1 Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedalia son of Pashhur, Jucal son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur son of Malchiah heard what Yirmiyahu was saying to all the people:
2 “Thus said Hashem: Whoever remains in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; but whoever surrenders to the Chaldeans shall live; he shall at least gain his life and 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 said Hashem: This city shall be delivered into the hands of the king of Babylon’s army, and he shall capture it.”
ג כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה הִנָּתֹן תִּנָּתֵן הָעִיר הַזֹּאת בְּיַד חֵיל מֶלֶךְ־בָּבֶל וּלְכָדָהּ׃
4 Then the officials said to the king, “Let that man be put to death, for he disheartens the soldiers, and all the people who are left in this city, by speaking such things to them. That man is not seeking the welfare of this people, but their harm!”
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 King Tzidkiyahu replied, “He is in your hands; the king cannot oppose you in anything!”
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 The king cannot oppose you in anything
Among the tragedies of Israel’s downfall is the reign of the final king of David’s dynasty, Tzidkiyahu. Unlike his predecessors who were genuinely wicked, Tzidkiyahu is good at heart, as suggested by his name Tzidkiyahu, which comes from the word tzedek (צדק), ‘righteousness.’ He secretly tries to support Yirmiyahu (see Jeremiah 37:21) and repeatedly inquires of the word of Hashem (21:2; 37:17; 38:14). However, Tzidkiyahu does not heed Yirmiyahu’s plea to submit to Babylonia, as he is weak and unable to oppose his officers. They desire to kill Yirmiyahu 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 that of the people are sealed. Had Tzidkiyahu repented and led the people to follow God’s word, they would have been able to avert the disaster and remain in Israel, God’s Land.Comment
6 So they took Yirmiyahu and put him down in the pit of Malchiah, the king’s son, which was in the prison compound; they let Yirmiyahu down by ropes. There was no water in the pit, only mud, and Yirmiyahu sank into the mud.
8 The Chaldeans burned down the king’s palace and the houses of the people by fire, and they tore down the walls of Yerushalayim.
ח וְאֶת־בֵּית הַמֶּלֶךְ וְאֶת־בֵּית הָעָם שָׂרְפוּ הַכַּשְׂדִּים בָּאֵשׁ וְאֶת־חֹמוֹת יְרוּשָׁלִַם נָתָצוּ׃
9 The remnant of the people that was left in the city, and the defectors who had gone over to him—the remnant of the people that was left—were exiled by Nebuzaradan, the chief of the guards, to Babylon.
ט וְאֵת יֶתֶר הָעָם הַנִּשְׁאָרִים בָּעִיר וְאֶת־הַנֹּפְלִים אֲשֶׁר נָפְלוּ עָלָיו וְאֵת יֶתֶר הָעָם הַנִּשְׁאָרִים הֶגְלָה נְבוּזַר־אֲדָן רַב־טַבָּחִים בָּבֶל׃
10 But some of the poorest people who owned nothing were left in the land of Yehuda by Nebuzaradan, the chief of the guards, and he gave them vineyards and fields at that time.
י וּמִן־הָעָם הַדַּלִּים אֲשֶׁר אֵין־לָהֶם מְאוּמָה הִשְׁאִיר נְבוּזַרְאֲדָן רַב־טַבָּחִים בְּאֶרֶץ יְהוּדָה וַיִּתֵּן לָהֶם כְּרָמִים וִיגֵבִים בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא׃
12 “Take him and look after him; do him no harm, but grant whatever he asks of you.”
יב קָחֶנּוּ וְעֵינֶיךָ שִׂים עָלָיו וְאַל־תַּעַשׂ לוֹ מְאוּמָה רָּע כִּי אם כַּאֲשֶׁר יְדַבֵּר אֵלֶיךָ כֵּן עֲשֵׂה עִמּוֹ׃
13 So Nebuzaradan, the chief of the guards, and Nebushazban the Rab-saris, and Nergal-sarezer the Rab-mag, and all the commanders of the king of Babylon sent
יג וַיִּשְׁלַח נְבוּזַרְאֲדָן רַב־טַבָּחִים וּנְבוּשַׁזְבָּן רַב־סָרִיס וְנֵרְגַל שַׂר־אֶצֶר רַב־מָג וְכֹל רַבֵּי מֶלֶךְ־בָּבֶל׃
14 and had Yirmiyahu brought from the prison compound. They committed him to the care of Gedalia son of Achikam son of Shafan, that he might be left at liberty in a house. So he dwelt among the people.
15 The word of Hashem had come to Yirmiyahu while he was still confined in the prison compound:
טו וְאֶל־יִרְמְיָהוּ הָיָה דְבַר־יְהוָה בִּהְיֹתוֹ עָצוּר בַּחֲצַר הַמַּטָּרָה לֵאמֹר׃
16 Go and say to Eved Melech the Ethiopian: “Thus said God of Hosts, the God of Yisrael: I am going to fulfill My words concerning this city—for disaster, not for good—and they shall come true on that day in your presence.
17 But I will save you on that day—declares Hashem; you shall not be delivered into the hands of the men you dread.
יז וְהִצַּלְתִּיךָ בַיּוֹם־הַהוּא נְאֻם־יְהוָה וְלֹא תִנָּתֵן בְּיַד הָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר־אַתָּה יָגוֹר מִפְּנֵיהֶם׃
18 I will rescue you, and you shall not fall by the sword. You shall escape with your life, because you trusted Me—declares Hashem.”
יח כִּי מַלֵּט אֲמַלֶּטְךָ וּבַחֶרֶב לֹא תִפֹּל וְהָיְתָה לְךָ נַפְשְׁךָ לְשָׁלָל כִּי־בָטַחְתָּ בִּי נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃
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 Yehudah‘ s house shall be brought forth to the king of Bavel‘ s 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.
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.
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 Yehonatan‘ s 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.