1Shephatiah 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,
2“This is what 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 his life will be his spoils of war, and he will live.
3This is what Yahweh says: this city will surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon, and he will capture it.”
4Then the officials said to the king, “Please let this man be put to death, because by speaking such words to them he weakens the hands of the men of war who remain in this city and the hands of all the people. For this man does not seek the welfare of this people, but the hurt.”
5So Zedekiah the king said, “Behold, he is in your hand, for the king cannot do anything against you.”
6Then took they Jeremiah and cast him into the cistern of Malchijah the king’s son, which was in the courtyard of the guard, and they let down Jeremiah with ropes. In the cistern there was no water, but mire, and Jeremiah sank in the mire.
7Now Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, a eunuch who was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the cistern. Now the king was sitting in the Gate of Benjamin.
8And Ebed-melech went out of the king’s 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 in the place where he is because of the famine, because there is no more bread in the city.”
10Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, “Take 30 men from here with you, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.”
11So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went into the house of the king beneath the treasury, and took rags and worn-out garments from there, and let them down by ropes into the cistern to Jeremiah.
12Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, “Put these rags and worn-out garments under your armpits now, under the ropes.” And Jeremiah did so.
13So they drew up Jeremiah with the ropes and took him up out of the cistern, and Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.
14Then Zedekiah the king sent and had Jeremiah the prophet brought to him in the third entry that is in the house of Yahweh, and the king said to Jeremiah, “I am going to ask you something. Hide nothing from me.”
15Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “If I tell it to you, will you not surely put me to death? And if I give you counsel, you will not listen to me.”
16So Zedekiah the king swore secretly to Jeremiah, saying, “As Yahweh lives, who made us this soul, I will not put you to death, nor will I give you into the hand of these men who seek your life.”
17Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “This is what Yahweh, the God of Armies, the God of Israel, says: If you will go out to the king of Babylon’s officials, then your soul will live and this city will not be burned with fire. And you will live, and your house.
18But if you will not go out to the king of Babylon’s officials, then this city will be given into the hand of the Chaldeans and they will burn it with fire, and you will not escape out of their hand.”
19Zedekiah the king said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Jews who have fallen away to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they abuse me.”
20But Jeremiah said, “They will not deliver you to them. I beg you, obey the voice of Yahweh in what I speak to you so it will be well with you and your soul will live.
21But if you refuse to go out, this is the word that Yahweh has shown me:
22Behold, all the women who are left in the king of Judah’s house will be brought out to the king of Babylon’s officials, and those women will say, ‘Your trusted friends have misled and have overpowered you. Your feet have sunk in the mud, and they have turned away from you.’
23They will bring out all your wives and your children to the Chaldeans, and you will not escape out of their hand, but will be taken by the hand of the king of Babylon, and you will cause this city to be burned with fire.”
24Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Let no man know of these words, and you will not die.
25But if the officials 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; do not hide it from us, and we will not put you to death; also what the king said to you,’
26then you will tell them, ‘I presented my supplication before the king, that he would not cause me to return to Jonathan’s house, to die there.’”
27Then came all the officials to Jeremiah, and asked him, and he told them according to all these words that the king had commanded. So they left off speaking with him, for the matter was not perceived.
28So Jeremiah stayed in the court of the guard until the day that Jerusalem was taken.