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Haftara Mishpatim

Jeremiah 34.8-22, 33.25-26

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from God, after King Zedekiah made a covenant with the people of Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty to them; That every man should free his Hebrew slaves, male and female; so that no one could enslave a Jew, his brother. And they obeyed, all the princes and all the people that entered into the covenant, that every one would set his slave, male and female, so that they would not be enslaved again; they obeyed and released them. But afterward they relapsed, and caused the servants and handmaidens who they had set free to return, and brought them into subjugation as slaves. Therefore God’s word came to Jeremiah from God:

Thus says God, the Lord of Israel: I made a covenant with your fathers on the day I brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of Bondage, saying: At the end of seven years each of you shall release his fellow Hebrew, who has been sold to you, and served you six years, you shall let him go free from you. But your fathers did not obey Me or incline their ear. Now you repented and did what was right in My eyes, by proclaiming liberty each man to his neighbor; and you made a covenant before Me in the house by which my name is called. But you relapsed and profaned My name, when each of you took back his male and female slaves, whom you had set free, each according to their desire, and you brought them into subjugation to be your slaves.

Therefore thus says God: You have not obeyed Me, to proclaim liberty,every man to his brother, and every man to his neighbor; I proclaim a liberty to you, said God, to the sword, to pestilence, and to famine; and I will make you a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth. I will give the men who have transgressed My covenant, that have not performed the words of the covenant which they made before Me, when they cut the calf in two and passed between its parts. The princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the officers, the priests, and all the people of the land, who passed between the parts of the calf; I will even give them into the hands of their enemies, and into the hand of those who seek their lives. Their dead bodies will be food to the fowls of the heaven and the beast of the earth. And Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes I will give into the hand of Babylon’s army, which has withdrawn from you. Behold, I will command, says God, and will return them to this city; and they will fight against it, and take it, and burn it with fire, and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without inhabitants.

Thus says God: I have not established My covenant with day and night, if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; then I will cast away the descendants of Jacob, and David My servant, and will not choose one of his descendants over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, For I will cause their captivity to return, and I have compassion on them.