Chapter 15

  1. And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: Take a scroll and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto you against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spoke unto you, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day. It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them, that they may return every man from his evil way, that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.
  2. Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah, and Baruch wrote, from the mouth of Jeremiah, all the words of the Lord which he had spoken unto him, upon a scroll. And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up. I cannot go into the house of the Lord; therefore, you go, and read in the scroll which you have written from my mouth the words of the Lord in the ears of the people in the Lord’s house upon the fasting day. And also, you shall read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities. It may be they will present their supplication before the Lord and will return everyone from his evil way, for great is the anger and the fury that the Lord has pronounced against this people. And Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of the Lord in the Lord’s house.
  3. And it came to pass in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, in the ninth month, that they proclaimed a fast before the Lord to all the people in Jerusalem, and to all the people that came from the cities of Judah unto Jerusalem. Then read Baruch in the book the words of Jeremiah, in the house of the Lord, in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan, the scribe, in the higher court, at the entry of the new gate of the Lord’s house, in the ears of all the people.
  4. When Michaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, had heard out of the book all the words of the Lord, then he went down into the king’s house, into the scribe’s chamber, and behold, all the princes sat there, even Elishama the scribe, and Delaiah the son of Shemaiah, and Elnathan the son of Achbor, and Gemariah the son of Shaphan, and Zedekiah the son of Hananiah, and all the princes. Then Michaiah declared unto them all the words that he had heard when Baruch read the book in the ears of the people. Therefore, all the princes sent Jehudi the son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, unto Baruch, saying, Take in your hand the scroll wherein you have read in the ears of the people, and come. So Baruch the son of Neriah took the scroll in his hand and came unto them. And they said unto him, Sit down now and read it in our ears. So Baruch read it in their ears. Now it came to pass, when they had heard all the words, they were afraid both one and other, and said unto Baruch, We will surely tell the king of all these words. And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How did you write all these words at his mouth? Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth and I wrote them with ink in the book. Then said the princes unto Baruch, Go, hide, you and Jeremiah, and let no man know where you are.
  5. And they went in to the king, into the court, but they laid up the scroll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and told all the words in the ears of the king. So the king sent Jehudi to fetch the scroll, and he took it out of Elishama the scribe’s chamber. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king and in the ears of all the princes who stood beside the king. Now the king sat in the winter house in the ninth month, and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him. And it came to pass that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. Yet they were not afraid nor rent their garments — neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words. Nevertheless, Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah had made intercession to the king that he would not burn the scroll, but he would not hear them. But the king commanded Jerahmeel the son of Hammelech, and Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel to take Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet; but the Lord hid them.
  6. Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, after the king had burned the scroll and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, saying, Take again another scroll and write in it all the former words that were in the first scroll which Jehoiakim the king of Judah has burned. And you shall say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus says the Lord: You have burned this scroll, saying, Why have you written therein, saying the king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from there man and beast? Therefore, thus says the Lord unto Jehoiakim king of Judah: He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David, and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat and in the night to the frost. And I will punish him, and his seed, and his servants, for their iniquity. And I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and upon the men of Judah all the evil that I have pronounced against them, but they listened not.
  7. Then took Jeremiah another scroll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah, who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire. And there were added besides unto them many like words.
  8. And king Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah. But neither he, nor his servants, nor the people of the land did listen unto the words of the Lord which he spoke by the prophet Jeremiah.
  9. And Zedekiah the king sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, Pray now unto the Lord our God for us. Now Jeremiah came in and went out among the people, for they had not put him into prison. Then Pharaoh’s army had come forth out of Egypt, and when the Chaldeans that besieged Jerusalem heard tidings of them, they departed from Jerusalem.
  10. Then came the word of the Lord unto the prophet Jeremiah, saying, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Thus shall you say to the king of Judah that sent you unto me to inquire of me: Behold, Pharaoh’s army which has come forth to help you shall return to Egypt, into their own land. And the Chaldeans shall come again and fight against this city, and take it, and burn it with fire. Thus says the Lord: Deceive not yourselves, saying, The Chaldeans shall surely depart from us — for they shall not depart. For though you had smitten the whole army of the Chaldeans that fight against you, and there remained but wounded men among them, yet should they rise up every man in his tent and burn this city with fire.
  11. And it came to pass that when the army of the Chaldeans was broken up from Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh’s army, then Jeremiah went forth out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin, to separate himself there in the midst of the people. And when he was in the gate of Benjamin, a captain of the guard was there whose name was Irijah the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah. And he took Jeremiah the prophet, saying, You fall away to the Chaldeans. Then said Jeremiah, It is false, I fall not away to the Chaldeans. But he listened not to him, so Irijah took Jeremiah and brought him to the princes. Wherefore, the princes were angry with Jeremiah and smote him, and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe — for they had made that the prison. And Jeremiah was entered into the dungeon and into the cells, and he remained there many days.
  12. Then Zedekiah the king sent and took him out. And the king asked him secretly in his house, and said, Is there any word from the Lord? And Jeremiah said, There is; for, said he, you shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon. Moreover, Jeremiah said unto king Zedekiah, What have I offended against you, or against your servants, or against this people, that you have put me in prison? Where are now your prophets who prophesied unto you, saying, The king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this land? Therefore, hear now, I pray you, O my lord the king. Let my supplication, I pray you, be accepted before you, that you cause me not to return to the house of Jonathan the scribe, lest I die there. Then Zedekiah the king commanded that they should commit Jeremiah into the court of the prison, and that they should give him daily a piece of bread out of the bakers’ street, until all the bread in the city was spent. Thus, Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison.
  13. Then Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashur the son of Malchijah heard the words that Jeremiah had spoken unto all the people, saying, Thus says the Lord: He that remains in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence. But he that goes forth to the Chaldeans shall live, for he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live. Thus says the Lord: This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, which shall take it. Therefore, the princes said unto the king, We implore you, let this man be put to death. For thus he weakens the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them. For this man seeks not the welfare of this people, but the hurt. Then Zedekiah the king said, Behold, he is in your hand, for the king is not he that can do anything against you. Then they took Jeremiah and cast him into the dungeon of Malchijah the son of Hammelech that was in the court of the prison. And they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire, so Jeremiah sunk in the mire.
  14. Now when Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, one of the eunuchs who was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon — the king then sitting in the gate of Benjamin — Ebedmelech went forth out of the king’s house and spoke to the king, saying, My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet whom they have cast into the dungeon, and he is likely to die for hunger in the place where he is, for there is no more bread in the city. Then the king commanded Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from here thirty men with you and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon before he die. So Ebedmelech took the men with him and went into the house of the king, under the treasury, and took from there old cast clothes and old rotten rags, and let them down by cords into the dungeon, to Jeremiah. And Ebedmelech the Ethiopian said unto Jeremiah, Put now these old cast clothes and rotten rags under your armpits under the cords. And Jeremiah did so. So they drew up Jeremiah with cords and took him up out of the dungeon, and Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison. Then Zedekiah the king sent and took Jeremiah the prophet unto him, into the third entry that is in the house of the Lord. And the king said unto Jeremiah, I will ask you a thing; hide nothing from me. Then Jeremiah said unto Zedekiah, If I declare it unto you, will you not surely put me to death? And if I give you counsel, will you not listen unto me? So Zedekiah the king swore secretly unto Jeremiah, saying, As the Lord lives that made us this soul, I will not put you to death, neither will I give you into the hand of these men that seek your life.
  15. Then said Jeremiah unto Zedekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of Hosts, the God of Israel: If you will assuredly go forth unto the king of Babylon’s princes, then your soul shall live and this city shall not be burned with fire, and you shall live, and your house. But if you will not go forth to the king of Babylon’s princes, then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and you shall not escape out of their hand. And Zedekiah the king said unto Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews that are fallen to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand and they mock me. But Jeremiah said, They shall not deliver you. Obey, I implore you, the voice of the Lord which I speak unto you, so it shall be well unto you and your soul shall live. But if you refuse to go forth, this is the word that the Lord has shown me: And behold, all the women that are left in the king of Judah’s house shall be brought forth to the king of Babylon’s princes, and those women shall say, Your friends have set you on and have prevailed against you. Your feet are sunk in the mire and they are turned away back. So they shall bring out all your wives and your children to the Chaldeans, and you shall not escape out of their hand, but shall be taken by the hand of the king of Babylon. And you shall cause this city to be burned with fire.
  16. Then said Zedekiah unto Jeremiah, Let no man know of these words and you shall not die. But if the princes hear that I have talked with you, and they come unto you and say unto you, Declare unto us now what you have said unto the king, hide it not from us and we will not put you to death — also what the king said unto you — then you shall say unto them, I presented my supplication before the king that he would not cause me to return to Jonathan’s house, to die there. Then came all the princes unto Jeremiah and asked him, and he told them according to all these words that the king had commanded. So they left off speaking with him, for the matter was not perceived. So Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison until the day that Jerusalem was taken, and he was there when Jerusalem was taken.
  17. In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army against Jerusalem, and they besieged it. And in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, the ninth day of the month, the city was broken up. And all the princes of the king of Babylon came in and sat in the middle gate, even Nergalsharezer, Samgarnebo, Sarsekim chief of the eunuchs, Nergalsharezer chief of the magi, with all the residue of the princes of the king of Babylon. And it came to pass that when Zedekiah the king of Judah saw them, and all the men of war, then they fled and went forth out of the city by night, by the way of the king’s garden, by the gate between the two walls; and he went out the way of the plain. But the Chaldeans’ army pursued after them and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. And when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he gave judgment upon him. Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah in Riblah before his eyes. Also, the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah. Moreover, he put out Zedekiah’s eyes and bound him with chains to carry him to Babylon. And the Chaldeans burned the king’s house and the houses of the people with fire, and broke down the walls of Jerusalem. Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive into Babylon the remnant of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to him, with the rest of the people that remained. But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left of the poor of the people, who had nothing, in the land of Judah, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time.
  18. Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, saying, Take him and look well to him, and do him no harm, but do unto him even as he shall say unto you. So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard sent, and Nebushazban chief of the eunuchs, and Nergalsharezer chief of the magi, and all the king of Babylon’s princes, even they sent and took Jeremiah out of the court of the prison and committed him unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, that he should carry him home. So he dwelled among the people.