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Jeremiah 42; Jeremiah 43; Jeremiah 44; Jeremiah 45

1 Then all of the army officers approached me. They included Johanan, the son of Kareah, and Jezaniah, the son of Hoshaiah. All of the people from the least important of them to the most important also came. 2 All of them said to me, "Please listen to our appeal. Pray to the LORD your God. Pray for all of us who are left here. Once there were many of us. But as you can see, only a few of us are left now. 3 So pray to the LORD your God. Pray that he'll tell us where we should go. Pray that he'll tell us what we should do." 4 "I've heard you," I replied. "I'll certainly pray to the LORD your God. I'll do what you have asked me to do. In fact, I'll tell you everything the LORD says. I won't keep anything back from you." 5 Then they said to me, "We'll do everything the LORD your God sends you to tell us to do. If we don't, may he be a true and faithful witness against us. 6 It doesn't matter whether what you say is in our favor or not. We're asking you to pray to the LORD our God. And we'll obey him. Things will go well with us. That's because we will obey the LORD our God." 7 Ten days later a message came to me from the Lord. 8 So I sent for Johanan, the son of Kareah, and all of the other army officers who were with him. I also gathered together all of the people from the least important of them to the most important. 9 I said to all of them, "The LORD is the God of Israel. You asked me to present your appeal to him. 10 He told me, 'Stay in this land. Then I will build you up. I will not tear you down. I will plant you. I will not pull you up by the roots. I am very sad that I had to bring all of this trouble on you. 11 " 'Do not be afraid of the king of Babylonia. You are afraid of him now. Do not be,' announces the Lord. 'I am with you. I will keep you safe. I will save you from his powerful hands. 12 I will show you my loving concern. Then he will have concern for you. And he will let you return to your land.' 13 "But suppose you say, 'We won't stay in this land.' If you do, you will be disobeying the LORD your God. 14 And suppose you say, 'No! We'll go and live in Egypt. There we won't have to face war anymore. We won't hear the trumpets of war. And we won't get hungry.' 15 "Then listen to what the LORD says to you who are left in Judah. He is the LORD who rules over all. He is the God of Israel. He says, 'Have you already made up your minds to go to Egypt? Are you going to settle down there? 16 " 'Then the war you fear will catch up with you there. The hunger you are afraid of will follow you into Egypt. And you will die there. 17 In fact, that will happen to all those who go and settle in Egypt. All of them will die of war, hunger and plague. Not one of them will live. None of them will escape the trouble I will bring on them.' 18 "He is the LORD who rules over all. He is the God of Israel. He says, 'My burning anger has been poured out on those who used to live in Jerusalem. In the same way, it will be poured out on you when you go to Egypt. People will call down curses on you. They will be shocked at you. They will say bad things about you. And they will bring shame on you. You will never see this place again.' 19 "The LORD has spoken to you who are left in Judah. He has said, 'Do not go to Egypt.' Here is something you can be sure of. I am warning you about it today. 20 You made a big mistake when you asked me to pray to the LORD your God. You said, 'Pray to the LORD our God for us. Tell us everything he says. We'll do it.' 21 "I have told you today what the LORD your God wants you to do. But you still haven't obeyed him. You haven't done anything he sent me to tell you to do. 22 So here is something else you can be sure of. You will die of war, hunger and plague. You want to go and settle down in Egypt. But you will die there."
1 I finished telling the people everything the LORD their God had said. I told them everything he had sent me to tell them. 2 After that, Azariah, the son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan, the son of Kareah, spoke to me. And all of the proud men joined them. They said, "You are lying! The LORD our God hasn't sent you to speak to us. He hasn't told you to say, 'You must not go to Egypt and settle down there.' 3 But Baruch, the son of Neriah, is turning you against us. He wants us to be handed over to the Babylonians. Then they can kill us. Or they can take us away to Babylon." 4 So Johanan, the son of Kareah, disobeyed the LORD's command. So did all of the other army officers and all of the people. They didn't stay in the land of Judah. 5 Instead Johanan, the son of Kareah, and all of the other army officers led away all of the people who were left in Judah. Those people had returned to Judah from all of the nations where they had been scattered. 6 Johanan and the other officers also led away many people Nebuzaradan had left in Mizpah. They included men, women and children. They also included women who were members of the royal court. Nebuzaradan had left them with Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam. He had also left them with the prophet Jeremiah and Baruch, the son of Neriah. Nebuzaradan was commander of the royal guard. Ahikam was the son of Shaphan. 7 So the Jewish leaders disobeyed the Lord. They took everyone to Egypt. They went all the way to Tahpanhes. 8 In Tahpanhes a message came to me from the Lord. He said, 9 "Make sure the Jews are watching you. Then get some large stones. Go to the entrance to Pharaoh's house in Tahpanhes. Bury the stones in the clay under the brick walkway there. 10 "Then tell the Jews, 'The LORD who rules over all is the God of Israel. He says, "I will send for my servant Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylonia. And I will set his throne over these stones that are buried here. He will set up his royal tent over them. 11 He will come and attack Egypt. He will bring death to those I have appointed to die. He will take away as prisoners those I have appointed to be taken away. And he will kill with swords those I have appointed to be killed. 12 " ' "He will set the temples of the gods of Egypt on fire. He will burn their temples down. He will take the statues of their gods away. Nebuchadnezzar will be like a shepherd who wraps his coat around himself. He will wrap Egypt around himself. And he will leave there unharmed. 13 At Heliopolis in Egypt he will smash the sacred pillars to pieces. And he will burn down the temples of the gods of Egypt." ' "
1 A message came to me from the LORD about all of the Jews who were living in Lower Egypt. They were living in Migdol, Tahpanhes and Memphis. It was also about all of the Jews who were living in Upper Egypt. 2 The LORD who rules over all is the God of Israel. He said, "You saw all of the trouble I brought on Jerusalem. I also brought it on all of the towns in Judah. Today they lie there deserted and destroyed. 3 That is because of the evil things their people did. They made me very angry. They burned incense to other gods. And they worshiped them. They and you and your people of long ago never had anything to do with those gods before. 4 "Again and again I sent my servants the prophets. They said, 'Don't worship other gods! The LORD hates it!' 5 "But the people didn't listen. They didn't pay any attention. They didn't turn from their sinful ways. They didn't stop burning incense to other gods. 6 "So my burning anger was poured out. It blazed out against the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. It made them the dry and empty places they are today." 7 The LORD God who rules over all is the God of Israel. He says, "Why do you want to bring all of this trouble on yourselves? You are cutting off from Judah its men and women. You are cutting off the children and babies. Not one of you will be left. 8 Why do you want to make me angry with the gods your hands have made? Why do you burn incense to the gods of Egypt, where you have come to live? You will destroy yourselves. All of the nations on earth will call down curses on you. They will bring shame on you. 9 "Have you forgotten the evil things your people did long ago? The kings and queens of Judah did those same things. So did you and your wives. They were done in the land of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. 10 "To this very day the people of Judah have not made themselves low in my sight. They have not shown any respect for me. They have not obeyed my law. They have not followed the rules I gave you and your people long ago." 11 The LORD who rules over all is the God of Israel. He says, "I have decided to bring horrible trouble on you. I will destroy the whole land of Judah. 12 I will destroy the people of Judah who are left. They had decided to go to Egypt and settle down there. But all of them will die in Egypt. They will die of war or hunger. All of them will die, from the least important of them to the most important. They will die of war or hunger. People will call down curses on them. They will be shocked at them. They will say bad things about them. And they will bring shame on them. 13 I will use war, hunger and plague to punish the Jews who live in Egypt. I punished Jerusalem in the same way. 14 "None of the people of Judah who have gone to live in Egypt will escape. Not one of them will live to return to Judah. They long to return and live there. But only a few will escape from Egypt and go back." 15 All of the Jews who were living in Lower and Upper Egypt gathered to give me their answer. A large crowd had come together. It included men who knew that their wives were burning incense to other gods. Their wives were there with them. All of them said to me, 16 "We won't listen to the message you have spoken to us in the LORD's name! 17 We will certainly do everything we said we would. We'll burn incense to the goddess who is called the Queen of Heaven. We'll pour out drink offerings to her. We'll do just as we and our people before us did. Our kings and our officials also did it. All of us did it in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. At that time we had plenty of food. We were well off. We didn't suffer any harm. 18 "But then we stopped burning incense to the Queen of Heaven. We stopped pouring out drink offerings to her. And ever since that time we haven't had anything. Instead, we've been dying of war and hunger." 19 The women added, "We burned incense to the Queen of Heaven. We poured out drink offerings to her. And our husbands knew we were making cakes that looked like her. They knew we were pouring out drink offerings to her." 20 Then I spoke to all of the people who were answering me. I spoke to men and women alike. I said, 21 "Didn't the LORD know you were burning incense in the towns of Judah? Didn't he care that you were also doing it in the streets of Jerusalem? You and your people before you were doing it. Your kings and officials were doing it too. So were the rest of the people in the land. 22 "The LORD couldn't put up with the evil things you were doing anymore. He hated the things you did. So people called down curses on your land. It became a dry and empty desert. No one lived there. And that's the way it still is today. 23 "You have burned incense to other gods. You have sinned against the Lord. You haven't obeyed him or his law. You haven't followed his rules. You haven't lived up to the terms of the covenant he made with you. That's why all of this trouble has come on you. You have seen it with your own eyes." 24 Then I spoke to all of the people. That included the women. I said, "All you people of Judah in Egypt, listen to the LORD's message. 25 The LORD who rules over all is the God of Israel. He says, 'You and your wives have done what you promised you would do. You said, "We will certainly keep the promises we made to the Queen of Heaven. We'll burn incense to her. We'll pour out drink offerings to her." ' "Go ahead then. Do what you said you would! Keep your promises! 26 But listen to the LORD's message. Listen, all you Jews living in Egypt. 'I take an oath in my own great name,' says the Lord. 'I promise that no one from Judah who lives anywhere in Egypt will ever again pray in my name. None of them will ever take an oath and say, "You can be sure that the LORD and King is alive." 27 " 'I am watching over them to do them harm and not good. The Jews in Egypt will die of war and hunger until all of them are destroyed. 28 Some will not be killed. They will return to Judah from Egypt. But they will be very few. Then all of the people of Judah who came to live in Egypt will know the truth. They will know whether what I say or what they say will come true. 29 " 'I will give you a miraculous sign that I will punish you in this place,' announces the Lord. 'Then you can be sure that my warnings of harm against you will come true.' 30 The LORD says, 'I am going to hand Pharaoh Hophra over to his enemies who want to take his life. In the same way, I handed King Zedekiah over to Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylonia. He was the enemy who wanted to take Zedekiah's life.' " Hophra was king of Egypt.
1 I, the prophet Jeremiah, talked to Baruch, the son of Neriah. It was in the fourth year that Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, was king of Judah. But it was after Baruch had written down on a scroll the words I was telling him to write. I said, 2 "The LORD is the God of Israel. Baruch, he says to you, 3 'You have said, "How terrible it is for me! The LORD has added sorrow to my pain. I'm worn out from all of my groaning. I can't find any rest." ' " 4 The LORD said, "Tell Baruch, 'I say, "I will destroy what I have built up. I will pull up by the roots what I have planted. I will do it all through the earth. 5 So should you long for great things for yourself? Do not long for them. I will bring trouble on everyone," announces the Lord. "But no matter where you go, I will let you escape with your life." ' "
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