A Prophecy against Zedekiah
1The word that came to Jeremias from the Lord, (when Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon, and all his army, and all the kingdoms of the earth, that were under the power of his hand, and all the people fought against Jerusalem and against all the cities thereof,) saying: 2Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel: Go, and speak to Sedecias king of Juda, and say to him: Thus saith the Lord: Behold I will deliver this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire. 3And thou shalt not escape out of his hand: but thou shalt surely be taken, and thou shalt be delivered into his hand: and thy eyes shall see the eyes of the king of Babylon, and his mouth shall speak with thy mouth, and thou shalt go to Babylon. 4Yet hear the word of the Lord, O Sedecias king of Juda: Thus saith the Lord to thee: Thou shalt not die by the sword. 5But thou shalt die in peace, and according to the burnings of thy fathers, the former kings that were before thee, so shall they burn thee: and they shall mourn for thee, saying: Alas, Lord: for I have spoken the word, saith the Lord.
6And Jeremias the prophet spoke all these words to Sedecias the king of Juda in Jerusalem. 7And the army of the king of Babylon fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of Juda that were left, against Lachis, and against Azecha: for these remained of the cities of Juda, fenced cities.
Freedom for Hebrew Slaves
8The word that came to Jeremias from the Lord, after that king Sedecias had made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem making a proclamation: 9That every man should let his manservant, and every man his maidservant, being a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, go free: and that they should not lord it over them, to wit, over the Jews their brethren. 10And all the princes, and all the people who entered into the covenant, heard that every man should let his manservant, and every man his maidservant go free, and should no more have dominion over them: and they obeyed, and let them go free. 11But afterwards they turned: and brought back again their servants and their handmaids, whom they had let go free, and brought them into subjection as menservants and maidservants.
12And the word of the Lord came to Jeremias from the Lord, saying: 13Thus saith the Lord the God of Israel: I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, saying: 14At the end of seven years, let ye go every man his brother being a Hebrew, who hath been sold to thee, so he shall serve thee six years: and thou shalt let him go free from thee: and your fathers did not hearken to me, nor did they incline their ear. 15And you turned to day, and did that which was right in my eyes, in proclaiming liberty every one to his brother: and you made a covenant in my sight, in the house upon which my name is invocated. 16And you are fallen back, and have defiled my name: and you have brought back again every man his manservant, and every man his maidservant, whom you had let go free, and set at liberty: and you have brought them into subjection to be your servants and handmaids.
17Therefore thus saith the Lord: You have not hearkened to me, in proclaiming liberty every man to his brother and every man to his friend: behold I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the Lord, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine: and I will cause you to be removed to all the kingdoms of the earth. 18And I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, and have not performed the words of the covenant which they agreed to in my presence, when they cut the calf in two and passed between the parts thereof: 19The princes of Juda, and the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land that passed between the parts of the calf: 20And I will give them into the hands of their enemies, and into the hands of them that seek their life : and their dead bodies shall be for meat to the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the earth. 21And Sedecias the king of Juda, and his princes, I will give into the hands of their enemies, and into the hands of them that seek their lives, and into the hands of the armies of the king of Babylon, which are gone from you. 22Behold I will command, saith the Lord, and I will bring them again to this city, and they shall fight against it, and take it, and burn it with fire: and I will make the cities of Juda a desolation, without an inhabitant.