Down Well, Jeremiah 38:7-40:6

Jeremiah Rescued from the Cistern

7 Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, a eunuch in the king’s house, heard that Jeremiah had been put in the cistern. The king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate, 8 so Ebed-melech went out of the palace and spoke to the king: 9 “Your majesty, these men have acted wickedly in all they have done to the prophet Jeremiah by throwing him into the cistern. He will die where he is because of the famine since there is no more bread in the city.”

10 Then the king ordered Ebed-melech the Ethiopian: “Thirty men are at your disposal. Take them with you and bring up Jeremiah the prophet from the cistern before he dies.” 11 So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went to the palace, underneath the storeroom. He took worn out rags and worn out clothes from there, and using ropes he lowered them down to Jeremiah in the cistern.

12 Ebed-melech the Ethiopian told Jeremiah, “Put the worn out rags and clothes under your armpits under the ropes,” and Jeremiah did as he said. 13 They pulled Jeremiah with the ropes and brought him up from the cistern, but Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard.

Zedekiah Again Seeks Advice from Jeremiah

14 King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah the prophet and had him brought to him at the third entrance to the LORD’s Temple. The king told Jeremiah, “I’m going to ask you something, and don’t hide anything from me.”

15 Jeremiah told Zedekiah, “When I tell you, you will surely put me to death, won’t you? And when I give you advice, you don’t listen to me.”

16 Then King Zedekiah, in secret, swore an oath to Jeremiah: “As surely as the LORD lives, who gave us this life to live, I won’t have you put to death, nor will I hand you over to these men who are seeking to kill you.”

17 So Jeremiah told Zedekiah, “This is what the LORD God of the Heavenly Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you will immediately surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, then you will live, and this city won’t be burned with fire. Both you and your family will live. 18 But if you don’t surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, then this city will be given to the Chaldeans, and they’ll burn it with fire. You won’t escape from their hands.’”

19 Then King Zedekiah told Jeremiah, “I’m afraid of the Judeans who have gone over to the Chaldeans. The Chaldeans may turn me over to them, and they may treat me harshly.”

20 Jeremiah said, “They won’t turn you over. Obey the LORD in what I’m telling you, and it will go well for you and you will live. 21 But if you refuse to surrender, this is what the LORD has shown me: 22 Look, all the women who are left in the house of the king of Judah will be brought out to the officers of the king of Babylon, and will say,

‘These friends of yours have mislead you

and overcome you.

Your feet have sunk down into the mire,

but they have turned away.’

23 “They’ll bring all your women and children out to the Chaldeans, and you won’t escape from their hand. Indeed, you will be seized by the hand of the king of Babylon, and this city will be burned with fire.”

24Then Zedekiah told Jeremiah, “Don’t let anyone know about these words and you won’t die. 25 If the officials hear that I’ve spoken with you, and they come to you and say, ‘Tell us what you told the king, and what the king told you; don’t hide it from us, and we won’t put you to death,’ 26 then you are to say to them, ‘I was presenting my request to the king that I not be taken back to the house of Jonathan to die there.’”

27 When all the officials came to Jeremiah and questioned him, he replied to them exactly as the king had ordered him. So they stopped speaking with him because the conversation had not been overheard. 28Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard until the day Jerusalem was captured.
Jeremiah 38:7-28


The Fall of Jerusalem and the Capture of Zedekiah

39:1 This is how Jerusalem was captured: In the tenth month of the ninth year of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came to Jerusalem and laid siege to it. 2 On the ninth day of the fourth month, in the eleventh year of the reign of Zedekiah, the wall of the city was breached. 3 All the officials of the king of Babylon came and sat in the Middle Gate, including Nergal-sarri-usur, governor of Sinmagir, Nabu-sarrussu-ukin the high official, Nergal-sarri-user, the chief official, and all the rest of the officials of the king of Babylon.

4 When Zedekiah king of Judah and all the soldiers saw them, they fled and went out of the city at night through the king’s garden through the gate between the two walls. Then he went out on the road toward the Arabah. 5 The Chaldean army pursued them and overtook Zedekiah on the plains of Jericho. When they seized him they brought him to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, and he passed judgment on him. 6 At Riblah, the king of Babylon executed Zedekiah’s sons right before his eyes. He also executed all the nobles of Judah. 7 Then he put out Zedekiah’s eyes and bound him with bronze fetters to take him to Babylon.

8 The Chaldeans burned the palace and the houses of the people with fire, and they broke down the walls of Jerusalem. 9 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the Babylonian guard, took into exile in Babylon the rest of the people who remained in the city, those who had deserted to Nebuchadnezzar, and the rest of the people who remained. 10 Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left in the land of Judah some of the poor people who did not have anything, and he gave them vineyards and fields on that day.

Jeremiah’s Release from Prison

11 Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave orders concerning Jeremiah through Nebuzarada, the captain of the guard: 12 “Take him, look after him, and don’t do anything to harm him. Rather, do for him whatever he tells you.” 13 So Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, Nebushazban, the high official, Nergal-sar-ezer, the chief official, and all the officials of the king of Babylon sent for Jeremiah. 14 They sent for Jeremiah and took him from the courtyard of the guard. They handed him over to Ahikam’s son Gedaliah, the grandson of Shaphan, to take him home. So he remained among the people.

Ebed-melech Rewarded

15 This message from the LORD came to Jeremiah while he was confined in the courtyard of the guard: 16 “Go and speak to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian: ‘This is what the LORD of the Heavenly Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Look, I’m going to fulfill my promise against this city for disaster rather than for good, and on that day it will happen before your eyes. 17 But I’ll deliver you on that day,” declares the LORD. “You won’t be given into the hands of the men you fear. 18 For I’ll surely deliver you, and you won’t fall by the sword. Your life will be spared because you trusted me,” declares the LORD.’”
Genesis 39:1-18


Jeremiah Freed and Chooses to Remain in Judah

40:1 This is the message that came to Jeremiah from the LORD after Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had released him from Ramah, when he was bound in chains, along with all the exiles from Jerusalem and Judah who were being taken into exile in Babylon.

2 The captain of the guard took Jeremiah and told him, “The LORD your God has predicted this disaster on this place. 3 And now the LORD has brought it about and has done just as he said. Because you people sinned against the LORD and didn’t obey him, this has happened to you. 4 Now, look, I’ve freed you today from the chains that were on your hands. If you want to come with me to Babylon, come, and I’ll look after you. But if you don’t want to come with me to Babylon, don’t. Look, the whole land lies before you, so go wherever it seems good and right for you to go.”

5 When he still did not respond, Nebuzaradan said, “Return to Ahikam’s son Gedaliah, whom the king of Babylon has appointed over the cities of Judah, and remain with him among the people—or go wherever it seems right for you to go.” Then the captain of the guard gave him an allowance of food and a gift and sent him off. 6 Jeremiah came to Ahikam’s son Gedaliah at Mizpah, and he remained with him among the people who were left in the land.
Jeremiah 40:1-6

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