The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, when Nebuchadrez′zar king of Babylon and all his army and all the kingdoms of the earth under his dominion and all the peoples were fighting against Jerusalem and all of its cities: “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Go and speak to Zedeki′ah king of Judah and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: Behold, I am giving this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire. You shall not escape from his hand, but shall surely be captured and delivered into his hand; you shall see the king of Babylon eye to eye and speak with him face to face; and you shall go to Babylon.’ Yet hear the word of the Lord, O Zedeki′ah king of Judah! Thus says the Lord concerning you: ‘You shall not die by the sword. You shall die in peace. And as spices were burned for your fathers, the former kings who were before you, so men shall burn spices for you and lament for you, saying, “Alas, lord!”’ For I have spoken the word, says the Lord.”
Then Jeremiah the prophet spoke all these words to Zedeki′ah king of Judah, in Jerusalem, when the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and against all the cities of Judah that were left, Lachish and Aze′kah; for these were the only fortified cities of Judah that remained.
The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, after King Zedeki′ah had made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem to make a proclamation of liberty to them, that every one should set free his Hebrew slaves, male and female, so that no one should enslave a Jew, his brother. And they obeyed, all the princes and all the people who had entered into the covenant that every one would set free his slave, male or female, so that they would not be enslaved again; they obeyed and set them free. But afterward they turned around and took back the male and female slaves they had set free, and brought them into subjection as slaves. The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I made a covenant with your fathers when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, saying, ‘At the end of six years each of you must set free the fellow Hebrew who has been sold to you and has served you six years; you must set him free from your service.’ But your fathers did not listen to me or incline their ears to me. You recently repented and did what was right in my eyes by proclaiming liberty, each to his neighbor, and you made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name; but then you turned around and profaned my name when each of you took back his male and female slaves, whom you had set free according to their desire, and you brought them into subjection to be your slaves. Therefore, thus says the Lord: You have not obeyed me by proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother and to his neighbor; behold, I proclaim to you liberty to the sword, to pestilence, and to famine, says the Lord. I will make you a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth. And the men who transgressed my covenant and did not keep the terms of the covenant which they made before me, I will make like the calf which they cut in two and passed between its parts— the princes of Judah, the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, the priests, and all the people of the land who passed between the parts of the calf; and I will give them into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their lives. Their dead bodies shall be food for the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth. And Zedeki′ah king of Judah, and his princes I will give into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their lives, into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon which has withdrawn from you. Behold, I will command, says the Lord, and will bring them back to this city; and they will fight against it, and take it, and burn it with fire. I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without inhabitant.”
35The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the days of Jehoi′akim the son of Josi′ah, king of Judah: “Go to the house of the Re′chabites, and speak with them, and bring them to the house of the Lord, into one of the chambers; then offer them wine to drink.” So I took Ja-azani′ah the son of Jeremiah, son of Habazzini′ah, and his brothers, and all his sons, and the whole house of the Re′chabites. I brought them to the house of the Lord into the chamber of the sons of Hanan the son of Igdali′ah, the man of God, which was near the chamber of the princes, above the chamber of Ma-asei′ah the son of Shallum, keeper of the threshold. Then I set before the Re′chabites pitchers full of wine, and cups; and I said to them, “Drink wine.” But they answered, “We will drink no wine, for Jon′adab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, ‘You shall not drink wine, neither you nor your sons for ever; you shall not build a house; you shall not sow seed; you shall not plant or have a vineyard; but you shall live in tents all your days, that you may live many days in the land where you sojourn.’ We have obeyed the voice of Jon′adab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he commanded us, to drink no wine all our days, ourselves, our wives, our sons, or our daughters, and not to build houses to dwell in. We have no vineyard or field or seed; but we have lived in tents, and have obeyed and done all that Jon′adab our father commanded us. But when Nebuchadrez′zar king of Babylon came up against the land, we said, ‘Come, and let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chalde′ans and the army of the Syrians.’ So we are living in Jerusalem.”
Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Go and say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will you not receive instruction and listen to my words? says the Lord. The command which Jon′adab the son of Rechab gave to his sons, to drink no wine, has been kept; and they drink none to this day, for they have obeyed their father’s command. I have spoken to you persistently, but you have not listened to me. I have sent to you all my servants the prophets, sending them persistently, saying, ‘Turn now every one of you from his evil way, and amend your doings, and do not go after other gods to serve them, and then you shall dwell in the land which I gave to you and your fathers.’ But you did not incline your ear or listen to me. The sons of Jon′adab the son of Rechab have kept the command which their father gave them, but this people has not obeyed me. Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing on Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them; because I have spoken to them and they have not listened, I have called to them and they have not answered.”
But to the house of the Re′chabites Jeremiah said, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Because you have obeyed the command of Jon′adab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done all that he commanded you, therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Jon′adab the son of Rechab shall never lack a man to stand before me.”