1 A word came to Jeremiah from the LORD, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, all his army, all the kingdoms of the earth of his dominion, and all the people fought against Jerusalem and against all its cities, saying, 2 "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: 'Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah, and tell him, "Thus says the LORD: 'Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire. 3 And you shall not escape from his hand, but shall surely be taken and delivered into his hand. And your eyes shall behold the eyes of the king of Babylon, and he shall speak with you mouth to mouth, and you shall go to Babylon.'"' 4 Yet hear the word of the LORD, O Zedekiah king of Judah. Thus says the LORD concerning you: 'You shall not die by the sword, 5 But you shall die in peace. And as with the burnings of your fathers, the former kings who were before you, so they shall burn odors for you. And they will lament you, saying, "Ah, lord!"' For I have pronounced the word," says the LORD.
6 Then Jeremiah the prophet spoke all these words to Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem, 7 When the king of Babylon's army fought against Jerusalem, against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish, and against Azekah, for these fortified cities remained of the cities of Judah.
8 A word came to Jeremiah from the LORD after king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who were at Jerusalem to proclaim liberty to them, 9 That every man should liberate his man-servant and every man his maid-servant, being a Hebrew or a Hebrewess, so that no one should retain them in service, namely, a Jew his brother. 10 Now when all the princes and all the people who had entered into the covenant heard that everyone should liberate his man-servant and everyone his maid-servant so that no one should retain them in service anymore, they obeyed and let them go. 11 But afterward, they turned and caused the servants and the handmaids whom they had liberated to return, and brought them into subjection for servants and for handmaids.
12 Therefore, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, 13 "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: 'I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth from the land of Egypt, out of the house of bond-men, saying, 14 "At the end of seven years each of you shall dismiss his brother, a Hebrew, who has been sold to you. And when he has served you six years, you shall let him go free from you." But your fathers did not listen to me, or incline their ear. 15 And you had now turned and had done right in my sight, each in proclaiming liberty to his neighbor, and you had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name. 16 But you turned and profaned my name and each caused his servant and each his handmaid, whom he had set at liberty at their pleasure, to return, and brought them into subjection to be to you for servants and for handmaids.'
17 "Therefore, thus says the LORD: 'You have not listened to me in proclaiming liberty, each to his brother and each to his neighbor. Behold, I proclaim a liberty for you,' says the LORD, 'to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine, and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. 18 And I will give the men who have transgressed my covenant, who have not performed the words of the covenant which they had made before me when they cut the calf in two and passed between its parts, 19 The princes of Judah, the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, the priests, and all the people of the land, who passed between the parts of the calf, 20 I will even give them into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their life. And their dead bodies shall be for food to the birds of the heaven and to the beasts of the earth. 21 And Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes I will give into the hand of their enemies, into the hand of those who seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babylon's army, which have gone up from you. 22 Behold, I will command,' says the LORD, 'and cause them to return to this city, and they shall fight against it, take it, and burn it with fire. And I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without an inhabitant.'"