ImmerseProphets - Page 287



37:18–38:11
J eremiah
275
imprisoned in the house of Jon­a­than the secretary. Jon­a­than’s house had
been converted into a prison. Jer­e­mi­ah was put into a dun­geon cell, where
he remained for many days.
Later King Zed­e­ki­ah secretly requested that Jer­e­mi­ah come to the
palace, where the king asked him, “Do you have any messages from the
Lord?”
“Yes, I do!” said Jer­e­mi­ah. “You will be defeated by the king of Bab­ylon.”
Then Jer­e­mi­ah asked the king, “What crime have I committed? What
have I done against you, your attendants, or the people that I should be
imprisoned like this? Where are your prophets now who told you the king
of Bab­ylon would not attack you or this land? Listen, my lord the king,
I beg you. Don’t send me back to the dun­geon in the house of Jon­a­than
the secretary, for I will die there.”
So King Zed­e­ki­ah commanded that Jer­e­mi­ah not be returned to the
dun­geon. Instead, he was imprisoned in the courtyard of the guard in
the royal palace. The king also commanded that Jer­e­mi­ah be given a loaf
of fresh bread every day as long as there was any left in the city. So Jer­e­mi­ah
was put in the palace prison.
Now Sheph­a­ti­ah son of Mat­tan, Ged­a­li­ah son of Pash­hur, Je­hu­cal son of
Shel­e­mi­ah, and Pash­hur son of Mal­ki­jah heard what Jer­e­mi­ah had been
telling the people. He had been saying, “This is what the Lord says:
‘Every­one who stays in Je­ru­sa­lem will die from war, famine, or disease, but
those who surrender to the Bab­ylonians will live. Their reward will be life.
They will live!’ The Lord also says: ‘The city of Je­ru­sa­lem will certainly
be handed over to the army of the king of Bab­ylon, who will capture it.’”
So these officials went to the king and said, “Sir, this man must die! That
kind of talk will undermine the morale of the few fighting men we have
left, as well as that of all the people. This man is a traitor!”
King Zed­e­ki­ah agreed. “All right,” he said. “Do as you like. I can’t stop
you.”
So the officials took Jer­e­mi­ah from his cell and lowered him by ropes
into an empty cistern in the prison yard. It belonged to Mal­ki­jah, a mem­
ber of the royal fam­i­ly. There was no water in the cistern, but there was a
thick layer of mud at the bottom, and Jer­e­mi­ah sank down into it.
But Ebed-me­lech the Ethi­op­ ian, an important court official, heard that
Jer­e­mi­ah was in the cistern. At that time the king was holding court at
the Ben­ja­min Gate, so Ebed-me­lech rushed from the palace to speak with
him. “My lord the king,” he said, “these men have done a very evil thing in
putting Jer­e­mi­ah the prophet into the cistern. He will soon die of hunger,
for almost all the bread in the city is gone.”





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