Jeremiah 21

King Zedekiah asks the LORD for help.

1 King Zedekiah sent Pashhur, son of Malchijah, and the priest Zephaniah, son of Maaseiah, to Jeremiah.

2 ‘Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, is attacking us’, they said.

‘Ask the LORD for us if he will do something great for us. He did many good things for us before now. Perhaps he will cause Nebuchadnezzar to go away.’

21:2Nebuchadnezzar had made Zedekiah king.

The LORD uses Jeremiah to speak to them.

3 ‘Tell Zedekiah’, Jeremiah answered them, ‘that the LORD says this:

4 “You have weapons in your hands to fight the king of Babylon and his soldiers. But I will turn your weapons against you. The enemy are everywhere round your city's walls. And I will bring them together inside this city. 5 I will fight against you myself with my own hand. I am very strong and very angry. 6 I will attack all the people who live in this city. I will kill them with a very bad illness, both people and animals”.

7 After that, the LORD says: “I will take Zedekiah, king of Judah. With him, I will take any of his officers or people that are still alive. I will take anybody that the soldiers have not killed. And I will take everybody who has not died from illness. I will give them to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. I will give them to the enemies who want to kill them. He will kill them. He will not be sorry and he will not be kind to them.”

8 And tell the people more. Tell them that the LORD says: “I am showing two different paths to you. One path is the way to life and the other path is the way to death. 9 Anyone who stays in the city will die from hunger or illness. Or soldiers will kill them. But anyone can go out and he can give himself to the soldiers from Babylon. If he goes outside the city, he will save his life. 10 I have decided to hurt this city and not to help it”, says the LORD.

“I will give it to the king of Babylon, and he will destroy it with fire.”

11 Then to the king of Judah and to his family, say this:

12 “Descendants of David, the LORD says this:

You must judge people fairly every day.

Perhaps men have taken things from another man.

Then save that man from those who have taken his things.

If you do not do that, I will be very, very angry.

I will be angry because of the bad thing that you have done.

I will be so angry that my anger will burn like a fire.

Nobody can put out that fire.

13 I am your enemy, people in Jerusalem.

You live over this valley on a rocky hill”,

the LORD says.

You say “nobody can attack us.

Nobody can get into our strong city.”

14 But I will punish you for all the bad things that you have done’,

says the LORD.

‘I will light a fire in your trees.

Then that fire will destroy everything that is round you.’