1 [a]Then all the military commanders, including Johanan, the son of Kareah, and Azariah, the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people, from the lowest to the highest rank, approached 2 the prophet Jeremiah and said, “Please grant our petition and intercede for us and for this meager remnant. For where we once were great in number, now there are very few of us that remain, as your eyes can discern. 3 Please petition the Lord, your God, to show us the path we should follow and what we must do.”
4 The prophet Jeremiah said to them in reply, “I will grant your request and pray to the Lord, your God. Whatever answer the Lord has for you, I will tell you and not withhold anything from you.” 5 They in their turn said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not follow all the instructions that the Lord, your God, will send us. 6 Whether or not what he has to say is to our liking, we will obey the voice of the Lord, our God, to whom we are sending you, so that all may go well with us when we heed his instructions.”
7 After ten days had passed, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah. 8 Then he summoned Johanan, the son of Kareah, and all of the military commanders who were with him, as well as all the people, from the least to the greatest, 9 and he said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your petition:
10 “ ‘If you resolve to remain in this land, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you. For I deeply regret the disaster that I have inflicted upon you. 11 Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon whom at this moment you so greatly fear. You have no reason to be frightened of him, says the Lord, for I am with you to ensure your safety and to rescue you from his power. 12 I will have compassion on you, and he will then treat you mercifully and allow you to return to your land.
13 “ ‘However, if you persist in your stubborn refusal to stay in this land, thereby disobeying the voice of the Lord, your God, 14 and you say, “We are determined to go to Egypt, where we will not be forced to endure further war or hear the trumpet’s call to battle or be hungry for bread; it is there that we will stay,” 15 then hear the word of the Lord, O remnant of Judah: Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: If you are determined to go to Egypt, and if you actually do make that journey and settle there, 16 then the sword you fear so greatly will overtake you there in the land of Egypt, the famine you dread will continue to afflict you to the same degree in Egypt, and it is there that you will perish.
17 “ ‘All those people who are determined to go to Egypt and settle there will die by the sword, famine, or plague. Not a single person will survive or escape the disaster that I will inflict upon them. 18 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Just as my anger and my fury were poured out on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so will my wrath be poured out on you when you go to Egypt. You will become an object of execration and horror, of cursing and ridicule, and you will never again see this place.’
19 “The Lord has spoken clearly to you in regard to this matter, O remnant of Judah. Do not go to Egypt. You can never make the claim that I did not give you a solemn warning. 20 You were not speaking sincerely when you yourselves sent me to the Lord, your God, saying, ‘Intercede for us with the Lord, our God. Make known to us exactly what the Lord, our God, says, and we will do it.’
21 “Today I have told you what you wanted to know, but you have refused to obey the voice of the Lord, your God, in anything that he sent me to tell you. 22 Therefore, do not nurture any doubt that you will die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence in the place where you wish to go and settle.”
- Jeremiah 42:1 The order of the narrative seems to have been disturbed somewhat by the displacement of some verses.