1The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army, and all the kingdoms of the earth that were under his dominion, and all the peoples, were fighting against Jerusalem and against all the cities of it, saying:
2“This is what Yahweh, the God of Israel, says: Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah, and tell him, ‘This is what Yahweh says: Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will burn it with fire:
3and you will not escape out of his hand, but will surely be taken, and delivered into his hand; and your eyes will see the eyes of the king of Babylon, and he will speak with you mouth to mouth, and you will go to Babylon.’
4Yet hear the word of Yahweh, O Zedekiah king of Judah. This is what Yahweh says concerning you, ‘You will not die by the sword;
5you will die in peace, and with the burnings of your fathers, the former kings who were before you, so they will make a burning for you; and they will lament you, saying, “Ah Lord!” for I have spoken the word, says Yahweh.’”
6Then Jeremiah the prophet spoke all these words to Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem,
7when the king of Babylon’s army was fighting against Jerusalem and against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish and against Azekah; for these alone remained of the cities of Judah as fortified cities.
8The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, after that the king Zedekiah had cut a covenant with all the people who were at Jerusalem to proclaim liberty to them,
9that every man should let his male servant, and every man his female servant who is a Hebrew or a Hebrewess go free, that none should make bondservants of them, of a Jew his brother.
10All the officials and all the people obeyed, who had entered into the covenant, that everyone should let his male servant and everyone his female servant go free, that none should make bondservants of them any more; they obeyed, and let them go.
11But afterwards they turned, and forced the slaves and the slave girls, whom they had let go free, to return, and brought them into subjection as slaves and slave girls.
12Therefore the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, saying,
13“This is what Yahweh, the God of Israel, says: I cut a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, saying,
14‘At the end of seven years you must let go every man his brother who is a Hebrew, who has been sold to you and has served you six years, you must let him go free from you,’ but your fathers didn’t listen to me, neither inclined their ear.
15You had now turned, and had done what is right in my eyes in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbor; and you had cut a covenant before me in the house that is called by my name,
16but you turned and profaned my name, and every man forced his slave, and every man forced his slave girl, whom you had let go free to go where they wanted, to return. And you brought them into subjection, to be your slaves and slave girls.
17Therefore this is what Yahweh says: you have not listened to me, to proclaim liberty, every man to his brother and every man to his neighbor; behold, I proclaim to you a liberty, says Yahweh, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine, and I will make you to be tossed back and forth among all the kingdoms of the earth.
18I will give the men who have transgressed my covenant, who have not performed the words of the covenant that they made before me when they cut the calf in two and passed between its parts–
19the officials of Judah, and the officials of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land who passed between the parts of the calf–
20I will even give them into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those who seek their life, and their dead bodies will be for food for the birds of the air and for the animals of the earth.
21I will give Zedekiah king of Judah and his officials into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army who have gone away from you.
22Behold, I will command, says Yahweh, and cause them to return to this city; and they will fight against it, and take it, and burn it with fire, and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without inhabitant.”