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Jeremiah 34 Expanded Bible (EXB)

A Warning to Zedekiah

34 The Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and all the towns around it. Nebuchadnezzar had with him all his army and the armies of all the kingdoms and peoples ·he ruled [under his hand]. This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, said: “Jeremiah, go to Zedekiah king of Judah and tell him: ‘This is what the Lord says: I will soon hand this city [C Jerusalem] over to the king of Babylon, and he will burn it ·down [L with fire]! You will not escape from ·the king of Babylon [L his hand]; you will surely be captured and handed over to him. You will see the king of Babylon ·with your own eyes [eye to eye], and he will talk to you face to face. And you will go to Babylon. But, Zedekiah king of Judah, listen to the promise of the Lord. This is what the Lord says about you: You will not be killed with a sword. You will die in a peaceful way. As people ·made funeral fires [or burn spices; L burn] to honor your ·ancestors [fathers], the kings who ruled before you, so people will ·make a funeral fire [or burn spices; L burn] to honor you. They will ·cry for you and sadly [mourn for you and] say, “Ah, master!” I myself make this promise to you, says the Lord [52:8–11].’”

So Jeremiah the prophet gave this message to Zedekiah in Jerusalem. This was while the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and the cities of Judah that ·had not yet been taken [remained]—Lachish and Azekah [C fortress cities to the west of Jerusalem]. These were the only ·strong, walled [fortified] cities left in the land of Judah.

Slaves Are Mistreated

The Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah. This was after King Zedekiah had ·made [L cut] an ·agreement [covenant; treaty] with all the people in Jerusalem to ·free all the Hebrew slaves [L proclaim liberty/emancipation; Ex. 21:1–11; Lev. 25:39–46; Deut. 15:12–18]. Everyone was supposed to free his Hebrew slaves, both male and female. No one was to keep a fellow ·Jew [L Judean] as a slave. 10 All the officers and all the people ·accepted [obeyed] this agreement; they agreed to free their male and female slaves and no longer keep them as slaves. So all the slaves were set free. 11 But after that, they [C the people who owned slaves] ·changed their minds [L turned back]. So they took back the people they had set free and made them slaves again.

12 Then the Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah: 13 “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought your ·ancestors [fathers] out of Egypt ·where they were slaves [L the house of bondage/slavery] and ·made [L cut] an ·agreement [covenant; treaty] with them. 14 I said to your ·ancestors [fathers]: ‘At the end of every seven years, each one of you must set his Hebrew slaves free. If a fellow Hebrew has sold himself to you, you must let him go free after he has served you for six years.’ But your ·ancestors [fathers] did not listen or ·pay attention [L incline their ear] to me. 15 A short time ago you ·changed your hearts [repented] and did what ·I say is right [L was right in my eyes]. ·Each of you gave freedom [L …to proclaim liberty/emancipation] to his fellow Hebrews who were slaves. And you even ·made [L cut] an ·agreement [covenant; treaty] before me in the place ·where I have chosen to be worshiped [L called by my name]. 16 But now you have ·changed your minds [turned around]. You have ·shown you do not honor [profaned; dishonored] me. Each of you has taken back the male and female slaves you had set free, and you have forced them to become your slaves again.

17 “So this is what the Lord says: You have not ·obeyed [listened to] me. You have not ·given freedom [proclaimed liberty/emancipation] to your fellow Hebrews, neither ·relatives [brothers] nor ·friends [neighbors]. But now I will ·give freedom [proclaim liberty/emancipation to you], says the Lord, to ·war [L the sword], to ·terrible diseases [plague; pestilence], and to ·hunger [famine]. I will make you ·hated by [a horror to] all the kingdoms of the earth. 18 I will hand over the men who ·broke [transgressed] my ·agreement [covenant; treaty], who have not kept the ·promises [L terms of the covenant/treaty] they made before me. They cut a calf into two pieces before me and ·walked between [L passed through] the pieces [C an ancient oath ritual saying that if one broke the agreement they would die like the calf; Gen. 15:9–20]. 19 These people made the ·agreement [covenant; treaty] before me by ·walking between [L passing through] the pieces of the calf: the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the ·officers of the court [or eunuchs], the priests, and all the people of the land. 20 So I will hand them over to their enemies and to everyone who ·wants to kill them [L seeks their life]. Their ·bodies [corpses] will become food for the birds of the ·air [heavens] and for the wild animals of the earth. 21 I will hand Zedekiah king of Judah and his officers over to their enemies, and to everyone who ·wants to kill them [L seeks their life], and to the army of the king of Babylon, even though they have ·left Jerusalem [L gone up from you]. 22 I will give the order, says the Lord, to ·bring the Babylonian army back to Jerusalem [L return them to this city]. It will fight against it, capture it, set it on fire, and burn it down. I will ·destroy the towns in Judah so that they become ruins [L make the towns of Judah a desolation] where no one lives!”

Expanded Bible (EXB)

The Expanded Bible, Copyright © 2011 Thomas Nelson Inc. All rights reserved.

Jeremiah 34 New International Version (NIV)

Warning to Zedekiah

34 While Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army and all the kingdoms and peoples in the empire he ruled were fighting against Jerusalem and all its surrounding towns, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Go to Zedekiah king of Judah and tell him, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am about to give this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down. You will not escape from his grasp but will surely be captured and given into his hands. You will see the king of Babylon with your own eyes, and he will speak with you face to face. And you will go to Babylon.

“‘Yet hear the Lord’s promise to you, Zedekiah king of Judah. This is what the Lord says concerning you: You will not die by the sword; you will die peacefully. As people made a funeral fire in honor of your predecessors, the kings who ruled before you, so they will make a fire in your honor and lament, “Alas, master!” I myself make this promise, declares the Lord.’”

Then Jeremiah the prophet told all this to Zedekiah king of Judah, in Jerusalem, while the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and the other cities of Judah that were still holding out—Lachish and Azekah. These were the only fortified cities left in Judah.

Freedom for Slaves

The word came to Jeremiah from the Lord after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem to proclaim freedom for the slaves. Everyone was to free their Hebrew slaves, both male and female; no one was to hold a fellow Hebrew in bondage. 10 So all the officials and people who entered into this covenant agreed that they would free their male and female slaves and no longer hold them in bondage. They agreed, and set them free. 11 But afterward they changed their minds and took back the slaves they had freed and enslaved them again.

12 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 13 “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I made a covenant with your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. I said, 14 ‘Every seventh year each of you must free any fellow Hebrews who have sold themselves to you. After they have served you six years, you must let them go free.’[a] Your ancestors, however, did not listen to me or pay attention to me. 15 Recently you repented and did what is right in my sight: Each of you proclaimed freedom to your own people. You even made a covenant before me in the house that bears my Name. 16 But now you have turned around and profaned my name; each of you has taken back the male and female slaves you had set free to go where they wished. You have forced them to become your slaves again.

17 “Therefore this is what the Lord says: You have not obeyed me; you have not proclaimed freedom to your own people. So I now proclaim ‘freedom’ for you, declares the Lord—‘freedom’ to fall by the sword, plague and famine. I will make you abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth. 18 Those who have violated my covenant and have not fulfilled the terms of the covenant they made before me, I will treat like the calf they cut in two and then walked between its pieces. 19 The leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the court officials, the priests and all the people of the land who walked between the pieces of the calf, 20 I will deliver into the hands of their enemies who want to kill them. Their dead bodies will become food for the birds and the wild animals.

21 “I will deliver Zedekiah king of Judah and his officials into the hands of their enemies who want to kill them, to the army of the king of Babylon, which has withdrawn from you. 22 I am going to give the order, declares the Lord, and I will bring them back to this city. They will fight against it, take it and burn it down. And I will lay waste the towns of Judah so no one can live there.”

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 34:14 Deut. 15:12
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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