Chapter 21

1The word which came to Yirmiyahu from Hashem, when King Tzidkiyahu sent to him Pashhur son of Malchiah and the Kohen Tzefanya, son of Maaseiah, to say,

אהַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר־הָיָה אֶל־יִרְמְיָהוּ מֵאֵת יְהֹוָה בִּשְׁלֹחַ אֵלָיו הַמֶּלֶךְ צִדְקִיָּהוּ אֶת־פַּשְׁחוּר בֶּן־מַלְכִּיָּה וְאֶת־צְפַנְיָה בֶן־מַעֲשֵׂיָה הַכֹּהֵן לֵאמֹר׃

2“Please inquire of Hashem on our behalf, for King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon is attacking us. Perhaps Hashem will act for our sake in accordance with all His wonders, so that [Nebuchadrezzar] will withdraw from us.”

בדְּרָשׁ־נָא בַעֲדֵנוּ אֶת־יְהֹוָה כִּי נְבוּכַדְרֶאצַּר מֶלֶךְ־בָּבֶל נִלְחָם עָלֵינוּ אוּלַי יַעֲשֶׂה יְהֹוָה אוֹתָנוּ כְּכָל־נִפְלְאֹתָיו וְיַעֲלֶה מֵעָלֵינוּ׃

3Yirmiyahu answered them, “Thus shall you say to Tzidkiyahu:

גוַיֹּאמֶר יִרְמְיָהוּ אֲלֵיהֶם כֹּה תֹאמְרֻן אֶל־צִדְקִיָּהוּ׃

4Thus said Hashem, the God of Yisrael: I am going to turn around the weapons in your hands with which you are battling outside the wall against those who are besieging you—the king of Babylon and the Chaldeans—and I will take them into the midst of this city;

דכֹּה־אָמַר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הִנְנִי מֵסֵב אֶת־כְּלֵי הַמִּלְחָמָה אֲשֶׁר בְּיֶדְכֶם אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם נִלְחָמִים בָּם אֶת־מֶלֶךְ בָּבֶל וְאֶת־הַכַּשְׂדִּים הַצָּרִים עֲלֵיכֶם מִחוּץ לַחוֹמָה וְאָסַפְתִּי אוֹתָם אֶל־תּוֹךְ הָעִיר הַזֹּאת׃

5and I Myself will battle against you with an outstretched mighty arm, with anger and rage and great wrath.

הוְנִלְחַמְתִּי אֲנִי אִתְּכֶם בְּיָד נְטוּיָה וּבִזְרוֹעַ חֲזָקָה וּבְאַף וּבְחֵמָה וּבְקֶצֶף גָּדוֹל׃

6I will strike the inhabitants of this city, man and beast: they shall die by a terrible pestilence.

ווְהִכֵּיתִי אֶת־יוֹשְׁבֵי הָעִיר הַזֹּאת וְאֶת־הָאָדָם וְאֶת־הַבְּהֵמָה בְּדֶבֶר גָּדוֹל יָמֻתוּ׃

7And then—declares Hashem—I will deliver King Tzidkiyahu of Yehuda and his courtiers and the people—those in this city who survive the pestilence, the sword, and the famine—into the hands of King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon, into the hands of their enemies, into the hands of those who seek their lives. He will put them to the sword without pity, without compassion, without mercy.

זוְאַחֲרֵי־כֵן נְאֻם־יְהֹוָה אֶתֵּן אֶת־צִדְקִיָּהוּ מֶלֶךְ־יְהוּדָה וְאֶת־עֲבָדָיו וְאֶת־הָעָם וְאֶת־הַנִּשְׁאָרִים בָּעִיר הַזֹּאת מִן־הַדֶּבֶר מִן־הַחֶרֶב וּמִן־הָרָעָב בְּיַד נְבוּכַדְרֶאצַּר מֶלֶךְ־בָּבֶל וּבְיַד אֹיְבֵיהֶם וּבְיַד מְבַקְשֵׁי נַפְשָׁם וְהִכָּם לְפִי־חֶרֶב לֹא־יָחוּס עֲלֵיהֶם וְלֹא יַחְמֹל וְלֹא יְרַחֵם׃

8“And to this people you shall say: Thus said Hashem: I set before you the way of life and the way of death.

חוְאֶל־הָעָם הַזֶּה תֹּאמַר כֹּה אָמַר יְהֹוָה הִנְנִי נֹתֵן לִפְנֵיכֶם אֶת־דֶּרֶךְ הַחַיִּים וְאֶת־דֶּרֶךְ הַמָּוֶת׃

9Whoever remains in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; but whoever leaves and goes over to the Chaldeans who are besieging you shall live; he shall at least gain his life.

טהַיֹּשֵׁב בָּעִיר הַזֹּאת יָמוּת בַּחֶרֶב וּבָרָעָב וּבַדָּבֶר וְהַיּוֹצֵא וְנָפַל עַל־הַכַּשְׂדִּים הַצָּרִים עֲלֵיכֶם יחיה [וְחָיָה] וְהָיְתָה־לּוֹ נַפְשׁוֹ לְשָׁלָל׃

10For I have set My face against this city for evil and not for good—declares Hashem. It shall be delivered into the hands of the king of Babylon, who will destroy it by fire.”

יכִּי שַׂמְתִּי פָנַי בָּעִיר הַזֹּאת לְרָעָה וְלֹא לְטוֹבָה נְאֻם־יְהֹוָה בְּיַד־מֶלֶךְ בָּבֶל תִּנָּתֵן וּשְׂרָפָהּ בָּאֵשׁ׃

11To the House of the king of Yehuda: Hear the word of Hashem!

יאוּלְבֵית מֶלֶךְ יְהוּדָה שִׁמְעוּ דְּבַר־יְהֹוָה׃

12O House of David, thus said Hashem: Render just verdicts Morning by morning; Rescue him who is robbed From him who defrauded him. Else My wrath will break forth like fire And burn, with none to quench it, Because of your wicked acts.

BAYT da-VID KOH a-MAR a-do-NAI DEE-nu la-BO-ker mish-PAT v'-ha-TZEE-lu ga-ZUL mi-YAD o-SHAYK pen tay-TZAY kha-AYSH kha-ma-TEE u-va-a-RAH v'-AYN m'-kha-BEH mi-p'-NAY RO-a ma-a-l'-lay-KHEM

יבבֵּית דָּוִד כֹּה אָמַר יְהֹוָה דִּינוּ לַבֹּקֶר מִשְׁפָּט וְהַצִּילוּ גָזוּל מִיַּד עוֹשֵׁק פֶּן־תֵּצֵא כָאֵשׁ חֲמָתִי וּבָעֲרָה וְאֵין מְכַבֶּה מִפְּנֵי רֹעַ מעלליהם [מַעַלְלֵיכֶם׃]

21:12   Render just verdicts morning by morning

In 598 BCE, the new puppet king of Yehuda, Tzidkiyahu, asks Yirmiyahu if the upcoming destruction can be avoided. Yirmiyahu’s answer, after threatening destruction, reflects the answer of all the prophets. If there is justice and righteousness in Eretz Yisrael, it will be safe from all threats. Yirmiyahu emphasizes that this must occur in the morning, since in the ancient world, courts opened at dawn, before the daytime heat became too unbearable. The idea of promoting justice in the land is a theme that appears throughout the Bible. Hashem is described as one who “He loves what is right and just” (Psalms 33:5), and it is what He demands of His children as well. It is only through justice and righteousness, therefore, that the People of Israel will merit to remain in the Land of Israel.


13I will deal with you, O inhabitants of the valley, O rock of the plain—declares Hashem— You who say, “Who can come down against us? Who can get into our lairs?”

יגהִנְנִי אֵלַיִךְ יֹשֶׁבֶת הָעֵמֶק צוּר הַמִּישֹׁר נְאֻם־יְהֹוָה הָאֹמְרִים מִי־יֵחַת עָלֵינוּ וּמִי יָבוֹא בִּמְעוֹנוֹתֵינוּ׃

14I will punish you according to your deeds —declares Hashem. I will set fire to its forest; It shall consume all that is around it.

ידוּפָקַדְתִּי עֲלֵיכֶם כִּפְרִי מַעַלְלֵיכֶם נְאֻם־יְהֹוָה וְהִצַּתִּי אֵשׁ בְּיַעְרָהּ וְאָכְלָה כָּל־סְבִיבֶיהָ׃