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Jeremiah 20:14-22:17 New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

14 Cursed be the day I was born!
    May the day my mother bore me not be blessed!
15 Cursed be the man who brought my father the news,
    who made him very glad, saying,
    ‘A child is born to you – a son!’
16 May that man be like the towns
    the Lord overthrew without pity.
May he hear wailing in the morning,
    a battle cry at noon.
17 For he did not kill me in the womb,
    with my mother as my grave,
    her womb enlarged for ever.
18 Why did I ever come out of the womb
    to see trouble and sorrow
    and to end my days in shame?

God rejects Zedekiah’s request

21 The word came to Jeremiah from the Lord when King Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur son of Malkijah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah. They said: ‘Enquire now of the Lord for us because Nebuchadnezzar[a] king of Babylon is attacking us. Perhaps the Lord will perform wonders for us as in times past so that he will withdraw from us.’

But Jeremiah answered them, ‘Tell Zedekiah, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I am about to turn against you the weapons of war that are in your hands, which you are using to fight the king of Babylon and the Babylonians[b] who are outside the wall besieging you. And I will gather them inside this city. I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm in furious anger and in great wrath. I will strike down those who live in this city – both man and beast – and they will die of a terrible plague. After that, declares the Lord, I will give Zedekiah king of Judah, his officials and the people in this city who survive the plague, sword and famine, into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and to their enemies who want to kill them. He will put them to the sword; he will show them no mercy or pity or compassion.”

‘Furthermore, tell the people, “This is what the Lord says: see, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death. Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague. But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; they will escape with their lives. 10 I have determined to do this city harm and not good, declares the Lord. It will be given into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will destroy it with fire.”

11 ‘Moreover, say to the royal house of Judah, “Hear the word of the Lord. 12 This is what the Lord says to you, house of David:

‘“Administer justice every morning;
    rescue from the hand of the oppressor
    the one who has been robbed,
or my wrath will break out and burn like fire
    because of the evil you have done –
    burn with no one to quench it.
13 I am against you, Jerusalem,
    you who live above this valley
    on the rocky plateau, declares the Lord –
you who say, ‘Who can come against us?
    Who can enter our refuge?’
14 I will punish you as your deeds deserve,
    declares the Lord.
I will kindle a fire in your forests
    that will consume everything around you.”’

Judgment against wicked kings

22 This is what the Lord says: ‘Go down to the palace of the king of Judah and proclaim this message there: “Hear the word of the Lord to you, king of Judah, you who sit on David’s throne – you, your officials and your people who come through these gates. This is what the Lord says: do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place. For if you are careful to carry out these commands, then kings who sit on David’s throne will come through the gates of this palace, riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by their officials and their people. But if you do not obey these commands, declares the Lord, I swear by myself that this palace will become a ruin.”’

For this is what the Lord says about the palace of the king of Judah:

‘Though you are like Gilead to me,
    like the summit of Lebanon,
I will surely make you like a wasteland,
    like towns not inhabited.
I will send destroyers against you,
    each man with his weapons,
and they will cut up your fine cedar beams
    and throw them into the fire.

‘People from many nations will pass by this city and will ask one another, “Why has the Lord done such a thing to this great city?” And the answer will be: “Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God and have worshipped and served other gods.”’

10 Do not weep for the dead king or mourn his loss;
    rather, weep bitterly for him who is exiled,
because he will never return
    nor see his native land again.

11 For this is what the Lord says about Shallum[c] son of Josiah, who succeeded his father as king of Judah but has gone from this place: ‘He will never return. 12 He will die in the place where they have led him captive; he will not see this land again.’

13 ‘Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness,
    his upper rooms by injustice,
making his own people work for nothing,
    not paying them for their labour.
14 He says, “I will build myself a great palace
    with spacious upper rooms.”
So he makes large windows in it,
    panels it with cedar
    and decorates it in red.

15 ‘Does it make you a king
    to have more and more cedar?
Did not your father have food and drink?
    He did what was right and just,
    so all went well with him.
16 He defended the cause of the poor and needy,
    and so all went well.
Is that not what it means to know me?’
    declares the Lord.
17 ‘But your eyes and your heart
    are set only on dishonest gain,
on shedding innocent blood
    and on oppression and extortion.’

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 21:2 Hebrew Nebuchadrezzar, of which Nebuchadnezzar is a variant; here and often in Jeremiah and Ezekiel
  2. Jeremiah 21:4 Or Chaldeans; also in verse 9
  3. Jeremiah 22:11 Also called Jehoahaz
New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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