1. But Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jucal son of Shelemiah and Pashhur son of Malchiah heard the words which Jeremiah was saying to all the people,
2. 'Yahweh says this, "Anyone who stays in this city will die by sword, famine or plague; but anyone who leaves it and surrenders to the Chaldaeans will live; he will escape with his life.
3. Yahweh says this: This city will certainly be handed over to the army of the king of Babylon, and he will capture it." '
4. The chief men then said to the king, 'You must have this man put to death: he is unquestionably disheartening the remaining soldiers in the city, and all the people too, by talking like this. This man is seeking not the welfare of the people but their ruin.'
5. King Zedekiah answered, 'He is in your hands as you know, for the king is powerless to oppose you.'
6. So they took Jeremiah and put him into the storage-well of the king's son Malchiah in the Court of the Guard, letting him down with ropes. There was no water in the storage-well, only mud, and into the mud Jeremiah sank.
7. But Ebed-Melech the Cushite, a eunuch attached to the palace, heard that Jeremiah had been put into the storage-well. As the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate,
8. Ebed-Melech came out from the palace and spoke to the king.
9. 'My lord king,' he said, 'these men have done a wicked thing by treating the prophet Jeremiah like this: they have thrown him into the storage-well. He will starve to death there, since there is no more food in the city.'
10. At this the king gave Ebed-Melech the Cushite the following order: 'Take thirty men with you from here and pull the prophet Jeremiah out of the storage-well before he dies.'
11. Ebed-Melech took the men with him and went into the palace to the Treasury wardrobe; out of it he took some torn, worn-out rags which he lowered on ropes to Jeremiah in the storage-well.
12. Ebed-Melech the Cushite then said to Jeremiah, 'These torn, worn-out rags are for you to put under your armpits to pad the ropes.' Jeremiah did this.
13. Then they hauled Jeremiah up with the ropes and pulled him out of the storage-well. And Jeremiah stayed in the Court of the Guard.
14. King Zedekiah had the prophet Jeremiah summoned to him at the third entrance to the Temple of Yahweh. 'I want to ask you for a word,' the king said to Jeremiah, 'keep nothing back from me.'
15. Jeremiah answered Zedekiah, 'If I do proclaim it to you, are you not sure to have me put to death? And if I give you advice, you will not listen to me.'
16. King Zedekiah then secretly swore this oath to Jeremiah, 'As Yahweh lives, giver of this life of ours, I will have you neither put to death nor handed over to these men who are determined to kill you.'
17. Jeremiah then said to Zedekiah, 'Yahweh, God Sabaoth, God of Israel, says this, "If you go out and surrender to the king of Babylon's generals, your life will be safe and this city will not be burnt down; you and your family will survive.
18. But if you do not go out and surrender to the king of Babylon's generals, this city will be handed over to the Chaldaeans and they will burn it down; nor will you yourself escape their clutches." '
19. King Zedekiah then said to Jeremiah, 'I am afraid of the Judaeans who have already gone over to the Chaldaeans: I might be handed over to them and they would ill-treat me.'
20. 'You will not be handed over to them,' Jeremiah replied. 'Please listen to Yahweh's voice as I have relayed it to you, and then all will go well with you and your life will be safe.
21. But if you refuse to surrender, this is what Yahweh has shown me:
22. the sight of all the women left in the king of Judah's palace being led off to the king of Babylon's generals and saying: "They have misled you, they have triumphed over you, those friends of yours! Your feet have sunk in the mud! They are up and away!"
23. 'Yes, all your wives and children will be led off to the Chaldaeans, and you yourself will not escape their clutches but will be a prisoner in the clutches of the king of Babylon. And as for this city, it will be burnt down.'
24. Zedekiah then said to Jeremiah, 'Do not let anyone else hear these words or you will die.
25. If the chief men hear that I have been talking to you, and come and say, "Tell us what you said to the king and what the king said to you; keep nothing back from us, or we shall put you to death,"
26. you must reply, "I presented this request to the king: that he would not have me sent back to Jonathan's house to die." '
27. And in fact all the chief men came to Jeremiah and questioned him. He told them exactly what the king had ordered him to say. They then left him in peace, since the conversation had not been overheard.
28. And Jeremiah stayed in the Court of the Guard until the day Jerusalem was captured. And he was there when Jerusalem actually was captured.