Jeremiah Is Put Into Prison
1 Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon. He appointed Zedekiah son of Josiah to be the king of Judah in the place of Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim. 2 But Zedekiah, his servants, and the people of Judah did not pay attention to the messages the LORD had given to Jeremiah the prophet.
3 King Zedekiah sent Jehucal son of Shelemiah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah to Jeremiah the prophet with a message. This was the message they brought to Jeremiah: “Jeremiah, pray to the LORD our God for us.”
4 At that time Jeremiah had not yet been put into prison, so he was free to go anywhere he wanted. 5 Also at that time Pharaoh’s army had marched from Egypt toward Judah. The Babylonian army had surrounded the city of Jerusalem in order to defeat it. Then they had heard about the army from Egypt marching toward them. So the army from Babylon left Jerusalem to fight with the army from Egypt.
6 This message from the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet: 7 “This is what the LORD, the God of the people of Israel, says: ‘Jehucal and Zephaniah, I know that King Zedekiah of Judah sent you to me to ask questions. Tell King Zedekiah this: Pharaoh’s army marched out of Egypt to come here to help you against the army of Babylon. But Pharaoh’s army will go back to Egypt. 8 After that the army from Babylon will come back here and attack Jerusalem. Then they will capture and burn it.’ 9 This is what the LORD says: ‘People of Jerusalem, don’t fool yourselves. Don’t say to yourselves, “The army of Babylon will surely leave us alone.” They will not. 10 People of Jerusalem, even if you could defeat all the Babylonian army that is attacking you, there would still be a few wounded men left in their tents. Even those few wounded men would come out of their tents and burn Jerusalem down.’ ”
11 When the Babylonian army left Jerusalem to fight the army of the Pharaoh of Egypt, 12 Jeremiah wanted to travel from Jerusalem to the land of Benjamin.* the land of Benjamin Jeremiah was going to his hometown, Anathoth, which was in the land of Benjamin. He wanted to be there for a division of some property that belonged to his family. 13 But when Jeremiah got to the Benjamin Gate of Jerusalem,† Benjamin Gate of Jerusalem This gate led out of Jerusalem to the road which went north to the land of Benjamin. the captain in charge of the guards arrested him. The captain’s name was Irijah son of Shelemiah. Shelemiah was the son of Hananiah. So Irijah the captain arrested Jeremiah and said, “Jeremiah, you are leaving us to join the Babylonian side.”
14 Jeremiah said to Irijah, “That is not true! I am not leaving to join the Babylonians.” But Irijah refused to listen to Jeremiah. And Irijah arrested Jeremiah and took him to the royal officials of Jerusalem. 15 Those officials were very angry with Jeremiah. They gave an order for Jeremiah to be beaten. Then they put him in a prison. The prison was in the house of Jonathan, a scribe for the king of Judah. His house had been made into a prison. 16 They put Jeremiah into a cell under the house of Jonathan. The cell was in a dungeon under the ground. Jeremiah was there for a long time.
17 Then King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah and had him brought to the palace. Zedekiah talked to Jeremiah in private. He asked Jeremiah, “Is there any message from the LORD?”
Jeremiah answered, “Yes, he said that you will be given to the king of Babylon.” 18 Then Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, “What have I done wrong? What crime have I done against you or your officials or the people of Jerusalem? Why have you thrown me into prison? 19 King Zedekiah, where are your prophets now? They told you a false message. They said, ‘The king of Babylon will not attack you or this land of Judah.’ 20 But now, my lord, king of Judah, please listen to me. Please let me bring my request to you. This is what I ask: Don’t send me back to the house of Jonathan the scribe. If you send me back, I will die there.”
21 So King Zedekiah gave orders for Jeremiah to be put under guard in the courtyard. And he ordered that Jeremiah should be given bread from the street bakers. He was given bread until there was no more bread in the city. So Jeremiah stayed under guard in the courtyard.
*37:12 the land of Benjamin Jeremiah was going to his hometown, Anathoth, which was in the land of Benjamin.
†37:13 Benjamin Gate of Jerusalem This gate led out of Jerusalem to the road which went north to the land of Benjamin.