While there, Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah son of Hoshaiah went to Jeremiah the prophet. All the army officers and all the people, from the least important to the greatest, went along, too.
They said to him, "Jeremiah, please listen to what we ask. Pray to the Lord your God for all the people left alive from the family of Judah. At one time there were many of us, but you can see that there are few of us now.
So pray that the Lord your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do."
Then Jeremiah the prophet answered, "I understand what you want me to do. I will pray to the Lord your God as you have asked. I will tell you everything he says and not hide anything from you."
Then the people said to Jeremiah, "May the Lord be a true and loyal witness against us if we don't do everything the Lord your God sends you to tell us.
It does not matter if we like the message or not. We will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are sending you. We will obey what he says so good things will happen to us."
Ten days later the Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah.
Then Jeremiah called for Johanan son of Kareah, the army officers with him, and all the other people, from the least important to the greatest.
Jeremiah said to them, "You sent me to ask the Lord for what you wanted. This is what the God of Israel says:
'If you will stay in Judah, I will build you up and not tear you down. I will plant you and not pull you up, because I am sad about the disaster I brought on you.
Now you fear the king of Babylon, but don't be afraid of him. Don't be afraid of him,' says the Lord, 'because I am with you. I will save you and rescue you from his power.
I will be kind to you, and he will also treat you with mercy and let you stay in your land.'
"But if you say, 'We will not stay in Judah,' you will disobey the Lord your God.
Or you might say, 'No, we will go and live in Egypt. There we will not see war, or hear the trumpets of war, or be hungry.'
If you say that, listen to the message of the Lord, you who are left alive from Judah. This is what the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: 'If you make up your mind to go and live in Egypt, these things will happen:
You are afraid of war, but it will find you in the land of Egypt. And you are worried about hunger, but it will follow you into Egypt, and you will die there.
Everyone who goes to live in Egypt will die in war or from hunger or terrible disease. No one who goes to Egypt will live; no one will escape the terrible things I will bring to them.'
"This is what the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: 'I showed my anger against the people of Jerusalem. In the same way I will show my anger against you when you go to Egypt. Other nations will speak evil of you. People will be shocked by what will happen to you. You will become a curse word, and people will insult you. And you will never see Judah again.'
"You who are left alive in Judah, the Lord has told you, 'Don't go to Egypt.' Be sure you understand this; I warn you today
that you are making a mistake that will cause your deaths. You sent me to the Lord your God, saying, 'Pray to the Lord our God for us. Tell us everything the Lord our God says, and we will do it.'
So today I have told you, but you have not obeyed the Lord your God in all that he sent me to tell you.
So now be sure you understand this: You want to go to live in Egypt, but you will die there by war, hunger, or terrible diseases."