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Warnings to kings and people

1THE word which came from the LORD to Jeremiah when King Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur son of Malchiah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah with this request:

2“King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon has declared war on us; enquire of the LORD on our behalf. Perhaps the LORD will perform a miracle as he has done in times past, so that Nebuchadrezzar will raise the siege.”

3But Jeremiah answered them: Tell Zedekiah

4that these are the words of the LORD the God of Israel: I shall turn against you your own weapons with which you are fighting the king of Babylon and the Chaldaeans who are besieging you outside the wall; and I shall bring them into the heart of this city.

5I myself shall fight against you in burning rage and great fury, with an outstretched hand and a strong arm.

6I shall strike down those who live in this city, men and cattle alike; they will die of a great pestilence.

7After that, says the LORD, I shall take King Zedekiah of Judah, his courtiers, and the people, all in this city who survive pestilence, sword, and famine, and hand them over to King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon, to their enemies and those who would kill them. He will put them to the sword and show no pity or mercy or compassion.

8You are to say further to this people: These are the words of the LORD: I offer you now a choice between the way of life and the way of death.

9Whoever remains in this city will die by sword, famine, or pestilence, but whoever goes out and surrenders to the Chaldaeans now laying siege to you will survive; he will escape with his life.

10I have set my face against this city, determined to do them harm, not good, says the LORD. It will be handed over to the king of Babylon, and he will burn it to the ground.

11To the royal house of Judah: Listen to the word of the LORD;

12house of David, these are the words of the LORD: Dispense justice betimes, rescue the victim from his oppressor, or the fire of my fury may blaze up and burn unquenchably because of your evil actions.

13The LORD says: I am against you, you inhabitants of the valley, the rock in the plain, who say, “Who can come down upon us? Who can penetrate our retreats?”

14I shall punish you as your deeds deserve, says the LORD, I shall set fire to your heathland, and it will devour everything round about.

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