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1The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord after Nebuʹzaradʹan the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah, when he took him bound in chains along with all the captives of Jerusalem and Judah who were being exiled to Babylon. 2The captain of the guard took Jeremiah and said to him, “The Lord your God pronounced this evil against this place; 3the Lord has brought it about, and has done as he said. Because you sinned against the Lord, and did not obey his voice, this thing has come upon you. 4Now, behold, I release you today from the chains on your hands. If it seems good to you to come with me to Babylon, come, and I will look after you well; but if it seems wrong to you to come with me to Babylon, do not come. See, the whole land is before you; go wherever you think it good and right to go. 5If you remain, then return to Gedaliʹah the son of Ahiʹkam, son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon appointed governor of the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people; or go wherever you think it right to go.” So the captain of the guard gave him an allowance of food and a present, and let him go. 6Then Jeremiah went to Gedaliʹah the son of Ahiʹkam, at Mizpah, and dwelt with him among the people who were left in the land.

7When all the captains of the forces in the open country and their men heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliʹah the son of Ahiʹkam governor in the land, and had committed to him men, women, and children, those of the poorest of the land who had not been taken into exile to Babylon, 8they went to Gedaliʹah at Mizpah—Ishʹmael the son of Nethaniʹah, Johaʹnan the son of Kareʹah, Seraiʹah the son of Tanhuʹmeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophʹathite, Jezaniʹah the son of the Ma-acʹathite, they and their men. 9Gedaliʹah the son of Ahiʹkam, son of Shaphan, swore to them and their men, saying, “Do not be afraid to serve the Chaldeʹans. Dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you. 10As for me, I will dwell at Mizpah, to stand for you before the Chaldeʹans who will come to us; but as for you, gather wine and summer fruits and oil, and store them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that you have taken.” 11Likewise, when all the Jews who were in Moab and among the Ammonites and in Edom and in other lands heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant in Judah and had appointed Gedaliʹah the son of Ahiʹkam, son of Shaphan, as governor over them, 12then all the Jews returned from all the places to which they had been driven and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliʹah at Mizpah; and they gathered wine and summer fruits in great abundance.

13Now Johaʹnan the son of Kareʹah and all the leaders of the forces in the open country came to Gedaliʹah at Mizpah 14and said to him, “Do you know that Baʹalis the king of the Ammonites has sent Ishʹmael the son of Nethaniʹah to take your life?” But Gedaliʹah the son of Ahiʹkam would not believe them. 15Then Johaʹnan the son of Kareʹah spoke secretly to Gedaliʹah at Mizpah, “Let me go and slay Ishʹmael the son of Nethaniʹah, and no one will know it. Why should he take your life, so that all the Jews who are gathered about you would be scattered, and the remnant of Judah would perish?” 16But Gedaliʹah the son of Ahiʹkam said to Johaʹnan the son of Kareʹah, “You shall not do this thing, for you are speaking falsely of Ishʹmael.”

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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