Warning to Zedekiah
1The word which came to Jeremiah from Adonai, when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and all his army, and all the kingdoms of the earth of his dominion and all the peoples were warring against Jerusalem and its towns, saying,
2thus says Adonai, the God of Israel: “Go, speak to King Zedekiah of Judah and tell him, thus says Adonai: ‘I am about to give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will burn it with fire,
3and you will not escape out of his hand, but will surely be captured and given into his hand. Your eyes will behold the eyes of the king of Babylon, and he will speak with you mouth to mouth, and you will go to Babylon.”
4Yet hear the word of Adonai, O Zedekiah king of Judah, thus says Adonai concerning you: “You will not die by the sword;
5you will die in peace. As there were burning ceremonies for your fathers, the former kings who were before you, so they will burn spices for you, and they will lament for you: ‘Oy , lord!’ For it is a word I have spoken,” declares Adonai.
Covenant Breaking With Slaves
6Then the prophet Jeremiah spoke all these words to King Zedekiah of Judah in Jerusalem,
7when the army of the king of Babylon was warring against Jerusalem and against all the cities of Judah that were left—against Lachish and against Azekah, for these alone remained of the cities of Judah as fortified cities.
8The word that came to Jeremiah from Adonai, after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people that were at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty to them,
9so that everyone should let his manservant and his maidservant—Hebrew man or Hebrew woman—go free, so that no one should make a slave of a Jew, his brother.
10So all the princes and all the people obeyed, who had entered into the covenant, that everyone would free his manservant and his maidservant and not make them slaves any more—they obeyed, and freed them.
11But afterward they turned around and made the servants and the handmaids, whom they had let go free, return, and brought them back into subjection as servants and as handmaids.”
12So the word of Adonai came to Jeremiah from Adonai, saying,
13thus says Adonai, the God of Israel: “I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, saying:
14‘At the end of seven years you are to set free every man his brother that is a Hebrew who has been sold to you and has served you six years; you are let him go free from you.’ But your fathers did not obey Me, nor inclined their ear.
15Now you had repented, and had done that which is right in My eyes, by proclaiming liberty everyone to his neighbor. You even had made a covenant before Me in the House where My Name is called.
16But you turned around and profaned My Name, and made everyone his servant and his handmaid, whom you had let go free at their will, return, and you brought them back into subjection, to be your servants and handmaids.”
17Therefore thus says Adonai: “You have not obeyed Me, to proclaim liberty, everyone to his brother and everyone to his neighbor. Behold, I proclaim for you a liberty,” declares Adonai, “to the sword, to plague and to famine! So I will make you a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth.
18I will give the men who have transgressed My covenant, who have not performed the words of the covenant which they made before Me, when they cut the calf in two and passed between its parts
19—the princes of Judah and the princes of Jerusalem, the officers, the kohanim, and all the people of the land who passed between the parts of the calf—
20I will even give them into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of them who seek their life, and their dead bodies will be for food to the birds of the sky and to the beasts of the earth.
21King Zedekiah of Judah and his princes I will give into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of them who seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, who were withdrawing from you.
22Indeed, I will command,” declares Adonai, “and cause them to return to this city. They will fight against it, capture it, and burn it down with fire; and I will make the cities of Judah a wasteland, with no one living.”