Jeremiah 38:17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel, If you will only surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then your life shall be spared, and this city shall not be burned with fire, and you and your house shall live. 18 But if you do not surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then this city shall be handed over to the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and you yourself shall not escape from their hand.” 19 King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Judeans who have deserted to the Chaldeans, for I might be handed over to them and they would abuse me.” 20 Jeremiah said, “That will not happen. Just obey the voice of the Lord in what I say to you, and it shall go well with you, and your life shall be spared.
Zedekiah was King of Judah (the region which included the city of Jerusalem) before the city was destroyed. There had been generations of unfaithful kings who led the people astray. With the enemy army at the gates of Jerusalem ready to conquer, rape, pillage, and plunder the Lord God gave Zedekiah one last chance to avoid that awful fate. All he had to do was surrender himself to the enemy and he, his family, and Jerusalem would be spared.
The rest of this chapter describes how Zedekiah didn’t listen and so terrible disaster fell upon the Israelites, from Zedekiah on down. It’s my prayer that I might not be so hard-headed, that given the chance I would follow the advice of God. Lord let it be so. Amen.