Gedaliah Is Murdered
41 Now in the [a]seventh month Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the royal family [of David] and one of the princes of the king, came [at the instigation of the Ammonites] with ten men to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam in Mizpah. As they were eating a meal together there in Mizpah, 2 Ishmael the son of Nethaniah and the ten men who were with him got up and struck down Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, with the sword and killed the one whom the king of Babylon had appointed [governor] over the land.(A) 3 Ishmael also killed all the Jews who were [at the banquet] with Gedaliah at Mizpah, in addition to the Chaldean soldiers who were there.
4 Now it happened on the second day after the killing of Gedaliah, before anyone knew about it, 5 that eighty men came from Shechem, from Shiloh, and from Samaria with their beards shaved off and their clothes torn and their bodies cut, carrying in their hands grain offerings and incense to present at the [site of the] house of the Lord [in Jerusalem]. 6 Then Ishmael the son of Nethaniah went out from Mizpah to meet them, weeping [false tears] as he went. As he met them, he said to them, “Come to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam!” 7 Yet when they came into the city, Ishmael the son of Nethaniah and the men who were with him slaughtered them and threw them into the cistern (underground water reservoir). 8 But ten men who were among them said to Ishmael, “Do not kill us! We have stores of wheat and barley and oil and honey hidden in the field.” So he stopped and did not kill them along with their companions.
9 Now the cistern into which Ishmael had thrown all the corpses of the men whom he had killed along with Gedaliah was the one which King Asa [of Judah] had made [about three hundred years earlier] on account of King Baasha of Israel [believing that Baasha would lay siege to Mizpah]. Ishmael the son of Nethaniah filled it with [the bodies of] those who were killed. 10 Then Ishmael took captive all the rest of the people who were in Mizpah—even the king’s daughters (ladies of the court) and all the people who remained in Mizpah, whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard had put under the charge of Gedaliah the son of Ahikam. Ishmael the son of Nethaniah took them captive and crossed over [the Jordan] to [meet his allies] the Ammonites.
Johanan Rescues the People
11 But when Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were with him heard of the murderous behavior of Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, 12 they took all their men and went to fight with Ishmael the son of Nethaniah and found him by the great pool in Gibeon. 13 Now when all the [captive] people who were with Ishmael saw Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were with him, they were glad. 14 So all the people whom Ishmael had taken captive from Mizpah turned around and came back, and joined Johanan the son of Kareah. 15 But Ishmael the son of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with eight men and went to join the Ammonites. 16 Then Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were with him took from Mizpah all the people whom he had rescued from Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, after Ishmael had killed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam: the soldiers, the women, the children, and the high officials whom Johanan had brought back from Gibeon. 17 And they went and stayed in Geruth [the lodging place of] Chimham, which is near Bethlehem, intending to go to Egypt 18 because of the Chaldeans; for they were afraid of them because Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had killed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon had appointed [governor] over the land [and whose death the king might avenge].
Warning against Going to Egypt
42 Then all the commanders of the forces, and Johanan the son of Kareah and Jezaniah (Azariah) the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least to the greatest approached 2 and said to Jeremiah the prophet, “Please let our petition be presented before you, and pray to the Lord your God for us, that is, for all this remnant [of the people of Judah]; for we were once many, but now [only] a few of us are left, as you see with your own eyes, [so please pray] 3 that the Lord your God may show us the way in which we should walk and the thing that we should do.” 4 Then Jeremiah the prophet said to them, “I have heard you. Now hear me, I will pray to the Lord your God in accordance with your words; and I will declare to you whatever message the Lord answers; I will keep nothing back from you.” 5 Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we fail to act in accordance with all the things that the Lord your God sends you to tell us. 6 Whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, we will listen to and honor the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, so that it may go well with us when we listen to the voice of the Lord our God.”
7 Now after ten days [of prayer] had passed the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah. 8 Then he called for Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were with him and all the people from the least to the greatest, 9 and said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your petition before Him: 10 ‘If you will indeed remain in this land, then I will build you up and not tear you down, and I will plant you and not uproot you; for I will relent and be satisfied concerning the disaster that I have inflicted on you [as discipline, and I will replace judgment with compassion].(B) 11 Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, whom you now fear [as if he were deity]; do not be afraid of him,’ says the Lord, ‘for [he is a mere man, but I am the living, omniscient God and] I am with you [always] to protect you and to deliver you from his hand. 12 And I will show you compassion, so that he will have compassion on you and restore you to your own land. 13 But if you are going to say, “We will not stay in this land,” and [in so doing] do not listen to the voice of the Lord your God, 14 saying, “No, but we will go to the land of Egypt, where we will not see war or hear the sound of the [warrior’s] trumpet or hunger for bread, and we will stay there,” 15 then in that case listen to the word of the Lord, O remnant of Judah. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “If you are really determined to go to Egypt and to reside there [temporarily], 16 then the sword, of which you are afraid, will overtake you there in the land of Egypt; and the famine of which you are afraid will follow closely after you in Egypt, and you will die there. 17 So all the men who set their mind to go to Egypt to reside there [temporarily] will die by the sword, by famine and by virulent disease; none of them will remain or survive the disaster that I am going to bring on them.”’”
18 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “As My anger and My wrath have been poured out on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so My wrath will be poured out on you when you enter Egypt. You will become detested, an object of horror, a curse and a people scorned; and you will no longer see this place.” 19 The Lord has spoken to you, O remnant of Judah, “Do not go into Egypt!” Know with certainty that I [Jeremiah] have warned you and testified to you this day 20 that you have deceived yourselves; for you sent me to the Lord your God, saying, “Pray for us to the Lord our God; and whatever the Lord our God says, declare it to us and we will do it.” 21 And so I have told you today, but you have not listened to the voice of the Lord your God, in anything that He has sent me to tell you. 22 Now therefore know for certain that you will die by the sword, by famine, and by virulent disease in the land [of Egypt] where you wish to reside [temporarily].
In Egypt Jeremiah Warns of Judgment
43 Now it happened when Jeremiah, whom the Lord their God had sent, had finished telling all the people all the words of the Lord their God—that is, all these words— 2 Azariah the son of Hoshaiah and Johanan the son of Kareah and all the proud and insolent men said to Jeremiah, “You are not telling the truth! The Lord our God has not sent you to say, ‘Do not go into Egypt to live there.’ 3 But Baruch the son of Neriah is inciting you against us to hand us over to the Chaldeans, so they may [either] put us to death or exile us to Babylon.” 4 So Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces and all the people disobeyed the voice of the Lord [which told them] to stay in the land of Judah. 5 But Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces took all the remnant of Judah who had returned to live in the land of Judah from all the nations to which they had been driven— 6 the men, women, and children, the king’s daughters (ladies of the court), and every person whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan; he also took Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch the son of Neriah. 7 So they entered the land of Egypt (for they did not obey the voice of the Lord) and they went in as far as [b]Tahpanhes.
8 Then came the word of the Lord to Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, saying, 9 “Take some large stones in your hands and hide them in the mortar in the brickwork [of the terrace] which is at the entrance of Pharaoh’s [c]house in Tahpanhes, in the sight of some of the men of Judah; 10 and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold, I am going to send and get [d]Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and I am going to set his throne over these stones that I have hidden; and his [majestic, royal] canopy will be spread over them.(C) 11 He will also come and [e]strike the land of Egypt, giving those who are [destined] for death, to death, and those who are [destined] for captivity, to captivity, and those who are [destined] for the sword, to the sword. 12 And [through him] I will set fire to the temples of the gods of Egypt, and he will burn them and take them (Egyptian idols) captive. He will wrap himself with the land of Egypt as a shepherd wraps himself with his garment, and he will go away from there safely. 13 Nebuchadnezzar will also break the images and shatter the obelisks of [f]Heliopolis in the land of Egypt; and he will burn down the temples of the gods of Egypt.”’”
Conquest of Egypt Predicted
44 The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews who were living in the land of Egypt—at Migdol, at Tahpanhes, at Memphis, and in the land of Pathros, saying, 2 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘You have seen all the disaster that I have brought on Jerusalem and on all the cities of Judah; and see, this day they are desolated and no one lives in them 3 because of the wickedness which they committed, provoking Me to anger by continuing to burn sacrifices and incense to serve other gods that they had not known, neither they, nor you, nor your fathers. 4 Yet I sent to you all My servants the prophets, again and again, saying, “Oh, do not do this shamefully vile thing which I hate.” 5 But they did not listen or turn [obediently] from their wickedness, and stop burning sacrifices and incense to other gods. 6 Therefore My wrath and My anger were poured out and burned in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; so they have become a ruin and a desolation, as it is this day. 7 Therefore now thus says the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel, “Why did you commit this great evil against yourselves [bringing disaster] that will cut off from you man and woman, child and infant, out of Judah, leaving yourselves without a remnant? 8 Why do you [deliberately] provoke Me to anger with the works (idols) of your hands, burning sacrifices and incense to [make-believe] gods in the land of Egypt, where you [of your own accord] have come to live [as temporary residents], that you might be cut off and become a curse and a disgrace [an object of taunts] among all the nations of the earth? 9 Have you forgotten the wickedness of your fathers, the wickedness of the kings of Judah, the wickedness of their wives [who served their foreign gods], your own wickedness, and the wickedness of your wives [who imitated the sin of the queens], which they committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 10 They have not become apologetic [for their guilt and sin] even to this day; they have not feared [Me with reverence] nor walked in My law or My statutes, which I have set before you and before your fathers.”’(D)
11 “Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am going to set My face against you for woe—even to cut off (destroy) all Judah [from the land]. 12 And I will take the remnant of Judah who have decided to go into the land of Egypt to live there [instead of surrendering to the Chaldeans as directed], and they will all fall and die in the land of Egypt; they will fall by the sword or perish by famine. From the least to the greatest, they will die by the sword or by famine; and they will become detestable, an object of horror, a curse, and a disgrace. 13 For I will punish all the inhabitants of the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, with the sword, with famine, and with virulent disease; 14 so none of the survivors from the remnant of Judah who have entered the land of Egypt to live there will survive, even though they lift up their souls in longing to return to the land of Judah, [the place] to which they long to return to live; none will return except a few refugees.’”
15 Then all the men who knew that their wives were burning [g]sacrifices to other gods, and all the women who were standing by, a large group, including all the people who were living in Pathros in the land of Egypt, answered Jeremiah, saying, 16 “As for the word (message) that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we are not going to listen to you. 17 But rather we will certainly perform every word of the vows we have made: to burn sacrifices to the [h]queen of heaven (Ishtar) and to pour out drink offerings to her, just as we ourselves and our forefathers, our kings and our princes did in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; for [then] we had plenty of food and were prosperous and saw no misfortune. 18 But since we stopped burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine.” 19 And said the wives, “When we were burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven and were pouring out drink offerings to her, was it without [the knowledge and approval of] our husbands that we made cakes [in the shape of a star] to represent her and pour out drink offerings to her?”
Tragedy for the Jews
20 Then Jeremiah said to all the people, to the men and to the women and to all the people who had given him that answer, 21 “The smoking sacrifices (incense) that you burned in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem—you and your forefathers, your kings and your princes, and the people of the land—did not the Lord remember [in detail your idolatry] and did it not all come into His mind? 22 The Lord could no longer endure it, because of the evil of your acts and the repulsive acts which you have committed; because of them your land has become a ruin, an object of horror and a curse, without inhabitant, as it is this day. 23 Because you have burned sacrifices [to idols] and because you have sinned against the Lord and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord or walked in His law and in His statutes and in His testimonies, therefore this tragedy has fallen on you, as it has this day.”
24 Then Jeremiah said to all the people, including all the women, “Hear the word of the Lord, all [you of] Judah who are in the land of Egypt, 25 thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, as follows: ‘You and your wives have both declared with your mouth and fulfilled it with your hand, saying, “We will certainly perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn sacrifices to the queen of heaven (Ishtar) and to pour out drink offerings to her.” Surely then confirm your vows and go ahead and perform your vows! [If you intend to defy all My warnings, proceed!]’ 26 Therefore hear the word of the Lord, all [you people of] Judah who are living in the land of Egypt, ‘Behold, I have sworn [an oath] by My great Name,’ says the Lord, ‘that My Name shall never again be invoked by the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, “As the Lord God lives.” 27 Behold, I am watching over them for harm and not for good; and all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine until they are all destroyed. 28 Yet a small number [of My choosing] who escape the sword will return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah; and all the remnant of Judah who have gone to the land of Egypt to reside there will know whose words will stand, Mine or theirs. 29 And this will be the sign to you,’ says the Lord, ‘that I am going to punish you in this place, so that you may know that My words will surely stand against you for harm.’ 30 Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will give [i]Pharaoh Hophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies and into the hand of those who seek his life, just as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, who was his enemy and was seeking his life.’”
Message to Baruch
45 The word that Jeremiah the prophet spoke to [j]Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written these words in a book at the dictation of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, saying, 2 “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, to you, O Baruch: 3 ‘You said, “Woe is me! For the Lord has added sorrow to my pain; I am weary with my groaning and sighing and I find no rest.”’ 4 Say this to him, ‘The Lord speaks in this way, “Behold, what I have built I will break down, and that which I have planted I will uproot, that is, the whole land.” 5 And do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I will bring disaster on all flesh,’ says the Lord, ‘but I will give your life to you [as your only reward and] as a prize of war wherever you go.’”
- Jeremiah 41:1 The year in which the assassination occurred is uncertain, but it was probably two or three years after the Babylonian conquest.
- Jeremiah 43:7 See note 2:16.
- Jeremiah 43:9 A secondary palace.
- Jeremiah 43:10 See note 21:2.
- Jeremiah 43:11 Nebuchadnezzar invaded Egypt in 568-567 b.c. during the reign of Pharaoh Amasis.
- Jeremiah 43:13 Heb Beth-shemesh; i.e. the house of the sun-god. The site was famous for its tall (70’) “sacred” pillars.
- Jeremiah 44:15 Or incense.
- Jeremiah 44:17 See note 7:18.
- Jeremiah 44:30 Hophra ruled 588-570 b.c. He was murdered in a coup led by his successor the Pharaoh Amasis.
- Jeremiah 45:1 Baruch served as Jeremiah’s faithful friend and scribe, and he carefully recorded the prophecies given to Jeremiah by God. He was from a prominent family and his grandfather Maaseiah had been governor of Jerusalem in the days of King Josiah (2 Chr 34:8).