Chapter 38

1. Then Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchiah, heard the words that Jeremiah had spoken unto all the people, saying,
2. Thus says the LORD, He that remains in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goes forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for a prize, and shall live.
3. Thus says the LORD, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylonís army, which shall take it.
4. Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech you, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakens the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeks not the welfare of this people, but the harm.
5. Then Zedekiah the king said, Behold, he is in your hand: for the king is not able to do anything against you.
6. Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the cistern of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison: and they let down Jeremiah with ropes. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sank in the mire.
7. Now when Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, one of the eunuchs who was in the kingís house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the cistern; the king then sitting in the gate of Benjamin;
8. Ebed-melech went forth out of the kingís house, and spoke to the king, saying,
9. 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 cistern; and he is likely to die from hunger in the place where he is: for there is no more bread in the city.
10. Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from here thirty men with you, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern, before he dies.
11. So Ebed-melech took the men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took there old clothes and old rags, and let them down by ropes into the cistern to Jeremiah.
12. And Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said unto Jeremiah, Put now these old clothes and rags under your armpits under the ropes. And Jeremiah did so.
13. So they drew up Jeremiah with cords, and took him up out of the cistern: and Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison.
14. Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took Jeremiah the prophet unto him into the third entrance that is in the house of the LORD: and the king said unto Jeremiah, I will ask of you a thing; hide nothing from me.
15. Then Jeremiah said unto Zedekiah, If I declare it unto you, will you not surely put me to death? and if I give you counsel, will you not hearken unto me?
16. So Zedekiah the king swore secretly unto Jeremiah, saying, As the LORD lives, that made us this soul, I will not put you to death, neither will I give you into the hand of these men that seek your life.
17. Then said Jeremiah unto Zedekiah, Thus says the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel; If you will assuredly go forth unto the king of Babylonís princes, then your soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and you shall live, and your house:
18. But if you will not go forth to the king of Babylonís princes, then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and you shall not escape out of their hand.
19. And Zedekiah the king said unto Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews that have fallen to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me.
20. But Jeremiah said, They shall not deliver you. Obey, I beseech you, the voice of the LORD, which I speak unto you: so it shall be well unto you, and your soul shall live.
21. But if you refuse to go forth, this is the word that the LORD has shown me:
22. And, behold, all the women that are left in the king of Judahís house shall be brought forth to the king of Babylonís princes, and those women shall say, Your friends have set upon you, and have prevailed against you: your feet have sunk in the mire, and they have turned away from you.
23. So they shall bring out all your wives and your children to the Chaldeans: and you shall not escape out of 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.
24. Then said Zedekiah unto Jeremiah, Let no man know of these words, and you shall not die.
25. But if the princes hear that I have talked with you, and they come unto you, and say unto you, Declare unto us now what you have said unto the king, hide it not from us, and we will not put you to death; also what the king said unto you:
26. Then you shall say unto them, I presented my supplication before the king, that he would not cause me to return to Jonathanís house, to die there.
27. Then came all the princes unto Jeremiah, and asked him: and he told them according to all these words that the king had commanded. So they ceased speaking with him; for the conversation had not been heard.
28. So Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison until the day that Jerusalem was taken: and he was there when Jerusalem was taken.