Zedekiah’s Request Denied

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord when King Zedekiah sent Pashhur son of Malchijah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah to Jeremiah, asking, “Ask the Lord on our behalf, since Nebuchadnezzar[a] king of Babylon is making war against us. Perhaps the Lord will perform for us something like all His past wonderful works so that Nebuchadnezzar will withdraw from us.”

But Jeremiah answered, “This is what you are to say to Zedekiah: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I will repel the weapons of war in your hands, those you are using to fight the king of Babylon and the Chaldeans[b] who are besieging you outside the wall, and I will bring them into the center of this city. I will fight against you with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm, with anger, rage, and great wrath. I will strike the residents of this city, both man and beast. They will die in a great plague. Afterward’”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“‘King Zedekiah of Judah, his officers, and the people—those in this city who survive the plague, the sword, and the famine—I will hand over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, to their enemies, yes, to those who want to take their lives. He will put them to the sword; he won’t spare them or show pity or compassion.’

A Warning for the People

“But you must say to this people, ‘This is what the Lord says: Look, I am presenting to you the way of life and the way of death. Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine, and plague, but whoever goes out and surrenders to the Chaldeans who are besieging you will live and will retain his life like the spoils of war. 10 For I have turned[c] against this city to bring disaster and not good’”—this is the Lord’s declaration. “‘It will be handed over to the king of Babylon, who will burn it down.’

11 “And to the house of the king of Judah say this: ‘Hear the word of the Lord! 12 House of David, this is what the Lord says:

Administer justice every morning,

and rescue the victim of robbery

from the hand of his oppressor,

or My anger will flare up like fire

and burn unquenchably

because of their evil deeds.

13 Beware! I am against you,

you who sit above the valley,

you atop the rocky plateau—

this is the Lord’s declaration—

you who say, “Who can come down against us?

Who can enter our hiding places?”

14 I will punish you according to what you have done—

this is the Lord’s declaration.

I will kindle a fire in its forest

that will consume everything around it.’”


  1. Jeremiah 21:2 Lit Nebuchadrezzar
  2. Jeremiah 21:4 = Babylonians
  3. Jeremiah 21:10 Lit set My face