CLICK HERE to read Jeremiah 34.
Jeremiah gives another prophecy (verse 1) from the Lord, this one for Zedekiah king of Judah (verse 2). The Lord warns Zedekiah that He is going to deliver the people over to Babylon as they have chosen and that they cannot now escape (verse 3). Even the king himself will go into captivity, though the Lord promises him that he will not die in battle (verse 4). The Lord promises Zedekiah that he will die in peace because he has now listened to the prophets, but that he and the people must be delivered into the captivity they have chosen (verse 5).
Jeremiah went to Zedekiah and told him all these things as he was instructed to do (verses 6-7).
In response, Zedekiah told all the people to let their servants go free that they might prepare for captivity (verse 8), and all servants were made free (verse 9). The leaders of the people and the wealthy initially obeyed (verse 10), but later changed their minds and subjected their servants again (verse 11).
Because of this, the Lord said (verse 12) that all the people know how He freed the people from slavery in Egypt (verse 13), and that the original laws of the people included letting all servants go free every seventh year (verse 14). Now it is time to let the people go free, and the leaders have refused to do so (verse 15).
This, the Lord says, insults Him because they are doing to their own people exactly what the Lord worked hard to rescue them from (verse 16). He proclaimed liberty for them and freed them from bondage, and now they have forced their own people to be in bondage to them as if they did not remember what a bad experience it was for them (verse 17). This is breaking their covenants, He says (verse 18), and all the people are guilty of it (verse 19). Because they have done this, the Lord says He will do to them what they have done to their servants: force them into captivity (verse 20).
By this, the Lord sending Zedekiah and his people into captivity was not Him being an unjust God, but God delivering the same consequences to them that they had dished out to those who had no advocate or ability to provide for themselves (verse 21). Because they have denied others their freedom, they will now lose their own freedom (verse 22).