1 The word which came to Yirmiyahu from Hashem, when King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon and all his army, and all the kingdoms of the earth and all the peoples under his sway, were waging war against Yerushalayim and all its towns:
2 Thus said Hashem, the God of Yisrael: Go speak to King Tzidkiyahu of Yehuda, and say to him: “Thus said Hashem: I am going to deliver this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will destroy it by fire.
ג וְאַתָּה לֹא תִמָּלֵט מִיָּדוֹ כִּי תָּפֹשׂ תִּתָּפֵשׂ וּבְיָדוֹ תִּנָּתֵן וְעֵינֶיךָ אֶת־עֵינֵי מֶלֶךְ־בָּבֶל תִּרְאֶינָה וּפִיהוּ אֶת־פִּיךָ יְדַבֵּר וּבָבֶל תָּבוֹא׃
4 But hear the word of Hashem, O King Tzidkiyahu of Yehuda! Thus said Hashem concerning you: You will not die by the sword.
5 You will die a peaceful death; and as incense was burned for your ancestors, the earlier kings who preceded you, so they will burn incense for you, and they will lament for you ‘Ah, lord!’ For I Myself have made the promise—declares Hashem.”
ה בְּשָׁלוֹם תָּמוּת וּכְמִשְׂרְפוֹת אֲבוֹתֶיךָ הַמְּלָכִים הָרִאשֹׁנִים אֲשֶׁר־הָיוּ לְפָנֶיךָ כֵּן יִשְׂרְפוּ־לָךְ וְהוֹי אָדוֹן יִסְפְּדוּ־לָךְ כִּי־דָבָר אֲנִי־דִבַּרְתִּי נְאֻם־יְהֹוָה׃
7 when the army of the king of Babylon was waging war against Yerushalayim and against the remaining towns of Yehuda—against Lachish and Azeika, for they were the only fortified towns of Yehuda that were left.
9 that everyone should set free his Hebrew slaves, both male and female, and that no one should keep his fellow Judean enslaved.
ט לְשַׁלַּח אִישׁ אֶת־עַבְדּוֹ וְאִישׁ אֶת־שִׁפְחָתוֹ הָעִבְרִי וְהָעִבְרִיָּה חָפְשִׁים לְבִלְתִּי עֲבָד־בָּם בִּיהוּדִי אָחִיהוּ אִישׁ׃
10 Everyone, officials and people, who had entered into the covenant agreed to set their male and female slaves free and not keep them enslaved any longer; they complied and let them go.
י וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ כָל־הַשָּׂרִים וְכָל־הָעָם אֲשֶׁר־בָּאוּ בַבְּרִית לְשַׁלַּח אִישׁ אֶת־עַבְדּוֹ וְאִישׁ אֶת־שִׁפְחָתוֹ חָפְשִׁים לְבִלְתִּי עֲבָד־בָּם עוֹד וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ וַיְשַׁלֵּחוּ׃
11 But afterward they turned about and brought back the men and women they had set free, and forced them into slavery again.
יא וַיָּשׁוּבוּ אַחֲרֵי־כֵן וַיָּשִׁבוּ אֶת־הָעֲבָדִים וְאֶת־הַשְּׁפָחוֹת אֲשֶׁר שִׁלְּחוּ חָפְשִׁים ויכבישום [וַיִּכְבְּשׁוּם] לַעֲבָדִים וְלִשְׁפָחוֹת׃
12 Then it was that the word of Hashem came to Yirmiyahu from Hashem:
יב וַיְהִי דְבַר־יְהֹוָה אֶל־יִרְמְיָהוּ מֵאֵת יְהֹוָה לֵאמֹר׃
יג כֹּה־אָמַר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אָנֹכִי כָּרַתִּי בְרִית אֶת־אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם בְּיוֹם הוֹצִאִי אוֹתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים לֵאמֹר׃
14 “In the seventh year each of you must let go any fellow Hebrew who may be sold to you; when he has served you six years, you must set him free.” But your fathers would not obey Me or give ear.
יד מִקֵּץ שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים תְּשַׁלְּחוּ אִישׁ אֶת־אָחִיו הָעִבְרִי אֲשֶׁר־יִמָּכֵר לְךָ וַעֲבָדְךָ שֵׁשׁ שָׁנִים וְשִׁלַּחְתּוֹ חָפְשִׁי מֵעִמָּךְ וְלֹא־שָׁמְעוּ אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם אֵלַי וְלֹא הִטּוּ אֶת־אָזְנָם׃
15 Lately you turned about and did what is proper in My sight, and each of you proclaimed a release to his countrymen; and you made a covenant accordingly before Me in the House which bears My name.
טו וַתָּשֻׁבוּ אַתֶּם הַיּוֹם וַתַּעֲשׂוּ אֶת־הַיָּשָׁר בְּעֵינַי לִקְרֹא דְרוֹר אִישׁ לְרֵעֵהוּ וַתִּכְרְתוּ בְרִית לְפָנַי בַּבַּיִת אֲשֶׁר־נִקְרָא שְׁמִי עָלָיו׃
16 But now you have turned back and have profaned My name; each of you has brought back the men and women whom you had given their freedom, and forced them to be your slaves again.
טז וַתָּשֻׁבוּ וַתְּחַלְּלוּ אֶת־שְׁמִי וַתָּשִׁבוּ אִישׁ אֶת־עַבְדּוֹ וְאִישׁ אֶת־שִׁפְחָתוֹ אֲשֶׁר־שִׁלַּחְתֶּם חָפְשִׁים לְנַפְשָׁם וַתִּכְבְּשׁוּ אֹתָם לִהְיוֹת לָכֶם לַעֲבָדִים וְלִשְׁפָחוֹת׃
17 Assuredly, thus said Hashem: You would not obey Me and proclaim a release, each to his kinsman and countryman. Lo! I proclaim your release—declares Hashem—to the sword, to pestilence, and to famine; and I will make you a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth.
la-KHAYN koh a-MAR a-do-NAI a-TEM lo sh’-ma-TEM ay-LAI lik-RO d’-ROR EESH l’-a-KHEEV v’-EESH l’-ray-AY-hu hi-n’-NEE ko-RAY la-KHEM d’-ROR n’-um a-do-NAI el ha-KHE-rev el ha-DE-ver v’-el ha-ra-AV v’-na-ta-TEE et-KHEM l’-za-a-VAH l’-KHOL mam-l’-KHOT ha-A-retz
יז לָכֵן כֹּה־אָמַר יְהֹוָה אַתֶּם לֹא־שְׁמַעְתֶּם אֵלַי לִקְרֹא דְרוֹר אִישׁ לְאָחִיו וְאִישׁ לְרֵעֵהוּ הִנְנִי קֹרֵא לָכֶם דְּרוֹר נְאֻם־יְהֹוָה אֶל־הַחֶרֶב אֶל־הַדֶּבֶר וְאֶל־הָרָעָב וְנָתַתִּי אֶתְכֶם לזועה [לְזַעֲוָה] לְכֹל מַמְלְכוֹת הָאָרֶץ׃
34:17 You would not obey Me and proclaim a release
With the Babylonian onslaught, the nobility and landowners made a covenant with the people to release all the slaves and workers from their servitude. Once the threat receded temporarily, they reneged on their promise and re-enslaved the poor workers. God declares this injustice intolerable. He freed the Jewish people from Egyptian servitude so that they would dwell as a free nation in the Land of Israel, living up to the highest standards of ethics and morality. However, should they begin to enslave others or engage in other unscrupulous or deceptive behavior, Hashem will give the nations of the world the freedom to strike, and they will once again become slaves to foreigners.1 comment
18 I will make the men who violated My covenant, who did not fulfill the terms of the covenant which they made before Me, [like] the calf which they cut in two so as to pass between the halves:
יח וְנָתַתִּי אֶת־הָאֲנָשִׁים הָעֹבְרִים אֶת־בְּרִתִי אֲשֶׁר לֹא־הֵקִימוּ אֶת־דִּבְרֵי הַבְּרִית אֲשֶׁר כָּרְתוּ לְפָנָי הָעֵגֶל אֲשֶׁר כָּרְתוּ לִשְׁנַיִם וַיַּעַבְרוּ בֵּין בְּתָרָיו׃
יט שָׂרֵי יְהוּדָה וְשָׂרֵי יְרוּשָׁלַ ִם הַסָּרִסִים וְהַכֹּהֲנִים וְכֹל עַם הָאָרֶץ הָעֹבְרִים בֵּין בִּתְרֵי הָעֵגֶל׃
20 shall be handed over to their enemies, to those who seek to kill them. Their carcasses shall become food for the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth.
כ וְנָתַתִּי אוֹתָם בְּיַד אֹיְבֵיהֶם וּבְיַד מְבַקְשֵׁי נַפְשָׁם וְהָיְתָה נִבְלָתָם לְמַאֲכָל לְעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם וּלְבֶהֱמַת הָאָרֶץ׃
22 I hereby give the command—declares Hashem—by which I will bring them back against this city. They shall attack it and capture it, and burn it down. I will make the towns of Yehuda a desolation, without inhabitant.