Jeremiah 41:16-43:13

Johanan takes the people to Egypt.

16 Johanan, Kareah's son, and the officers with him took away the people who had come from Mizpah. They were the people that he had saved from Ishmael, son of Nethaniah. Ishmael had killed Gedaliah, son of Ahikam. These people were the soldiers, women, children and officers that Johanan brought from Gibeon. 17 These people went towards Egypt. They stopped at Geruth-Chimham on the way to Egypt. That is near Bethlehem. 18 They wanted to run away from the soldiers from Babylon. They were afraid because Ishmael, son of Nethaniah, had killed Gedaliah. And the king of Babylon had said that Gedaliah should rule Israel.

Jeremiah 42

1 Then all the army officers and the people went to speak to Jeremiah the prophet. They included Johanan, son of Kareah, Jezaniah, son of Hoshaiah, and other people. The important people went. And those who were not important also went. 2 ‘Please listen to us and pray for us,’ they said. ‘Pray to the Lord your God for us who remain here. You can see that we are now only a few. But before now, we were many people. 3 Ask the Lord to tell us where we should go. Ask him what we should do.’

4 Jeremiah the prophet replied, ‘I agree to do that. I will pray to the Lord your God, as you have asked me. I will tell you everything that the Lord says you should do. I will not hide anything from you.’

5 They said to Jeremiah, ‘We will do everything that the Lord has sent you to say to us. We want the Lord to punish us if we do not do that.’ 6 ‘We have asked you to pray to the Lord our God and we will obey him. We will obey him whether he tells us good things or bad things. We will obey him because we want good things to happen to us.’

7 Ten days after that, the Lord spoke to Jeremiah. 8 So Jeremiah brought Johanan, son of Kareah, and the soldiers and all the people together. He brought together all the people who were with him. He brought the important people and those who were not important. 9 Jeremiah said to them, ‘You sent me to the Lord, Israel's God. He says this: 10 “If you will stay in this country, I will build you up. I will plant you like a seed and you will grow. I will not pull you up and I will not kill you. I am sad about the way that I hurt you. That is why I will do this. 11 Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon. You are afraid of him now but do not be afraid of him. I am with you and I will save you from him. That is what I say to you. 12 I will be kind to you. I will cause the king of Babylon to be kind to you. He will give your land back to you, so that you can live there.”

13 But you may not obey the Lord your God. Or you may say, “We will not stay in this country.” 14 You may say, “No, we will go to live in Egypt where we will not have to fight. And we will have enough food there.” 15 If you do that, then listen to the Lord's message to you, you few people from Judah who remain here. The great and powerful Lord, Israel's God, says this: “I will cause this to happen if you decide to live in Egypt. If you make it your home, 16 you will die there. The soldiers that you are afraid of will kill you. Or you will not have enough food. 17 All the people who decide to go and live in Egypt will die there. Soldiers will kill some of them. Others will become ill and they will die. And other people will die because they do not have any food. Nobody will save any of them from the trouble that I will send.” 18 The great and powerful Lord, Israel's God, says this: “I was very angry with the people who lived in Jerusalem. In the same way, I will be very angry with you when you go to Egypt. People will hate you and they will shout bad things about you. They will say that you have done wrong things. You will never see this place again.”

19 You people from Judah that are still here, I am speaking to you. The Lord has said what you must do. He has said, “Do not go to Egypt.” 20 You made a bad mistake when you asked me to pray to the Lord for you. You said, “Tell us everything that he says. And then we will do it.” 21 I told you today, but you still have not obeyed the Lord your God. You have not done anything that he sent me to tell to you. 22 I will tell you something. You will die in the place where you want to live. Soldiers may kill you. Or you may die because you are ill. Or you will die because you do not have any food.’

Jeremiah 43

1 So Jeremiah finished telling the people all the words of the Lord their God. He told them everything that the Lord had sent him to tell them. 2 Then Hoshaiah's son Azariah and Kareah's son Johanan and some other men spoke to Jeremiah. All those men thought that they knew everything. They thought that they were better than other people. ‘You are speaking lies!’ they said to Jeremiah. ‘The Lord our God has not sent you to say that we must not go to Egypt to live there. 3 But you are doing what Baruch, son of Neriah, wants. He is against us. He wants the soldiers from Babylon to kill us or to take us as prisoners to Babylon.’

4 So Johanan, son of Kareah, and all the officers in the army did not obey the Lord's message. They did not stay in Judah. 5 Instead, Johanan and the officers led the people away from Judah. These were the few people who had returned to Judah. They had come from all the countries where their enemies had sent them. 6 They took with them the men, women and children and the king's daughters. Nebuzaradan, the captain of Nebuchadnezzar's special soldiers, had let those people remain with Gedaliah. (Gedaliah was Ahikam's son and Shaphan's grandson.) And Nebuzaradan had let Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch, son of Neriah, remain there with them. 7 So they did not obey the Lord. They went into Egypt and they went as far as Tahpanhes.

8 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah in Tahpanhes. ‘The king of Egypt's house is in Tahpanhes. 9 Choose some large stones while the Jews are watching you,’ he said. ‘Take them and put them under the path to the king's house. 10 Then you must speak to the people. Say, “The strong, powerful Lord, Israel's God, says this: I will send my servant, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, here. He will put his throne here, over these stones that I have hidden. They will make his king's tent over him. 11 He will come and he will attack Egypt. He will kill those people that I have chosen to die. He will take as prisoners those that I choose to be prisoners. His soldiers will kill those people that I choose to die in that way. 12 He will use fire when he attacks the temples of the gods of Egypt. He will burn them and he will take away their gods. He will do what he wants with Egypt. Nobody will stop him. 13 He will break down the places where the people in Egypt worship in the temple of the sun. And he will burn down the temples of the gods there.” ’