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37
King Zedekiah Asks Jeremiah To Pray
1 # 2 K 24.17; 2 Ch 36.10. King Nebuchadnezzar#37.1 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2. of Babylonia had removed Jehoiachin#37.1 Jehoiachin: Hebrew “Coniah” (see the note at 22.24). son of Jehoiakim#37.1 Jehoiakim: See the note at 1.3. from being the king of Judah and had made Josiah's#37.1 Josiah's: Josiah was the father of both Jehoiakim and Zedekiah. Josiah ruled 640–609 b.c. son Zedekiah#37.1 Zedekiah: See the note at 1.3. king instead.#37.1 King Nebuchadnezzar … instead: See 2 Kings 24.10-17. 2But Zedekiah, his officials, and everyone else in Judah ignored everything the Lord had told me.
3-5Later, the Babylonian army attacked Jerusalem, but they left after learning that the Egyptian army#37.3-5 Egyptian army: Led by King Apries, also known as Hophra. was headed in this direction.
One day, Zedekiah sent Jehucal and the priest Zephaniah#37.3-5 Jehucal and the priest Zephaniah: Hebrew “Jehucal son of Shelemiah, and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah.” 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.”
6-7Then 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. 8Then the Babylonians will return and attack Jerusalem, and this time they will capture the city and set it on fire. 9Don't fool yourselves into thinking that the Babylonians will leave as they did before. 10Even 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
11The Babylonian army had left because the Egyptian army was on its way to help us. 12So I decided to leave Jerusalem and go to the territory of the Benjamin tribe to claim my share of my family's land. 13I was leaving Jerusalem through Benjamin Gate, when I was stopped by Irijah,#37.13 Irijah: Hebrew “Irijah son of Shelemiah and grandson of Hananiah.” 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. 15-16They 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, 17King 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.”
18Then I continued, “Your Majesty, why have you put me in prison? Have I committed a crime against you or your officials or the nation? 19Have you locked up the prophets who lied to you and said that the king of Babylonia would never attack Jerusalem? 20Please, don't send me back to that prison at Jonathan's house. If you do, I will die there.”
21King 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#37.21 a loaf of bread: Bread was the main food of the Israelites. During this time of emergency in Jerusalem, everyone probably received the same amount each day. from one of the bakeries every day until the city ran out of grain.
37
1 And then king Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, reigned in place of Jeconiah, the son of Jehoiakim. For Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, appointed him as king in the land of Judah.
2 And neither he himself, nor his servants, nor the people of the land, obeyed the words of the Lord, which he spoke by the hand of Jeremiah, the prophet.
3 And king Zedekiah sent Jehucal, the son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah, the son of Maaseiah, the priest, to Jeremiah the prophet, saying: "Pray to the Lord our God for us."
4 Now Jeremiah was walking freely in the midst of the people. For they had not yet sent him into the custody of the prison. And then the army of Pharaoh went forth from Egypt. And hearing this, the Chaldeans, who were besieging Jerusalem, withdrew from Jerusalem.
5 And the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, saying:
6 "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: So shall you say to the king of Judah, who sent you to question me: Behold, the army of Pharaoh, which has gone forth in assistance to you, will return to their own land, into Egypt.
7 And the Chaldeans will return and will make war against this city. And they will seize it and burn it with fire.
8 Thus says the Lord: Do not be willing to deceive your own souls, saying: 'The Chaldeans will certainly withdraw and go away from us.' For they will not go away.
9 But even if you were to strike down the entire army of the Chaldeans who are fighting against you, and if there were left behind from among them only a few wounded men, they would rise up, each one from his tent, and they would burn this city with fire."
10 Therefore, when the army of the Chaldeans had withdrawn from Jerusalem because of Pharaoh's army,
11 Jeremiah went forth from Jerusalem, to go into the land of Benjamin, and to distribute a possession there, in the sight of the citizens.
12 And when he had arrived at the gate of Benjamin, the keeper of the gate, whose turn it was to be there, was named Irijah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah. And he apprehended Jeremiah the prophet, saying, "You are fleeing to the Chaldeans."
13 And Jeremiah responded: "That is false. I am not fleeing to the Chaldeans." But he did not listen to him. And so Irijah took Jeremiah, and he brought him to the leaders.
14 Therefore, the leaders were angry with Jeremiah, and so they beat him and sent him to the prison that was in the house of Jonathan, the scribe. For he was the chief over the prison.
15 And so Jeremiah went into the house of the prison and into a dungeon. And Jeremiah sat there for many days.
16 Then Zedekiah the king, sending, took him out and questioned him secretly in his house, and he said: "Do you think that there is any word from the Lord?" And Jeremiah said: "There is." And he said: "You will be delivered into the hands of the king of Babylon."
17 And Jeremiah said to king Zedekiah: "How have I sinned against you, or your servants, or your people, such that you would cast me into a house of imprisonment?
18 Where are your prophets, who were prophesying to you, and who were saying: 'The king of Babylon will not overwhelm you and this land?'
19 Now therefore, listen, I beg you, my lord the king. Let my petition prevail in your sight. And do not send me back into the house of Jonathan the scribe, lest I die there."
20 Then king Zedekiah instructed that Jeremiah be confined to the vestibule of the prison, and that they should give him a twist of bread daily, along with stew, until all the bread in the city had been consumed. And Jeremiah remained at the entrance of the prison.