38Now Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jehucal son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur son of Malkijah heard what Jeremiah had been telling the people. He had been saying,H8203H1121H4977H1436H1121H6583H3116H1121H8018H6583H1121H4441H8085H1697H3414H1696H5971H559 2“This is what the Lord says: ‘Everyone who stays in Jerusalem will die from war, famine, or disease, but those who surrender to the Babylonians will live. Their reward will be life. They will live!’H559H3068H3427H5892H4191H2719H7458H1698H3318H3778H2421H5315H7998H2421H2425 3The Lord also says: ‘The city of Jerusalem will certainly be handed over to the army of the king of Babylon, who will capture it.’”H559H3068H5892H5414H5414H3027H4428H894H2428H3920 4So these officials went to the king and said, “Sir, this man must die! That kind of talk will undermine the morale of the few fighting men we have left, as well as that of all the people. This man is a traitor!”H8269H559H4428H376H4191H3651H7503H3027H582H4421H7604H5892H3027H5971H1696H1697H376H1875H7965H5971H7451 5King Zedekiah agreed. “All right,” he said. “Do as you like. I can’t stop you.”H6667H4428H559H3027H4428H3201H1697 6So the officials took Jeremiah from his cell and lowered him by ropes into an empty cistern in the prison yard. It belonged to Malkijah, a member of the royal family. There was no water in the cistern, but there was a thick layer of mud at the bottom, and Jeremiah sank down into it.H3947H3414H7993H953H4441H1121H4428H2691H4307H7971H3414H2256H953H4325H2916H3414H2883H2916 7But Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, an important court official, heard that Jeremiah was in the cistern. At that time the king was holding court at the Benjamin Gate,H5663H3569H376H5631H4428H1004H8085H5414H3414H953H4428H3427H8179H1144 8so Ebed-melech rushed from the palace to speak with him.H5663H3318H4428H1004H1696H4428H559 9“My lord the king,” he said, “these men have done a very evil thing in putting Jeremiah the prophet into the cistern. He will soon die of hunger, for almost all the bread in the city is gone.”H113H4428H582H7489H6213H3414H5030H7993H953H4191H6440H7458H8478H3899H5892 10So the king told Ebed-melech, “Take thirty of my men with you, and pull Jeremiah out of the cistern before he dies.”H4428H6680H5663H3569H559H3947H7970H582H3027H5927H3414H5030H953H4191 11So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went to a room in the palace beneath the treasury, where he found some old rags and discarded clothing. He carried these to the cistern and lowered them to Jeremiah on a rope.H5663H3947H582H3027H935H1004H4428H214H3947H1094H5499H1094H4418H7971H2256H953H3414 12Ebed-melech called down to Jeremiah, “Put these rags under your armpits to protect you from the ropes.” Then when Jeremiah was ready,H5663H3569H559H3414H7760H1094H5499H4418H679H3027H2256H3414H6213 13they pulled him out. So Jeremiah was returned to the courtyard of the guard—the palace prison—where he remained.H4900H3414H2256H5927H953H3414H3427H2691H4307 14One day King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah and had him brought to the third entrance of the Lord’s Temple. “I want to ask you something,” the king said. “And don’t try to hide the truth.”H6667H4428H7971H3947H3414H5030H7992H3996H1004H3068H4428H559H3414H7592H1697H3582 15Jeremiah said, “If I tell you the truth, you will kill me. And if I give you advice, you won’t listen to me anyway.”H3414H559H6667H5046H4191H4191H3289H8085 16So King Zedekiah secretly promised him, “As surely as the Lord our Creator lives, I will not kill you or hand you over to the men who want you dead.”H6667H4428H7650H5643H3414H559H3068H2416H6213H5315H4191H5414H3027H582H1245H5315 17Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “This is what the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you surrender to the Babylonian officers, you and your family will live, and the city will not be burned down.H559H3414H6667H559H3068H430H6635H430H3478H3318H3318H4428H894H8269H5315H2421H5892H8313H784H2421H1004 18But if you refuse to surrender, you will not escape! This city will be handed over to the Babylonians, and they will burn it to the ground.’”H3318H4428H894H8269H5892H5414H3027H3778H8313H784H4422H3027 19“But I am afraid to surrender,” the king said, “for the Babylonians may hand me over to the Judeans who have defected to them. And who knows what they will do to me!”H6667H4428H559H3414H1672H3064H5307H3778H5414H3027H5953 20Jeremiah replied, “You won’t be handed over to them if you choose to obey the Lord. Your life will be spared, and all will go well for you.H3414H559H5414H8085H6963H3068H1696H3190H5315H2421 21But if you refuse to surrender, this is what the Lord has revealed to me:H3986H3318H1697H3068H7200 22All the women left in your palace will be brought out and given to the officers of the Babylonian army. Then the women will taunt you, saying, ‘What fine friends you have! They have betrayed and misled you. When your feet sank in the mud, they left you to your fate!’H802H7604H4428H3063H1004H3318H4428H894H8269H559H582H7965H5496H3201H7272H2883H1206H5472H268 23All your wives and children will be led out to the Babylonians, and you will not escape. You will be seized by the king of Babylon, and this city will be burned down.”H3318H802H1121H3778H4422H3027H8610H3027H4428H894H5892H8313H784 24Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Don’t tell anyone you told me this, or you will die!H559H6667H3414H376H3045H1697H4191 25My officials may hear that I spoke to you, and they may say, ‘Tell us what you and the king were talking about. If you don’t tell us, we will kill you.’H8269H8085H1696H935H559H5046H1696H4428H3582H4191H4428H1696 26If this happens, just tell them you begged me not to send you back to Jonathan’s dungeon, for fear you would die there.”H559H5307H8467H6440H4428H7725H3083H1004H4191 27Sure enough, it wasn’t long before the king’s officials came to Jeremiah and asked him why the king had called for him. But Jeremiah followed the king’s instructions, and they left without finding out the truth. No one had overheard the conversation between Jeremiah and the king.H935H8269H3414H7592H5046H1697H4428H6680H2790H1697H8085 28And Jeremiah remained a prisoner in the courtyard of the guard until the day Jerusalem was captured.H3414H3427H2691H4307H3117H3389H3920H3389H3920
New Living Translation (NLT). Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. More details.