Jeremiah 37

Zedekiah rules Judah as king

1 Josiah's son Zedekiah became king of Judah. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon chose Zedekiah to be king instead of Jehoiakim's son, Jeconiah. 2 Zedekiah did not obey the Lord's messages that Jeremiah spoke. The king's officers and the people of Judah did not obey those messages either.

The Lord warns King Zedekiah

3 King Zedekiah sent a message to the prophet Jeremiah. He sent Shelemiah's son Jehucal, and Maaseiah's son Zephaniah, the priest, to deliver this message: ‘Please pray to the Lord our God for us.’

4 Jeremiah was a free man at this time. They had not yet put him in prison. He could go where he wanted among the people. 5 The army of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, had marched out of Egypt. Babylon's soldiers who were attacking Jerusalem heard news about that. So they went away from Jerusalem.

6 Then the Lord gave this message to the prophet Jeremiah: 7 ‘The Lord, Israel's God, says: Go to the king of Judah, who sent you to ask for my help. Tell him, “Pharaoh's army marched out of Egypt to bring you help. But they will turn back and return to their own land, Egypt. 8 Then Babylon's army will return here. They will attack this city. They will take it for themselves. They will burn it completely.”

9 The Lord also says, “Do not deceive yourselves. Do not think that Babylon's soldiers will go away and leave you alone. They will not go away! 10 You might even win the fight against the whole army that is attacking you. There might be only a few of Babylon's soldiers who remain. You might have hurt them so much that they are lying down in their tents. But those weak men would still get up and attack this city. They would completely burn down this city.” ’

They put Jeremiah in prison

11 At that time, Babylon's army had gone away from Jerusalem because Pharaoh's army was coming. 12 So Jeremiah started to leave Jerusalem. He wanted to go to the land that belonged to Benjamin's tribe. He wanted to receive his part of the land that belonged to his family. 13 He was going out through the Benjamin gate of the city. Irijah, the son of Shelemiah and grandson of Hananiah, stopped him. Irijah was the captain of the guards at the gate. He took hold of Jeremiah. He said, ‘You are going out of the city to join Babylon's army!’ 14 Jeremiah said, ‘That is not true! I would never help the soldiers from Babylon.’ But Irijah would not listen to him. So he took Jeremiah to the king's officers as his prisoner. 15 The officers were very angry with Jeremiah. They beat him with a stick. They put him in a strong room of Jonathan's house. Jonathan was the king's secretary. They had made his house into a place to keep hold of prisoners.

16 They put Jeremiah in a small room in the ground under the house. He stayed there for a long time. 17 Then King Zedekiah told his officers to bring Jeremiah to the palace. When they were alone, the king asked him, ‘Do you have any message for me from the Lord?’

Jeremiah replied, ‘Yes, there is a message. Soldiers will put you under the power of the king of Babylon.’ 18 Then Jeremiah asked King Zedekiah, ‘Why have your officers put me in prison? Do I deserve that? Have I done something bad against you, your officers or the people of Judah? 19 Your own prophets said that the king of Babylon would not attack you or the land of Judah. That was a lie, so what have you done to them? 20 Please help me now, my master, the king. Do not send me back to the house of your secretary Jonathan. If you do that, I will die there.’

21 Then King Zedekiah told his officers to put Jeremiah in the palace yard where the guards would watch him. He told them to get bread every day from the bakers in the city and give it to Jeremiah. They should do that until there was no more bread in the city.

37:21‘bakers’ are people who use flour to make bread.

So they kept Jeremiah as prisoner in the palace yard with the royal guards.