God Rejects King Zedekiah’s Request
1This is the word that the Lord spoke to Jeremiah. It came when Zedekiah king of Judah sent Pashhur son of Malkijah to Jeremiah. He also sent the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah. 2They said, “Ask the Lord for us what will happen. We want to know because Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is attacking us. Maybe the Lord will do miracles for us as he did in the past. Maybe he will make Nebuchadnezzar stop attacking us and leave.”
3But Jeremiah answered them, “Tell King Zedekiah this: 4‘Here is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: You have weapons of war in your hands. You are using them to defend yourselves against the king of Babylon and the Babylonians. But I will make those weapons useless. The army from Babylon is all around the outside of the city wall. Soon I will bring that army into the center of the city. 5I myself will fight against you with my great power and strength. I am very angry with you. So I will fight against you with my own powerful arm. I will fight very hard against you in my very great anger. 6I will kill everything living in Jerusalem—both people and animals. They will die from terrible diseases. 7Then, says the Lord, I’ll give Zedekiah king of Judah to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. I will also give Zedekiah’s officers to Nebuchadnezzar. Some of the people in Jerusalem will not die from the terrible diseases. Some will not die in battle or from hunger. I will give them also to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. I will let those win who want to kill the people of Judah. So the people of Judah and Jerusalem will be killed in war. Nebuchadnezzar will not show any mercy or pity or feel sorry for them!’
8“Also tell this to the people of Jerusalem: ‘This is what the Lord says: I will let you choose to live or die. 9Anyone who stays in Jerusalem will die. He will die in war or from hunger or from a terrible disease. But anyone who goes out of Jerusalem and surrenders to the Babylonians who are around the city will live. Anyone who leaves the city will save his life. 10I have decided to make trouble for this city and not to help it, says the Lord. I will give it to the king of Babylon. He will burn it with fire.’
11“Tell these things to Judah’s royal family: ‘Hear the word of the Lord! 12Family of David, the Lord says these things:
You must judge people fairly every day.
Protect from criminals
the person who has been robbed.
If you don’t do that, I will become very angry.
My anger will be like a fire that no one can put out.
This will happen because you have done evil things.
13“‘Jerusalem, I am against you.
You sit on top of the mountain.
You sit over this valley, says the Lord.
You say, “No one can attack us.
No one can come into our strong city.”
14But I will give you the punishment you deserve, says the Lord.
I will start a fire in your forests.
It will burn up everything around you!’”