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40 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord after Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah, when he had taken him bound in chains among all who were carried away captive from Jerusalem and Judah, who were taken as exiles to Babylon.

And the captain of the guard took Jeremiah and said to him, The Lord your God pronounced evil upon this place.

Now the Lord has brought it about and has done as He said: [It is] because you [of Judah] have sinned against the Lord and have not obeyed His voice, therefore this thing has come upon you.

Now, see, I am freeing you today [Jeremiah] from the chains upon your hands. If it seems good to you to come with me to Babylon, come, and I will keep an eye on you and look after you well. But if it seems bad to you to come with me to Babylon, then do not do it. Behold, all the land is before you; wherever it seems good, right, and convenient for you to go, go there.

While [Jeremiah] was hesitating, [the captain of the guard] said, Go back then to Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon made governor over the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people; or go wherever it seems right for you to go. So the captain of the guard gave him an allowance of food and a present and let him go.

Then Jeremiah went to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah and dwelt with him among the people who were left in the land.

Now when all the captains of the forces that were in the open country [of Judah] and their men heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah son of Ahikam governor in the land [of Judah] 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,

They went to Gedaliah at Mizpah—Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah the son of the Maacathite, they and their men.

And Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, swore to them and their men, saying, Do not be afraid to serve the Chaldeans; dwell in [this] land and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you.

10 As for me, I will dwell at Mizpah to stand [for you] before the Chaldeans who come to us [ministering to them and looking after the king’s interests]; but as for you, gather the juice [of the grape], summer fruits and oil, and store them in your utensils [chosen for such purposes], and dwell in your cities that you have seized.

11 Likewise, when all the Jews who were in Moab and among the people of Ammon and in Edom and who were in all the other countries heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant in Judah and had set over them [as governor] Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan,

12 Then all the Jews returned from all the places to which they had been driven and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah, and gathered a great abundance of juice [of the grape] and summer fruits.

13 Moreover, Johanan son of Kareah and all the captains of the forces that were in the open country came to Gedaliah at Mizpah

14 And said to him, Do you know that Baalis king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to take your life? But Gedaliah son of Ahikam did not believe them.

15 Then Johanan son of Kareah spoke to Gedaliah in Mizpah secretly, saying, Let me go, I pray you, and I will slay Ishmael son of Nethaniah, and no man will know it. Why should he slay you and cause all the Jews who are gathered to you to be scattered and the remnant of Judah to perish?

16 But Gedaliah son of Ahikam said to Johanan son of Kareah, You shall not do this thing, for you speak falsely of Ishmael.

Jeremiah Freed

40 The word came to Jeremiah from the Lord after Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard had released him at Ramah.(A) He had found Jeremiah bound in chains among all the captives(B) from Jerusalem and Judah who were being carried into exile to Babylon. When the commander(C) of the guard found Jeremiah, he said to him, “The Lord your God decreed(D) this disaster(E) for this place.(F) And now the Lord has brought it about; he has done just as he said he would. All this happened because you people sinned(G) against the Lord and did not obey(H) him. But today I am freeing(I) you from the chains(J) on your wrists. Come with me to Babylon, if you like, and I will look after you; but if you do not want to, then don’t come. Look, the whole country lies before you; go wherever you please.”(K) However, before Jeremiah turned to go,[a] Nebuzaradan added, “Go back to Gedaliah(L) son of Ahikam,(M) the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has appointed(N) over the towns(O) of Judah, and live with him among the people, or go anywhere else you please.”(P)

Then the commander gave him provisions and a present(Q) and let him go. So Jeremiah went to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah(R) and stayed with him among the people who were left behind in the land.

Gedaliah Assassinated(S)

When all the army officers and their men who were still in the open country heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam as governor(T) over the land and had put him in charge of the men, women and children who were the poorest(U) in the land and who had not been carried into exile to Babylon, they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah(V)—Ishmael(W) son of Nethaniah, Johanan(X) and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite,(Y) and Jaazaniah[b] the son of the Maakathite,(Z) and their men. Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, took an oath to reassure them and their men. “Do not be afraid to serve(AA) the Babylonians,[c](AB)” he said. “Settle down in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well with you.(AC) 10 I myself will stay at Mizpah(AD) to represent you before the Babylonians who come to us, but you are to harvest the wine,(AE) summer fruit and olive oil, and put them in your storage jars,(AF) and live in the towns you have taken over.”(AG)

11 When all the Jews in Moab,(AH) Ammon, Edom(AI) and all the other countries(AJ) heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant in Judah and had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, as governor over them, 12 they all came back to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah, from all the countries where they had been scattered.(AK) And they harvested an abundance of wine and summer fruit.

13 Johanan(AL) son of Kareah and all the army officers still in the open country came to Gedaliah at Mizpah(AM) 14 and said to him, “Don’t you know that Baalis king of the Ammonites(AN) has sent Ishmael(AO) son of Nethaniah to take your life?” But Gedaliah son of Ahikam did not believe them.

15 Then Johanan(AP) son of Kareah said privately to Gedaliah in Mizpah, “Let me go and kill(AQ) Ishmael son of Nethaniah, and no one will know it. Why should he take your life and cause all the Jews who are gathered around you to be scattered(AR) and the remnant(AS) of Judah to perish?”

16 But Gedaliah son of Ahikam said to Johanan(AT) son of Kareah, “Don’t do such a thing! What you are saying about Ishmael is not true.”

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 40:5 Or Jeremiah answered
  2. Jeremiah 40:8 Hebrew Jezaniah, a variant of Jaazaniah
  3. Jeremiah 40:9 Or Chaldeans; also in verse 10

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