Jeremiah Is Put in Prison 37 1Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylonia, appointed Zedekiah to be king of Judah. He was the son of Josiah. Zedekiah ruled in place of Jehoiachin, the son of Jehoiakim. 2Zedekiah and his attendants didn’t pay any attention to what the Lord had said through me. And the people of the land didn’t pay any attention either. 3But King Zedekiah sent Jehucal to me. He sent the priest Zephaniah along with him. Jehucal was the son of Shelemiah. Zephaniah was the son of Maaseiah. Jehucal and Zephaniah brought the king’s message to me. It said, “Please pray to the Lord our God for us.” 4At that time I was free to come and go among the people. I had not yet been put in prison. 5The armies of Babylonia were attacking Jerusalem. They received a report that Pharaoh’s army had marched out of Egypt to help Zedekiah. So they pulled back from Jerusalem. 6A message came to me from the Lord. 7The Lord is the God of Israel. He says, “The king of Judah has sent you to ask me for advice. Tell him, ‘Pharaoh’s army has marched out to help you. But it will go back to its own land. It will return to Egypt. 8Then the armies of Babylonia will come back here. They will attack this city. They will capture it. Then they will burn it down.’ 9“The Lord says, ‘Do not fool yourselves. You think, “The Babylonians will leave us alone.” But they will not! 10Suppose you destroy all of the armies of Babylonia that are attacking you. Suppose only wounded men are left in their tents. Even then they will come out and burn this city down.’ ” 11The armies of Babylonia had pulled back from Jerusalem because of Pharaoh’s army. 12So I started to leave the city. I was planning to go to the territory of Benjamin. I wanted to get my share of the property among the people there. 13I got as far as the Benjamin Gate. But the captain of the guard arrested me. He said, “You are going over to the side of the Babylonians!” The captain’s name was Irijah, the son of Shelemiah. Shelemiah was the son of Hananiah. 14I said to Irijah, “That isn’t true! I’m not going to the side of the Babylonians.” But Irijah wouldn’t listen to me. Instead, he arrested me. He brought me to the officials. 15They were angry with me. So they had me beaten. Then they took me to the house of the secretary Jonathan. It had been made into a prison. That’s where they put me. 16I was put into a prison cell that was below ground level. I remained there a long time. 17Then King Zedekiah sent for me. He had me brought to the palace. There he spoke to me in private. He asked, “Do you have a message from the Lord for me?” “Yes,” I replied. “You will be handed over to the king of Babylonia.” 18Then I continued, “Why have you put me in prison? What crime have I committed against you? What have I done to your officials or these people? 19Where are your prophets who prophesied to you? They said, ‘The king of Babylonia won’t attack you. He won’t march into this land.’ 20“But now please listen, my king and master. Let me make my appeal to you. Please don’t send me back to the house of the secretary Jonathan. If you do, I’ll die there.” 21Then King Zedekiah gave the order. His men put me in the courtyard of the guard. They gave me bread from the street of the bakers. They did it every day until all of the bread in the city was gone. So I remained in the courtyard of the guard.
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