Then all the army officers, including Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah a son of Hoshaiah, and all the people, from the least to the greatest, approached
Jeremiah the prophet. They said, "Please pray to the LORD your God for us. As you know, we are only a tiny remnant compared to what we were before.
Beg the LORD your God to show us what to do and where to go."
"All right," Jeremiah replied. "I will pray to the LORD your God, and I will tell you everything he says. I will hide nothing from you."
Then they said to Jeremiah, "May the LORD your God be a faithful witness against us if we refuse to obey whatever he tells us to do!
Whether we like it or not, we will obey the LORD our God to whom we send you with our plea. For if we obey him, everything will turn out well for us."
Ten days later, the LORD gave his reply to Jeremiah.
So he called for Johanan son of Kareah and the army officers, and for all the people, from the least to the greatest.
He said to them, "You sent me to the LORD, the God of Israel, with your request, and this is his reply:
'Stay here in this land. If you do, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you. For I am sorry for all the punishment I have had to bring upon you.
Do not fear the king of Babylon anymore, says the LORD. For I am with you and will save you and rescue you from his power.
I will be merciful to you by making him kind, so he will let you stay here in your land.'
"But if you refuse to obey the LORD your God and say, 'We will not stay here,'
and if you insist on going to live in Egypt where you think you will be free from war, famine, and alarms,
then this is what the LORD says to the remnant of Judah. The LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: 'If you insist on going to Egypt,
the war and famine you fear will follow close behind you, and you will die there.
That is the fate awaiting every one of you who insists on going to live in Egypt. Yes, you will die from war, famine, and disease. None of you will escape from the disaster I will bring upon you there.'
"For the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: 'Just as my anger and fury were poured out on the people of Jerusalem, so they will be poured out on you when you enter Egypt. You will become an object of damnation, horror, cursing, and mockery. And you will never see your homeland again.'
"Listen, you remnant of Judah. The LORD has told you: 'Do not go to Egypt!' Don't forget this warning I have given you today.
For you were deceitful when you sent me to pray to the LORD your God for you, saying, 'Just tell us what the LORD our God says, and we will do it!'
And today I have told you exactly what he said, but you will not obey the LORD your God any better now than you have in the past.
So you can be sure that you will die from war, famine, and disease in Egypt, where you insist on going."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)