Jeremiah Chapter 34 to 35 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

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A Warning to Zedekiah King of Judah

34 The message from the Lord came to Jeremiah. The message came at the time 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 in the empire he ruled. 2This was the message: “This is what the Lord, the God of the people of Israel, says: Jeremiah, go to Zedekiah king of Judah and give him this message: ‘Zedekiah, this is what the Lord says: I will give the city of Jerusalem to the king of Babylon very soon, and he will burn it down. 3Zedekiah, you will not escape from the king of Babylon. You will surely be caught and given to him. You will see the king of Babylon with your own eyes. He will talk to you face to face, and you will go to Babylon. 4But listen to the promise of the Lord, Zedekiah king of Judah. This is what the Lord says about you: You will not be killed with a sword. 5You will die in a peaceful way. People made funeral fires to honor your ancestors,* the kings that ruled before you became king. In the same way, people will make a funeral fire to honor you. They will cry for you. They will sadly say, “Oh, master!” I myself make this promise to you.’” This message is from the Lord. 6So Jeremiah gave the message from the Lord to Zedekiah in Jerusalem. 7This was while the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem. The army of Babylon was also fighting against the cities of Judah that had not been captured. Those cities were Lachish and Azekah. These were the only fortified cities left in the land of Judah. The People Break One of their Agreements 8King Zedekiah had made an agreement with all the people in Jerusalem to give freedom to all the Hebrew slaves. A message from the Lord came to Jeremiah after Zedekiah had made that agreement. 9Every person was supposed to free his Hebrew slaves. All male and female Hebrew slaves were to be set free. No one was supposed to keep another person from the family group of Judah in slavery. 10So all the leaders of Judah and all the people accepted this agreement. Every person would free their male and female slaves and no longer keep them as slaves. Every person agreed, and so all the slaves were set free. 11But after that,* the people that had slaves changed their minds. So they took the people they had set free and made them slaves again. 12Then the message from the Lord came to Jeremiah: 13Jeremiah, this is what the Lord, the God of the people of Israel, says: “I brought your ancestors* out of the land of Egypt, where they were slaves. When I did that, I made an Agreement with them. 14I said to your ancestors: ‘At the end of every seven years, each person must set his Hebrew slaves free. If you have a fellow Hebrew that has sold himself to you, you must let him go free after he has served you for six years.’ But your ancestors didn’t listen to me or pay attention to me. 15A short time ago, you changed your hearts to do what is right. Each of you gave freedom to his fellow Hebrews that were slaves. And you even made an agreement before me in the temple* that is called by my name. 16But now, you have changed your minds. You have shown you don’t honor my name. How did you do this? Each of you has taken back the male and female slaves that you had set free. You have forced them to become slaves again. 17“So this is what the Lord says: ‘You people have not obeyed me. You have not given freedom to your fellow Hebrews. Because you have not kept the agreement, I will give “freedom.”’ This is the message of the Lord. ‘(I will give) “freedom” to be killed by swords, by terrible sicknesses, and by hunger! I will make you become something that terrifies all the kingdoms of the earth, when they hear about you. 18I will hand over the men that broke my Agreement, and have not kept the promises they made before me. These men cut a calf into two pieces before me and walked between the two pieces.* 19These are the people that walked between the two pieces of the calf when they made the Agreement before me: the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the important officials of the court, the priests, and the people of the land. 20So I will give those people to their enemies and to every person that wants to kill them. The bodies of those people will become food for the birds of the air and for the wild animals of the earth. 21I will give Zedekiah king of Judah, and his leaders to their enemies and to every person that wants to kill them. I will give Zedekiah and his people to the army of the king of Babylon, even though that army has left Jerusalem.* 22But I will give the order,’ this message is from the Lord, ‘to bring the Babylonian army back to Jerusalem. That army will fight against Jerusalem. They will capture it and set it on fire and burn it down. And I will destroy the cities in the land of Judah. Those cities will become empty deserts. No people will live there.’”

ancestors Literally, “fathers,” meaning a person’s parents, grandparents, and all the people they are descended from. after that In the summer of 588 B.C., the Egyptian army came to help the people of Jerusalem, and the Babylonian army had to leave Jerusalem briefly to fight the Egyptians. The people of Jerusalem thought that God had helped them, and that things were back to normal, so they didn’t keep their promise. They took the slaves that they had set free back into slavery. temple The special building in Jerusalem for Jewish worship. These men … two pieces This is part of a ceremony people used when they made an important agreement. An animal was cut into two pieces. The people that were making the agreement would walk between the pieces. Then they would say something like, “I hope this same thing happens to me if I don’t keep the agreement.” See Gen. 15 left Jerusalem An army from Egypt came to help the people of Jerusalem in the summer of 588 B.C. So the Babylonian army left Jerusalem for a short time to fight them. See Jer. 37:5. See also the footnote to Jer. 34:11.

The Good Example of the Recabite Family

35 During the time when Jehoiakim was king of Judah, the message from the Lord came to Jeremiah. Jehoiakim was the son of King Josiah. This was the message from the Lord: 2“Jeremiah, go to the Recabite family.* Invite them to come to one of the side rooms of the temple* of the Lord. Offer them wine to drink.” 3So I (Jeremiah) went to get Jaazaniah.* Jaazaniah was the son of a man named Jeremiah,* that was the son of a man named Habazziniah. And I got all of Jaazaniah’s brothers and sons. I got the whole family of the Recabites together. 4Then I brought the Recabite family into the temple of the Lord. We went into the room called the room of the sons of Hanan. Hanan was the son of a man named Igdaliah. Hanan was a man of God.* The room was next to the room where the princes of Judah stay. It was over the room of Maaseiah son of Shallum. Maaseiah was the doorkeeper in the temple. 5Then I (Jeremiah) put some bowls full of wine with some cups in front of the Recabite family. And I said to them, “Drink some wine.” 6But the Recabite people answered, “We never drink wine. We never drink it because our ancestor* Jonadab son of Recab, gave us this command: ‘You and your descendants* must never drink wine. 7Also, you must never build houses, plant seeds, or plant vineyards. You must never do any of those things. You must live only in tents. If you do that, then you will live a long time in the land where you move from place to place.’ 8So, we Recabite people have obeyed everything our ancestor Jonadab commanded us. We never drink wine. And our wives, sons, and daughters never drink wine. 9We never build houses to live in. And we never own vineyards or fields. And we never plant crops. 10We have lived in tents and have obeyed everything our ancestor Jonadab commanded us. 11But when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon attacked the country of Judah, we did go into Jerusalem. We said to each other, ‘Come, we must enter the city of Jerusalem, so that we can escape the Babylonian army and the Aramean army.’ So we have stayed in Jerusalem.” 12Then the message from the Lord came to Jeremiah: 13The Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: “Jeremiah, go and tell this message to the men of Judah and to the people of Jerusalem: You people should learn a lesson and obey my message.” This message is from the Lord. 14“Jonadab son of Recab ordered his sons not to drink wine, and that command has been obeyed. Until today, the descendants* of Jonadab obeyed their ancestor’s* command. They don’t drink wine. But I am the Lord. And I have given you people of Judah messages again and again, but you didn’t obey me. 15I sent my servants the prophets to you people of Israel and Judah. I sent them to you again and again. Those prophets said to you, ‘Each of you people of Israel and Judah must stop doing evil things. You must be good. Don’t follow other gods. Don’t worship or serve them. If you obey me, then you will live in the land I have given to you and your ancestors.’ But you people have not paid attention to my message. 16The descendants of Jonadab obeyed the commands that their ancestor gave them. But the people of Judah have not obeyed me.” 17So the Lord God All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: “I said many bad things would happen to Judah and Jerusalem. I will soon make all those bad things happen. I spoke to those people, but they refused to listen. I called out to them, but they didn’t answer me.” 18Then Jeremiah said to the family of the Recabite people, “The Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says, ‘You people have obeyed the commands of your ancestor* Jonadab. You have followed all of Jonadab’s teachings. You have done everything he commanded. 19So the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: There will always be a descendant* of Jonadab son of Recab to serve me.’”

Recabite family A group of people descended from Jonadab son of Recab. The family was very loyal to the Lord. See 2 Kings 10:15–28 for the story of Jonadab. temple The special building in Jerusalem for Jewish worship.   Jaazaniah He was the head of the Recabite family at that time. Jeremiah Not the prophet Jeremiah, but a different man of the same name. man of God This is usually an honorable title for a prophet. We know nothing else about Hanan.  ancestors Literally, “fathers,” meaning a person’s parents, grandparents, and all the people they are descended from. descendants A person’s children and their future families. 

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