[This is] the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord after Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, released him at Ramaha when he had been bound in chains with all the exiles of Jerusalem and Judah who were being exiled to Babylon.
The captain of the guard took Jeremiah and said to him, "The Lord your God decreed this disaster on this place,
and the Lord has fulfilled [it]. He has done just what He decreed. Because you [people] have sinned against the Lord and have not obeyed Him, this thing has happened.
Now pay attention [to what I say]. Today I am setting you free from the chains that were on your hands. If it pleases you to come with me to Babylon, come, and I will take care of you. But if it seems wrong to you to come with me to Babylon, go no farther.b Look-the whole land is in front of you. Wherever it seems good and right for you to go, go there."
When Jeremiah had not yet turned [to go, Nebuzaradan said to him:] "Returnc to Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has appointed over the cities of Judah, and stay with him among the people or go wherever you want to go." So the captain of the guard gave him a rationd and a gifte and released him.
Jeremiah therefore went to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah,f and he stayed with him among the people who remained in the land.
When all the commanders of the armies in the field-they and their men-heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam over the land and that he had put him in charge of the men, women, and children, the poorest of the land who had not been deported to Babylon,
they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. [The commanders included] Ishmaelg son of Nethaniah, Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah son of the Maacathite-they and their men.
Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, swore an oath to them and their men, assuring them, "Don't be afraid to serve the Chaldeans. Live in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well for you.h10
As for me, I am going to live in Mizpah to representi [you] before the Chaldeans who come to us. As for you, gather wine, summer fruit, and oil, place them in your [storage] jars, and live in the cities you have captured."
When all the Judeans in Moab and among the Ammonites and in Edom and in all the other lands also heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant in Judah and had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, over them,
they all returned from all the places where they had been banishedj and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah, and harvested a great amount of wine and summer fruit.
Meanwhile, Johanan son of Kareah and all the commanders of the armies in the field came to Gedaliah at Mizpah
and warned him, "Don't you realize that Baalis, king of the Ammonites, has sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to strike you down?" But Gedaliah son of Ahikam would not believe them.
Then Johanan son of Kareah suggested to Gedaliah in private at Mizpah, "Let me go kill Ishmael son of Nethaniah. No one will know it. Why should he strike you down and scatter all of Judah that has gathered to you so that the remnant of Judah would perish?"
But Gedaliah son of Ahikam responded to Johanan son of Kareah, "Don't do that! What you're saying about Ishmael is a lie."