Jeremiah 38
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Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:

1  And Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchiah, heard the words that Yirmiyahu spoke unto all the people, saying:

א  וַיִּשְׁמַע שְׁפַטְיָה בֶן מַתָּן וּגְדַלְיָהוּ בֶּן פַּשְׁחוּר וְיוּכַל בֶּן שֶׁלֶמְיָהוּ וּפַשְׁחוּר בֶּן מַלְכִּיָּה אֶת הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר יִרְמְיָהוּ מְדַבֵּר אֶל כָּל הָעָם לֵאמֹר.

2  ‘Thus saith Hashem: He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence; but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live, and his life shall be unto him for a prey, and he shall live.

ב  כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה הַיֹּשֵׁב בָּעִיר הַזֹּאת יָמוּת בַּחֶרֶב בָּרָעָב וּבַדָּבֶר וְהַיֹּצֵא אֶל הַכַּשְׂדִּים יחיה (וְחָיָה) וְהָיְתָה לּוֹ נַפְשׁוֹ לְשָׁלָל וָחָי.

3  Thus saith Hashem: This city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Bavel, and he shall take it.’

ג  כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה הִנָּתֹן תִּנָּתֵן הָעִיר הַזֹּאת בְּיַד חֵיל מֶלֶךְ בָּבֶל וּלְכָדָהּ.

4  Then the princes said unto the king: ‘Let this man, we pray thee, be put to death; forasmuch as he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them; for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt.’

ד  וַיֹּאמְרוּ הַשָּׂרִים אֶל הַמֶּלֶךְ יוּמַת נָא אֶת הָאִישׁ הַזֶּה כִּי עַל כֵּן הוּא מְרַפֵּא אֶת יְדֵי אַנְשֵׁי הַמִּלְחָמָה הַנִּשְׁאָרִים בָּעִיר הַזֹּאת וְאֵת יְדֵי כָל הָעָם לְדַבֵּר אֲלֵיהֶם כַּדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה כִּי הָאִישׁ הַזֶּה אֵינֶנּוּ דֹרֵשׁ לְשָׁלוֹם לָעָם הַזֶּה כִּי אִם לְרָעָה.

5  Then Tzidkiyahu the king said: ‘Behold, he is in your hand; for the king is not he that can do any thing against you.’

va-YO-mer ha-ME-lekh tzid-ki-YA-hu hi-NAY hu b’-yed-KHEM kee ayn ha-ME-lekh yu-KHAL et-KHEM da-VAR

ה  וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ צִדְקִיָּהוּ הִנֵּה הוּא בְּיֶדְכֶם כִּי אֵין הַמֶּלֶךְ יוּכַל אֶתְכֶם דָּבָר.

38:5   For the king is not he that can do any thing against you 

Among the tragedies of Israel’s downfall is the reign of the final king of David’s line, Zedekiah. Unlike his predecessors, who were genuinely wicked, Zedekiah is good at heart. He secretly tries to support Jeremiah (see Jeremiah 37:21 where he sustains Jeremiah with bread), and repeatedly inquires of the word of the Lord (21:2; 37:17; 38:14). However, he does not heed Jeremiah’s plea to submit to Babylon and he is weak and unable to oppose his princes. They desire to kill Jeremiah for preaching against Israel, and argue that his words weaken the resolve of the people to keep fighting. By listening to his officers instead of the prophet, his fate and the fate of the people are sealed. Had Zedekiah instead repented and led the people to follow God’s word, they would have been able to remain in Israel, God’s land.

Comment

6  Then took they Yirmiyahu, and cast him into the pit of Malchiah the king’s son, that was in the court of the guard; and they let down Yirmiyahu with cords. And in the pit there was no water, but mire; and Yirmiyahu sank in the mire.

ו  וַיִּקְחוּ אֶת יִרְמְיָהוּ וַיַּשְׁלִכוּ אֹתוֹ אֶל הַבּוֹר מַלְכִּיָּהוּ בֶן הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲשֶׁר בַּחֲצַר הַמַּטָּרָה וַיְשַׁלְּחוּ אֶת יִרְמְיָהוּ בַּחֲבָלִים וּבַבּוֹר אֵין מַיִם כִּי אִם טִיט וַיִּטְבַּע יִרְמְיָהוּ בַּטִּיט.

7  Now when Eved Melekhthe Ethiopian, an officer, who was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Yirmiyahu in the pit; the king then sitting in the gate of Binyamin;

ז  וַיִּשְׁמַע עֶבֶד מֶלֶךְ הַכּוּשִׁי אִישׁ סָרִיס וְהוּא בְּבֵית הַמֶּלֶךְ כִּי נָתְנוּ אֶת יִרְמְיָהוּ אֶל הַבּוֹר וְהַמֶּלֶךְ יוֹשֵׁב בְּשַׁעַר בִּנְיָמִן.

8  Eved Melekhwent forth out of the king’s house, and spoke to the king, saying:

ח  וַיֵּצֵא עֶבֶד מֶלֶךְ מִבֵּית הַמֶּלֶךְ וַיְדַבֵּר אֶל הַמֶּלֶךְ לֵאמֹר.

9  ‘My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Yirmiyahu the navi, whom they have cast into the pit; and he is like to die in the place where he is because of the famine; for there is no more bread in the city.’

ט  אֲדֹנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ הֵרֵעוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים הָאֵלֶּה אֵת כָּל אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ לְיִרְמְיָהוּ הַנָּבִיא אֵת אֲשֶׁר הִשְׁלִיכוּ אֶל הַבּוֹר וַיָּמָת תַּחְתָּיו מִפְּנֵי הָרָעָב כִּי אֵין הַלֶּחֶם עוֹד בָּעִיר.

10  Then the king commanded Eved Melekh the Ethiopian, saying: ‘Take from hence thirty men with thee, and take up Yirmiyahu the navi out of the pit, before he die.’

י  וַיְצַוֶּה הַמֶּלֶךְ אֵת עֶבֶד מֶלֶךְ הַכּוּשִׁי לֵאמֹר קַח בְּיָדְךָ מִזֶּה שְׁלֹשִׁים ֲנָשִׁים וְהַעֲלִיתָ אֶת יִרְמְיָהוּ הַנָּבִיא מִן הַבּוֹר בְּטֶרֶם יָמוּת.

11  So Eved Melekhtook the men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took thence worn clouts and worn rags, and let them down by cords into the pit to Yirmiyahu.

יא  וַיִּקַּח עֶבֶד מֶלֶךְ אֶת הָאֲנָשִׁים בְּיָדוֹ וַיָּבֹא בֵית הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶל תַּחַת הָאוֹצָר וַיִּקַּח מִשָּׁם בְּלוֹיֵ הסחבות (סְחָבוֹת) וּבְלוֹיֵ מְלָחִים וַיְשַׁלְּחֵם אֶל יִרְמְיָהוּ אֶל הַבּוֹר בַּחֲבָלִים.

12  And Eved Melekhthe Ethiopian said unto Yirmiyahu: ‘Put now these worn clouts and rags under thine armholes under the cords.’ And Yirmiyahu did so.

יב  וַיֹּאמֶר עֶבֶד מֶלֶךְ הַכּוּשִׁי אֶל יִרְמְיָהוּ שִׂים נָא בְּלוֹאֵי הַסְּחָבוֹת וְהַמְּלָחִים תַּחַת אַצִּלוֹת יָדֶיךָ מִתַּחַת לַחֲבָלִים וַיַּעַשׂ יִרְמְיָהוּ כֵּן.

13  So they drew up Yirmiyahu with the cords, and took him up out of the pit; and Yirmiyahu remained in the court of the guard.

יג  וַיִּמְשְׁכוּ אֶת יִרְמְיָהוּ בַּחֲבָלִים וַיַּעֲלוּ אֹתוֹ מִן הַבּוֹר וַיֵּשֶׁב יִרְמְיָהוּ בַּחֲצַר הַמַּטָּרָה.

14  Then Tzidkiyahu the king sent, and took Yirmiyahu the navi unto him into the third entry that was in the house of Hashem; and the king said unto Yirmiyahu: ‘I will ask thee a thing; hide nothing from me.’

יד  וַיִּשְׁלַח הַמֶּלֶךְ צִדְקִיָּהוּ וַיִּקַּח אֶת יִרְמְיָהוּ הַנָּבִיא אֵלָיו אֶל מָבוֹא הַשְּׁלִישִׁי אֲשֶׁר בְּבֵית יְהוָה וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶל יִרְמְיָהוּ שֹׁאֵל אֲנִי אֹתְךָ דָּבָר אַל תְּכַחֵד מִמֶּנִּי דָּבָר.

15  Then Yirmiyahu said unto Tzidkiyahu: ‘If I declare it unto thee, wilt thou not surely put me to death? and if I give thee counsel, thou wilt not hearken unto me.’

טו  וַיֹּאמֶר יִרְמְיָהוּ אֶל צִדְקִיָּהוּ כִּי אַגִּיד לְךָ הֲלוֹא הָמֵת תְּמִיתֵנִי וְכִי אִיעָצְךָ לֹא תִשְׁמַע אֵלָי.

16  So Tzidkiyahu the king swore secretly unto Yirmiyahu, saying: ‘As Hashem liveth, that made us this soul, I will not put thee to death, neither will I give thee into the hand of these men that seek thy life.’

טז  וַיִּשָּׁבַע הַמֶּלֶךְ צִדְקִיָּהוּ אֶל יִרְמְיָהוּ בַּסֵּתֶר לֵאמֹר חַי יְהוָה את ( ) אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה לָנוּ אֶת הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַזֹּאת אִם אֲמִיתֶךָ וְאִם אֶתֶּנְךָ בְּיַד הָאֲנָשִׁים הָאֵלֶּה אֲשֶׁר מְבַקְשִׁים אֶת נַפְשֶׁךָ.

17  Then said Yirmiyahu unto Tzidkiyahu: ‘Thus saith Hashem, the God of hosts, the God of Yisrael: If thou wilt go forth unto the king of Bavels princes, then thy soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and thou shalt live, thou, and thy house;

יז  וַיֹּאמֶר יִרְמְיָהוּ אֶל צִדְקִיָּהוּ כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי צְבָאוֹת אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אִם יָצֹא תֵצֵא אֶל שָׂרֵי מֶלֶךְ בָּבֶל וְחָיְתָה נַפְשֶׁךָ וְהָעִיר הַזֹּאת לֹא תִשָּׂרֵף בָּאֵשׁ וְחָיִתָה אַתָּה וּבֵיתֶךָ.

18  but if thou wilt not go forth to the king of Bavels princes, then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and thou shalt not escape out of their hand.’

יח  וְאִם לֹא תֵצֵא אֶל שָׂרֵי מֶלֶךְ בָּבֶל וְנִתְּנָה הָעִיר הַזֹּאת בְּיַד הַכַּשְׂדִּים וּשְׂרָפוּהָ בָּאֵשׁ וְאַתָּה לֹא תִמָּלֵט מִיָּדָם.

19  And Tzidkiyahu the king said unto Yirmiyahu: ‘I am afraid of the Jews that are fallen away to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me.’

יט  וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ צִדְקִיָּהוּ אֶל יִרְמְיָהוּ אֲנִי דֹאֵג אֶת הַיְּהוּדִים אֲשֶׁר נָפְלואֶל הַכַּשְׂדִּים פֶּן יִתְּנוּ אֹתִי בְּיָדָם וְהִתְעַלְּלוּ בִי.

20  But Yirmiyahu said: ‘They shall not deliver thee. Hearken, I beseech thee, to the voice of Hashem, in that which I speak unto thee; so it shall be well with thee, and thy soul shall live.

כ  וַיֹּאמֶר יִרְמְיָהוּ לֹא יִתֵּנוּ שְׁמַע נָא בְּקוֹל יְהוָה לַאֲשֶׁר אֲנִי דֹּבֵר אֵלֶיךָ וְיִיטַב לְךָ וּתְחִי נַפְשֶׁךָ.

21  But if thou refuse to go forth, this is the word that Hashem hath shown me:

כא  וְאִם מָאֵן אַתָּה לָצֵאת זֶה הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר הִרְאַנִי יְהוָה.

22  Behold, all the women that are left in the king of Yehudahs house shall be brought forth to the king of Bavels princes, and those women shall say: Thy familiar friends have set thee on, and have prevailed over thee; thy feet are sunk in the mire, and they are turned away back.

כב  וְהִנֵּה כָל הַנָּשִׁים אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁאֲרוּ בְּבֵית מֶלֶךְ יְהוּדָה מוּצָאוֹת אֶל שָׂרֵי מֶלֶךְ בָּבֶל וְהֵנָּה אֹמְרֹת הִסִּיתוּךָ וְיָכְלוּ לְךָ אַנְשֵׁי שְׁלֹמֶךָ הָטְבְּעוּ בַבֹּץ רַגְלֶךָ נָסֹגוּ אָחוֹר.

23  And they shall bring out all thy wives and thy children to the Chaldeans; and thou shalt not escape out of their hand, but shalt be taken by the hand of the king of Bavel; and thou shalt cause this city to be burned with fire.’

כג  וְאֶת כָּל נָשֶׁיךָ וְאֶת בָּנֶיךָ מוֹצִאִים אֶל הַכַּשְׂדִּים וְאַתָּה לֹא תִמָּלֵט מִיָּדָם כִּי בְיַד מֶלֶךְ בָּבֶל תִּתָּפֵשׂ וְאֶת הָעִיר הַזֹּאת תִּשְׂרֹף בָּאֵשׁ.

24  Then said Tzidkiyahu unto Yirmiyahu: ‘Let no man know of these words, and thou shalt not die.

כד  וַיֹּאמֶר צִדְקִיָּהוּ אֶל יִרְמְיָהוּ אִישׁ אַל יֵדַע בַּדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וְלֹא תָמוּת.

25  But if the princes hear that I have talked with thee, and they come unto thee, and say unto thee: Declare unto us now what thou hast said unto the king; hide it not from us, and we will not put thee to death; also what the king said unto thee;

כה  וְכִי יִשְׁמְעוּ הַשָּׂרִים כִּי דִבַּרְתִּי אִתָּךְ וּבָאוּ אֵלֶיךָ וְאָמְרוּ אֵלֶיךָ הַגִּידָה נָּא לָנוּ מַה דִּבַּרְתָּ אֶל הַמֶּלֶךְ אַל תְּכַחֵד מִמֶּנּוּ וְלֹא נְמִיתֶךָ וּמַה דִּבֶּר אֵלֶיךָ הַמֶּלֶךְ.

26  then thou shalt say unto them: I presented my supplication before the king, that he would not cause me to return to Yehonatans house, to die there.’

כו  וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵיהֶם מַפִּיל אֲנִי תְחִנָּתִי לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ לְבִלְתִּי הֲשִׁיבֵנִי בֵּית יְהוֹנָתָן לָמוּת שָׁם.

27  Then came all the princes unto Yirmiyahu, and asked him; and he told them according to all these words that the king had commanded. So they left off speaking with him; for the matter was not reported.

כז  וַיָּבֹאוּ כָל הַשָּׂרִים אֶל יִרְמְיָהוּ וַיִּשְׁאֲלוּ אֹתוֹ וַיַּגֵּד לָהֶם כְּכָל הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה הַמֶּלֶךְ וַיַּחֲרִשׁוּ מִמֶּנּוּ כִּי לֹא נִשְׁמַע הַדָּבָר.

28  So Yirmiyahu abode in the court of the guard until the day that Yerushalayim was taken. And it came to pass, when Yerushalayim was taken–

כח  וַיֵּשֶׁב יִרְמְיָהוּ בַּחֲצַר הַמַּטָּרָה עַד יוֹם אֲשֶׁר נִלְכְּדָה יְרוּשָׁלִָם וְהָיָה כַּאֲשֶׁר נִלְכְּדָה יְרוּשָׁלִָם.

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Jeremiah 38