Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchijah, heard the words that Jeremiah spoke to all the people, saying, “Yahweh says, ‘He who remains in this city will die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence; but he who goes out to the Chaldeans will live, and he will escape with his life, and he will live.’ Yahweh says, ‘This city will surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon, and he will take it.’ ”
Then the princes said to the king, “Please let this man be put to death; because he weakens the hands of the men of war who remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words to them: for this man doesn’t seek the welfare of this people, but harm.”
Zedekiah the king said, “Behold, he is in your hand; for the king can’t do anything to oppose you.”
Then they took Jeremiah and threw him into the dungeon of Malchijah the king’s son, that was in the court of the guard. They let down Jeremiah with cords. In the dungeon there was no water, but mire; and Jeremiah sank in the mire.
Now when Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, a eunuch, who was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon (the king was then sitting in Benjamin’s gate), Ebedmelech 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. He is likely to die in the place where he is, because of the famine; for there is no more bread in the city.”
Then the king commanded Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, “Take from here thirty men with you, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he dies.”
So Ebedmelech took the men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took from there rags and worn-out garments, and let them down by cords into the dungeon to Jeremiah. Ebedmelech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, “Now put these rags and worn-out garments under your armpits under the cords.”
Jeremiah did so. So they drew up Jeremiah with the cords, and took him up out of the dungeon; and Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.
Then Zedekiah the king sent and took Jeremiah the prophet to himself into the third entry that is in Yahweh’s house. Then the king said to Jeremiah, “I will ask you something. Hide nothing from me.”
Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “If I declare it to you, will you not surely put me to death? If I give you counsel, you will not listen to me.”
So Zedekiah the king swore secretly to Jeremiah, saying, “As Yahweh lives, who made us this soul, I will not put you to death, neither will I give you into the hand of these men who seek your life.”
Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “Yahweh, the God of Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you will go out to the king of Babylon’s princes, then your soul will live, and this city will not be burned with fire. You will live, along with your house. But if you will not go out to the king of Babylon’s princes, then this city will be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they will burn it with fire, and you won’t escape out of their hand.’ ”
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 mock me.”
But Jeremiah said, “They won’t deliver you. Obey, I beg you, Yahweh’s voice, in that which I speak to you; so it will be well with you, and your soul will live. But if you refuse to go out, this is the word that Yahweh has shown me: ‘Behold, all the women who are left in the king of Judah’s house will be brought out to the king of Babylon’s princes, and those women will say,
“Your familiar friends have turned on you,
and have prevailed over you.
Your feet are sunk in the mire,
they have turned away from you.”
They will bring out all your wives and your children to the Chaldeans. You won’t escape out of their hand, but will be taken by the hand of the king of Babylon. You will cause this city to be burned with fire.’ ”
Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Let no man know of these words, and you won’t die. But if the princes hear that I have talked with you, and they come to you, and tell you, ‘Declare to us now what you have said to the king; don’t hide it from us, and we will not put you to death; also tell us what the king said to you;’ then you shall tell them, ‘I presented my supplication before the king, that he would not cause me to 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 matter was not perceived.
So Jeremiah stayed in the court of the guard until the day that Jerusalem was taken.