Jeremiah 40-42 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Jeremiah Is Set Free
40 I was led away in chains along with the people of Judah and Jerusalem who were being taken to Babylonia. Nebuzaradan was the officer in charge of the guard, and while we were stopped at Ramah, the Lord had him set me free. 2 Nebuzaradan said:
Jeremiah, the Lord your God warned your people that he would bring disaster on this land. 3 But they continued to rebel against him, and now he has punished them just as he threatened.
4 Today I am taking the chains off your wrists and setting you free! If you want to, you can come with me to Babylonia, and I will see that you are taken care of. Or if you decide to stay here, you can go wherever you wish. 5 King Nebuchadnezzar[a] has chosen Gedaliah to rule Judah. You can live near Gedaliah, and he will provide for you, or you can live anywhere else you want.
Nebuzaradan gave me a supply of food, then let me leave. 6 I decided to stay with the people of Judah, and I went to live near Gedaliah in Mizpah.
The Harvest Is Brought In
7-8 Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, together with Johanan and Jonathan, the two sons of Kareah, had been officers in Judah’s army. And so had Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah from Maacah. They and their troops had been stationed outside Jerusalem and had not been captured. They heard that Gedaliah had been chosen to rule Judah, and that the poorest men, women, and children had not been taken away to Babylonia. So they went to Mizpah and met with their new ruler.
9 Gedaliah told them, “There’s no need to be afraid of the Babylonians. Everything will be fine, if we live peacefully and obey King Nebuchadnezzar.[b] 10 I will stay here at Mizpah and meet with the Babylonian officials on each of their visits. But you must go back to your towns and bring in the harvest, then store the wine, olive oil, and dried fruit.”
11-12 Earlier, when the Babylonians had invaded Judah, many of the Jews escaped to Moab, Ammon, Edom, and several other countries. But these Jews heard that the king of Babylonia had appointed Gedaliah as ruler of Judah, and that only a few people were left there. So the Jews in these other countries came back to Judah and helped with the grape and fruit harvest, which was especially large that year.
Gedaliah Is Murdered
13 One day, Johanan got together with some of the other men who had been army officers, and they came to Mizpah and met with Gedaliah. 14 They said, “Gedaliah, we came to warn you that King Baalis of Ammon hired Ishmael to murder you!”
Gedaliah refused to believe them, 15 so Johanan went to Gedaliah privately and said, “Let me kill Ishmael. No one will find out who did it. There are only a few people left in Judah, but they are depending on you. And if you are murdered, they will be scattered or killed.”
16 Gedaliah answered, “Don’t kill Ishmael! What you’ve said about him can’t be true.”
41 But in the seventh month,[c] Ishmael[d] came to Mizpah with ten of his soldiers. He had been one of the king’s officials and was a member of the royal family. Ishmael and his men were invited to eat with Gedaliah. 2 During the meal, Ishmael and his soldiers killed Gedaliah, the man chosen as ruler of Judah by the king of Babylonia. 3 Then they killed the Jews who were with Gedaliah, and they also killed the Babylonian soldiers who were there.
4 The next day, the murders had still not been discovered, 5 when eighty men came down the road toward Mizpah from the towns of Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria. They were on their way to the temple to offer gifts of grain and incense to the Lord. They had shaved off their beards, torn their clothes, and cut themselves, because they were mourning.
6 Ishmael went out the town gate to meet them. He pretended to be weeping, and he asked them to come into Mizpah to meet with Gedaliah, the ruler of Judah. 7 But after they were inside the town, Ishmael had his soldiers kill them and throw their bodies into a well. 8 He let ten of the men live, because they offered to give him supplies of wheat, barley, olive oil, and honey they had hidden in a field. 9 The well that he filled with bodies had been dug by King Asa[e] of Judah to store rainwater, because he was afraid that King Baasha[f] of Israel might surround Mizpah and keep the people from getting to their water supply.
10 Nebuzaradan, King Nebuchadnezzar’s[g] officer in charge of the guard, had left King Zedekiah’s[h] daughters and many other people at Mizpah, and he had put Gedaliah in charge of them. But now Ishmael took them all prisoner and led them toward Ammon, on the other side of the Jordan River.
11 Johanan and the other army officers heard what Ishmael had done. 12 So they and their troops chased Ishmael and caught up with him at the large pit at Gibeon. 13 When Ishmael’s prisoners saw Johanan and the officers, they were happy 14 and turned around and ran toward Johanan. 15 But Ishmael and eight of his men escaped and went to Ammon.
Johanan Decides To Take the People to Egypt
16 Johanan and the officers had rescued the women, children, and royal officials that Ishmael had taken prisoner after killing Gedaliah. Johanan led the people from Gibeon 17-18 toward Egypt. They wanted to go there, because they were afraid of what the Babylonians would do when they found out that Ishmael had killed Gedaliah, the ruler appointed by King Nebuchadnezzar.[i]
The People Ask Jeremiah To Pray for Them
On the way to Egypt, we[j] stopped at the town of Geruth Chimham near Bethlehem. 42 1 Johanan, Jezaniah,[k] the other army officers, and everyone else in the group, came to me 2 and said, “Please pray to the Lord your God for us. Judah used to have many people, but as you can see, only a few of us are left. 3 Ask the Lord to tell us where he wants us to go and what he wants us to do.”
4 “All right,” I answered, “I will pray to the Lord your God, and I will tell you everything he says.”
5 They answered, “The Lord himself will be our witness that we promise to do whatever he says, 6 even if it isn’t what we want to do. We will obey the Lord so that all will go well for us.”
7 Ten days later, the Lord gave me an answer for 8 Johanan, the officers, and the other people. So I called them together 9 and told them that the Lord God of Israel had said:
You asked Jeremiah to pray and find out what you should do. 10 I am sorry that I had to punish you, and so I now tell you to stay here in Judah, where I will plant you and build you up, instead of tearing you down and uprooting you. 11 Don’t be afraid of the King of Babylonia. I will protect you from him, 12 and I will even force him to have mercy on you and give back your farms.
13 But you might keep on saying, “We won’t stay here in Judah, and we won’t obey the Lord our God. 14 We are going to Egypt, where there is plenty of food and no danger of war.”
15 People of Judah, you survived when the Babylonian army attacked. Now you are planning to move to Egypt, and if you do go, this is what will happen. 16-17 You are afraid of war, starvation, and disease here in Judah, but they will follow you to Egypt and kill you there. None of you will survive the disasters I will send.
18 I, the Lord, was angry with the people of Jerusalem and punished them. And if you go to Egypt, I will be angry and punish you the same way. You will never again see your homeland. People will be horrified at what I do to you, and they will use the name of your city as a curse word.
Jeremiah Gives a Warning
19 I told the people:
You escaped the disaster that struck Judah, but now the Lord warns you to stay away from Egypt. 20 You asked me to pray and find out what the Lord our God wants you to do, and you promised to obey him. But that was a terrible mistake, 21 because now that I have given you the Lord’s answer, you refuse to obey him. 22 And so, you will die in Egypt from war, hunger, and disease.
Hebrews 4 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
4 The promise to enter the place of rest is still good, and we must take care that none of you miss out. 2 We have heard the message, just as they did. But they failed to believe what they heard, and the message did not do them any good. 3 Only people who have faith will enter the place of rest. It is just as the Scriptures say,
“God became angry
God said this, even though everything has been ready from the time of creation. 4 In fact, somewhere the Scriptures say that by the seventh day, God had finished his work, and so he rested. 5 We also read that he later said, “You people will never enter my place of rest!” 6 This means that the promise to enter is still good, because those who first heard about it disobeyed and did not enter. 7 Much later God told David to make the promise again, just as I have already said,
“If you hear his voice today,
8 If Joshua had really given the people rest, there would not be any need for God to talk about another day of rest. 9 But God has promised us a Sabbath when we will rest, even though it has not yet come. 10 On that day God’s people will rest from their work, just as God rested from his work.
11 We should do our best to enter that place of rest, so that none of us will disobey and miss going there, as they did. 12 What God has said isn’t only alive and active! It is sharper than any double-edged sword. His word can cut through our spirits and souls and through our joints and marrow, until it discovers the desires and thoughts of our hearts. 13 Nothing is hidden from God! He sees through everything, and we will have to tell him the truth.
Jesus Is the Great High Priest
14 We have a great high priest, who has gone into heaven, and he is Jesus the Son of God. That is why we must hold on to what we have said about him. 15 Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin! 16 So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help.
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