Jeremiah Chapter 36 to 38 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

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King Jehoiakim Burns Jeremiah’s Scroll

36 The message from the Lord came to Jeremiah. This was during the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king of Judah. This was the message from the Lord: 2“Jeremiah, get a scroll* and write on it all the messages I have spoken to you. I have spoken to you about the nations of Israel and Judah and all the nations. Write all the words that I have spoken to you from the time that Josiah was king, until now. 3Maybe the family of Judah will hear what I am planning to do to them. And maybe they will stop doing bad things. If they will do that, I will forgive them for the bad sins they have done.” 4So Jeremiah called a man named Baruch. Baruch was the son of Neriah. Jeremiah spoke the messages the Lord had given him. While Jeremiah spoke, Baruch wrote those messages on the scroll.* 5Then Jeremiah said to Baruch, “I can’t go to the Lord’s temple. I am not allowed to go there. 6So I want you to go to the temple of the Lord. Go there on a day of fasting* and read to the people from the scroll. Read to the people the messages from the Lord that you wrote on the scroll as I spoke them to you. Read those messages to all the people of Judah that come into Jerusalem from the towns where they live. 7Perhaps those people will ask the Lord to help them. Perhaps each person will stop doing bad things. The Lord has announced that he is very angry with those people.” 8So Baruch son of Neriah did everything Jeremiah the prophet told him to do. Baruch read aloud the scroll that had the Lord’s messages written on it. He read it in the Lord’s temple. 9In the ninth month of the fifth year that Jehoiakim was king, a fast* was announced. All the people that lived in the city of Jerusalem, and everyone that had come into Jerusalem from the towns of Judah were supposed to fast before the Lord. 10At that time, Baruch read the scroll* that contained Jeremiah’s words. He read the scroll in the temple of the Lord. Baruch read the scroll to all the people that were in the Lord’s temple. Baruch was in the room of Gemariah in the upper courtyard when he read from the scroll. That room was located at the entrance of the New Gate of the temple. Gemariah was the son of Shaphan. Gemariah was a scribe* in the temple. 11A man named Micaiah heard all the messages from the Lord that Baruch read from the scroll.* Micaiah was the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan. 12When Micaiah heard the messages from the scroll, he went down to the secretary’s room in the king’s palace. All of the royal officials were sitting there in the king’s palace. These are the names of those officials: Elishama the secretary, Delaiah son of Shemaiah, Elnathan son of Acbor, Gemariah son of Shaphan, Zedekiah son of Hananiah; and all the other royal officials were there too. 13Micaiah told those officials everything he had heard Baruch read from the scroll. 14Then all those officials sent a man named Jehudi to Baruch. Jehudi was the son of Nethaniah, son of Shelemiah. Shelemiah was the son of Cushi. Jehudi said to Baruch, “Bring the scroll* that you read from and come with me.” Baruch son of Neriah took the scroll and went with Jehudi to the officials. 15Then those officials said to Baruch, “Sit down and read the scroll to us.” So Baruch read the scroll to them. 16Those royal officials heard all the messages from the scroll.* Then they became afraid, and they looked at one another. They said to Baruch, “We must tell King Jehoiakim about these messages on the scroll.” 17Then the officials asked Baruch a question. They said, “Tell us, Baruch, where did you get these messages that you wrote on the scroll? Did you write down the things Jeremiah spoke to you?” 18“Yes,” Baruch answered. “Jeremiah spoke, and I wrote down all the messages with ink on this scroll.*” 19Then the royal officials said to Baruch, “You and Jeremiah must go and hide. Don’t tell anyone where you are hiding.” 20Then the royal officials put the scroll* in the room of Elishama the scribe. They went to King Jehoiakim and told him all about the scroll. 21So King Jehoiakim sent Jehudi to get the scroll.* Jehudi brought the scroll from the room of Elishama the scribe. Then Jehudi read the scroll to the king and all of the servants that stood around the king. 22The time this happened was in the ninth month,* so King Jehoiakim was sitting in the winter apartment. There was a fire burning in a small fireplace in front of the king. 23Jehudi began to read from the scroll. But whenever he would read two or three columns, King Jehoiakim would grab the scroll. Then he would cut those columns off of the scroll with a small knife and throw them into the fireplace. Finally, the whole scroll was burned in the fire. 24And, when King Jehoiakim and his servants heard the message from the scroll, they were not afraid. They didn’t tear their clothes to show sorrow for doing wrong. 25Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah tried to talk King Jehoiakim into not burning the scroll.* But the king would not listen to them. 26And King Jehoiakim commanded some men to arrest Baruch the scribe* and Jeremiah the prophet. Those men were Jerahmeel, a son of the king, Seraiah son of Azriel, and Shelemiah son of Abdeel. But those men could not find Baruch and Jeremiah, because the Lord had hidden them. 27The message from the Lord came to Jeremiah. This happened after King Jehoiakim burned the scroll* that had contained all the messages from the Lord. Jeremiah had spoken to Baruch, and Baruch had written the messages on the scroll. This was the message from the Lord that came to Jeremiah: 28“Jeremiah, get another scroll.* Write all the messages on it that were on the first scroll. That is the scroll that Jehoiakim king of Judah burned. 29Jeremiah, also say this to Jehoiakim king of Judah, ‘This is what the Lord says: Jehoiakim, you burned that scroll. You said, “Why did Jeremiah write that the king of Babylon will surely come and destroy this land? Why did he say that the king of Babylon will destroy both men and animals in this land?” 30So, this is what the Lord says about Jehoiakim king of Judah: Jehoiakim’s descendants* will not sit on David’s throne. When Jehoiakim dies, he will not get a king’s funeral, but his body will be thrown out on the ground. His body will be left out in the heat of the day and the cold frost of the night. 31I, the Lord, will punish Jehoiakim and his children. And I will punish his officials. I will do this because they are wicked. I have promised to bring terrible disasters on them and on all the people that live in Jerusalem and on the people from Judah. I will bring all the bad things on them, just as I promised, because they have not listened to me.’” 32Then Jeremiah took another scroll* and gave it to Baruch son of Neriah, the scribe.* As Jeremiah spoke, Baruch wrote on the scroll the same messages that were on the scroll that King Jehoiakim had burned in the fire. And many other words like those messages were added to the second scroll.

ancestor Literally, “father,” meaning a person that people are descended from. scroll(s) A long roll of leather or papyrus (paper) used for writing books, letters, and legal documents.  fast(ing) Living without food for a special time of prayer and worship to God. scribe A man that wrote down and copied books and letters. He often become an expert at the meaning of those writings (Scriptures). ninth month This was in November or December.  descendants A person’s children and their future families.

Jeremiah Is Put in Prison

37 Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar appointed Zedekiah as king of Judah in the place of Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim. Zedekiah was a son of King Josiah. 2But Zedekiah did not pay attention to the messages the Lord had given to Jeremiah the prophet to preach. And Zedekiah’s servants and the people of Judah did not pay attention to the Lord’s messages. 3King Zedekiah sent a man named Jehucal and the priest Zephaniah to Jeremiah the prophet with a message. Jehucal was the son of Shelemiah. The priest Zephaniah was the son of Maaseiah. This was the message they brought to Jeremiah: “Jeremiah, pray to the Lord our God for us.” 4(At that time, Jeremiah had not yet been put into prison, so he was free to go anywhere he wanted. 5Also at that time, Pharaoh’s army had marched from Egypt toward Judah. The Babylonian army had surrounded the city of Jerusalem, in order to defeat it. Then they had heard about the army from Egypt marching toward them. So the army from Babylon had left Jerusalem to fight with the army from Egypt.) 6The message from the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet: 7“This is what the Lord, the God of the people of Israel, says: ‘Jehucal and Zephaniah, I know that Zedekiah king of Judah, sent you to me to ask questions. Tell this to King Zedekiah: Pharaoh’s army marched out of Egypt to come here to help you against the army of Babylon. But Pharaoh’s army will go back to Egypt. 8After that, the army from Babylon will come back here. They will attack Jerusalem. Then that army from Babylon will capture and burn Jerusalem.’ 9This is what the Lord says: ‘People of Jerusalem, don’t fool yourselves. Don’t say to yourselves, “The army of Babylon will surely leave us alone.” They will not. 10People of Jerusalem, even if you could defeat all of the Babylonian army that is attacking you, there would still be a few wounded men left in their tents. Even those few wounded men would come out of their tents and burn Jerusalem down.’” 11When the Babylonian army left Jerusalem to fight the army of the Pharaoh of Egypt, 12Jeremiah wanted to travel from Jerusalem to the land of Benjamin.* He was going there to attend a division of some property that belonged to his family. 13But when Jeremiah got to the Benjamin Gate of Jerusalem,* the captain in charge of the guards arrested him. The captain’s name was Irijah. Irijah was the son of Shelemiah. Shelemiah was the son of Hananiah. So Irijah the captain arrested Jeremiah and said, “Jeremiah, you are leaving us to join the Babylonian side.” 14Jeremiah said to Irijah, “That is not true. I am not leaving to join the Babylonians.” But Irijah refused to listen to Jeremiah. And Irijah arrested Jeremiah and took him to the royal officials of Jerusalem. 15Those officials were very angry with Jeremiah. They gave an order for Jeremiah to be beaten. Then they put Jeremiah in a prison. The prison was in the house of a man named Jonathan. Jonathan was a scribe* for the king of Judah. Jonathan’s house had been made into a prison. 16Those people put Jeremiah into a cell under the house of Jonathan. That cell was in a dungeon* under the ground. Jeremiah was there for a long time. 17Then King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah and had him brought to the king’s house. Zedekiah talked to Jeremiah in private. He asked Jeremiah, “Is there any message from the Lord?” Jeremiah answered, “Yes, there is a message from the Lord. Zedekiah, you will be given to the king of Babylon.” 18Then Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, “What have I done wrong? What crime have I done against you or your officials or the people of Jerusalem? Why have you thrown me into prison? 19King Zedekiah, where are your prophets now? Those prophets preached a false message to you. They said, ‘The king of Babylon will not attack you or this land of Judah.’ 20But now, my lord, king of Judah, please listen to me. Please let me bring my request to you. This is what I ask: Don’t send me back to the house of Jonathan the scribe. If you send me back, I will die there.” 21So King Zedekiah gave orders for Jeremiah to be put under guard in the courtyard. And he ordered that Jeremiah should be given bread from the street bakers. Jeremiah was given bread until there was no more bread in the city. So Jeremiah stayed under guard in the courtyard.

the land of Benjamin Jeremiah was going to his home town, Anathoth, which was in the land of Benjamin. Benjamin Gate of Jerusalem This gate led out of Jerusalem to the road which went north to the land of Benjamin. scribe A man that wrote down and copied books and letters. He often become an expert at the meaning of those writings (Scriptures). dungeon A deep pit in the ground, like a cave, used as a prison.

Jeremiah Is Thrown into a Cistern

38 Some of the royal officials heard what Jeremiah was preaching. They were: Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jehucal son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur son of Malkijah. Jeremiah was telling all the people this message: 2“This is what the Lord says: ‘Everyone that stays in Jerusalem will die by a sword, or hunger, or terrible sickness. But everyone that surrenders to the army of Babylon will live. Those people will escape with their lives.’ 3And this is what the Lord says: ‘This city of Jerusalem will surely be given to the army of the king of Babylon. He will capture this city.’” 4Then those royal officials that heard the things Jeremiah was telling the people went to King Zedekiah. They said to the king, “Jeremiah must be put to death. He is making the soldiers that are still in the city become discouraged. Jeremiah is discouraging everyone by the things he is saying. Jeremiah does not want good to happen to us. He wants to ruin the people of Jerusalem.” 5So King Zedekiah said to those officials, “Jeremiah is in your control. I can’t do anything to stop you.” 6So those officials took Jeremiah and put him into Malkijah’s cistern.* (Malkijah was the king’s son.) That cistern was in the temple yard where the king’s guard stayed. Those officials used ropes to lower Jeremiah into the cistern. The cistern didn’t have any water in it, but only mud. And Jeremiah sank down into the mud. 7But a man named Ebed Melech heard that those officials had put Jeremiah into the cistern.* Ebed Melech was a man from Ethiopia, and he was a eunuch* in the king’s house. King Zedekiah was sitting at the Benjamin Gate. So Ebed Melech left the king’s house and went to talk to the king at that gate. 8–9Ebed Melech said, “My lord and king, those officials have acted in a wicked way. They have treated Jeremiah the prophet wickedly. They have thrown him into a cistern. They have left him there to die.”* 10Then King Zedekiah gave a command to Ebed Melech, the Ethiopian. This was the command: “Ebed Melech, take three* men from the king’s house with you. Go and lift Jeremiah out of the cistern before he dies.” 11So Ebed Melech took the men with him. But first he went to a room under the storeroom in the king’s house. He took some old rags and worn-out clothes from that room. Then he let those rags down with some ropes to Jeremiah in the cistern.* 12Ebed Melech, the Ethiopian, said to Jeremiah, “Put these old rags and worn-out clothes under your arms. When we pull you out, these rags will pad your underarms. Then the ropes will not hurt you.” So Jeremiah did as Ebed Melech said. 13Those men pulled Jeremiah up with the ropes and lifted him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah stayed under guard in the temple yard. Zedekiah Asks Jeremiah Some Questions 14Then King Zedekiah sent someone to get Jeremiah the prophet. He had Jeremiah brought to the third entrance to the temple of the Lord. Then the king said, “Jeremiah, I am going to ask you something. Don’t hide anything from me, but tell me everything honestly.” 15Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “If I give you an answer, you will probably kill me. And even if I did give you advice, you would not listen to me.” 16But King Zedekiah secretly swore an oath to Jeremiah. Zedekiah said, “The Lord gives us breath and life. As surely as the Lord lives I will not kill you, Jeremiah. And I promise not to give you to those officials that want to kill you.” 17Then Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, “The Lord God All-Powerful is the God of Israel. The Lord says, ‘If you surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, your life will be saved and Jerusalem will not be burned down. And you and your family will live. 18But if you refuse to surrender then Jerusalem will be given to the Babylonian army. They will burn Jerusalem down, and you will not escape from them.’” 19But King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “But I am afraid of the men of Judah that have already gone over to the side of the Babylonian army. I am afraid that the soldiers will give me to those men of Judah and they will treat me badly and hurt me.” 20But Jeremiah answered, “The soldiers will not give you to those men of Judah. King Zedekiah, obey the Lord by doing what I tell you. Then things will go well for you, and your life will be saved. 21But if you refuse to surrender to the army of Babylon, the Lord has shown me what will happen. This is what the Lord has told me: 22All the women that are left in the house of the king of Judah will be brought out. They will be brought to the important officials of the king of Babylon. Your women will make fun of you with a song. This is what the women will say: ‘Your good friends led you the wrong way and were stronger than you. Those were friends that you trusted. Your feet are stuck in the mud. Your friends have left you.’ 23All your wives and children will be brought out. They will be given to the Babylonian army. You yourself will not escape from the army of Babylon. You will be captured by the king of Babylon, and Jerusalem will be burned down.” 24Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Don’t tell any person that I have been talking to you. If you do, you might die. 25Those officials might find out that I talked to you. Then they will come to you and say, ‘Jeremiah, tell us what you said to King Zedekiah. And tell us what King Zedekiah said to you. Be honest with us and tell us everything, or we will kill you.’ 26If they say this to you, then tell them, ‘I was begging the king not to send me back to the cell in the dungeon* under Jonathan’s house. If I were to go back there, I would die.’” 27It happened that those royal officials of the king did come to Jeremiah to question him. So Jeremiah told them everything the king had ordered him to say. Then those officials left Jeremiah alone. No person had heard what Jeremiah and the king had talked about. 28So Jeremiah stayed under guard in the temple yard until the day Jerusalem was captured.

cistern A deep hole in the ground used to store water. eunuch A man that had his sexual organs removed. Often important officials of the king were eunuchs. They have left him there to die Literally, “He will starve to death because there is no more bread in the city.” three Some Hebrew copies have “30.” dungeon A deep pit in the ground, like a cave, used as a prison.

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