Jeremiah Advises Zedekiah
37 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon appointed Zedekiah, son of Josiah, to be king of Judah. Zedekiah succeeded Jehoiakin, son of Jehoiakim. 2 But Zedekiah, his administrators, and the common people didn’t listen to what the Lord had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah.
3 King Zedekiah sent Jehucal (son of Shelemiah) and the priest Zephaniah (son of Maaseiah) to the prophet Jeremiah. They asked him, “Please pray to the Lord our God for us.”
4 Jeremiah was still free to come and go among the people. The people of Jerusalem hadn’t put him in prison yet. 5 Pharaoh’s army had come from Egypt, and when the Babylonians who were blockading Jerusalem heard this news, they retreated from Jerusalem.
6 The Lord spoke his word to the prophet Jeremiah. He said, 7 “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: Say this to the king of Judah, who sent you to get advice from me: ‘Pharaoh’s army has come out to help you. But it will go back to Egypt, its own land. 8 Then the Babylonians will return. They will attack the city, capture it, and burn it down.
9 “‘This is what the Lord says: Don’t deceive yourselves by thinking that the Babylonians will leave you. They will not leave you. 10 Even if you would defeat the entire Babylonian army so that they had only a few badly wounded men left in their tents, they would get up and burn down this city.’”
11 The Babylonian army had retreated from Jerusalem because Pharaoh’s army was coming. 12 So Jeremiah wanted to leave Jerusalem and go to the territory of Benjamin to take possession of his property there among the people. 13 But when he came to Benjamin Gate, the captain of the guard there, whose name was Irijah, son of Shelemiah and grandson of Hananiah, arrested the prophet Jeremiah. He said, “You’re deserting to the Babylonians!”
14 Jeremiah answered, “That’s a lie! I’m not deserting to the Babylonians.” But Irijah wouldn’t listen to him. Irijah arrested Jeremiah and took him to the officials. 15 The officials were so angry with Jeremiah that they beat him and put him in prison in the scribe Jonathan’s house, which had been turned into a prison. 16 Jeremiah went into a prison cell, and he stayed there a long time.
17 Then King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah, and the king asked him privately in the palace, “Is there any message from the Lord?”
Jeremiah answered, “Yes! There is a message from the Lord. You will be handed over to the king of Babylon.” 18 Then Jeremiah asked King Zedekiah, “What crime have I committed against you, your administrators, or these people? Why have you put me in prison? 19 Where are the prophets who told you that the king of Babylon wouldn’t attack you and this land? 20 But now, Your Majesty, please listen, and accept my plea for mercy. Don’t return me to the scribe Jonathan’s house, or I will die there.”
21 King Zedekiah gave the command to have Jeremiah put in the courtyard of the prison. He gave him a loaf of bread every day from the bakers’ street until all the bread in the city was gone. So Jeremiah stayed in the courtyard of the prison.
Jeremiah Is Thrown into a Muddy Cistern
38 Shephatiah (son of Mattan), Gedaliah (son of Pashhur), Jucal (son of Shelemiah), and Pashhur (son of Malchiah) heard that Jeremiah was speaking to all the people. 2 They heard Jeremiah say, “This is what the Lord says: Those who stay in this city will die in wars, famines, or plagues. But those who surrender to the Babylonians will live. They will escape with their lives.
3 “This is what the Lord says: This city will certainly be handed over to the army of the king of Babylon, and it will capture the city.”
4 Then the officials said to the king, “Have this man put to death. He discourages the soldiers who are left in this city and all the people by telling them such things. This man is not trying to help these people; he’s trying to hurt them.”
5 King Zedekiah answered, “He’s in your hands. I won’t do anything to stop you.”
6 So they took Jeremiah and threw him into the cistern of Malchiah, the king’s son. It was in the courtyard of the prison. They used ropes to lower Jeremiah into the cistern. There was no water in the cistern, only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud.
7 But an official in the royal palace, Ebed Melech from Sudan, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the cistern. The king happened to be sitting at Benjamin Gate. 8 Ebed Melech left the royal palace and spoke to the king at Benjamin Gate. 9 “Your Majesty, everything that these men have done to the prophet Jeremiah is wrong. They have thrown him into the cistern, where he’ll starve to death, because there’s no more bread in the city.”
10 Then the king gave Ebed Melech from Sudan this command: “Take 30 men from here, and lift the prophet Jeremiah out of the cistern before he dies.”
11 So Ebed Melech took the men with him and went to the royal palace, to a room under the treasury. He took rags and torn clothes from there and lowered them with ropes to Jeremiah in the cistern. 12 Ebed Melech from Sudan said to Jeremiah, “Put these rags and torn clothes under your arms to protect you from the ropes.” Jeremiah did. 13 They used the ropes to pull Jeremiah up and lift him out of the cistern. Then Jeremiah stayed in the courtyard of the prison.
14 King Zedekiah sent for the prophet Jeremiah and brought him to the third entrance in the Lord’s temple. “I’m going to ask you a question,” the king said to Jeremiah. “Don’t hide anything from me.”
15 Jeremiah answered Zedekiah, “If I answer you, you’ll kill me. If I give you advice, you won’t listen to me.”
16 So King Zedekiah secretly swore an oath to Jeremiah, “The Lord gave us life. As the Lord lives, I will not kill you or hand you over to these men who want to kill you.”
17 Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “This is what the Lord God of Armies, the God of Israel, says: If you surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, you will live, and this city will not be burned. You and your household will live. 18 But if you don’t surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, this city will be handed over to the Babylonians. They will burn it down, and you will not escape from them.”
19 King Zedekiah answered Jeremiah, “I’m afraid of the Jews who have deserted to the Babylonians. The Babylonians may hand me over to them, and they will torture me.”
20 Jeremiah said, “You will not be handed over to them. Obey the Lord by doing what I’m telling you. Then everything 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 All the women who are left in the palace of Judah’s king will be brought out to the officers of the king of Babylon. These women will say:
‘Your trusted friends have misled you and used you.
Your feet are stuck in the mud, and your friends have deserted you.’
23 “All your wives and children will be brought to the Babylonians. You will not escape from them. You will be captured by the king of Babylon, and this city will be burned down.”
Jeremiah and Zedekiah Make an Agreement
24 Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Don’t let anyone know about this conversation, or you will die. 25 The officials may find out that I’ve been talking with you. They may come to you and say, ‘Tell us what you said to the king and what the king said to you. Don’t hide anything from us, or we’ll kill you.’ 26 If they come to you, say to them, ‘I asked the king not to send me back to Jonathan’s house to die there.’”
27 All the officials came to Jeremiah and questioned him. He told them exactly what the king had told him to say. So they stopped questioning him, because they hadn’t heard his conversation with the king. 28 Jeremiah stayed in the courtyard of the prison until the day Jerusalem was captured.
1 Timothy 6
6 All slaves who believe must give complete respect to their own masters. In this way no one will speak evil of God’s name and what we teach. 2 Slaves whose masters also believe should respect their masters even though their masters are also believers. As a result, believers who are slaves should serve their masters even better because those who receive the benefit of their work are believers whom they love.
Guidelines for Living a Godly Life
Teach and encourage people to do these things. 3 Whoever teaches false doctrine and doesn’t agree with the accurate words of our Lord Jesus Christ and godly teachings 4 is a conceited person. He shows that he doesn’t understand anything. Rather, he has an unhealthy desire to argue and quarrel about words. This produces jealousy, rivalry, cursing, suspicion, 5 and conflict between people whose corrupt minds have been robbed of the truth. They think that a godly life is a way to make a profit.
6 A godly life brings huge profits to people who are content with what they have. 7 We didn’t bring anything into the world, and we can’t take anything out of it. 8 As long as we have food and clothes, we should be satisfied.
9 But people who want to get rich keep falling into temptation. They are trapped by many stupid and harmful desires which drown them in destruction and ruin. 10 Certainly, the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people who have set their hearts on getting rich have wandered away from the Christian faith and have caused themselves a lot of grief.
11 But you, man of God, must avoid these things. Pursue what God approves of: a godly life, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight for the Christian faith. Take hold of everlasting life to which you were called and about which you made a good testimony in front of many witnesses.
13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and in the sight of Christ Jesus, who gave a good testimony in front of Pontius Pilate, 14 I insist that, until our Lord Jesus Christ appears, you obey this command completely. Then you cannot be blamed for doing anything wrong. 15 At the right time God will make this known. God is the blessed and only ruler. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. 16 He is the only one who cannot die. He lives in light that no one can come near. No one has seen him, nor can they see him. Honor and power belong to him forever! Amen.
17 Tell those who have the riches of this world not to be arrogant and not to place their confidence in anything as uncertain as riches. Instead, they should place their confidence in God who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 Tell them to do good, to do a lot of good things, to be generous, and to share. 19 By doing this they store up a treasure for themselves which is a good foundation for the future. In this way they take hold of what life really is.
20 Timothy, guard the Good News which has been entrusted to you. Turn away from pointless discussions and the claims of false knowledge that people use to oppose the Christian faith. 21 Although some claim to have knowledge, they have abandoned the faith.
God’s good will[a] be with all of you.
- 1 Timothy 6:21 Or “grace.”
38 But you have despised, rejected,
and become angry with your anointed one.
39 You have refused to recognize the promise to your servant
and have thrown his crown into the dirt.
40 You have broken through all his walls
and have laid his fortified cities in ruins.
41 (Everyone who passed by robbed him.
He has become the object of his neighbors’ scorn.)
42 You held the right hand of his enemies high
and made all of his adversaries rejoice.
43 You even took his sword out of his hand
and failed to support him in battle.
44 You put an end to his splendor
and hurled his throne to the ground.
45 You cut short the days of his youth
and covered him with shame. Selah
46 How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself forever?
How long will your anger continue to burn like fire?
47 Remember how short my life is!
Have you created Adam’s descendants for no reason?
48 Can a mortal go on living and never see death?
Who can set himself free from the power of the grave? Selah
49 Where is the evidence of your mercy, Lord?
You swore an oath to David
on the basis of your faithfulness.
50 Remember, O Lord,[a] how your servant[b] has been insulted.
Remember how I have carried in my heart the insults from so many people.
51 Your enemies insulted me.
They insulted your Messiah[c] every step he took.
52 Thank the Lord forever.
Amen and amen!
A prayer by Moses, the man of God.
28 Like a city broken into and left without a wall,
so is a person who lacks self-control.