1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, when aNebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army, with ball the kingdoms of the earth that were under his dominion and all the peoples, were fighting against Jerusalem and against all its cities, saying, 2 "Thus says the Lord God of Israel, 'aGo and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah and say to him: "Thus says the Lord, 'Behold, bI am giving this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and che will burn it with fire. 3 'aYou will not escape from his hand, for you will surely be captured and delivered into his hand; and you will bsee the king of Babylon eye to eye, and he will speak with you face to face, and you will go to Babylon.'"' 4 "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. 5 'You will die in peace; and as spices were burned for your fathers, the former kings who were before you, so they will aburn spices for you; and bthey will lament for you, "Alas, lord!"' For I have spoken the word," declares the Lord. 6 Then Jeremiah the prophet spoke aall these words to Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem 7 when the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and against all the remaining cities of Judah, that is, aLachish and bAzekah, for they alone remained as cfortified cities among the cities of Judah. 8 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord after King Zedekiah had amade a covenant with all the people who were in Jerusalem to bproclaim release to them: 9 that each man should set free his male servant and each man his female servant, a aHebrew man or a Hebrew woman; so that bno one should keep them, a Jew his brother, in bondage. 10 And all the aofficials 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. 11 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. 12 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 13 "Thus says the Lord God of Israel, 'I amade a covenant with your forefathers in the day that I bbrought them out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, saying, 14 "aAt 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 bdid not obey Me or incline their ear to Me. 15 "Although recently you had turned and adone what is right in My sight, each man proclaiming release to his neighbor, and you had bmade a covenant before Me cin the house which is called by My name. 16 "Yet you aturned and bprofaned 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."' 17 "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 aproclaiming a release to you,' declares the Lord, 'to the bsword, to the pestilence and to the famine; and I will make you a cterror to all the kingdoms of the earth. 18 'I will give the men who have atransgressed My covenant, who have not fulfilled the words of the covenant which they made before Me, when they bcut the calf in two and passed between its parts-- 19 the aofficials 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-- 20 I will give them into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who aseek their life. And their bdead bodies will be food for the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth. 21 'aZedekiah 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 bgone away from you. 22 '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 atake it and burn it with fire; and I will make the cities of Judah a bdesolation cwithout inhabitant.'"
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.