21The Lord spoke through Jeremiah when King Zedekiah sent Pashhur son of Malkijah and Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, the priest, to speak with him. They begged Jeremiah,
2“Please speak to the Lord for us and ask him to help us. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon is attacking Judah. Perhaps the Lord will be gracious and do a mighty miracle as he has done in the past. Perhaps he will force Nebuchadnezzar to withdraw his armies.”
3Jeremiah replied, “Go back to King Zedekiah and tell him,
4‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I will make your weapons useless against the king of Babylon and the Babylonians who are outside your walls attacking you. In fact, I will bring your enemies right into the heart of this city.
5I myself will fight against you with a strong hand and a powerful arm, for I am very angry. You have made me furious!
6I will send a terrible plague upon this city, and both people and animals will die.
7And after all that, says the Lord, I will hand over King Zedekiah, his staff, and everyone else in the city who survives the disease, war, and famine. I will hand them over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and to their other enemies. He will slaughter them and show them no mercy, pity, or compassion.’
8“Tell all the people, ‘This is what the Lord says: Take your choice of life or death!
9Everyone who stays in Jerusalem will die from war, famine, or disease, but those who go out and surrender to the Babylonians will live. Their reward will be life!
10For I have decided to bring disaster and not good upon this city, says the Lord. It will be handed over to the king of Babylon, and he will reduce it to ashes.’
Judgment on Judah’s Kings
11“Say to the royal family of Judah, ‘Listen to this message from the Lord!
12This is what the Lord says to the dynasty of David: “‘Give justice each morning to the people you judge! Help those who have been robbed; rescue them from their oppressors. Otherwise, my anger will burn like an unquenchable fire because of all your sins.
13I will personally fight against the people in Jerusalem, that mighty fortress - the people who boast, “No one can touch us here. No one can break in here.”
14And I myself will punish you for your sinfulness, says the Lord. I will light a fire in your forests that will burn up everything around you.’”
Jeremiah 21:2Hebrew Nebuchadrezzar, a variant spelling of Nebuchadnezzar; also in 21.7. Jeremiah 21:4Or Chaldeans; also in 21.9.