1Nebuchadnezzar 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.