The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD after 1Nebuzaradan captain of the bodyguard had released him from 2Ramah, when he had taken him bound in 3chains among all the exiles of Jerusalem and Judah who were being exiled to Babylon.
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Now the captain of the bodyguard had taken Jeremiah and said to him, "The 4LORD your God promised this calamity against this place;
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and the LORD has brought it on and done just as He promised. Because you people 5sinned against the LORD and did not listen to His voice, therefore this thing has happened to you.
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"But now, behold, I am 6freeing you today from the chains which are on your hands. If you would prefer to come with me to Babylon, come along, and I will look after you; but if you would prefer not to come with me to Babylon, never mind. Look, the 7whole land is before you; go wherever it seems good and right for you to go."
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As Jeremiah was still not going back, he said, "Go on back then to 8Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has 9appointed over the cities of Judah, and stay with him among the people; or else go anywhere it seems right for you to go." So the captain of the bodyguard gave him a 10ration and a 11gift and let him go.
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Then Jeremiah went to 12Mizpah to 13Gedaliah the son of Ahikam and stayed with him among the people who were left in the land.
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14Now all the commanders of the forces that were in the field, they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam over the land and that he had put him in charge of the men, women and children, those of the 15poorest of the land who had not been exiled to Babylon.
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So they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah, along with 16Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and 17Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth, and the sons of Ephai the 18Netophathite, and 19Jezaniah the son of the 20Maacathite, both they and their men.
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Then Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, 21swore to them and to their men, saying, "22Do not be afraid of serving the Chaldeans; stay in the land and serve the king of Babylon, that it may go well with you.
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"Now as for me, behold, I am going to stay at Mizpah to 23stand for you before the Chaldeans who come to us; but as for you, 24gather in wine and 25summer fruit and oil and put them in your storage vessels, and live in your cities that you have taken over."
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Likewise, also all the Jews who were in 26Moab and among the sons of 27Ammon and in 28Edom and who were in all the other countries, heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant for Judah, and that he had appointed over them Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan.
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Then all the Jews 29returned from all the places to which they had been driven away and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah, and gathered in wine and summer fruit in great abundance.
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Now Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were in the field came to Gedaliah at Mizpah
and said to him, "Are you well aware that Baalis the king of the sons of 30Ammon has sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to take your life?" But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam did not believe them.
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Then Johanan the son of Kareah spoke secretly to Gedaliah in Mizpah, saying, "31Let me go and kill Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and not a man will know! Why should he 32take your life, so that all the Jews who are gathered to you would be scattered and the 33remnant of Judah would perish?"
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But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said to Johanan the son of Kareah, "34Do not do this thing, for you are telling a lie about Ishmael."
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