The word came to Jeremiah from the LORD after Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard had released him at Ramah.1 He had found Jeremiah bound in chains among all the captives2 from Jerusalem and Judah who were being carried into exile to Babylon.
When the commander3 of the guard found Jeremiah, he said to him, "The LORD your God decreed4 this disaster5 for this place.63
And now the LORD has brought it about; he has done just as he said he would. All this happened because you people sinned7 against the LORD and did not obey8 him.
But today I am freeing9 you from the chains10 on your wrists. Come with me to Babylon, if you like, and I will look after you; but if you do not want to, then don't come. Look, the whole country lies before you; go wherever you please."115
However, before Jeremiah turned to go,a Nebuzaradan added, "Go back to Gedaliah12 son of Ahikam,13 the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has appointed14 over the towns15 of Judah, and live with him among the people, or go anywhere else you please."16 Then the commander gave him provisions and a present17 and let him go.
So Jeremiah went to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah18 and stayed with him among the people who were left behind in the land.
When all the army officers and their men who were still in the open country heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam as governor19 over the land and had put him in charge of the men, women and children who were the poorest20 in the land and who had not been carried into exile to Babylon,
they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah21--Ishmael22 son of Nethaniah, Johanan23 and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite,24 and Jaazaniahb the son of the Maacathite,25 and their men.
Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, took an oath to reassure them and their men. "Do not be afraid to serve26 the Babylonians,c27" he said. "Settle down in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well with you.2810
I myself will stay at Mizpah29 to represent you before the Babylonians who come to us, but you are to harvest the wine,30 summer fruit and oil, and put them in your storage jars,31 and live in the towns you have taken over."3211
When all the Jews in Moab,33 Ammon, Edom34 and all the other countries35 heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant in Judah and had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, as governor over them,
they all came back to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah, from all the countries where they had been scattered.36 And they harvested an abundance of wine and summer fruit.
Johanan37 son of Kareah and all the army officers still in the open country came to Gedaliah at Mizpah3814
and said to him, "Don't you know that Baalis king of the Ammonites39 has sent Ishmael40 son of Nethaniah to take your life?" But Gedaliah son of Ahikam did not believe them.
Then Johanan41 son of Kareah said privately to Gedaliah in Mizpah, "Let me go and kill42 Ishmael son of Nethaniah, and no one will know it. Why should he take your life and cause all the Jews who are gathered around you to be scattered43 and the remnant44 of Judah to perish?"
But Gedaliah son of Ahikam said to Johanan45 son of Kareah, "Don't do such a thing! What you are saying about Ishmael is not true."