Jeremiah 37:1–21 (NKJV)
37:1 Now King Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah. 2 But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land gave heed to the words of the Lord which He spoke by the prophet Jeremiah.
3 And Zedekiah the king sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “Pray now to the Lord our God for us.” 4 Now Jeremiah was coming and going among the people, for they had not yet put him in prison. 5 Then Pharaoh’s army came up from Egypt; and when the Chaldeans who were besieging Jerusalem heard news of them, they departed from Jerusalem.
6 Then the word of the Lord came to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, 7 “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Thus you shall say to the king of Judah, who sent you to Me to inquire of Me: “Behold, Pharaoh’s army which has come up to help you will return to Egypt, to their own land. 8 And the Chaldeans shall come back and fight against this city, and take it and burn it with fire.” ’ 9 Thus says the Lord: ‘Do not deceive yourselves, saying, “The Chaldeans will surely depart from us,” for they will not depart. 10 For though you had defeated the whole army of the Chaldeans who fight against you, and there remained only wounded men among them, they would rise up, every man in his tent, and burn the city with fire.’ ”
A shift in power has occurred in Judah. Nebuchadnezzer, in his conquest of the land, had appointed a new king in place of Coniah, Zedekiah, and had ascertained his loyalty to Babylon. However, the king really wanted to see Judah restored in short order, and sought Jeremiah for a word from God. Pharoah’s army came up from Egypt, but Babylon responded shortly, as Jeremiah predicted. Their dependence on Egypt was not wise.
11 And it happened, when the army of the Chaldeans left the siege of Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh’s army, 12 that Jeremiah went out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin to claim his property there among the people. 13 And when he was in the Gate of Benjamin, a captain of the guard was there whose name was Irijah the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah; and he seized Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “You are defecting to the Chaldeans!”
14 Then Jeremiah said, “False! I am not defecting to the Chaldeans.” But he did not listen to him.
So Irijah seized Jeremiah and brought him to the princes. 15 Therefore the princes were angry with Jeremiah, and they struck him and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe. For they had made that the prison.
16 When Jeremiah entered the dungeon and the cells, and Jeremiah had remained there many days, 17 then Zedekiah the king sent and took him out. The king asked him secretly in his house, and said, “Is there any word from the Lord?”
And Jeremiah said, “There is.” Then he said, “You shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon!”
18 Moreover Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, “What offense have I committed against you, against your servants, or against this people, that you have put me in prison? 19 Where now are your prophets who prophesied to you, saying, ‘The king of Babylon will not come against you or against this land?’ 20 Therefore please hear now, O my lord the king. Please, let my petition be accepted before you, and do not make me return to the house of Jonathan the scribe, lest I die there.”
21 Then Zedekiah the king commanded that they should commit Jeremiah to the court of the prison, and that they should give him daily a piece of bread from the bakers’ street, until all the bread in the city was gone. Thus Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison.
In the time that the Chaldean (Babylonian) army left Judah because of Egypt’s presence, Jeremiah went to reclaim his inheritance in the land of Benjamin. He was accused of treason, of defecting to Babylon, which was not true. The princes of Judah put him in prison anyway. When the king heard of it, he called Jeremiah and asked if there was a word from the Lord. Jeremiah responded that the kind would be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon. He then asked where the prophets were who had prophesied that Babylon would not come against them. Zedekiah ordered the princes to allow Jeremiah to be in the court of the prison, rather than in the dungeon.
In this tumultuous time, Babylon and Egypt battled over Judah. Babylon fought to conquer Judah. False prophets disputed the true words of Jeremiah. The princes of Judah rejected his words, and sought to imprison or kill him. But, Jeremiah was a faithful prophet. He was a reluctant prophet. He was a weeping prophet. He was an honest and true prophet. He spoke the truth of God’s word. Be faithful and true. Speak the truth even when you are opposed. God will stand by you and protect you when your enemies come against you. He is your strength when evil rages!