Jerusalem’s Last Days 37 1Zedekiah son of Josiah reigned as king in the land of Judah in place of Jehoiachin[P] son of Jehoiakim, for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made him king. 2He and his officers and the people of the land did not obey the words of the Lord that He spoke through Jeremiah the prophet. 3Nevertheless, King Zedekiah sent Jehucal son of Shelemiah and Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, the priest, to Jeremiah the prophet, requesting, “Please pray to the Lord our God for us!” 4Jeremiah was going about his daily tasks[Q] among the people, for they had not yet put him into the prison. 5Pharaoh’s army had left Egypt, and when the Chaldeans, who were besieging Jerusalem, heard the report, they withdrew from Jerusalem. 6The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet: 7“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: This is what you will say to Judah’s king, who is sending you to inquire of Me: Watch: Pharaoh’s army, which has come out to help you, is going to return to its own land of Egypt. 8The Chaldeans will then return and fight against this city. They will capture it and burn it down. 9This is what the Lord says: Don’t deceive yourselves by saying, ‘The Chaldeans will leave us for good,’ for they will not leave. 10Indeed, if you were to strike down the entire Chaldean army that is fighting with you, and there remained among them only the badly wounded[R] men, each in his tent, they would get up and burn this city down.” Jeremiah’s Imprisonment 11When the Chaldean army withdrew from Jerusalem because of Pharaoh’s army, 12Jeremiah started to leave Jerusalem to go to the land of Benjamin to claim his portion there among the people. 13But when he was at the Benjamin Gate, an officer of the guard was there, whose name was Irijah son of Shelemiah, son of Hananiah, and he apprehended Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “You are deserting to the Chaldeans.” 14“That’s a lie,” Jeremiah replied. “I am not deserting to the Chaldeans!” Irijah would not listen to him but apprehended Jeremiah and took him to the officials. 15The officials were angry at Jeremiah and beat him and placed him in jail in the house of Jonathan the scribe, for it had been made into a prison. 16So Jeremiah went into a cell in the dungeon and stayed there many days. Jeremiah Summoned by Zedekiah 17King Zedekiah later sent for him and received him, and in his house privately asked him, “Is there a word from the Lord?” “There is,” Jeremiah responded, and he continued, “You will be handed over to the king of Babylon.” 18Then Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, “How have I sinned against you or your servants or these people that you have put me in prison? 19Where are your prophets who prophesied to you, claiming, ‘The king of Babylon will not come against you and this land’? 20So now please listen, my lord the king. May my petition come before you. Don’t send me back to the house of Jonathan the scribe, or I will die there.” 21So King Zedekiah gave orders, and Jeremiah was placed in the guard’s courtyard. He was given a loaf of bread each day from the baker’s street until all the bread was gone from the city. So Jeremiah remained in the guard’s courtyard.
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