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¶ THE word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, when Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and all his army and all the kingdoms of the earth that were under his dominion and all the peoples who were fighting against Jerusalem and against all of its cities, saying,
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Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah and tell him, Thus says the LORD: Behold, I will deliver this city into the hand of the king of Babylon and he shall burn it with fire;
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And you shall not escape from his hand, but shall surely be seized and delivered into his hand, and your eyes shall see the eyes of the king of Babylon, and you shall speak with him mouth to mouth, and you shall go to Babylon.
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Yet hear the word of the LORD, O Zedekiah king of Judah;
thus says the LORD concerning you, You shall not die by the sword;
but you shall die in peace;
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And as they mourned over your fathers, the former kings who were before you, so shall they mourn over you;
and they shall lament for you, saying, Ah lord!
for I have spoken this word, says the LORD.
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Then Jeremiah the prophet spoke all these words to Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem
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When the king of Babylon’s army was fighting against Jerusalem and against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish and against Azekah;
for these were the only fortified cities that remained of the cities of Judah.
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This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, after king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people that were in Jerusalem: Proclaim liberty to them;
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That every man should set free his Hebrew manservant and maidservant, so that no man may enslave a Jew, his brother.
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And all the princes and all the people obeyed, and took upon themselves to let every one his manservant and his maidservant go free, that they should not make them to serve them any more;
so they let them go free.
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But afterward they changed their minds, and caused to return both the male and female servants whom they had let go free, and brought them into subjection for servants and for handmaids.
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Therefore the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying,
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Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, saying,
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At the end of seven years you shall set free every man his brother, a Hebrew, who has been sold to you;
and when he has served you six years, you shall let him go free from you;
but your fathers did not hearken to me nor incline their ear.
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And you now had turned, and had done that which is right in my sight, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbor, and you had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name;
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But then you turned again and profaned my name, and caused every man his servant and every man his handmaid, whom he had set at liberty at their pleasure, to return and to be brought again into subjection, to be to you for servants and for handmaids.
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Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: You have not hearkened to me in proclaiming liberty every one to his neighbor;
beg hold, I proclaim for you liberty to sword, to famine, and to pestilence, says the LORD;
and I will make you a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth.
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And I will deliver up the men who have transgressed my covenant, who have not confirmed the words of the covenant which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in two and passed between the parts thereof,
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The princes of Judah and the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs and the priests and all the people of the land, who passed between the parts of the calf;
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And I will deliver them into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their lives;
and their dead bodies shall be food for the fowls of the air and for the beasts of the earth.
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And Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes I will deliver into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their lives and into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, who are coming back against them.
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Behold, I will command, says the LORD, and cause them to return to this city;
and they shall fight against it and take it and burn it with fire;
and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without an inhabitant.