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 ‘I have heard you’, Jeremiah the prophet replied. ‘I will certainly pray to the LORD your God as you have asked me. I will tell everything that the LORD says to you. I will not hide anything from you.’
5 ‘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’, they said to Jeremiah. 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 ‘You sent me to the LORD, the God of Israel. He says this’, he said to them. 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’, says the LORD. ‘I am with you and I will save you from him. 12 I will be kind to him. So then he will be kind to you and he will give your country back to you.’
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 Then listen to me, you few people from Judah who remain here. The great and powerful LORD, the God of Israel, 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 But all the people who decide to go to make their home in Egypt will die there. Soldiers will kill some of them. I will cause other people to die because they become ill. 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, the God of Israel, 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.’