38 1NOW SHEPHATIAH son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jucal [also called Jehucal] son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur son of Malchiah heard the words that Jeremiah spoke to all the people, saying, 2Thus says the Lord: He who remains in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, but he who goes out to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life as his only booty [as a prize of war], and he shall live. 3Thus says the Lord: This city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it. 4Therefore the princes said to the king, We beseech you, let this man [Jeremiah] be put to death; for [talking] thus he weakens the hands of the soldiers who remain in this city and the hands of all the people by speaking such words to them. For this man is not seeking the welfare of these people, but [to do them] harm. 5Then Zedekiah the king said, Behold, he is in your hands; for the king is in no position to do anything against you. 6So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the dungeon or cistern pit [in the charge] of Malchiah the king’s son, which was in the court of the guard; and they let Jeremiah down [into the pit] with ropes. And in the dungeon or cistern pit there was no water, but only mire, and Jeremiah sank in the mire. 7Now when Ebed-melech the Ethiopian [a Cushite], one of the eunuchs who was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon or cistern pit; and while the king was then sitting in the Gate of Benjamin, 8Ebed-melech went out of the king’s house and spoke to the king, saying, 9My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon or cistern pit; and he is liable to die of hunger and is [as good as] dead in the place where he is, for there is no more bread left in the city. 10Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from here thirty men with you and raise Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon or cistern pit before he dies. 11So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went into the house of the king [to a room] under the treasury, and took along from there old rags and worn-out garments and let them down by ropes into the dungeon or cistern pit to Jeremiah. 12And Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, Put now these old rags and worn-out garments under your armpits under the ropes. And Jeremiah did so. 13So they drew up Jeremiah with the ropes and took him up out of the dungeon or cistern pit; and Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard. 14Then Zedekiah the king sent and brought Jeremiah the prophet to him into the third entrance that is in the house of the Lord. And the king said to Jeremiah, I am going to ask you something; hide nothing from me. 15Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, If I tell you, will you not surely put me to death? And even if I did give you counsel, you would not listen to me. 16So Zedekiah the king swore secretly to Jeremiah, As the Lord lives, Who made our lives, I will not put you to death or give you into the hands of these men who seek your life. 17Then said Jeremiah to Zedekiah, Thus says the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel: If you will go forth and surrender to the princes of the king of Babylon, then you will live and this city will not be burned with fire; and you will live--you and your house. 18But if you will not go forth and surrender to the princes of the king of Babylon, then this city will be given into the hands of the Chaldeans and they will burn it with fire; and you will not escape out of their hands. 19And Zedekiah the king said to Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews who have deserted to the Chaldeans, lest the enemy deliver me into their [these former subjects’] hands and they mock me and abuse me. 20But Jeremiah said, They will not deliver you [to them]. Obey, I beg of you, the voice of the Lord, Who speaks to you through me. Then it will be well with you, and you will live. 21But if you refuse to go forth and surrender to them, this is the word [the vision] that the Lord has shown me: 22Behold, [in it] all the women who are left in the house of the king of Judah will be brought forth to the king of Babylon’s princes and will say [to you, King Zedekiah], Your friends have prevailed against your better judgment and have deceived you. Now when your feet are sunk in the mire [of trouble], they have turned their backs. 23All your wives and your children will be brought out to the Chaldeans; and you [yourself] will not escape out of their hands, but you will be seized by the king of Babylon, and you will cause this city [Jerusalem] to be burned with fire. 24Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, Let no man know of this conversation and you will not die. 25But if the princes hear that I have talked with you, and they come to you and say, Tell us what you said to the king and what he said to you; hide it not from us and we will not put you to death, 26Then you shall say to them, I was presenting to the king my humble plea that he would not send me back to Jonathan’s house to die there. 27Then came all the princes to Jeremiah and asked him [just what King Zedekiah had anticipated they would ask], and he told them all that the king had commanded. So they left off speaking with him, for what the conversation [with the king] had been was not discovered. 28So Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard until the day that Jerusalem was taken [by the Chaldeans].
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