Jeremiah 52 – New King James Version

September 12 (Year Six)

Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. He also did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. For because of the anger of the Lord this happened in Jerusalem and Judah, till He finally cast them out from His presence. Then Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.

Now it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and encamped against it; and they built a siege wall against it all around. So the city was besieged until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. By the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, the famine had become so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land. Then the city wall was broken through, and all the men of war fled and went out of the city at night by way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king’s garden, even though the Chaldeans were near the city all around. And they went by way of the plain.

But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king, and they overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. All his army was scattered from him. So they took the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, and he pronounced judgment on him. Then the king of Babylon killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes. And he killed all the princes of Judah in Riblah. He also put out the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in bronze fetters, took him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death.

Now in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month (which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, who served the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He burned the house of the Lord and the king’s house; all the houses of Jerusalem, that is, all the houses of the great, he burned with fire. And all the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down all the walls of Jerusalem all around. Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive some of the poor people, the rest of the people who remained in the city, the defectors who had deserted to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the craftsmen. But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left some of the poor of the land as vinedressers and farmers.

The bronze pillars that were in the house of the Lord, and the carts and the bronze Sea that were in the house of the Lord, the Chaldeans broke in pieces, and carried all their bronze to Babylon. They also took away the pots, the shovels, the trimmers, the bowls, the spoons, and all the bronze utensils with which the priests ministered. The basins, the firepans, the bowls, the pots, the lampstands, the spoons, and the cups, whatever was solid gold and whatever was solid silver, the captain of the guard took away. The two pillars, one Sea, the twelve bronze bulls which were under it, and the carts, which King Solomon had made for the house of the Lord—the bronze of all these articles was beyond measure. Now concerning the pillars: the height of one pillar was eighteen cubits, a measuring line of twelve cubits could measure its circumference, and its thickness was four fingers; it was hollow. A capital of bronze was on it; and the height of one capital was five cubits, with a network and pomegranates all around the capital, all of bronze. The second pillar, with pomegranates was the same. There were ninety-six pomegranates on the sides; all the pomegranates, all around on the network, were one hundred.

The captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the second priest, and the three doorkeepers. He also took out of the city an officer who had charge of the men of war, seven men of the king’s close associates who were found in the city, the principal scribe of the army who mustered the people of the land, and sixty men of the people of the land who were found in the midst of the city. And Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took these and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. Then the king of Babylon struck them and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. Thus Judah was carried away captive from its own land.

These are the people whom Nebuchadnezzar carried away captive: in the seventh year, three thousand and twenty-three Jews; in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar he carried away captive from Jerusalem eight hundred and thirty-two persons; in the twenty-third year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred and forty-five persons. All the persons were four thousand six hundred.

Now it came to pass in the thirty-seventh year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-fifth day of the month, that Evil-Merodach king of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah and brought him out of prison. And he spoke kindly to him and gave him a more prominent seat than those of the kings who were with him in Babylon. So Jehoiachin changed from his prison garments, and he ate bread regularly before the king all the days of his life. And as for his provisions, there was a regular ration given him by the king of Babylon, a portion for each day until the day of his death, all the days of his life.

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Jeremiah 51 – 0New Living Translation

September 10 (Year Six)

This is what the Lord says:
“I will stir up a destroyer against Babylon
    and the people of Babylonia.
Foreigners will come and winnow her,
    blowing her away as chaff.
They will come from every side
    to rise against her in her day of trouble.
Don’t let the archers put on their armor
    or draw their bows.
Don’t spare even her best soldiers!
    Let her army be completely destroyed.
They will fall dead in the land of the Babylonians,
    slashed to death in her streets.
For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
    has not abandoned Israel and Judah.
He is still their God,
    even though their land was filled with sin
    against the Holy One of Israel.”

Flee from Babylon! Save yourselves!
    Don’t get trapped in her punishment!
It is the Lord’s time for vengeance;
    he will repay her in full.
Babylon has been a gold cup in the Lord’s hands,
    a cup that made the whole earth drunk.
The nations drank Babylon’s wine,
    and it drove them all mad.
But suddenly Babylon, too, has fallen.
    Weep for her.
Give her medicine.
    Perhaps she can yet be healed.
We would have helped her if we could,
    but nothing can save her now.
Let her go; abandon her.
    Return now to your own land.
For her punishment reaches to the heavens;
    it is so great it cannot be measured.
The Lord has vindicated us.
    Come, let us announce in Jerusalem
    everything the Lord our God has done.

Sharpen the arrows!
    Lift up the shields!
For the Lord has inspired the kings of the Medes
    to march against Babylon and destroy her.
This is his vengeance against those
    who desecrated his Temple.
Raise the battle flag against Babylon!
    Reinforce the guard and station the watchmen.
Prepare an ambush,
    for the Lord will fulfill all his plans against Babylon.
You are a city by a great river,
    a great center of commerce,
but your end has come.
    The thread of your life is cut.
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has taken this vow
    and has sworn to it by his own name:
“Your cities will be filled with enemies,
    like fields swarming with locusts,
    and they will shout in triumph over you.”

The Lord made the earth by his power,
    and he preserves it by his wisdom.
With his own understanding
    he stretched out the heavens.
When he speaks in the thunder,
    the heavens roar with rain.
He causes the clouds to rise over the earth.
    He sends the lightning with the rain
    and releases the wind from his storehouses.

The whole human race is foolish and has no knowledge!
    The craftsmen are disgraced by the idols they make,
for their carefully shaped works are a fraud.
    These idols have no breath or power.
Idols are worthless; they are ridiculous lies!
    On the day of reckoning they will all be destroyed.
But the God of Israel is no idol!
    He is the Creator of everything that exists,
including his people, his own special possession.
    The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name!

“You are my battle-ax and sword,”
    says the Lord.
“With you I will shatter nations
    and destroy many kingdoms.
With you I will shatter armies—
    destroying the horse and rider,
    the chariot and charioteer.
With you I will shatter men and women,
    old people and children,
    young men and young women.
With you I will shatter shepherds and flocks,
    farmers and oxen,
    captains and officers.

“I will repay Babylon
    and the people of Babylonia
for all the wrong they have done
    to my people in Jerusalem,” says the Lord.

“Look, O mighty mountain, destroyer of the earth!
    I am your enemy,” says the Lord.
“I will raise my fist against you,
    to knock you down from the heights.
When I am finished,
    you will be nothing but a heap of burnt rubble.
You will be desolate forever.
    Even your stones will never again be used for building.
You will be completely wiped out,”
    says the Lord.

Raise a signal flag to the nations.
    Sound the battle cry!
Mobilize them all against Babylon.
    Prepare them to fight against her!
Bring out the armies of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz.
    Appoint a commander,
    and bring a multitude of horses like swarming locusts!
Bring against her the armies of the nations—
    led by the kings of the Medes
    and all their captains and officers.

The earth trembles and writhes in pain,
    for everything the Lord has planned against Babylon stands unchanged.
Babylon will be left desolate without a single inhabitant.
    Her mightiest warriors no longer fight.
They stay in their barracks, their courage gone.
    They have become like women.
The invaders have burned the houses
    and broken down the city gates.
The news is passed from one runner to the next
    as the messengers hurry to tell the king
    that his city has been captured.
All the escape routes are blocked.
    The marshes have been set aflame,
    and the army is in a panic.

This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
    the God of Israel, says:
“Babylon is like wheat on a threshing floor,
    about to be trampled.
In just a little while
    her harvest will begin.”

“King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has eaten and crushed us
    and drained us of strength.
He has swallowed us like a great monster
    and filled his belly with our riches.
    He has thrown us out of our own country.
Make Babylon suffer as she made us suffer,”
    say the people of Zion.
“Make the people of Babylonia pay for spilling our blood,”
    says Jerusalem.

This is what the Lord says to Jerusalem:

“I will be your lawyer to plead your case,
    and I will avenge you.
I will dry up her river,
    as well as her springs,
and Babylon will become a heap of ruins,
    haunted by jackals.
She will be an object of horror and contempt,
    a place where no one lives.
Her people will roar together like strong lions.
    They will growl like lion cubs.
And while they lie inflamed with all their wine,
    I will prepare a different kind of feast for them.
I will make them drink until they fall asleep,
    and they will never wake up again,”
    says the Lord.
“I will bring them down
    like lambs to the slaughter,
    like rams and goats to be sacrificed.

“How Babylon is fallen—
    great Babylon, praised throughout the earth!
Now she has become an object of horror
    among the nations.
The sea has risen over Babylon;
    she is covered by its crashing waves.
Her cities now lie in ruins;
    she is a dry wasteland
    where no one lives or even passes by.
And I will punish Bel, the god of Babylon,
    and make him vomit up all he has eaten.
The nations will no longer come and worship him.
    The wall of Babylon has fallen!

“Come out, my people, flee from Babylon.
    Save yourselves! Run from the Lord’s fierce anger.
But do not panic; don’t be afraid
    when you hear the first rumor of approaching forces.
    For rumors will keep coming year by year.
Violence will erupt in the land
    as the leaders fight against each other.
For the time is surely coming
    when I will punish this great city and all her idols.
Her whole land will be disgraced,
    and her dead will lie in the streets.
Then the heavens and earth will rejoice,
    for out of the north will come destroying armies
    against Babylon,” says the Lord.
“Just as Babylon killed the people of Israel
    and others throughout the world,
    so must her people be killed.
Get out, all you who have escaped the sword!
    Do not stand and watch—flee while you can!
Remember the Lord, though you are in a far-off land,
    and think about your home in Jerusalem.”

“We are ashamed,” the people say.
    “We are insulted and disgraced
because the Lord’s Temple
    has been defiled by foreigners.”

“Yes,” says the Lord, “but the time is coming
    when I will destroy Babylon’s idols.
The groans of her wounded people
    will be heard throughout the land.
Though Babylon reaches as high as the heavens
    and makes her fortifications incredibly strong,
I will still send enemies to plunder her.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!

“Listen! Hear the cry of Babylon,
    the sound of great destruction from the land of the Babylonians.
For the Lord is destroying Babylon.
    He will silence her loud voice.
Waves of enemies pound against her;
    the noise of battle rings through the city.
Destroying armies come against Babylon.
    Her mighty men are captured,
    and their weapons break in their hands.
For the Lord is a God who gives just punishment;
    he always repays in full.
I will make her officials and wise men drunk,
    along with her captains, officers, and warriors.
They will fall asleep
    and never wake up again!”
says the King, whose name is
    the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
“The thick walls of Babylon will be leveled to the ground,
    and her massive gates will be burned.
The builders from many lands have worked in vain,
    for their work will be destroyed by fire!”

The prophet Jeremiah gave this message to Seraiah son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah, a staff officer, when Seraiah went to Babylon with King Zedekiah of Judah. This was during the fourth year of Zedekiah’s reign. Jeremiah had recorded on a scroll all the terrible disasters that would soon come upon Babylon—all the words written here. He said to Seraiah, “When you get to Babylon, read aloud everything on this scroll. Then say, ‘Lord, you have said that you will destroy Babylon so that neither people nor animals will remain here. She will lie empty and abandoned forever.’ When you have finished reading the scroll, tie it to a stone and throw it into the Euphrates River. Then say, ‘In this same way Babylon and her people will sink, never again to rise, because of the disasters I will bring upon her.’”

This is the end of Jeremiah’s messages.

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Jeremiah 50 – Revised Standard Version

September 08 (Year Six)

The word which the Lord spoke concerning Babylon, concerning the land of the Chalde′ans, by Jeremiah the prophet:

“Declare among the nations and proclaim,
    set up a banner and proclaim,
    conceal it not, and say:
‘Babylon is taken,
    Bel is put to shame,
    Mer′odach is dismayed.
Her images are put to shame,
    her idols are dismayed.’

“For out of the north a nation has come up against her, which shall make her land a desolation, and none shall dwell in it; both man and beast shall flee away.

“In those days and in that time, says the Lord, the people of Israel and the people of Judah shall come together, weeping as they come; and they shall seek the Lord their God. They shall ask the way to Zion, with faces turned toward it, saying, ‘Come, let us join ourselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant which will never be forgotten.’

“My people have been lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains; from mountain to hill they have gone, they have forgotten their fold. All who found them have devoured them, and their enemies have said, ‘We are not guilty, for they have sinned against the Lord, their true habitation, the Lord, the hope of their fathers.’

“Flee from the midst of Babylon, and go out of the land of the Chalde′ans, and be as he-goats before the flock. For behold, I am stirring up and bringing against Babylon a company of great nations, from the north country; and they shall array themselves against her; from there she shall be taken. Their arrows are like a skilled warrior who does not return empty-handed. Chalde′a shall be plundered; all who plunder her shall be sated, says the Lord.

“Though you rejoice, though you exult,
    O plunderers of my heritage,
though you are wanton as a heifer at grass,
    and neigh like stallions,
your mother shall be utterly shamed,
    and she who bore you shall be disgraced.
Lo, she shall be the last of the nations,
    a wilderness dry and desert.
Because of the wrath of the Lord she shall not be inhabited,
    but shall be an utter desolation;
every one who passes by Babylon shall be appalled,
    and hiss because of all her wounds.
Set yourselves in array against Babylon round about,
    all you that bend the bow;
shoot at her, spare no arrows,
    for she has sinned against the Lord.
Raise a shout against her round about,
    she has surrendered;
her bulwarks have fallen,
    her walls are thrown down.
For this is the vengeance of the Lord:
    take vengeance on her,
    do to her as she has done.
Cut off from Babylon the sower,
    and the one who handles the sickle in time of harvest;
because of the sword of the oppressor,
    every one shall turn to his own people,
    and every one shall flee to his own land.

“Israel is a hunted sheep driven away by lions. First the king of Assyria devoured him, and now at last Nebuchadrez′zar king of Babylon has gnawed his bones. Therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing punishment on the king of Babylon and his land, as I punished the king of Assyria. I will restore Israel to his pasture, and he shall feed on Carmel and in Bashan, and his desire shall be satisfied on the hills of E′phraim and in Gilead. In those days and in that time, says the Lord, iniquity shall be sought in Israel, and there shall be none; and sin in Judah, and none shall be found; for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant.

“Go up against the land of Meratha′im,
    and against the inhabitants of Pekod.
Slay, and utterly destroy after them,
                says the Lord,
    and do all that I have commanded you.
The noise of battle is in the land,
    and great destruction!
How the hammer of the whole earth
    is cut down and broken!
How Babylon has become
    a horror among the nations!
I set a snare for you and you were taken, O Babylon,
    and you did not know it;
you were found and caught,
    because you strove against the Lord.
The Lord has opened his armory,
    and brought out the weapons of his wrath,
for the Lord God of hosts has a work to do
    in the land of the Chalde′ans.
Come against her from every quarter;
    open her granaries;
pile her up like heaps of grain, and destroy her utterly;
    let nothing be left of her.
Slay all her bulls,
    let them go down to the slaughter.
Woe to them, for their day has come,
    the time of their punishment.

“Hark! they flee and escape from the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the Lord our God, vengeance for his temple.

“Summon archers against Babylon, all those who bend the bow. Encamp round about her; let no one escape. Requite her according to her deeds, do to her according to all that she has done; for she has proudly defied the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. Therefore her young men shall fall in her squares, and all her soldiers shall be destroyed on that day, says the Lord.

“Behold, I am against you, O proud one,
    says the Lord God of hosts;
for your day has come,
    the time when I will punish you.
The proud one shall stumble and fall,
    with none to raise him up,
and I will kindle a fire in his cities,
    and it will devour all that is round about him.

“Thus says the Lord of hosts: The people of Israel are oppressed, and the people of Judah with them; all who took them captive have held them fast, they refuse to let them go. Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is his name. He will surely plead their cause, that he may give rest to the earth, but unrest to the inhabitants of Babylon.

“A sword upon the Chalde′ans, says the Lord,
    and upon the inhabitants of Babylon,
    and upon her princes and her wise men!
A sword upon the diviners,
    that they may become fools!
A sword upon her warriors,
    that they may be destroyed!
A sword upon her horses and upon her chariots,
    and upon all the foreign troops in her midst,
    that they may become women!
A sword upon all her treasures,
    that they may be plundered!
A drought upon her waters,
    that they may be dried up!
For it is a land of images,
    and they are mad over idols.

“Therefore wild beasts shall dwell with hyenas in Babylon, and ostriches shall dwell in her; she shall be peopled no more for ever, nor inhabited for all generations. As when God overthrew Sodom and Gomor′rah and their neighbor cities, says the Lord, so no man shall dwell there, and no son of man shall sojourn in her.

“Behold, a people comes from the north;
    a mighty nation and many kings
    are stirring from the farthest parts of the earth.
They lay hold of bow and spear;
    they are cruel, and have no mercy.
The sound of them is like the roaring of the sea;
    they ride upon horses,
arrayed as a man for battle
    against you, O daughter of Babylon!

“The king of Babylon heard the report of them,
    and his hands fell helpless;
anguish seized him,
    pain as of a woman in travail.

“Behold, like a lion coming up from the jungle of the Jordan against a strong sheepfold, I will suddenly make them run away from her; and I will appoint over her whomever I choose. For who is like me? Who will summon me? What shepherd can stand before me? Therefore hear the plan which the Lord has made against Babylon, and the purposes which he has formed against the land of the Chalde′ans: Surely the little ones of their flock shall be dragged away; surely their fold shall be appalled at their fate. At the sound of the capture of Babylon the earth shall tremble, and her cry shall be heard among the nations.”

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Jeremiah 49 – The Voice

September 06 (Year Six)

Now concerning the Ammonites. This is what the Eternal has to say:

Long is the history between Ammon and Israel, and many are the conflicts between them. In Jeremiah’s day, Ammonite raiders have taken land originally meant for Israel, specifically the tribe of Gad. Along with other nations, the Ammonites have conspired against Babylon. After the fall of Jerusalem, the king of Ammon hires the assassin, Ishmael, to kill Gedaliah at a pivotal moment in the relationship between Judah and Babylon. Time and again, this proud nation defies the God of Israel and His people. They put their trust in their god, Malcam, and they find security in the mountainous region where they live.

Eternal One: Does Israel have no sons?
        Is there no one to inherit the land I gave her?
    Is that why Ammon’s god, Malcam, has taken the land of Gad?
        Why would his people be living in her cities?
    I, the Eternal, tell you the days are coming
        when you will hear the shout of war raised against Rabbah, Ammon’s capital.
    On that day it will be reduced to a pile of ruins,
        and the villages surrounding the city will be burned.
    Then Israel will take back what was taken from her.
    Weep, O Heshbon, for the town of Ai is destroyed!
        Cry out, O citizens of Rabbah!
    Put on sackcloth and mourn your losses.
        Run back and forth inside your city walls
    Because your so-called god, Malcam, will be carried into exile
        along with his priests and officials.
    You boast of your abundant valleys, you faithless daughter,
        but they are fading away.
    You trusted in your own wealth and thought,
        “Who could ever attack me?”
    Watch! I will surround you with terror.
        I, the Eternal Lord, Commander of heavenly armies, declare this.
    You will be driven out of the land in single file,
        with no one to keep your exiles together.
    But after this, there will come a day
        when I will restore the fortunes of the Ammonites.

So says the Eternal.

Like the relationship between Esau and Isaac—the twin ancestors from whom Edom and Israel descend—relations are often stormy between these two peoples. It is no secret that the Edomites hate the Israelites and often rejoice in their troubles. But it is pride that ultimately is Edom’s undoing, for they cannot imagine any enemy penetrating their mountain fortresses. They, too, are part of the council of nations that consider standing against Babylon (Jeremiah 27). As always, Jeremiah instructs that such resistance is an affront to the God of Israel who is using Babylon to accomplish His purposes in history.

Here now is the oracle concerning Edom, the descendants of Esau, spoken by the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies.

Eternal One: What happened to the wise men of Teman?
        Has their insight failed them?
        Has their wisdom merely vanished into thin air?
    You who live in Dedan,
        run and hide deep in the caves,
    For I will bring a disaster on Esau’s descendants
        when I come to punish him.
    When workers harvest the grapes,
        do they not leave some on the vine for those who are poor?
    Even when thieves enter your home in the middle of the night,
        do they not destroy and steal only what they need?
    But I will treat Esau’s descendants differently:
        I will strip them bare, exposing their secret places—no place to hide.
    Their children, their families, and even their neighbors will die,
        and this nation will be no more.
    Leave your orphans to Me, for I will protect them.
        Leave your widows as well, for they can trust Me.

This is what I, the Eternal, have to say: “If the innocent must drink of this cup of wrath, why do you think you should escape punishment? You will not escape, for you will surely drink from this cup! I swear by My own name, the Eternal, that Bozrah, Edom’s capital, will become a wasteland, an object of horror, of scorn and cursing; Edom’s towns will forever lie in ruins.”

I have heard a message from the Eternal.
    An envoy was sent to the nations to say,
“Assemble your troops to attack Edom!
    Rise up, and prepare for battle!”

Eternal One (to Edom): Look! I will humiliate you among the nations,
        make you small and insignificant, despised by all.
    The terror you inspire in others
        and your ingrained arrogance have deceived you!
    You think you are safe in your mountain hideaways;
        you hold the high ground above your enemies.
    You may build your fortress as high as an eagle’s nest,
        but I can still bring you down from there.

Edom will become an object of horror; all who pass by and see what I have done will shudder and gasp at all of his wounds. Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and all their neighbors were destroyed, never to rise again, I, the Eternal One, declare that no one will live there; no one will dare to make Edom their home. Like a lion that suddenly emerges from the dense undergrowth beside the Jordan to attack a flock feeding in the lush pasture, so in an instant I will arrive and chase the people of Edom from their land. Then I will put in place a leader of My choosing. For who is like Me, and who can challenge Me? What shepherd can stand against Me?

That is why you must hear the plan that the Eternal has for Edom, and what He intends to do to those who live in the city of Teman.

Eternal One: The little ones will be dragged away from the flock.
        All will scatter when their pasture is left desolate.
    The sound of Edom’s fall will cause the earth to shake.
        Their anguished cry will echo to the Red Sea.
    Look, an eagle is rising, spreading its wings!
        Soon it will swoop down and attack Bozrah.
    On that day, the heart of Edom’s warriors
        will be like the heart of a woman in labor—helpless and vulnerable.

Damascus has long been at odds with Israel and Judah, and she controls caravan routes in the region. But she must also submit to the sovereign power of the Eternal.

Here now is an oracle concerning Damascus.

Eternal One: The towns of Hamath and Arpad are put to shame,
        for they have heard bad news: doom is coming!
    They are distressed, troubled, and unsettled like the swirling sea.

    Damascus is weak and helpless; she has turned and run away.
        Panic grips her heart;
    Torment and pain have grabbed her
        like a woman giving birth.

Citizens of Damascus: Why is this glorious city—this city that gives us so much joy—not already deserted?

Eternal One: Her young men will fall in the streets,
        and her warriors will fall silent on that day.

So says the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies.

Eternal One: I will set fire to the walls of Damascus,
        a fire that will spread and burn up the palaces of Ben-hadad.

Here is an oracle from the Eternal concerning Kedar and the nomadic tribes of Arabia known as the kingdoms of Hazor, all defeated by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.

Eternal One: Rise up and attack Kedar.
        Destroy the tribes of the east.
    They will take away their tents and their flocks,
        their curtains, their camels, and all their possessions.
    They will shout to one another,
        “Terror is everywhere we turn!”
    Run away quickly while there is time!
        Hide deep in the earth, people of Hazor.
    For Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, has schemed against you.
        He has a plan for your defeat.
    So I tell you to rise up and attack this complacent nation,
        which assumes it is secure—
    A nation without walls or gates
        that lives alone in the desert.
    Their camels and livestock will be the spoils of war.
        I will scatter to the wind these people who cut the corners of their hair
    And surround them with disaster on every side,
        so I, the Eternal, declare.
    Hazor will become a haunt for jackals,
        a place of desolation for all time.
    Certainly no one will live there ever again.
        No one will make it his home.

Here is an oracle concerning Elam. The word of the Eternal came to the prophet Jeremiah early in the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah. This is what the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies has to say:

Eternal One: I will break the bows of Elam’s archers—the very best of their military might. I will bring the four winds from the four corners of heaven to blow against Elam. I will scatter them to the four winds, and there will not be a nation where her exiles will not go. I will shatter Elam right in front of her enemies, before those who want her dead. I will bring disaster upon these people, for My violent anger burns against them. I will pursue them in war until they are no more. I will destroy her wicked king and officials and set the king I want on the throne over Elam. But even so, in the latter times, the day will come when I will restore the fortunes of Elam.

So says the Eternal.

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Jeremiah 48 – International Children’s Bible

September 04 (Year Six)

This message is about the country of Moab. This is what the Lord of heaven’s armies, the God of Israel, says:

“How terrible it will be for Nebo.
    It will be ruined.
The town of Kiriathaim will be disgraced and captured.
    The strong city will be disgraced and shattered.
Moab will not be praised again.
    Men in the town of Heshbon plan Moab’s defeat.
    They say, ‘Come, let us put an end to that nation!’
Town of Madmen, you will also be silenced.
    The sword will chase you.
Listen to the cries from the town of Horonaim.
    They are cries of much confusion and destruction.
Moab will be broken up.
    Her little children will cry for help.
Moab’s people go up the path to Luhith.
    They cry loudly as they go.
On the road down to the town of Horonaim,
    cries of pain and suffering can be heard.
Run! Run for your lives!
    Go like a bush being blown through the desert.
You trust in the things you do and in your wealth.
    So you also will be captured.
The god Chemosh will be taken into captivity.
    And his priests and officers will be taken with him.
The destroyer will come against every town.
    Not one town will escape.
The valley will be ruined.
    The high plain will be destroyed.
    The Lord said this would happen.
Spread salt over the fields in Moab.
    The country will be an empty desert.
Moab’s towns will become empty.
    No one will live in them.
A curse will be on anyone who doesn’t do what the Lord says.
    A curse will be on anyone who keeps back his sword from killing.

“The people of Moab have never known trouble.
    They are like wine left to settle.
They have never been poured like wine from one jar to another.
    They have not been taken into captivity.
So they taste as they did before.
    And their smell has not changed.
A time is coming,” says the Lord.
    “And I will soon send men to pour you from your jars.
Those men will empty Moab’s jars.
    And they will smash their jugs.
The people of Israel trusted that god in Bethel.
    They were ashamed when there was no help.
In the same way Moab will be ashamed of their god Chemosh.

“You cannot say, ‘We are warriors!
    We are brave men in battle!’
The enemy will attack Moab and destroy their towns.
    Their best young men will be killed!” says the King.
    The King’s name is the Lord of heaven’s armies.
“The end of Moab is near.
    They will soon be destroyed.
All you who live around Moab, cry for her.
    All you who know about her, cry for her.
Say, ‘The ruler’s power is broken.
    Moab’s power and glory are gone.’

“You people living in Dibon, come down from your place of honor.
    Sit on the dry ground.
This is because the destroyer of Moab is coming against you.
    And he will destroy your strong, walled cities.
You people living in Aroer,
    stand next to the road and watch.
See the man running away and the woman escaping.
    Ask them what happened.
Moab will be ruined and filled with shame.
    Cry, Moab, cry out!
Announce at the Arnon River
    that Moab is destroyed.
People on the high plain have been punished.
    Judgment has come to these towns:
    Holon, Jahzah and Mephaath;
    Dibon, Nebo and Beth Diblathaim;
    Kiriathaim, Beth Gamul and Beth Meon;
    Kerioth and Bozrah.
    Judgment has come to all the towns of Moab, far and near.
Moab’s strength has been cut off.
    Moab’s arm is broken!” says the Lord.

“The people of Moab thought they were greater than the Lord.
    So punish Moab until they act as if they are drunk.
Moab will fall and roll around in their own vomit.
    People will make fun of them.
Moab, you made fun of Israel.
    Israel was caught in the middle of a gang of thieves.
You often spoke about Israel.
    And you shook your head and acted as if you were better than Israel.
People in Moab, leave your towns empty.
    Go live among the rocks.
Be like a dove that makes its nest
    at the entrance of a cave!

“We have heard that the people of Moab are proud
    and very conceited.
They are proud and think they are important.
    They were very proud in their hearts.”
The Lord says,
    “I know Moab’s quick anger, but it is useless.
    Moab’s bragging accomplishes nothing.
So I cry sadly for Moab.
    I cry out for everyone in Moab.
    I moan for the men from Kir Hareseth.
I cry with the people of Jazer
    for the grapevines of Sibmah.
In the past your vines spread all the way to the sea.
    They reached as far as the sea of Jazer.
But the destroyer has taken
    your fruit and grapes.
Joy and happiness are gone
    from the large fields of Moab.
I have stopped the flow of wine from the winepresses.
    No one walks on the grapes with shouts of joy.
There are shouts,
    but not shouts of joy.

“Their crying can be heard
    from Heshbon to Elealeh and Jahaz.
It can be heard from Zoar as far away as Horonaim and Eglath Shelishiyah.
    Even the waters of Nimrim are dried up.
I will stop Moab
    from making burnt offerings at the places of worship.
I will stop them from burning incense to their gods,” says the Lord.

“My heart cries for Moab like a flute playing a funeral song.
    It cries for the people from Kir Hareseth.
    Their money and riches have all been taken away.
Everyone has a shaved head.
    Everyone’s beard is cut off.
Everyone’s hands are cut.
    Everyone wears rough cloth around his waist.
People are crying on every roof in Moab
    and in every public square.
There is nothing but sadness
    because I have broken Moab
    like a jar no one wants,” says the Lord.
“Moab is shattered! The people are crying!
    Moab turns away in shame!
People all around her make fun of her.
    The things that happened fill them with fear.”

This is what the Lord says:
    “Look! An eagle is diving down from the sky.
    It spreads its wings over Moab.
The towns of Moab will be captured.
    The strong, walled cities will be defeated.
At that time Moab’s warriors will be frightened.
    They will feel pain like a woman who is having a baby.
The nation of Moab will be destroyed.
    This is because they thought they were greater than the Lord.
Fear, deep pits and traps wait for you,
    people of Moab,” says the Lord.
“People will run from fear.
    But they will fall into the pits.
Anyone who climbs out of the pits
    will be caught in the traps.
I will bring the year of punishment to Moab,” says the Lord.

“People have run from the powerful enemy.
    They ran to Heshbon for safety.
But fire started in Heshbon.
    A blaze broke out in Sihon’s town.
And it burns the leaders of Moab.
    It destroys those proud people.
How terrible it will be for you, Moab!
    Chemosh’s people are being destroyed.
Your sons and daughters are being taken away as captives.

“But in days to come,
    I will make good things happen again to Moab,” says the Lord.

This ends the judgment on Moab.

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Jeremiah 46-47 New American Standard Bible

August 16 (Year Six)

That which came as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the nations.

To Egypt, concerning the army of Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates at Carchemish, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon defeated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah:

“Set up the buckler and shield,
And advance to the battle!
Harness the horses,
And mount the steeds,
Take your stand with helmets on!
Polish the spears,
Put on the coats of armor!
Why have I seen it?
They are terrified,
They are retreating,
And their warriors are defeated
And have taken refuge in flight,
Without facing back.
Terror is on every side!”
Declares the Lord.
Let not the swift man flee,
Nor the warrior escape.
In the north beside the river Euphrates
They have stumbled and fallen.
Who is this that rises like the Nile,
Like the rivers whose waters surge?
Egypt rises like the Nile,
And like the rivers whose waters surge;
And He has said, “I will rise and cover that land;
I will destroy the city and its inhabitants.”
Go up, you horses, and drive wildly, you chariots,
So that the warriors may march forward:
Cush and Put, who handle the shield,
And the Lydians, who handle and bend the bow.
For that day belongs to the Lord God of armies,
A day of vengeance, so as to avenge Himself on His foes;
And the sword will devour and be satisfied,
And drink its fill of their blood;
For there will be a slaughter for the Lord God of armies,
In the land of the north at the river Euphrates.
Go up to Gilead and obtain balm,
Virgin daughter of Egypt!
You have used many remedies in vain;
There is no healing for you.
The nations have heard of your shame,
And the earth is full of your cry of distress;
For one warrior has stumbled over another,
And both of them have fallen down together.

This is the message which the Lord spoke to Jeremiah the prophet about the coming of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to strike the land of Egypt:

“Declare in Egypt and proclaim in Migdol,
Proclaim also in Memphis and Tahpanhes;
Say, ‘Take your stand and get yourself ready,
For the sword has devoured those around you.’
Why have your powerful ones been cut down?
They do not stand because the Lord has thrust them away.
They have repeatedly stumbled;
Indeed, they have fallen, one against another.
Then they said, ‘Get up, and let’s go back
To our own people and our native land,
Away from the sword of the oppressor!’
They shouted there, ‘Pharaoh king of Egypt is nothing but a big noise;
He has let the appointed time pass by!’
As I live,” declares the King,
Whose name is the Lord of armies,
“One certainly shall come who is like Tabor among the mountains,
Or like Carmel by the sea.
Make your baggage ready for exile,
Daughter living in Egypt,
For Memphis will become a desolation;
It will be destroyed and deprived of inhabitants.
Egypt is a pretty heifer,
But a horsefly is coming from the north—it is coming!
Also her mercenaries in her midst
Are like fattened calves,
For they too have turned away and have fled together;
They did not stand their ground.
For the day of their disaster has come upon them,
The time of their punishment.
Its sound moves along like a serpent;
For they move on like an army
And come to her as woodcutters with axes.
They have cut down her forest,” declares the Lord;
“Certainly it will no longer be found,
Even though they are more numerous than locusts
And are without number.
The daughter of Egypt has been put to shame,
Turned over to the power of the people of the north.”

The Lord of armies, the God of Israel says: “Behold, I am going to punish Amon of Thebes, and Pharaoh, and Egypt along with her gods and her kings, indeed, Pharaoh and those who trust in him. I shall hand them over to those who are seeking their lives, that is, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and to his officers. Afterward, however, it will be inhabited as in the days of old,” declares the Lord.

“But as for you, Jacob My servant, do not fear,
Nor be dismayed, Israel!
For, see, I am going to save you from far away,
And your descendants from the land of their captivity;
And Jacob will return and be undisturbed
And secure, with no one making him afraid.
Jacob My servant, do not fear,” declares the Lord,
“For I am with you.
For I will make a complete destruction of all the nations
Where I have driven you,
Yet I will not make a complete destruction of you;
But I will correct you properly
And by no means leave you unpunished.”

47The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the Philistines, before Pharaoh conquered Gaza. This is what the Lord says:

“Behold, waters are going to rise from the north
And become an overflowing torrent,
And overflow the land and everything that is in it,
The city and those who live in it;
And the people will cry out,
And every inhabitant of the land will wail.
Because of the noise of the galloping hoofs of his stallions,
The roar of his chariots, and the rumbling of his wheels,
The fathers have not turned back for their children,
Because of the debility of their hands,
Because of the day that is coming
To destroy all the Philistines,
To eliminate from Tyre and Sidon
Every surviving ally;
For the Lord is going to destroy the Philistines,
The remnant of the coastland of Caphtor.
Baldness has come upon Gaza;
Ashkelon has been destroyed.
Remnant of their valley,
How long will you gash yourself?
Ah, sword of the Lord,
How long will you not be quiet?
Withdraw into your sheath;
Rest and stay still.
How can it be quiet,
When the Lord has given it an order?
Against Ashkelon and against the sea shore—
There He has summoned it.”

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Jeremiah 44-45 New International Reader’s Version

August 14 (Year Six)

A message from the Lord came to Jeremiah. It was about all the Jews living in Lower Egypt. They were living in Migdol, Tahpanhes and Memphis. It was also about all the Jews living in Upper Egypt. The Lord who rules over all is the God of Israel. He said, “You saw all the trouble I brought on Jerusalem. I also brought it on all the towns in Judah. Today they lie there deserted and destroyed. That’s because of the evil things their people did. They made me very angry. They burned incense to other gods. And they worshiped them. They and you and your people of long ago never knew those gods. Again and again I sent my servants the prophets. They said, ‘Don’t worship other gods! The Lord hates it!’ But the people didn’t listen. They didn’t pay any attention. They didn’t turn from their sinful ways. They didn’t stop burning incense to other gods. So my burning anger was poured out. It blazed out against the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. It made them the dry and empty places they are today.”

The Lord God who rules over all is the God of Israel. He says, “Why do you want to bring all this trouble on yourselves? You are removing from Judah its men and women, its children and babies. Not one of you will be left. Why do you want to make me angry with the gods your hands have made? Why do you burn incense to the gods of Egypt, where you now live? You will destroy yourselves. All the nations on earth will use your name as a curse. They will say you are shameful. Have you forgotten the evil things done by your people of long ago? The kings and queens of Judah did those same things. So did you and your wives. They were done in the land of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. To this day the people of Judah have not made themselves humble in my sight. They have not shown any respect for me. They have not obeyed my law. They have not followed the rules I gave you and your people of long ago.”

The Lord who rules over all is the God of Israel. He says, “I have decided to bring horrible trouble on you. I will destroy the whole land of Judah. I will destroy the people of Judah who are left. They had decided to go to Egypt and make their homes there. But all of them will die in Egypt. They will die of war or hunger. All of them will die, from the least important of them to the most important. They will die of war or hunger. People will use their name as a curse. They will be shocked at them. They will say bad things about them. And they will say they are shameful. I will use war, hunger and plague to punish the Jews who live in Egypt. I punished Jerusalem in the same way. None of the people of Judah who have gone to live in Egypt will escape. Not one of them will live to return to Judah. They long to return and live there. But only a few will escape from Egypt and go back.”

All the Jews who were living in Lower and Upper Egypt gathered to give Jeremiah their answer. A large crowd had come together. It included men who knew that their wives were burning incense to other gods. Their wives were there with them. All of them said to Jeremiah, “We won’t listen to the message you have spoken to us in the Lord’s name! We will certainly do everything we said we would. We’ll burn incense to the female god called the Queen of Heaven. We’ll pour out drink offerings to her. We’ll do just as we and our people of long ago have done. Our kings and our officials also did it. All of us did it in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. At that time we had plenty of food. We were well off. We didn’t suffer any harm. But then we stopped burning incense to the Queen of Heaven. We stopped pouring out drink offerings to her. And ever since that time we haven’t had anything. Instead, we’ve been dying of war and hunger.”

The women added, “We burned incense to the Queen of Heaven. We poured out drink offerings to her. And our husbands knew we were making cakes that looked like her. They knew we were pouring out drink offerings to her.”

Then Jeremiah spoke to all the people who were answering him. He spoke to men and women alike. He said, “Didn’t the Lord know you were burning incense in the towns of Judah? Didn’t he care that you were also doing it in the streets of Jerusalem? You and your people of long ago were doing it. Your kings and officials were doing it too. So were the rest of the people in the land. The Lord couldn’t put up any longer with the evil things you were doing. He hated the things you did. So your land became a curse. It became a dry and empty desert. No one lived there. And that’s the way it still is today. You have burned incense to other gods. You have sinned against the Lord. You haven’t obeyed him or his law. You haven’t followed his rules. You haven’t lived up to the terms of the covenant he made with you. That’s why all this trouble has come on you. You have seen it with your own eyes.”

Then Jeremiah spoke to all the people. That included the women. He said, “All you people of Judah in Egypt, listen to the Lord’s message. The Lord who rules over all is the God of Israel. He says, ‘You and your wives have done what you promised you would do. You said, “We will certainly keep the promises we made to the Queen of Heaven. We’ll burn incense to her. We’ll pour out drink offerings to her.” ’

“Go ahead then. Do what you said you would! Keep your promises! But listen to the Lord’s message. Listen, all you Jews living in Egypt. ‘I make a promise by my own great name,’ says the Lord. ‘Here is what I promise. “No one from Judah who lives anywhere in Egypt will ever again pray in my name. None of them will ever make this promise. They will never say, ‘You can be sure that the Lord and King is alive.’ ” I am watching over them to do them harm and not good. The Jews in Egypt will die of war and hunger until all of them are destroyed. Some will not be killed. They will return to Judah from Egypt. But they will be very few. Then all the people of Judah who came to live in Egypt will know the truth. They will know whether what I say or what they say will come true.

“ ‘I will give you a sign that I will punish you in this place,’ announces the Lord. ‘Then you can be sure that my warnings of harm against you will come true.’ The Lord says, ‘I am going to hand over Pharaoh Hophra king of Egypt. I will hand him over to his enemies who want to kill him. In the same way, I handed over King Zedekiah to Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. He was the enemy who wanted to kill Zedekiah.’ ”

45Jeremiah talked to Baruch, the son of Neriah. It was in the fourth year that Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, was king of Judah. It was when Baruch had written down on a scroll the words Jeremiah the prophet told him to write. Jeremiah had said, “The Lord is the God of Israel. Baruch, he says to you, ‘You have said, “How terrible it is for me! The Lord has added sorrow to my pain. I’m worn out from all my groaning. I can’t find any rest.” ’ But here is what the Lord has told me to say to you, Baruch. ‘The Lord says, “I will destroy what I have built up. I will pull up by the roots what I have planted. I will do this throughout the earth. So should you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them. I will bring trouble on everyone,” announces the Lord. “But no matter where you go, I will let you escape with your life.” ’ ”

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Jeremiah 42-43 New International Version

August 12 (Year Six)

Then all the army officers, including Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least to the greatest approached Jeremiah the prophet and said to him, “Please hear our petition and pray to the Lord your God for this entire remnant. For as you now see, though we were once many, now only a few are left. Pray that the Lord your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do.”

“I have heard you,” replied Jeremiah the prophet. “I will certainly pray to the Lord your God as you have requested; I will tell you everything the Lord says and will keep nothing back from you.”

Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act in accordance with everything the Lord your God sends you to tell us. Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it will go well with us, for we will obey the Lord our God.”

Ten days later the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah. So he called together Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers who were with him and all the people from the least to the greatest. He said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your petition, says: ‘If you stay in this land, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you, for I have relented concerning the disaster I have inflicted on you. Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, whom you now fear. Do not be afraid of him, declares the Lord, for I am with you and will save you and deliver you from his hands. I will show you compassion so that he will have compassion on you and restore you to your land.’

“However, if you say, ‘We will not stay in this land,’ and so disobey the Lord your God, and if you say, ‘No, we will go and live in Egypt, where we will not see war or hear the trumpet or be hungry for bread,’ then hear the word of the Lord, you remnant of Judah. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you are determined to go to Egypt and you do go to settle there, then the sword you fear will overtake you there, and the famine you dread will follow you into Egypt, and there you will die. Indeed, all who are determined to go to Egypt to settle there will die by the sword, famine and plague; not one of them will survive or escape the disaster I will bring on them.’ This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘As my anger and wrath have been poured out on those who lived in Jerusalem, so will my wrath be poured out on you when you go to Egypt. You will be a curse and an object of horror, a curse and an object of reproach; you will never see this place again.’

“Remnant of Judah, the Lord has told you, ‘Do not go to Egypt.’ Be sure of this: I warn you today that you made a fatal mistake when you sent me to the Lord your God and said, ‘Pray to the Lord our God for us; tell us everything he says and we will do it.’ I have told you today, but you still have not obeyed the Lord your God in all he sent me to tell you. So now, be sure of this: You will die by the sword, famine and plague in the place where you want to go to settle.”

43When Jeremiah had finished telling the people all the words of the Lord their God—everything the Lord had sent him to tell them— Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah and all the arrogant men said to Jeremiah, “You are lying! The Lord our God has not sent you to say, ‘You must not go to Egypt to settle there.’ But Baruch son of Neriah is inciting you against us to hand us over to the Babylonians, so they may kill us or carry us into exile to Babylon.”

So Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers and all the people disobeyed the Lord’s command to stay in the land of Judah. Instead, Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers led away all the remnant of Judah who had come back to live in the land of Judah from all the nations where they had been scattered. They also led away all those whom Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard had left with Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan—the men, the women, the children and the king’s daughters. And they took Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch son of Neriah along with them. So they entered Egypt in disobedience to the Lord and went as far as Tahpanhes.

In Tahpanhes the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “While the Jews are watching, take some large stones with you and bury them in clay in the brick pavement at the entrance to Pharaoh’s palace in Tahpanhes. Then say to them, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I will send for my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and I will set his throne over these stones I have buried here; he will spread his royal canopy above them. He will come and attack Egypt, bringing death to those destined for death, captivity to those destined for captivity, and the sword to those destined for the sword. He will set fire to the temples of the gods of Egypt; he will burn their temples and take their gods captive. As a shepherd picks his garment clean of lice, so he will pick Egypt clean and depart. There in the temple of the sun in Egypt he will demolish the sacred pillars and will burn down the temples of the gods of Egypt.’”

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Jeremiah 40-41 Easy-to-Read Version

August 10 (Year Six)

The message from the Lord came to Jeremiah after he was set free at the city of Ramah. Nebuzaradan, the commander of the king of Babylon’s special guards, found Jeremiah in Ramah. Jeremiah was bound with chains. He was with all the captives from Jerusalem and Judah. They were being taken away in captivity to Babylon. When commander Nebuzaradan found Jeremiah, he spoke to him. He said, “Jeremiah, the Lord, your God, announced that this disaster would come to this place. And now the Lord has done everything just as he said he would do. This disaster happened because you people of Judah sinned against the Lord. You did not obey him. But now, Jeremiah, I will set you free. I am taking the chains off your wrists. If you want to, come with me to Babylon, and I will take good care of you. But if you don’t want to come with me, then don’t come. Look, the whole country is open to you. Go anywhere you want. Or go back to Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan. The king of Babylon has chosen Gedaliah to be governor over the towns of Judah. Go and live with Gedaliah among the people. Or you can go anywhere you want.”

Then Nebuzaradan gave Jeremiah some food and a present and let him go. So Jeremiah went to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah. He stayed with Gedaliah among those who were left behind in the land of Judah.

There were some soldiers from the army of Judah, officers and their men, still out in the open country when Jerusalem was destroyed. They heard that the king of Babylon had put Gedaliah son of Ahikam in charge of those who were left in the land. Those who were left were men, women, and children who were very poor. They were not carried off to Babylon as captives. So the soldiers came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. They were Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan and his brother Jonathan, sons of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, sons of Ephai from Netophah, and Jaazaniah son of the Maacathite, and the men who were with them.

Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, made an oath to make the soldiers and their men feel more secure. This is what he said: “You soldiers, don’t be afraid to serve the Babylonian people. Settle down in the land and serve the king of Babylon. If you do this, things will go well for you. I myself will live in Mizpah. I will speak for you before the Chaldeans who come here. You leave that work to me. You should harvest the wine, the summer fruit, and the oil. Put what you harvest in your storage jars. Live in the towns that you control.”

All the people of Judah who were in the countries of Moab, Ammon, Edom, and all the other countries heard that the king of Babylon had left some people of Judah in the land. And they heard that the king of Babylon had chosen Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, to be governor over them. When the people of Judah heard this news, they came back to the land of Judah. They came back to Gedaliah at Mizpah from all the countries where they had been scattered. So they came back and gathered a large harvest of wine and summer fruit.

Johanan son of Kareah and all the officers of the army of Judah who were still in the open country came to Gedaliah. Gedaliah was at the town of Mizpah. Johanan and the officers with him said to Gedaliah, “Do you know that Baalis, the king of the Ammonites, wants to kill you? He has sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to kill you.” But Gedaliah son of Ahikam didn’t believe them.

Then Johanan son of Kareah spoke to Gedaliah in private at Mizpah. Johanan said to Gedaliah, “Let me go and kill Ishmael son of Nethaniah. No one will know anything about it. We should not let Ishmael kill you. That would cause all the people of Judah who are gathered around you to be scattered to different countries again. And that would mean that the few survivors of Judah would be lost.”

But Gedaliah son of Ahikam said to Johanan son of Kareah, “Don’t kill Ishmael. The things you are saying about Ishmael are not true.”

41In the seventh month, Ishmael son of Nethaniah (the son of Elishama) came to Gedaliah son of Ahikam. Ishmael came with ten of his men. They came to the town of Mizpah. Ishmael was a member of the king’s family. He had been one of the officers of the king of Judah. Ishmael and his men ate a meal with Gedaliah. While they were eating together, Ishmael and his ten men got up and killed Gedaliah son of Ahikam with a sword. Gedaliah was the man the king of Babylon had chosen to be governor of Judah. Ishmael also killed all the men of Judah who were with Gedaliah at the town of Mizpah. He also killed the Babylonian soldiers who were there with Gedaliah.

The day after Gedaliah was murdered, 80 men came to Mizpah. They were bringing grain offerings and incense to the Lord’s Temple. They had shaved off their beards, torn their clothes, and cut themselves. They came from Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria. None of these men knew that Gedaliah had been murdered. Ishmael left Mizpah and went to meet the 80 men. He cried while he walked out to meet them. Ishmael met them and said, “Come with me to meet with Gedaliah son of Ahikam.” As soon as they were in the city, Ishmael and the men with him began to kill the 80 men and throw them into a deep cistern! But ten of the men said to Ishmael, “Don’t kill us! We have hidden some things in a field. We have wheat and barley and oil and honey.” So Ishmael stopped and didn’t kill them with the others. (Ishmael threw the dead bodies into the cistern until it was full, and that cistern was very big! It had been built by a king of Judah named Asa. King Asa had made the cistern so that during war there would be water in the city. Asa did this to protect his city from King Baasha of Israel.)

Ishmael captured all the other people in the town of Mizpah and started to cross over to the country of the Ammonites. They included the king’s daughters, and all those who were left there. Nebuzaradan, the commander of the king of Babylon’s special guards, had chosen Gedaliah to watch over those people.

Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers who were with him heard about all the evil things Ishmael had done. So Johanan and the army officers with him took their men and went to fight Ishmael son of Nethaniah. They caught Ishmael near the big pool of water that is at the town of Gibeon. When the captives that Ishmael had taken saw Johanan and the army officers, they were very happy. Then all the captives who Ishmael had taken from the town of Mizpah ran to Johanan son of Kareah. But Ishmael and eight of his men escaped from Johanan and ran away to the Ammonites.

So Johanan son of Kareah and all his army officers rescued the captives. Ishmael had murdered Gedaliah and then he had taken those people from Mizpah. Among the survivors were soldiers, women, children, and court officials. Johanan brought them back from the town of Gibeon.

Johanan and the other army officers were afraid of the Chaldeans. The king of Babylon had chosen Gedaliah to be governor of Judah. But Ishmael murdered Gedaliah, and Johanan was afraid that the Chaldeans would be angry. So they decided to run away to Egypt. On the way to Egypt, they stayed at Geruth Kimham, near the town of Bethlehem.

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Jeremiah 38-39 New King James Version

August 08 (Year Six)

Now Shephatiah the son of Mattan, Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchiah heard the words that Jeremiah had spoken to all the people, saying, “Thus says the Lord: ‘He who remains in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; but he who goes over to the Chaldeans shall live; his life shall be as a prize to him, and he 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 to the king, “Please, let this man be put to death, for thus he weakens the hands of the men of war who remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man does not seek the welfare of this people, but their harm.”

Then Zedekiah the king said, “Look, he is in your hand. For the king can do nothing against you.” So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the king’s son, which was in the court of the prison, and they let Jeremiah down with ropes. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire. So Jeremiah sank in the mire.

Now Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, one of the eunuchs, who was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon. When the king was sitting at the Gate of Benjamin, Ebed-Melech went 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 from hunger in the place where he is. For there is no more bread in the city.” Then the king commanded Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, saying, “Take from here thirty men with you, and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon before he dies.” So Ebed-Melech took the men with him and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took from there old clothes and old rags, and let them down by ropes into the dungeon to Jeremiah. Then Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, “Please put these old clothes and rags under your armpits, under the ropes.” And Jeremiah did so. So they pulled Jeremiah up with ropes and lifted him out of the dungeon. And Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison.

Then Zedekiah the king sent and had Jeremiah the prophet brought to him at the third entrance of the house of the Lord. And the king said to Jeremiah, “I will ask you something. Hide nothing from me.”

Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “If I declare it to you, will you not surely put me to death? And if I give you advice, you will not listen to me.”

So Zedekiah the king swore secretly to Jeremiah, saying, “As the Lord lives, who made our very souls, I will not put you to death, nor will I give you into the hand of these men who seek your life.”

Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘If you surely surrender to the king of Babylon’s princes, then your soul shall live; this city shall not be burned with fire, and you and your house shall live. But if you do not surrender to the king of Babylon’s princes, then this city shall be given into the hand of the Chaldeans; they shall burn it with fire, and you shall not escape from their hand.’ ”

And Zedekiah the king said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Jews who have defected to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they abuse me.”

But Jeremiah said, “They shall not deliver you. Please, obey the voice of the Lord which I speak to you. So it shall be well with you, and your soul shall live. But if you refuse to surrender, this is the word that the Lord has shown me: ‘Now behold, all the women who are left in the king of Judah’s house shall be surrendered to the king of Babylon’s princes, and those women shall say:

“Your close friends have set upon you
And prevailed against you;
Your feet have sunk in the mire,
And they have turned away again.”

‘So they shall surrender all your wives and children to the Chaldeans. You shall not escape from 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.’ ”

Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Let no one know of these words, and you shall not die. But if the princes hear that I have talked with you, and they come to you and say to you, ‘Declare to us now what you have said to the king, and also what the king said to you; do not hide it from us, and we will not put you to death,’ then you shall say to them, ‘I presented my request before the king, that he would not make me return to Jonathan’s house to die there.’ ”

Then all the princes came to Jeremiah and asked him. And he told them according to all these words that the king had commanded. So they stopped speaking with him, for the conversation had not been heard. Now Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison until the day that Jerusalem was taken. And he was there when Jerusalem was taken.

39In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem, and besieged it. In the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, the city was penetrated.

Then all the princes of the king of Babylon came in and sat in the Middle Gate: Nergal-Sharezer, Samgar-Nebo, Sarsechim, Rabsaris, Nergal-Sarezer, Rabmag, with the rest of the princes of the king of Babylon.

So it was, when Zedekiah the king of Judah and all the men of war saw them, that they fled and went out of the city by night, by way of the king’s garden, by the gate between the two walls. And he went out by way of the plain. But the Chaldean army pursued them and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. And when they had captured him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he pronounced judgment on him. Then the king of Babylon killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes in Riblah; the king of Babylon also killed all the nobles of Judah. Moreover he put out Zedekiah’s eyes, and bound him with bronze fetters to carry him off 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 to Babylon the remnant of the people who remained in the city and those who defected to him, with the rest of the people who remained. But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left in the land of Judah the poor people, who had nothing, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time.

Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, saying, “Take him and look after him, and do him no harm; but do to him just as he says to you.” So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard sent Nebushasban, Rabsaris, Nergal-Sharezer, Rabmag, and all the king of Babylon’s chief officers; then they sent someone to take Jeremiah from the court of the prison, and committed him to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, that he should take him home. So he dwelt among the people.

Meanwhile the word of the Lord had come to Jeremiah while he was shut up in the court of the prison, saying, “Go and speak to Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Behold, I will bring My words upon this city for adversity and not for good, and they shall be performed in that day before you. But I will deliver you in that day,” says the Lord, “and you shall not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid. For I will surely deliver you, and you shall not fall by the sword; but your life shall be as a prize to you, because you have put your trust in Me,” says the Lord.’ ”

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