King James 2000
1The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and all his army, and all the kingdoms of the earth of his dominion, and all the people, fought against Jerusalem, and against all its cities, saying,
2Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel; Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah, and tell him, Thus says the LORD; Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire:
3And you shall not escape out of his hand, but shall surely be taken, and delivered into his hand; and your eyes shall behold the eyes of the king of Babylon, and he shall speak with you mouth to mouth, and you shall go to Babylon.
4Yet hear the word of the LORD, O Zedekiah king of Judah; Thus says the LORD concerning you, You shall not die by the sword:
5But you shall die in peace: and with the ceremonial fires of your fathers, the former kings who were before you, so shall they burn incense for you; and they will lament you, saying, Alas lord! for I have pronounced the word, says the LORD.
6Then Jeremiah the prophet spoke all these words unto Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem,
7When the king of Babylon's army fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish, and against Azekah: for these fortified cities remained of the cities of Judah.
Hebrew Slaves Gain Freedom
8This is the word that came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, after the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who were at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty unto them;
9That every man should let his manservant, and every man his maidservant, being a Hebrew or a Hebrewess, go free; that none should enslave them, that is, a Jew his brother.
10Now when all the princes, and all the people, who had entered into the covenant, heard that everyone should let his manservant, and everyone his maidservant, go free, that none should enslave them any more, then they obeyed, and let them go.
11But afterward they turned, and caused the servants and the handmaids, whom they had let go free, to return, and brought them into subjection for servants and for handmaids.
12Therefore the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
13Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel; I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, saying,
14At the end of seven years let you go every man his brother, a Hebrew, who has been sold unto you; and when he has served you six years, you shall let him go free from you: but your fathers hearkened not unto me, neither inclined their ear.
15And you were now turned, and had done right in my sight, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbor; and you had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name:
16But you turned and profaned my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom you had set at liberty, at their pleasure, to return, and brought them into subjection, to be unto you for servants and for handmaids.
17Therefore thus says the LORD; You have not hearkened unto me, in proclaiming liberty, everyone to his brother, and every man to his neighbor: behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, says the LORD, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.
18And I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, who have not performed the words of the covenant which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in two, and passed between its parts,
19The princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land, who passed between the parts of the calf;
20I will even give them into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life: and their dead bodies shall be for food unto the fowls of the heaven, and to the beasts of the earth.
21And Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes will I give into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babylon's army, which has gone up from you.
22Behold, I will command, says the LORD, and cause them to return to this city; and they shall fight against it, and take it, and burn it with fire: and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without an inhabitant.
The King James 2000 Bible, copyright © Doctor of Theology Robert A. Couric 2000, 2003
Used by permision. All rights reserved.