1 THE WORD that came to Jeremiah from the Lord after Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah, when he had taken him bound in chains among all who were carried away captive from Jerusalem and Judah, who were taken as exiles to Babylon.
2 And the captain of the guard took Jeremiah and said to him, The Lord your God pronounced evil upon this place.
3 Now the Lord has brought it about and has done as He said: [It is] because you [of Judah] have sinned against the Lord and have not obeyed His voice, therefore this thing has come upon you.
4 Now, see, I am freeing you today [Jeremiah] from the chains upon your hands. If it seems good to you to come with me to Babylon, come, and I will keep an eye on you and look after you well. But if it seems bad to you to come with me to Babylon, then do not do it. Behold, all the land is before you; wherever it seems good, right, and convenient for you to go, go there.
5 While [Jeremiah] was hesitating, [the captain of the guard] said, Go back then to Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon made governor over the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people; or go wherever it seems right for you to go. So the captain of the guard gave him an allowance of food and a present and let him go.
6 Then Jeremiah went to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah and dwelt with him among the people who were left in the land.
7 Now when all the captains of the forces that were in the open country [of Judah] and their men heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah son of Ahikam governor in the land [of Judah] and had committed to him men, women, and children, those of the poorest of the land who had not been taken into exile to Babylon,
8 They went to Gedaliah at Mizpah–Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah the son of the Maacathite, they and their men.
9 And Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, swore to them and their men, saying, Do not be afraid to serve the Chaldeans; dwell in [this] land and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you.
10 As for me, I will dwell at Mizpah to stand [for you] before the Chaldeans who come to us [ministering to them and looking after the king's interests]; but as for you, gather the juice [of the grape], summer fruits and oil, and store them in your utensils [chosen for such purposes], and dwell in your cities that you have seized.
11 Likewise, when all the Jews who were in Moab and among the people of Ammon and in Edom and who were in all the other countries heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant in Judah and had set over them [as governor] Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan,
12 Then all the Jews returned from all the places to which they had been driven and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah, and gathered a great abundance of juice [of the grape] and summer fruits.
13 Moreover, Johanan son of Kareah and all the captains of the forces that were in the open country came to Gedaliah at Mizpah
14 And said to him, Do you know that Baalis king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to take your life? But Gedaliah son of Ahikam did not believe them.
15 Then Johanan son of Kareah spoke to Gedaliah in Mizpah secretly, saying, Let me go, I pray you, and I will slay Ishmael son of Nethaniah, and no man will know it. Why should he slay you and cause all the Jews who are gathered to you to be scattered and the remnant of Judah to perish?
16 But Gedaliah son of Ahikam said to Johanan son of Kareah, You shall not do this thing, for you speak falsely of Ishmael.