Jeremiah 34:1-22

Jeremiah 34:1-21-22 The Message (MSG)

GOD’s Message to Jeremiah at the time King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon mounted an all-out attack on Jerusalem and all the towns around it with his armies and allies and everyone he could muster: “I, GOD, the God of Israel, direct you to go and tell Zedekiah king of Judah: ‘This is GOD’s Message. Listen to me. I am going to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he is going to burn it to the ground. And don’t think you’ll get away. You’ll be captured and be his prisoner. You will have a personal confrontation with the king of Babylon and be taken off with him, captive, to Babylon. “‘But listen, O Zedekiah king of Judah, to the rest of the Message of GOD. You won’t be killed. You’ll die a peaceful death. They will honor you with funeral rites as they honored your ancestors, the kings who preceded you. They will properly mourn your death, weeping, “Master, master!” This is a solemn promise. GOD’s Decree.’” The prophet Jeremiah gave this Message to Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem, gave it to him word for word. It was at the very time that the king of Babylon was mounting his all-out attack on Jerusalem and whatever cities in Judah that were still standing—only Lachish and Azekah, as it turned out (they were the only fortified cities left in Judah). * * * GOD delivered a Message to Jeremiah after King Zedekiah made a covenant with the people of Jerusalem to decree freedom to the slaves who were Hebrews, both men and women. The covenant stipulated that no one in Judah would own a fellow Jew as a slave. All the leaders and people who had signed the covenant set free the slaves, men and women alike. But a little while later, they reneged on the covenant, broke their promise and forced their former slaves to become slaves again. Then Jeremiah received this Message from GOD: “GOD, the God of Israel, says, ‘I made a covenant with your ancestors when I delivered them out of their slavery in Egypt. At the time I made it clear: “At the end of seven years, each of you must free any fellow Hebrew who has had to sell himself to you. After he has served six years, set him free.” But your ancestors totally ignored me. “‘And now, you—what have you done? First you turned back to the right way and did the right thing, decreeing freedom for your brothers and sisters—and you made it official in a solemn covenant in my Temple. And then you turned right around and broke your word, making a mockery of both me and the covenant, and made them all slaves again, these men and women you’d just set free. You forced them back into slavery. “‘So here is what I, GOD, have to say: You have not obeyed me and set your brothers and sisters free. Here is what I’m going to do: I’m going to set you free—GOD’s Decree—free to get killed in war or by disease or by starvation. I’ll make you a spectacle of horror. People all over the world will take one look at you and shudder. Everyone who violated my covenant, who didn’t do what was solemnly promised in the covenant ceremony when they split the young bull into two halves and walked between them, all those people that day who walked between the two halves of the bull—leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, palace officials, priests, and all the rest of the people—I’m handing the lot of them over to their enemies who are out to kill them. Their dead bodies will be carrion food for vultures and stray dogs. “‘As for Zedekiah king of Judah and his palace staff, I’ll also hand them over to their enemies, who are out to kill them. The army of the king of Babylon has pulled back for a time, but not for long, for I’m going to issue orders that will bring them back to this city. They’ll attack and take it and burn it to the ground. The surrounding cities of Judah will fare no better. I’ll turn them into ghost towns, unlivable and unlived in.’” GOD’s Decree.

Jeremiah 34:1-22 New American Standard Bible - NASB 1995 (NASB1995)

The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army, with all the kingdoms of the earth that were under his dominion and all the peoples, were fighting against Jerusalem and against all its cities, saying, “Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah and say to him: “Thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I am giving this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will burn it with fire. You will not escape from his hand, for you will surely be captured and delivered into his hand; and you will see the king of Babylon eye to eye, and he will speak with you face to face, and you will go to Babylon.’ ” ’ Yet hear the word of the LORD, O Zedekiah king of Judah! Thus says the LORD concerning you, ‘You will not die by the sword. You will die in peace; and as spices were burned for your fathers, the former kings who were before you, so they will burn spices for you; and they will lament for you, “Alas, lord!” ’ For I have spoken the word,” declares the LORD. Then Jeremiah the prophet spoke all these words to Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem when the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and against all the remaining cities of Judah, that is, Lachish and Azekah, for they alone remained as fortified cities among the cities of Judah. The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who were in Jerusalem to proclaim release to them: that each man should set free his male servant and each man his female servant, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman; so that no one should keep them, a Jew his brother, in bondage. And all the officials and all the people obeyed who had entered into the covenant that each man should set free his male servant and each man his female servant, so that no one should keep them any longer in bondage; they obeyed, and set them free. But afterward they turned around and took back the male servants and the female servants whom they had set free, and brought them into subjection for male servants and for female servants. Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, “Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘I made a covenant with your forefathers in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, saying, “At the end of seven years each of you shall set free his Hebrew brother who has been sold to you and has served you six years, you shall send him out free from you; but your forefathers did not obey Me or incline their ear to Me. Although recently you had turned and done what is right in My sight, each man proclaiming release to his neighbor, and you had made a covenant before Me in the house which is called by My name. Yet you turned and profaned My name, and each man took back his male servant and each man his female servant whom you had set free according to their desire, and you brought them into subjection to be your male servants and female servants.” ’ “Therefore thus says the LORD, ‘You have not obeyed Me in proclaiming release each man to his brother and each man to his neighbor. Behold, I am proclaiming a release to you,’ declares the LORD, ‘to the sword, to the pestilence and to the famine; and I will make you a terror to all the kingdoms of the earth. I will give the men who have transgressed My covenant, who have not fulfilled the words of the covenant which they made before Me, when they cut the calf in two and passed between its parts— the officials of Judah and the officials of Jerusalem, the court officers and the priests and all the people of the land who passed between the parts of the calf— I will give them into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their life. And their dead bodies will be food for the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth. Zedekiah king of Judah and his officials I will give into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their life, and into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon which has gone away from you. Behold, I am going to command,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will bring them back to this city; and they will fight against it and take it and burn it with fire; and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without inhabitant.’ ”

Jeremiah 34:1-22 New Living Translation (NLT)

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came with all the armies from the kingdoms he ruled, and he fought against Jerusalem and the towns of Judah. At that time this message came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Go to King Zedekiah of Judah, and tell him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down. You will not escape his grasp but will be captured and taken to meet the king of Babylon face to face. Then you will be exiled to Babylon. “‘But listen to this promise from the LORD, O Zedekiah, king of Judah. This is what the LORD says: You will not be killed in war but will die peacefully. People will burn incense in your memory, just as they did for your ancestors, the kings who preceded you. They will mourn for you, crying, “Alas, our master is dead!” This I have decreed, says the LORD.’” So Jeremiah the prophet delivered the message to King Zedekiah of Judah. At this time the Babylonian army was besieging Jerusalem, Lachish, and Azekah—the only fortified cities of Judah not yet captured. This message came to Jeremiah from the LORD after King Zedekiah made a covenant with the people, proclaiming freedom for the slaves. He had ordered all the people to free their Hebrew slaves—both men and women. No one was to keep a fellow Judean in bondage. The officials and all the people had obeyed the king’s command, but later they changed their minds. They took back the men and women they had freed, forcing them to be slaves again. So the LORD gave them this message through Jeremiah: “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I made a covenant with your ancestors long ago when I rescued them from their slavery in Egypt. I told them that every Hebrew slave must be freed after serving six years. But your ancestors paid no attention to me. Recently you repented and did what was right, following my command. You freed your slaves and made a solemn covenant with me in the Temple that bears my name. But now you have shrugged off your oath and defiled my name by taking back the men and women you had freed, forcing them to be slaves once again. “Therefore, this is what the LORD says: Since you have not obeyed me by setting your countrymen free, I will set you free to be destroyed by war, disease, and famine. You will be an object of horror to all the nations of the earth. Because you have broken the terms of our covenant, I will cut you apart just as you cut apart the calf when you walked between its halves to solemnize your vows. Yes, I will cut you apart, whether you are officials of Judah or Jerusalem, court officials, priests, or common people—for you have broken your oath. I will give you to your enemies, and they will kill you. Your bodies will be food for the vultures and wild animals. “I will hand over King Zedekiah of Judah and his officials to the army of the king of Babylon. And although they have left Jerusalem for a while, I will call the Babylonian armies back again. They will fight against this city and will capture it and burn it down. I will see to it that all the towns of Judah are destroyed, with no one living there.”

Jeremiah 34:1-22 King James Version (KJV)

The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and all his army, and all the kingdoms of the earth of his dominion, and all the people, fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities thereof, saying, Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah, and tell him, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire: and thou shalt not escape out of his hand, but shalt surely be taken, and delivered into his hand; and thine eyes shall behold the eyes of the king of Babylon, and he shall speak with thee mouth to mouth, and thou shalt go to Babylon. Yet hear the word of the LORD, O Zedekiah king of Judah; Thus saith the LORD of thee, Thou shalt not die by the sword: but thou shalt die in peace: and with the burnings of thy fathers, the former kings which were before thee, so shall they burn odours for thee; and they will lament thee, saying, Ah lord! for I have pronounced the word, saith the LORD. Then Jeremiah the prophet spake all these words unto Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem, when the king of Babylon's army fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish, and against Azekah: for these defenced cities remained of the cities of Judah. This is the word that came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people which were at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty unto them; that every man should let his manservant, and every man his maidservant, being an Hebrew or an Hebrewess, go free; that none should serve himself of them, to wit, of a Jew his brother. Now when all the princes, and all the people, which had entered into the covenant, heard that every one should let his manservant, and every one his maidservant, go free, that none should serve themselves of them any more, then they obeyed, and let them go. But afterward they turned, and caused the servants and the handmaids, whom they had let go free, to return, and brought them into subjection for servants and for handmaids. Therefore the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondmen, saying, at the end of seven years let ye go every man his brother an Hebrew, which hath been sold unto thee; and when he hath served thee six years, thou shalt let him go free from thee: but your fathers hearkened not unto me, neither inclined their ear. And ye were now turned, and had done right in my sight, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbour; and ye had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name: but ye turned and polluted my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom he had set at liberty at their pleasure, to return, and brought them into subjection, to be unto you for servants and for handmaids. Therefore thus saith the LORD; Ye have not hearkened unto me, in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother, and every man to his neighbour: behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the LORD, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. And I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, which have not performed the words of the covenant which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof, the princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land, which passed between the parts of the calf; I will even give them into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life: and their dead bodies shall be for meat unto the fowls of the heaven, and to the beasts of the earth. And Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes will I give into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babylon's army, which are gone up from you. Behold, I will command, saith the LORD, and cause them to return to this city; and they shall fight against it, and take it, and burn it with fire: and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without an inhabitant.

Jeremiah 34:1-22 New Century Version (NCV)

The LORD spoke his word to Jeremiah when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and all the towns around it. Nebuchadnezzar had with him all his army and the armies of all the kingdoms and peoples he ruled. This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, said: “Jeremiah, go to Zedekiah king of Judah and tell him: ‘This is what the LORD says: I will soon hand the city of Jerusalem over to the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down! You will not escape from the king of Babylon; you will surely be captured and handed over to him. You will see the king of Babylon with your own eyes, and he will talk to you face to face. And you will go to Babylon. But, Zedekiah king of Judah, listen to the promise of the LORD. This is what the LORD says about you: You will not be killed with a sword. You will die in a peaceful way. As people made funeral fires to honor your ancestors, the kings who ruled before you, so people will make a funeral fire to honor you. They will cry for you and sadly say, “Ah, master!” I myself make this promise to you, says the LORD.’ ” So Jeremiah the prophet gave this message to Zedekiah in Jerusalem. This was while the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and the cities of Judah that had not yet been taken—Lachish and Azekah. These were the only strong, walled cities left in the land of Judah. The LORD spoke his word to Jeremiah. This was after King Zedekiah had made an agreement with all the people in Jerusalem to free all the Hebrew slaves. Everyone was supposed to free his Hebrew slaves, both male and female. No one was to keep a fellow Jew as a slave. All the officers and all the people accepted this agreement; they agreed to free their male and female slaves and no longer keep them as slaves. So all the slaves were set free. But after that, the people who had slaves changed their minds. So they took back the people they had set free and made them slaves again. Then the LORD spoke his word to Jeremiah: “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I brought your ancestors out of Egypt where they were slaves and made an agreement with them. I said to your ancestors: ‘At the end of every seven years, each one of you must set his Hebrew slaves free. If a fellow Hebrew has sold himself to you, you must let him go free after he has served you for six years.’ But your ancestors did not listen or pay attention to me. A short time ago you changed your hearts and did what I say is right. Each of you gave freedom to his fellow Hebrews who were slaves. And you even made an agreement before me in the place where I have chosen to be worshiped. But now you have changed your minds. You have shown you do not honor me. Each of you has taken back the male and female slaves you had set free, and you have forced them to become your slaves again. “So this is what the LORD says: You have not obeyed me. You have not given freedom to your fellow Hebrews, neither relatives nor friends. But now I will give freedom, says the LORD, to war, to terrible diseases, and to hunger. I will make you hated by all the kingdoms of the earth. I will hand over the men who broke my agreement, who have not kept the promises they made before me. They cut a calf into two pieces before me and walked between the pieces. These people made the agreement before me by walking between the pieces of the calf: the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the officers of the court, the priests, and all the people of the land. So I will hand them over to their enemies and to everyone who wants to kill them. Their bodies will become food for the birds of the air and for the wild animals of the earth. I will hand Zedekiah king of Judah and his officers over to their enemies, and to everyone who wants to kill them, and to the army of the king of Babylon, even though they have left Jerusalem. I will give the order, says the LORD, to bring the Babylonian army back to Jerusalem. It will fight against Jerusalem, capture it, set it on fire, and burn it down. I will destroy the towns in Judah so that they become ruins where no one lives!”

Jeremiah 34:1-22 American Standard Version (ASV)

The word which came unto Jeremiah from Jehovah, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and all his army, and all the kingdoms of the earth that were under his dominion, and all the peoples, were fighting against Jerusalem, and against all the cities thereof, saying: Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, Go, and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah, and tell him, Thus saith Jehovah, Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire: and thou shalt not escape out of his hand, but shalt surely be taken, and delivered into his hand; and thine eyes shall behold the eyes of the king of Babylon, and he shall speak with thee mouth to mouth, and thou shalt go to Babylon. Yet hear the word of Jehovah, O Zedekiah king of Judah: thus saith Jehovah concerning thee, Thou shalt not die by the sword; thou shalt die in peace; and with the burnings of thy fathers, the former kings that were before thee, so shall they make a burning for thee; and they shall lament thee, saying, Ah Lord! for I have spoken the word, saith Jehovah. Then Jeremiah the prophet spake all these words unto Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem, when the king of Babylon’s army was fighting 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. The word that came unto Jeremiah from Jehovah, after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people that were at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty unto them; that every man should let his man-servant, and every man his maid-servant, that is a Hebrew or a Hebrewess, go free; that none should make bondmen of them, to wit, of a Jew his brother. And all the princes and all the people obeyed, that had entered into the covenant, that every one should let his man-servant, and every one his maid-servant, go free, that none should make bondmen of them any more; they obeyed, and let them go: but afterwards they turned, and caused the servants and the handmaids, whom they had let go free, to return, and brought them into subjection for servants and for handmaids. Therefore the word of Jehovah came to Jeremiah from Jehovah, saying, Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel: I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, saying, At the end of seven years ye shall let go every man his brother that is a Hebrew, that hath been sold unto thee, and hath served thee six years, thou shalt let him go free from thee: but your fathers hearkened not unto me, neither inclined their ear. And ye were now turned, and had done that which is right in mine eyes, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbor; and ye had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name: but ye turned and profaned my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom ye had let go free at their pleasure, to return; and ye brought them into subjection, to be unto you for servants and for handmaids. Therefore thus saith Jehovah: Ye have not hearkened unto me, to proclaim liberty, every man to his brother, and every man to his neighbor: behold, I proclaim unto you a liberty, saith Jehovah, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be tossed to and fro among all the kingdoms of the earth. And I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, that have not performed the words of the covenant which they made before me, when they cut the calf in twain and passed between the parts thereof; the princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land, that passed between the parts of the calf; I will even give them into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life; and their dead bodies shall be for food unto the birds of the heavens, and to the beasts of the earth. And Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes will I give into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, that are gone away from you. Behold, I will command, saith Jehovah, and cause them to return to this city; and they shall fight against it, and take it, and burn it with fire: and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation, without inhabitant.

Jeremiah 34:1-22 New International Version (NIV)

While Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army and all the kingdoms and peoples in the empire he ruled were fighting against Jerusalem and all its surrounding towns, this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Go to Zedekiah king of Judah and tell him, ‘This is what the LORD says: I am about to give this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down. You will not escape from his grasp but will surely be captured and given into his hands. You will see the king of Babylon with your own eyes, and he will speak with you face to face. And you will go to Babylon. “ ‘Yet hear the LORD’s promise to you, Zedekiah king of Judah. This is what the LORD says concerning you: You will not die by the sword; you will die peacefully. As people made a funeral fire in honor of your predecessors, the kings who ruled before you, so they will make a fire in your honor and lament, “Alas, master!” I myself make this promise, declares the LORD.’ ” Then Jeremiah the prophet told all this to Zedekiah king of Judah, in Jerusalem, while the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and the other cities of Judah that were still holding out—Lachish and Azekah. These were the only fortified cities left in Judah. The word came to Jeremiah from the LORD after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem to proclaim freedom for the slaves. Everyone was to free their Hebrew slaves, both male and female; no one was to hold a fellow Hebrew in bondage. So all the officials and people who entered into this covenant agreed that they would free their male and female slaves and no longer hold them in bondage. They agreed, and set them free. But afterward they changed their minds and took back the slaves they had freed and enslaved them again. Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I made a covenant with your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. I said, ‘Every seventh year each of you must free any fellow Hebrews who have sold themselves to you. After they have served you six years, you must let them go free.’ Your ancestors, however, did not listen to me or pay attention to me. Recently you repented and did what is right in my sight: Each of you proclaimed freedom to your own people. You even made a covenant before me in the house that bears my Name. But now you have turned around and profaned my name; each of you has taken back the male and female slaves you had set free to go where they wished. You have forced them to become your slaves again. “Therefore this is what the LORD says: You have not obeyed me; you have not proclaimed freedom to your own people. So I now proclaim ‘freedom’ for you, declares the LORD—‘freedom’ to fall by the sword, plague and famine. I will make you abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth. Those who have violated my covenant and have not fulfilled the terms of the covenant they made before me, I will treat like the calf they cut in two and then walked between its pieces. The leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the court officials, the priests and all the people of the land who walked between the pieces of the calf, I will deliver into the hands of their enemies who want to kill them. Their dead bodies will become food for the birds and the wild animals. “I will deliver Zedekiah king of Judah and his officials into the hands of their enemies who want to kill them, to the army of the king of Babylon, which has withdrawn from you. I am going to give the order, declares the LORD, and I will bring them back to this city. They will fight against it, take it and burn it down. And I will lay waste the towns of Judah so no one can live there.”

Jeremiah 34:1-22 Amplified Bible (AMP)

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army, with all the kingdoms of the earth that were under his sovereignty and all the peoples, were fighting against Jerusalem and against all of its cities: “Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah and tell him: “Thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I am giving this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will set it on fire and burn it down. You will not escape from his hand, for you will definitely be captured and handed over to him; you will see the king of Babylon eye to eye, and he will speak with you face to face; and you will go to Babylon.’ ” ’ Yet hear the word of the LORD, O Zedekiah king of Judah! Thus says the LORD concerning you, ‘You will not die by the sword. You will die in peace; and as spices were burned for [the memory and honor of] your fathers, the former kings who reigned before you, so shall a [ceremonial] burning be made for you; and people will lament (grieve) for you, saying, “Alas, lord (master)!” ’ For I have spoken the word,” says the LORD. Then Jeremiah the prophet spoke all these words to Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem when the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and against all the remaining cities of Judah, against Lachish and Azekah, for these were the [only] fortified cities among the cities of Judah. The word came to Jeremiah from the LORD after King Zedekiah had made a covenant (solemn pledge) with all the [Hebrew] people who were [slaves] in Jerusalem to proclaim liberty to them: that every man should let his Hebrew slaves, male and female, go free, so that no one should make a slave of a Jew, his brother. So all the princes and all the people who had entered into the covenant agreed that everyone would let his male servant and his female servant go free, and that no one would keep them in bondage any longer; they obeyed, and set them free. But afterward they backed out [of the covenant] and made the male servants and the female servants whom they had set free return [to them], and brought the male servants and the female servants again into servitude. Therefore the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘I made a covenant (solemn pledge) with your forefathers in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, saying, “At the end of seven years each of you shall set free his Hebrew brother who has sold himself [into servitude] or who has been sold to you and has served you six years, you shall release him from [serving] you; but your forefathers did not listen [submissively] to Me or obey Me. So then you recently turned and repented, doing what was right in My sight, each man proclaiming release [from servitude] to his countryman [who was his bond servant]; and you had made a covenant before Me in the house which is called by My Name. Yet you backed out [of the covenant] and profaned My Name, and each man took back his servants, male and female, whom had been set free in accordance with their desire, and you brought them into servitude [again] to be your male servants and your female servants.” ’ “Therefore says the LORD, ‘You have not obeyed Me; you have not proclaimed liberty to your brother and your countryman. Behold (listen very carefully), I am proclaiming liberty to you—[liberty to be put] to the sword, [liberty] to [be ravaged by] the virulent disease, and [liberty] to [be decimated by] famine,’ says the LORD; ‘and I will make you a horror and a warning to all the kingdoms of the earth. The men who have violated My covenant, who have not kept the terms of the solemn pledge which they made before Me when they split the [sacrificial] calf in half, and then afterwards walked between its separated pieces [sealing their pledge to Me by placing a curse on themselves should they violate the covenant—those men I will make like the calf]! The princes of Judah, the princes of Jerusalem, the high officials, the priests, and all the people of the land who passed between the parts of the calf, I will give into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their lives. And [like the body of the calf] their dead bodies will be food for the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth. Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes I will place into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their life, and into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon which has withdrawn from you. Behold, I am going to command [the Chaldeans who rule Babylon],’ says the LORD, ‘and I will bring them back to this city; and they will fight against it and take it and set it on fire. I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without inhabitant.’ ”

Jeremiah 34:1-22 English Standard Version 2016 (ESV)

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army and all the kingdoms of the earth under his dominion and all the peoples were fighting against Jerusalem and all of its cities: “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD: Behold, I am giving this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire. You shall not escape from his hand but shall surely be captured and delivered into his hand. You shall see the king of Babylon eye to eye and speak with him face to face. And you shall go to Babylon.’ Yet hear the word of the LORD, O Zedekiah king of Judah! Thus says the LORD concerning you: ‘You shall not die by the sword. You shall die in peace. And as spices were burned for your fathers, the former kings who were before you, so people shall burn spices for you and lament for you, saying, “Alas, lord!”’ For I have spoken the word, declares the LORD.” Then Jeremiah the prophet spoke all these words to Zedekiah king of Judah, in Jerusalem, when the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and against all the cities of Judah that were left, Lachish and Azekah, for these were the only fortified cities of Judah that remained. The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem to make a proclamation of liberty to them, that everyone should set free his Hebrew slaves, male and female, so that no one should enslave a Jew, his brother. And they obeyed, all the officials and all the people who had entered into the covenant that everyone would set free his slave, male or female, so that they would not be enslaved again. They obeyed and set them free. But afterward they turned around and took back the male and female slaves they had set free, and brought them into subjection as slaves. The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: I myself made a covenant with your fathers when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, saying, ‘At the end of seven years each of you must set free the fellow Hebrew who has been sold to you and has served you six years; you must set him free from your service.’ But your fathers did not listen to me or incline their ears to me. You recently repented and did what was right in my eyes by proclaiming liberty, each to his neighbor, and you made a covenant before me in the house that is called by my name, but then you turned around and profaned my name when each of you took back his male and female slaves, whom you had set free according to their desire, and you brought them into subjection to be your slaves. “Therefore, thus says the LORD: You have not obeyed me by proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother and to his neighbor; behold, I proclaim to you liberty to the sword, to pestilence, and to famine, declares the LORD. I will make you a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth. And the men who transgressed my covenant and did not keep the terms of the covenant that they made before me, I will make them like the calf that they cut in two and passed between its parts— the officials of Judah, the officials of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, the priests, and all the people of the land who passed between the parts of the calf. And I will give them into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their lives. Their dead bodies shall be food for the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth. And Zedekiah king of Judah and his officials I will give into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their lives, into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon which has withdrawn from you. Behold, I will command, declares the LORD, and will bring them back to this city. And they will fight against it and take it and burn it with fire. I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without inhabitant.”