42 Then all the military leaders, Kareah’s son Jonathan, Hoshaiah’s son Jezaniah, and all the people from the least to the greatest approached Jeremiah.[a]2 They told Jeremiah the prophet, “Please listen to what we have to ask of you. Pray to the Lord your God for us and for all these survivors. Indeed, only a few of us remain out of many, as you can see.[b]3 Pray that the Lord your God may inform us as to how we should live[c] and what we should do.”
4 Jeremiah the prophet told them, “I’ve heard, and I’m going to pray to the Lord your God just as you have requested. Whatever the Lord answers, I’ll tell you. I won’t withhold anything from you.”
5 Then they told Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we don’t do everything that the Lord your God tells us through you.[d]6 Whether it seems good or bad, we will obey the Lord our God to whom we send you, so it may go well for us. Indeed, we will obey the Lord our God.”
The Lord’s Answer through Jeremiah
7 At the end of ten days a message from the Lord came to Jeremiah. 8 So he called Kareah’s son Jonathan, all the military leaders who were with him, and all the people from the least to the greatest. 9 He told them, “This is what the Lord God of Israel says, to whom you sent me to take your request:
10 ‘If you will just remain in this land, I’ll build you up and not pull you down. I’ll plant you and not uproot you, for I’m sorry about the disaster I’ve brought on you. 11 Don’t be afraid of the king of Babylon as you have been.[e] Don’t fear him,’ declares the Lord, ‘because I am with you to save you and deliver you from his control. 12 I’ll show you compassion, so he will have compassion on you and return you to your land. 13 But if you disobey the Lord your God by saying, “We won’t stay in this land,” 14 and you also say, “No, but we will go to the land of Egypt where we won’t see war or hear the sound of the trumpet or hunger for bread, and there we will stay,” 15 then hear this message from the Lord, remnant of Judah: ‘This is what the Lord of the Heavenly Armies, the God of Israel, says: “If you are really determined[f] to go into Egypt, and you go there to settle, 16 the sword that you fear will overtake you there in the land of Egypt. The famine that you dread will pursue you into Egypt, and there you will die. 17 All the people who are determined to go into Egypt to settle there will die by the sword, by famine, and by the plague. No one will survive the disaster that I’ll bring on them.” 18 For this is what the Lord of the Heavenly Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Just as my anger and my wrath were poured out on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so my wrath will be poured out on you when you enter Egypt. You will be a curse and an object of horror, ridicule, and scorn, and you will never again see this place.’ 19 The Lord has told you, remnant of Judah, ‘Don’t go to Egypt!’ So be fully aware that I’ve warned you, today, 20 that you have deceived yourselves. Indeed, you yourselves sent me to the Lord your God, saying, ‘Pray to the Lord your God for us, and whatever the Lord our God tells us we will do.’ 21 I’ve told you today, but you haven’t obeyed the Lord your God in all that he sent me to tell[g] you. 22 Now, be fully aware that you will die by the sword, by famine, and by plague in the place where you want to settle.”[h]
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