Judgment Against Evil Kings
1 The LORD said, “Jeremiah, go down to the king’s palace. Go to the king of Judah and tell this message there: 2 ‘Listen to this message from the LORD, King of Judah. You rule from David’s throne, so listen. King, you and your officials must listen well. All of your people who come through the gates of Jerusalem must listen to the message from the Lord. 3 This is what the LORD says: Do what is right and fair. Protect those who have been robbed from the ones who robbed them. Don’t hurt or do anything wrong to orphans or widows. Don’t kill innocent people. 4 If you obey these commands, kings who sit on David’s throne will continue to come through the gates into the city of Jerusalem. They will come through the gates with their officials. The kings, their officials, and their people will come riding in chariots and on horses. 5 But I, the LORD, tell you that if you don’t obey these commands, then I promise with an oath in my own name that this king’s palace will be destroyed—it will become a pile of rocks.’ ”
6 This is what the LORD says about the palace where the king of Judah lives:
“The palace is tall like the forests of Gilead,
like the mountains of Lebanon.
But I will make it like a desert,
as empty as a city where no one lives.
7 I will send men to destroy the palace,
each armed with weapons.
They will cut up your strong, beautiful cedar beams
and throw them into the fire.
8 “People from many nations will pass by this city. They will ask one another, ‘Why has the LORD done such a terrible thing to Jerusalem? Jerusalem was such a great city.’ 9 This will be the answer to that question: ‘God destroyed Jerusalem because the people of Judah stopped following the agreement of the LORD their God. They worshiped and served other gods.’ ”
Judgment Against King Jehoahaz
Don’t cry for the king who has died.*
Don’t cry for him.
But cry very hard for the king
who must leave this place.†
Cry for him because he will never return
or see his homeland again.
This is what the LORD says about Jehoahaz‡
son of Josiah, who became king of Judah after his father Josiah died: “Jehoahaz has gone away from Jerusalem. He will never return. 12
Jehoahaz will die in the place where the Egyptians have taken him, and he will not see this land again.”
Judgment Against King Jehoiakim
13 “It will be very bad for King Jehoiakim.
He is doing wrong so that he can build his palace.
He is cheating people so that he can build rooms upstairs.
He is not paying his own people.
He is making them work for nothing.
14 “Jehoiakim says,
‘I will build myself a great palace, with huge rooms upstairs.’
So he built it with large windows.
He used cedar wood for paneling, and he painted it red.
15 “Jehoiakim, having a lot of cedar in your house
does not make you a great king.
Your father Josiah was satisfied to have food and drink.
He did what was right and fair,
so everything went well for him.
16 Josiah helped poor and needy people,
so everything went well for him.
Jehoiakim, what does it mean “to know God”?
It means living right and being fair.
That is what it means to know me.
This message is from the LORD.
17 “Jehoiakim, your eyes look only for what benefits yourself.
You are always thinking about getting more for yourself.
You are willing to kill innocent people.
You are willing to steal things from other people.”
18 So this is what the LORD says to King Jehoiakim son of Josiah:
“The people of Judah will not cry for Jehoiakim.
They will not say to each other, ‘Brother, I am so sad!
Sister, I am so sad!’
They will not cry for Jehoiakim.
They will not say about him, ‘Master, I am so sad!
King, I am so sad!’
19 The people of Jerusalem will bury Jehoiakim like a donkey.
They will drag his body away and throw it outside the gates of Jerusalem.
20 “Judah, go up to the mountains of Lebanon and cry out.
Let your voice be heard in the mountains of Bashan.
Cry out in the mountains of Abarim,
because all your ‘lovers’ will be destroyed.
21 “Judah, you felt safe, but I warned you.
I warned you, but you refused to listen.
You have lived like this from the time you were young.
And from the time you were young,
you have not obeyed me, Judah.
22 Judah, the punishment I give will come like a storm,
and it will blow all your shepherds away.
You thought some of the other nations would help you.
But these nations will also be defeated.
Then you will really be disappointed.
You will be ashamed of all the evil things you did.
23 “King, you seem so safe in your palace of cedar.
It’s as if you live in Lebanon!§
But when your punishment comes, you will groan.
You will be in pain like a woman giving birth!”
Judgment Against King Jehoiachin
24 “As surely as I live,” says the LORD, “I will do this to you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah: Even if you were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off. 25 Jehoiachin, I will give you to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and the Babylonians. Those are the people you are afraid of. They want to kill you. 26 I will throw you and your mother into another country where neither of you was born. You and your mother will die in that country. 27 Jehoiachin, you will want to come back to your land, but you will never be allowed to come back.”
28 Jehoiachin is like a broken pot that someone threw away.
He is like a pot that no one wants.
Why will Jehoiachin and his children be thrown out
and sent away into a foreign land?
29 Land, land, land of Judah!
Listen to this message from the LORD!
30 The LORD says, “Write this down about Jehoiachin:
‘He does not have children anymore!
Jehoiachin will not be successful
because none of his children will sit on the throne of David.
None of his children will rule in Judah.’ ”