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eremiah
38 | 
surrounded the city of Jerusalem in order
to defeat it. Then they had heard about the
army from Egypt marching toward them.
So the army from Babylon left Jerusalem
to fight with the army from Egypt.
6
This message from the Lord came
to Jeremiah the prophet:
7
“This is what
the Lord, the God of the people of Israel,
says: ‘Jehucal and Zephaniah, I know that
King Zedekiah of Judah sent you to me
to ask questions. Tell King Zedekiah this:
Pharaoh’s army marched out of Egypt to
come here to help you against the army of
Babylon. But Pharaoh’s army will go back
to Egypt.
8
After that the army from Baby-
lon will come back here and attack Jeru-
salem. Then they will capture and burn
it.’
9
This is what the Lord says: ‘People of
Jerusalem, don’t fool yourselves. Don’t say
to yourselves, “The army of Babylon will
surely leave us alone.”They will not.
10
Peo-
ple of Jerusalem, even if you could defeat
all the Babylonian army that is attacking
you, there would still be a few wounded
men left in their tents. Even those few
wounded men would come out of their
tents and burn Jerusalem down.’ ”
11
When the Babylonian army left Jeru-
salem to fight the army of the Pharaoh of
Egypt,
12
Jeremiah wanted to travel from
Jerusalem to the land of Benjamin.
a
He
wanted to be there for a division of some
property that belonged to his family.
13
But
when Jeremiah got to the Benjamin Gate
of Jerusalem,
b
the captain in charge of the
guards arrested him. The captain’s name
was Irijah son of Shelemiah. Shelemiah
was the son of Hananiah. So Irijah the cap-
tain arrested Jeremiah and said, “Jeremiah,
you are leaving us to join the Babylonian
side.”
14
Jeremiah said to Irijah, “That is not
true! I am not leaving to join the Baby-
lonians.” But Irijah refused to listen to Je-
remiah. And Irijah arrested Jeremiah and
took him to the royal officials of Jerusalem.
a 
37:12
the land of Benjamin 
Jeremiah was going to his
hometown, Anathoth, which was in the land of Benjamin.
b 
37:13
Benjamin Gate of Jerusalem 
This gate led out of
Jerusalem to the road which went north to the land of Ben-
jamin.
15
Those officials were very angry with Jere-
miah. They gave an order for Jeremiah to
be beaten. Then they put him in a prison.
The prison was in the house of Jonathan,
a scribe for the king of Judah. His house
had been made into a prison.
16
They put
Jeremiah into a cell under the house of
Jonathan. The cell was in a dungeon under
the ground. Jeremiah was there for a long
time.
17
Then King Zedekiah sent for Jere-
miah and had him brought to the palace.
Zedekiah talked to Jeremiah in private.
He asked Jeremiah, “Is there any message
from the Lord?”
Jeremiah answered, “Yes, he said that
you will be given to the king of Babylon.”
18
Then Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah,
“What have I done wrong? What crime
have I done against you or your officials
or the people of Jerusalem? Why have
you thrown me into prison?
19
King Zede-
kiah, where are your prophets now? They
told you a false message. They said, ‘The
king of Babylon will not attack you or this
land of Judah.’
20
But now, my lord, king of
Judah, please listen to me. Please let me
bring my request to you. This is what I ask:
Don’t send me back to the house of Jona-
than the scribe. If you send me back, I will
die there.”
21
So King Zedekiah gave orders for Je-
remiah to be kept in the courtyard of the
guardhouse. And he ordered that Jere-
miah should be given bread from the street
bakers. He was given bread until there was
no more bread in the city. So Jeremiah
stayed under guard in the courtyard.
Jeremiah Is Thrown Into a Cistern
38
1
Some of the royal officials heard
what Jeremiah was saying. They
were Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah
son of Pashhur, Jehucal son of Shelemiah,
and Pashhur son of Malkijah. Jeremiah
was telling all the people this message:
2
“This is what the Lord says: ‘Everyone
who stays in Jerusalem will die from war,
hunger, or disease. But everyone who sur-
renders to the army of Babylon will live
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