be spared. 21But if you refuse to aosurrender, this is the vision which the Lord has shown to me: 22Behold, all the women left in the house of the king of Judah were being led out to the officials of the king of Babylon and were saying,

ap“‘Your trusted friends have deceived you
and prevailed against you;
now that your feet are sunk in the mud,
they turn away from you.’

23All your wives and aqyour sons shall be led out to the Chaldeans, and you yourself shall not escape from their hand, but shall be seized by the king of Babylon, and this city shall be burned with fire.”

24Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Let no one know of these words, and you shall not die. 25If arthe officials hear that I have spoken with you and come to you and say to you, ‘Tell us what you said to the king and what the king said to you; hide nothing from us and we will not put you to death,’ 26then you shall say to them, asI made a humble plea to the king that he would not send me back to the house of Jonathan to die there.’” 27Then all the officials came to Jeremiah and asked him, and he answered them as the king had instructed him. So they stopped speaking with him, for the conversation had not been overheard. 28And Jeremiah remained atin the court of the guard until the day that Jerusalem was taken.

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