Jeremiah Warns against Trust in Pharaoh
1Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made Zedekiah the son of Josiah king in the land of Judah so he reigned as king instead of Coniah (also called Jeconiah and Jehoiachin) the son of Jehoiakim. 2But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land listened to the words of the Lord which He spoke through the prophet Jeremiah.
3Yet King Zedekiah sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah [along] with Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “Please pray [now] to the Lord our God for us.” 4Now Jeremiah was coming and going among the people, for they had not [yet] put him in prison. 5Meanwhile, Pharaoh’s army had set out from Egypt; and when the Chaldeans who were besieging Jerusalem heard the news about them, they withdrew from Jerusalem.
6Then the word of the Lord came to the prophet Jeremiah: 7“Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘This is what you are to say to the king of Judah, who sent you to Me to inquire of Me: “Behold, Pharaoh’s army, which has come out to help you, will return to Egypt, to their own land. 8And the Chaldeans [of Babylon] will come again and fight against this city, and they will capture it and set it on fire.” ’ 9Thus says the Lord, ‘Do not deceive yourselves, saying, “The Chaldeans will certainly stay away from us,” for they will not stay away. 10For even if you had defeated the whole army of the Chaldeans who fight against you, and there remained only the wounded men among them, yet they would rise up, every man confined in his tent, and burn down this city with fire.’ ”
11Now it happened when the army of the Chaldeans departed from Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh’s [approaching] army, 12that Jeremiah left Jerusalem [during the withdrawal of the Chaldean invaders] to go to [Anathoth, his hometown, in] the land of Benjamin to take possession of [the title to] the land [which he had purchased] there among the people. 13When he was at the Gate of Benjamin, a captain of the guard whose name was Irijah, the son of Shelemiah the son of Hananiah was there; and he seized and arrested Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “You are deserting to join the Chaldeans [of Babylon]!” 14But Jeremiah said, “That is a lie! I am not deserting to join the Chaldeans.” But the guard would not listen to him. So Irijah took Jeremiah and brought him to the princes (court officials). 15The princes were enraged with Jeremiah and beat him and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe—for they had made that the prison. 16When Jeremiah had come into the vaulted cell in the dungeon and had remained there many days,
17Zedekiah the king sent and brought him out; and in his palace the king secretly asked him, “Is there any word from the Lord?” And Jeremiah said, “There is!” Then he said, “You will be handed over to the king of Babylon.” 18Moreover, Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, “In what way have I sinned against you, or against your servants, or against this people, that you have put me in prison? 19Where then are your prophets who prophesied to you, saying, ‘The king of Babylon will not come against you or against this land?’ 20Therefore now, please listen, O my lord the king; please let my petition come before you and be acceptable and do not make me return to the house of Jonathan the scribe, that I may not die there.” 21Then King Zedekiah commanded, and they committed Jeremiah to the court of the guardhouse, and a [round] loaf of bread from the bakers’ street was given to him daily, until all the bread in the city was gone. So Jeremiah remained [imprisoned] in the court of the guardhouse.