38 And Shephatiah the son of Mattan and Gedaliah the son of Pashhur and Jucal the son of Shelemiah and Pashhur the son of Malkijah heard the words Jeremiah was speaking to all the people: 2 “Says Jehovah, He who stays in this city will die by sword and by starvation, but he who goes out and surrenders to the Chaldeans shall live, and have his life for a booty, and be alive. 3 Says Jehovah, This city shall be given into the hands of the forces of the king of Babylon, and they shall take it”; 4 and the generals said to the king “Let this man be put to death, seeing that he is dispiriting the fighting men that we have left in this city, and all the people, saying things like these to them; for this man is not aiming at the welfare of this people, but at harm.” 5 * And King Sidkijah said “You have him in your hands; for the king is not able to do anything where you are concerned.” 6 * And they threw him into Prince Malkijah’s cistern in the court of the guard; they let him down by ropes; and there was no water in the cistern, but there was mud, and Jeremiah sank into the mud. 7 And ʽEbed-Melec the Negro, a eunuch, who was in the palace, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the cistern. And the king was sitting in the Benjamin gate; 8 and ʽEbed-Melec went out of the palace and spoke to the king, 9 * saying “Your majesty, these men have done a bad thing in all they have done to the prophet Jeremiah, that they have thrown him into the cistern—and he was dying where he was with starvation, because there is no longer any bread in the city.” 10 And the king gave ʽEbed-Melec the order “Take along three men from here and get the prophet Jeremiah up out of the cistern before he dies”; 11 and ʽEbed-Melec took the men along and went into the palace and down underneath the treasure-room and took from there the most worn-out old clothes and rags, and let them down by cords to Jeremiah in the cistern. 12 And ʽEbed-Melec the Negro said to Jeremiah “Place the worn-out old clothes and rags under your armpits under the cords,” and Jeremiah did so; 13 and they hauled Jeremiah up out of the cistern by the cords. And Jeremiah stayed in the court of the guard. 14 * And King Sidkijah sent for the prophet Jeremiah and fetched him to him at the Squire’s Entrance in Jehovah’s house, and the king said to him “I am putting a question to you; do not refuse to answer me.” 15 And Jeremiah said to King Sidkijah “When I tell you, you will put me to death, will you not? and when I give you advice you will not listen to me.” 16 And King Sidkijah swore to Jeremiah privately “By Jehovah, who made us this soul, I will not put you to death nor give you into the hands of these men who are looking for your life.” 17 And Jeremiah said to Sidkijah “Says Jehovah the God of Armies, Israel’s God, If you surrender to the king of Babylon’s generals, you personally will remain alive, and this city will not be burned down, and you and your family will remain alive; 18 but if you do not, this city will be given into the hands of the Chaldeans and they will burn it down, and you will not escape their hands.” 19 And the king said to Jeremiah “I am apprehensive of the Jews that have deserted to the Chaldeans, for fear they will give me into their hands and they will do as they like with me.” 20 But Jeremiah said “They will not give you to them. Obey Jehovah in the thing I am speaking to you of, and you will be well off and will have your life. 21 But if you refuse to surrender, this is the thing Jehovah has let me see: 22 there were all the women that remain in the palace of the king of Judah being brought out to the king of Babylon’s generals, and there they were saying ‘The men you kept on good terms with egged you on and prevailed on you, got your feet stuck in the morass, and backed out’; 23 and all your wives and children they were bringing out to the Chaldeans, and you yourself did not escape their hands. For you will fall into the king of Babylon’s hands and will get this city burned down.” 24 And Sidkijah said to Jeremiah “Let no person know of these things and you shall not die. 25 And when the generals hear that I talked with you, and come to you and say to you ‘Tell us what the king said; do not refuse to answer us, and we won’t kill you; what did the king say to you?’ 26 tell them ‘I am laying my appeal before the king that he will not send me back to Jehonathan’s house to die there.’” 27 And all the generals came to Jeremiah and asked him, and he told them just these words that the king directed him to, and they let him alone; for the story did not come out. 28 And Jeremiah stayed in the court of the guard up to the day that Jerusalem was taken.
^ 38:5 Var. hands”; for the king was not able to do anything with them
^ 38:6 Var. omits they let him down by ropes
^ 38:9 Or will have died on the spot with starvation
^ 38:14 (Squire’s Entrance) Susp.