New International Reader's Version

Jeremiah 42

1Then all the army officers approached Jeremiah. They included Johanan, the son of Kareah, and Jezaniah, the son of Hoshaiah. All the people from the least important of them to the most important also came. All of them said to Jeremiah the prophet, “Please listen to our appeal. Pray to the Lord your God. Pray for all of us who are left here. Once there were many of us. But as you can see, only a few of us are left now. So pray to the Lord your God. Pray that he’ll tell us where we should go. Pray that he’ll tell us what we should do.”

“I’ve heard you,” Jeremiah the prophet replied. “I’ll certainly pray to the Lord your God. I’ll do what you have asked me to do. In fact, I’ll tell you everything the Lord says. I won’t keep anything back from you.”

Then they said to Jeremiah, “We’ll do everything the Lord your God sends you to tell us to do. If we don’t, may he be a true and faithful witness against us. It doesn’t matter whether what you say is in our favor or not. We’re asking you to pray to the Lord our God. And we’ll obey him. Things will go well with us. That’s because we will obey the Lord our God.”

Ten days later a message came to Jeremiah from the Lord. So Jeremiah sent for Johanan, the son of Kareah, and all the other army officers with him. Jeremiah also gathered together all the people from the least important of them to the most important. He said to all of them, “The Lord is the God of Israel. You asked me to present your appeal to him. He told me, 10 ‘Stay in this land. Then I will build you up. I will not tear you down. I will plant you. I will not pull you up by the roots. I have decided to stop bringing trouble on you. 11 Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon. You are afraid of him now. Do not be,’ announces the Lord. ‘I am with you. I will keep you safe. I will save you from his power. 12 I will show you my loving concern. Then he will have concern for you. And he will let you return to your land.’

13 “But suppose you say, ‘We won’t stay in this land.’ If you do, you will be disobeying the Lord your God. 14 And suppose you say, ‘No! We’ll go and live in Egypt. There we won’t have to face war anymore. We won’t hear the trumpets of war. And we won’t get hungry.’ 15 Then listen to what the Lord says to you who are left in Judah. He is the Lord who rules over all. He is the God of Israel. He says, ‘Have you already made up your minds to go to Egypt? Are you going to make your homes there? 16 Then the war you fear will catch up with you there. The hunger you are afraid of will follow you into Egypt. And you will die there. 17 In fact, that will happen to all those who go and make there homes in Egypt. All of them will die of war, hunger and plague. Not one of them will live. None of them will escape the trouble I will bring on them.’ 18 He is the Lord who rules over all. He is the God of Israel. He says, ‘My great anger has been poured out on those who used to live in Jerusalem. In the same way, it will be poured out on you when you go to Egypt. People will use your name in a curse. They will be shocked at you. They will say bad things about you. And they will say you are shameful. You will never see this place again.’

19 “The Lord has spoken to you who are left in Judah. He has said, ‘Do not go to Egypt.’ Here is something you can be sure of. I am warning you about it today. 20 You made a big mistake when you asked me to pray to the Lord your God. You said, ‘Pray to the Lord our God for us. Tell us everything he says. We’ll do it.’ 21 I have told you today what the Lord your God wants you to do. But you still haven’t obeyed him. You haven’t done anything he sent me to tell you to do. 22 So here is something else you can be sure of. You will die of war, hunger and plague. You want to go and make your homes in Egypt. But you will die there.”