New International Reader's Version

Jeremiah 37

Jeremiah Is Put in Prison

1Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, appointed Zedekiah to be king of Judah. He was the son of Josiah. Zedekiah ruled in place of Jehoiachin, the son of Jehoiakim. Zedekiah and his attendants didn’t pay any attention to what the Lord had said through Jeremiah the prophet. And the people of the land didn’t pay any attention either.

But King Zedekiah sent Jehukal to Jeremiah the prophet. Zedekiah sent Zephaniah the priest along with him. Jehukal was the son of Shelemiah. Zephaniah was the son of Maaseiah. Jehukal and Zephaniah brought the king’s message to Jeremiah. It said, “Please pray to the Lord our God for us.”

At that time Jeremiah was free to come and go among the people. Jeremiah had not yet been put in prison. The armies of Babylon were attacking Jerusalem. They received a report that Pharaoh’s army had marched out of Egypt to help Zedekiah. So armies of Babylon pulled back from Jerusalem.

A message from the Lord came to Jeremiah. The Lord is the God of Israel. He says, “The king of Judah has sent you to ask me for advice. Tell him, ‘Pharaoh’s army has marched out to help you. But it will go back to its own land. It will return to Egypt. Then the armies of Babylon will come back here. They will attack this city. They will capture it. Then they will burn it down.’

“The Lord says, ‘Do not fool yourselves. You think, “The Babylonians will leave us alone.” But they will not! 10 Suppose you destroy all the armies of Babylon that are attacking you. Suppose only wounded men are left in their tents. Even then they will come out and burn down this city.’ ”

11 The armies of Babylon had pulled back from Jerusalem because of Pharaoh’s army. 12 So Jeremiah started to leave the city. He was planning to go to the territory of Benjamin. Jeremiah wanted to get his share of the property among the people there. 13 He got as far as the Benjamin Gate. But the captain of the guard arrested him. He said, “You are going over to the side of the Babylonians!” The captain’s name was Irijah, the son of Shelemiah. Shelemiah was the son of Hananiah.

14 Jeremiah said to Irijah, “That isn’t true! I’m not going to the side of the Babylonians.” But Irijah wouldn’t listen to him. Instead, he arrested Jeremiah. He brought Jeremiah to the officials. 15 They were angry with him. So they had him beaten. Then they took him to the house of Jonathan the secretary. It had been made into a prison. That’s where they put Jeremiah.

16 Jeremiah was put into a prison cell below ground level. He remained there a long time. 17 Then King Zedekiah sent for him. King Zedekiah had Jeremiah brought to the palace. There the king spoke to him in private. The king asked, “Do you have a message from the Lord for me?”

“Yes,” Jeremiah replied. “You will be handed over to the king of Babylon.”

18 Then Jeremiah continued, “Why have you put me in prison? What crime have I committed against you? What have I done to your attendants or these people? 19 Where are your prophets who prophesied to you? They said, ‘The king of Babylon won’t attack you. He won’t march into this land.’ 20 But now please listen, my king and master. Let me make my appeal to you. Please don’t send me back to the house of Jonathan the secretary. If you do, I’ll die there.”

21 Then King Zedekiah gave the order. His men put Jeremiah in the courtyard of the guard. They gave him a loaf of bread from the street of the bakers. They did it every day until all the bread in the city was gone. So Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard.