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Jeremiah 40:1–43:13

Jeremiah Remains in Judah

40 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord rafter Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from sRamah, when he took him tbound in chains along with all the captives of Jerusalem and Judah who were being exiled to Babylon. The captain of the guard took Jeremiah and said to him, u“The Lord your God pronounced this disaster against this place. The Lord has brought it about, and has done as he said. vBecause you sinned against the Lord and did not obey his voice, this thing has come upon you. Now, behold, I release you today from tthe chains on your hands. wIf it seems good to you to come with me to Babylon, come, and I will look after you well, wbut if it seems wrong to you to come with me to Babylon, do not come. xSee, the whole land is before you; go wherever you think it good and right to go. If you remain,1 then return to yGedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, zwhom the king of Babylon appointed governor of the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people. Or go wherever you think it right to go.” So the captain of the guard gave him an allowance of food and a present, and let him go. Then Jeremiah went to yGedaliah the son of Ahikam, at aMizpah, and lived with him bamong the people cwho were left in the land.

dWhen all the captains of the forces in the open country and their men heard that ethe king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam governor in the land and had committed to him men, women, and children, those of fthe poorest of the land who had not been taken into exile to Babylon, they went to Gedaliah at aMizpah—gIshmael the son of Nethaniah, hJohanan the son of Kareah, Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, iJezaniah the son of the Maacathite, they and their men. Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, swore to them and their men, saying, “Do not be afraid to serve the Chaldeans. Dwell in the land and serve the king of Babylon, jand it shall be well with you. 10 As for me, I will dwell at aMizpah, to represent you before the Chaldeans who will come to us. But as for you, lgather wine and summer fruits and oil, and store them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that you have taken.” 11 Likewise, when all the Judeans who were in mMoab and among nthe Ammonites and in oEdom and in other lands heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant in Judah and had appointed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, as governor over them, 12 pthen all the Judeans returned from all the places to which they had been driven and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah. And they qgathered wine and summer fruits in great abundance.

13 Now rJohanan the son of Kareah and sall the leaders of the forces in the open country came to Gedaliah at Mizpah 14 and said to him, “Do you know that Baalis the king of tthe Ammonites has sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to take your life?” But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam would not believe them. 15 Then Johanan the son of Kareah spoke secretly to Gedaliah at Mizpah, “Please let me go and strike down Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and no one will know it. Why should he take your life, so that all the Judeans who are gathered about you would be scattered, uand the remnant of Judah would perish?” 16 But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said to Johanan the son of Kareah, “You shall not do this thing, for you are speaking falsely of Ishmael.”

Gedaliah Murdered

41 vIn the seventh month, Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, son of Elishama, of the royal family, one of the chief officers of the king, came with ten men to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, at wMizpah. As they xate bread together there at Mizpah, yIshmael the son of Nethaniah and the ten men with him rose up and struck down Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, with the sword, and killed him, zwhom the king of Babylon had appointed governor in the land. Ishmael also struck down all the Judeans who were with Gedaliah at wMizpah, and the Chaldean soldiers who happened to be there.

On the day after the murder of Gedaliah, before anyone knew of it, eighty men arrived from aShechem and bShiloh and cSamaria, with dtheir beards shaved and etheir clothes torn, and dtheir bodies gashed, fbringing grain offerings and incense to present at the temple of the Lord. And Ishmael the son of Nethaniah came out from gMizpah to meet them, weeping as he came. As he met them, he said to them, “Come in to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam.” When they came into the city, Ishmael the son of Nethaniah and the men with him slaughtered them and cast them into a cistern. But there were ten men among them who said to Ishmael, “Do not put us to death, for we have hstores of wheat, barley, oil, and honey hidden in the fields.” So he refrained and did not put them to death with their companions.

Now the cistern into which Ishmael had thrown all the bodies of the men whom he had struck down along with1 Gedaliah was the large cistern that iKing Asa had made for defense against iBaasha king of Israel; Ishmael the son of Nethaniah filled it with the slain. 10 Then Ishmael took captive all the rest of the people who were in Mizpah, jthe king’s daughters and all the people who were left at Mizpah, whom kNebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, had committed to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam. Ishmael the son of Nethaniah took them captive and set out to cross over to lthe Ammonites.

11 But when mJohanan the son of Kareah and nall the leaders of the forces with him heard of all the evil that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had done, 12 they took all their men and went to fight against Ishmael the son of Nethaniah. They came upon him at othe great pool that is in pGibeon. 13 And when all the people who were with Ishmael saw Johanan the son of Kareah and qall the leaders of the forces with him, they rejoiced. 14 rSo all the people whom Ishmael had carried away captive from Mizpah turned around and came back, and went to Johanan the son of Kareah. 15 But Ishmael the son of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with eight men, and went to sthe Ammonites. 16 Then Johanan the son of Kareah and qall the leaders of the forces with him took from Mizpah all the rest of the people whom he had recovered from Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, after he had struck down Gedaliah the son of Ahikam—soldiers, twomen, children, and eunuchs, whom Johanan brought back from uGibeon. 17 And they went and stayed at Geruth vChimham near wBethlehem, intending to go to Egypt 18 because of the Chaldeans. For they were afraid of them, because Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had struck down Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, xwhom the king of Babylon had made governor over the land.

Warning Against Going to Egypt

42 Then yall the commanders of the forces, and zJohanan the son of Kareah and Jezaniah the son of aHoshaiah, and all the people bfrom the least to the greatest, came near and said to Jeremiah the prophet, “Let cour plea for mercy come before you, and dpray to the Lord your God for us, for all ethis remnant—fbecause we are left with but a few, as your eyes see us— that gthe Lord your God may show us the way we should go, and the thing that we should do.” Jeremiah the prophet said to them, “I have heard you. Behold, I will pray to the Lord your God according to your request, and hwhatever the Lord answers you I will tell you. hI will keep nothing back from you.” Then they said to Jeremiah, i“May the Lord be a true and jfaithful witness against us kif we do not act according to all the word lwith which the Lord your God sends you to us. Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, mthat it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.”

nAt the end of ten days the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah. Then he summoned zJohanan the son of Kareah and yall the commanders of the forces who were with him, and all the people bfrom the least to the greatest, and said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, oto whom you sent me to present your plea for mercy before him: 10 If you will remain in this land, pthen I will build you up and not pull you down; I will plant you, and not pluck you up; qfor I relent of the disaster that I did to you. 11 rDo not fear the king of Babylon, rof whom you are afraid. sDo not fear him, declares the Lord, sfor I am with you, to save you and to deliver you from his hand. 12 tI will grant you mercy, that he may have mercy on you and let you remain in your own land. 13 uBut if you say, ‘We will not remain in this land,’ disobeying the voice of the Lord your God 14 and saying, ‘No, vwe will go to the land of Egypt, where we shall not see war or whear the sound of the trumpet or xbe hungry for bread, and we will dwell there,’ 15 then hear the word of the Lord, O remnant of Judah. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: yIf you set your faces to enter Egypt zand go to live there, 16 then the sword athat you fear shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine of which you are afraid shall follow close after you to Egypt, band there you shall die. 17 All the men who set their faces to go to Egypt to live there shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence. They shall have cno remnant or survivor from the disaster that I will bring upon them.

18 “For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: dAs my anger and my wrath were poured out on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so my wrath will be poured out on you when you go to Egypt. eYou shall become an execration, a horror, a curse, and a taunt. You shall see this place no more. 19 The Lord has said to you, O remnant of Judah, f‘Do not go to Egypt.’ gKnow for a certainty that I have warned you this day 20 that you have gone astray at the cost of your lives. hFor you sent me to the Lord your God, saying, h‘Pray for us to the Lord our God, and iwhatever the Lord our God says, declare to us and we will do it.’ 21 And

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