Jeremiah in Prison 37 1Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had appointed Zedekiah son of Josiah to be king of Judah. Zedekiah took the place of Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim. 2But Zedekiah, his servants, and the people of Judah did not listen to the words the Lord had spoken through Jeremiah the prophet. 3Now King Zedekiah sent Jehucal son of Shelemiah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah with a message to Jeremiah the prophet. This was the message: “Jeremiah, please pray to the Lord our God for us.” 4At that time Jeremiah had not yet been put into prison. So he was free to go anywhere he wanted. 5The army of the king of Egypt had marched from Egypt toward Judah. Now the Babylonian army had surrounded the city of Jerusalem. When they heard about the Egyptian army marching toward them, the Babylonian army left Jerusalem. 6The Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah the prophet: 7“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Jehucal and Zephaniah, I know Zedekiah king of Judah sent you to seek my help. Tell this to King Zedekiah: ‘The army of the king of Egypt came here to help you, but they will go back to Egypt. 8After that, the Babylonian army will return and attack Jerusalem and capture it and burn it down.’ 9“This is what the Lord says: People of Jerusalem, do not fool yourselves. Don’t say, ‘The Babylonian army will surely leave us alone.’ They will not! 10Even if you defeated all of the Babylonian army that is attacking you and there were only a few injured men left in their tents, they would come from their tents and burn down Jerusalem!” 11So the Babylonian army left Jerusalem to fight the army of the king of Egypt. 12Now Jeremiah tried to travel from Jerusalem to the land of Benjamin to get his share of the property that belonged to his family. 13When Jeremiah got to the Benjamin Gate of Jerusalem, the captain in charge of the guards arrested him. The captain’s name was Irijah son of Shelemiah son of Hananiah. Irijah said, “You are leaving us to join the Babylonians!” 14But Jeremiah said to Irijah, “That’s not true! I am not leaving to join the Babylonians.” Irijah refused to listen to Jeremiah, so he arrested Jeremiah and took him to the officers of Jerusalem. 15Those rulers were very angry with Jeremiah and beat him. Then they put him in jail in the house of Jonathan the royal secretary, which had been made into a prison. 16So those people put Jeremiah into a cell in a dungeon, and Jeremiah was there for a long time. 17Then King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah and had him brought to the palace. Zedekiah asked him in private, “Is there any message from the Lord?” Jeremiah answered, “Yes, there is. Zedekiah, you will be handed over to the king of Babylon.” 18Then Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, “What crime have I done against you or your officers or the people of Jerusalem? Why have you thrown me into prison? 19Where are your prophets that prophesied this message to you: ‘The king of Babylon will not attack you or this land of Judah?’ 20But now, my master, king of Judah, please listen to me, and please do what I ask of you. Do not send me back to the house of Jonathan the royal secretary, or I will die there!” 21So King Zedekiah gave orders for Jeremiah to be put under guard in the courtyard of the guard and to be given bread each day from the street of the bakers until there was no more bread in the city. So he stayed under guard in the courtyard of the guard.
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