1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, when Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, and his entire army, and all the kingdoms of the earth that were under the authority of his hand, and all the people were making war against Jerusalem and against all of its cities, saying:
2 “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Go, and speak to Zedekiah, the king of Judah. And you shall say to him: Thus says the Lord: Behold, I will deliver this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will burn it with fire.
3 And you will not escape from his hand. Instead, you will be overtaken and captured, and you will be delivered into his hand. And your eyes will see the eyes of the king of Babylon, and his mouth will speak with your mouth, and you will enter into Babylon.
4 Even so, listen to the word of the Lord, Zedekiah, king of Judah: Thus says the Lord to you: You will not die by the sword.
5 Instead, you will die in peace. And, in accord with the burnings of your fathers, the former kings who were before you, so will they burn you. And they will mourn you, saying: ‘Alas, lord!’ For I have spoken the word, says the Lord.”
6 And Jeremiah, the prophet, spoke all these words to Zedekiah, the king of Judah, in Jerusalem.
7 And the army of the king of Babylon fought against Jerusalem and against all the cities of Judah that remained, against Lachish and against Azekah. For only these remained out of the cities of Judah that were fortified cities.
8 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, after king Zedekiah had struck a pact with all the people in Jerusalem, proclaiming
9 that each one should release his man servant, and each one his woman servant, as a free Hebrew man and a free Hebrew woman, and that they should never be rulers over them, that is, over the Jews, their own brothers.
10 Then all the leaders and all the people who entered into the pact, heard that each one should release his man servant, and each one his woman servant, to be free, and that they should no longer rule over them. Therefore, they listened, and they released them.
11 But later on, they turned back. And they took back again their man servants and their woman servants, whom they had released to be free. And they subjugated them as male and female servants.
12 And the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying:
13 “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I struck a pact with your fathers in the day when I led them away from the land of Egypt, from the house of servitude, saying:
14 ‘When seven years have been completed, let each one release his brother, a Hebrew, who had been sold to him. And so he will serve you for six years, and then you shall release him to be free from you.’ But your fathers did not listen to me, nor did they incline their ear.
15 And today you converted, and you did what is right in my eyes, so that you proclaimed liberty, each one to his friend. And you entered into a pact in my sight, in the house in which and over which my name is invoked.
16 But now you have turned back, and you have stained my name. For you have led back again, each one his man servant, and each one his woman servant, whom you had released so that they would be free and under their own authority. And you have subjugated them, so that they would be your servants and handmaids.”
17 Because of this, thus says the Lord: “You have not heeded me, though you proclaimed liberty, each one to his brother and each one to his friend. Behold, I am proclaiming a liberty for you, says the Lord, to the sword, to pestilence, and to famine. And I will cause you to be removed to all the kingdoms of the earth.
18 And I will give over the men who have betrayed my covenant, and who have not observed the words of the covenant, to which they assented in my sight when they cut the calf into two parts and passed between its parts:
19 the leaders of Judah, and the leaders of Jerusalem, the eunuchs and the priests, and all the people of the land, who have passed between the parts of the calf.
20 And I will give them into the hands of their enemies and into the hands of those who are seeking their life. And their dead bodies will be food for the birds of the air and for the beasts of the earth.
21 And Zedekiah, the king of Judah, and his leaders, I will give over to the hands of their enemies, and to the hands of those who are seeking their lives, and to the hands of the armies of the king of Babylon, which had withdrawn from you.
22 Behold, I will command, says the Lord, and I will lead them back to this city, and they will fight against it, and seize it, and set it on fire. And I will make the cities of Judah into a desolation, for there shall be no inhabitant.”