Jeremiah is Thrown into the Pit of Malchiah
1Now Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, and Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchiah heard the words that Jeremiah was saying to all the people, saying,#Literally “to say” 2“Thus says Yahweh, ‘The one who stays in this city will die by the sword, by the famine, and by the plague. But the one who goes out to the Chaldeans will live. And his life will be for him as booty, and he will live.’ 3Thus says Yahweh, ‘Surely this city will be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon, and he will capture it.’ ”
4Then the officials said to the king, “Please, this man must be killed, because#Literally “unto thus” he is making slack the hands of the soldiers#Literally “the men of the war” who are left in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking to them words like these, for this man is not seeking for welfare#Or “peace” to this people, but only#Literally “but if” for harm.” 5And Zedekiah the king said, “Look, he is in your hand, for the king is not able to do a thing against you.” 6So they took Jeremiah and threw him into the pit#Or “cistern” of Malchiah, the son of the king, which was in the courtyard of the guard. And they let Jeremiah down by ropes. Now in the pit#Or “cistern” there was no water,#Hebrew “waters” but only#Literally “but if” mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud.
7When Ebed-melech the Cushite, a eunuch#Literally “a man of a eunuch” who was in the house of the king, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the pit#Or “cistern”—now the king was sitting at the Gate of Benjamin— 8Ebed-melech went out from the house of the king and spoke to the king, saying,#Literally “to say” 9“My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, in that they have thrown him into the pit,#Or “cistern” and he will die there#Literally “in it” because of#Literally “from the face of” starvation, for there is no longer any bread in the city.” 10Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Cushite, saying,#Literally “to say” “Take with you#Literally “in your hand” these thirty men and pull Jeremiah the prophet up from the pit#Or “cistern” before#Literally “at not yet” he dies.”
11So Ebed-melech took the men with him#Literally “in his hand” and went to the palace of the king, to a place beneath the storehouse, and he took from there rags#Literally “the rags of rags” and worn-out clothes.#Literally “rags of ragged clothes” And he let them down into the pit#Or “cistern” by ropes to Jeremiah. 12Then Ebed-melech the Cushite said to Jeremiah, “Please put the rags#Literally “rags of the rags” and worn-out clothes#Literally “ragged clothes” under the joints of your arms under the ropes,” and Jeremiah did so. 13And they pulled Jeremiah by the ropes and brought him up from the pit.#Or “cistern” And Jeremiah stayed in the courtyard of the guard.
14And Zedekiah the king sent and made someone bring Jeremiah the prophet to him, to the third entrance that was at the temple#Literally “house” of Yahweh. And the king said to Jeremiah, “I am asking you something,#Literally “a thing” you must not hide anything#Literally “a thing” from me.” 15And Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “If I tell you, will you not surely kill me? Besides,#Literally “And” if I advise you, you will not listen to me. 16So Zedekiah the king swore to Jeremiah in secret, saying,#Literally “to say” “As Yahweh lives,#Literally “Life of Yahweh” who has made for us this life, I will not kill you and I will not give you into the hand of these men who are seeking your life.”
17Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “Thus says Yahweh, the God of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘If only you will go surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then you#Literally “your life” or “your soul” will live, and this city will not be burned with fire, and you will live, you and your house. 18But if you do not go surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then this city will be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they will burn it with fire, and you will not escape from their hand.’ ”
19And Zedekiah the king said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Judeans who have deserted to the Chaldeans, lest they give me into their hand and they abuse me.” 20And Jeremiah said, “They will not give you over. Please obey the voice of Yahweh with regard to what I am saying to you, and it will go well with you, and you#Literally “your life” or “your soul” will live. 21But if you are refusing to surrender, this is the thing that Yahweh has shown me. 22Now look, all the women who remain in the house of the king of Judah are being led out to the officials of the king of Babylon. And look, they are saying,
‘Your trusted friends#Literally “The men of your peace” have misled you,
and they have prevailed against you.
Your feet are stuck in the mud,
so they turned backward.’
23And all your wives and your children will be led out to the Chaldeans, and you will not escape from their hand, but by the hand of the king of Babylon you will be seized, and this city will burn with fire.”
24And Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “No man must know about these words so that you will not die. 25And if the officials hear that I have spoken with you, and they come to you and say to you, ‘Please tell us what you said to the king. You must not conceal it from us so that we will not kill you. And what did the king say to you?’ 26Then you shall say to them, ‘I was presenting my plea before#Literally “to the face of” the king, to not cause me to return to the house of Jonathan to die there.’ ” 27And all the officials came to Jeremiah and questioned him, and he informed them like all these words that the king commanded. So they fell silent, for the conversation#Literally “word” was not heard. 28And Jeremiah stayed in the courtyard of the guard until the day that Jerusalem was captured. And it happened that Jerusalem was captured.#Jeremiah 38:28b in the Hebrew Bible is 39:1a in the English Bible