Jeremiah Is Set Free
40 The message from the Lord came to Jeremiah after he was set free at the city of Ramah. Nebuzaradan, the commander of the king of Babylon’s special guards, found Jeremiah in Ramah. Jeremiah was bound with chains. He was with all the captives from Jerusalem and Judah. They were being taken away in captivity to Babylon. 2 When commander Nebuzaradan found Jeremiah, he spoke to him. He said, “Jeremiah, the Lord, your God, announced that this disaster would come to this place. 3 And now the Lord has done everything just as he said he would do. This disaster happened because you people of Judah sinned against the Lord. You did not obey him. 4 But now, Jeremiah, I will set you free. I am taking the chains off your wrists. If you want to, come with me to Babylon, and I will take good care of you. But if you don’t want to come with me, then don’t come. Look, the whole country is open to you. Go anywhere you want. 5 Or go back to Gedaliah[a] son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan. The king of Babylon has chosen Gedaliah to be governor over the towns of Judah. Go and live with Gedaliah among the people. Or you can go anywhere you want.”
Then Nebuzaradan gave Jeremiah some food and a present and let him go. 6 So Jeremiah went to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah. He stayed with Gedaliah among those who were left behind in the land of Judah.
The Short Rule of Gedaliah
7 There were some soldiers from the army of Judah, officers and their men, still out in the open country when Jerusalem was destroyed. They heard that the king of Babylon had put Gedaliah son of Ahikam in charge of those who were left in the land. Those who were left were men, women, and children who were very poor. They were not carried off to Babylon as captives. 8 So the soldiers came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. They were Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan and his brother Jonathan, sons of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, sons of Ephai from Netophah, and Jaazaniah son of the Maacathite, and the men who were with them.
9 Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, made an oath to make the soldiers and their men feel more secure. This is what he said: “You soldiers, don’t be afraid to serve the Babylonian people. Settle down in the land and serve the king of Babylon. If you do this, things will go well for you. 10 I myself will live in Mizpah. I will speak for you before the Chaldeans who come here. You leave that work to me. You should harvest the wine, the summer fruit, and the oil. Put what you harvest in your storage jars. Live in the towns that you control.”
11 All the people of Judah who were in the countries of Moab, Ammon, Edom, and all the other countries heard that the king of Babylon had left some people of Judah in the land. And they heard that the king of Babylon had chosen Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, to be governor over them. 12 When the people of Judah heard this news, they came back to the land of Judah. They came back to Gedaliah at Mizpah from all the countries where they had been scattered. So they came back and gathered a large harvest of wine and summer fruit.
13 Johanan son of Kareah and all the officers of the army of Judah who were still in the open country came to Gedaliah. Gedaliah was at the town of Mizpah. 14 Johanan and the officers with him said to Gedaliah, “Do you know that Baalis, the king of the Ammonites, wants to kill you? He has sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to kill you.” But Gedaliah son of Ahikam didn’t believe them.
15 Then Johanan son of Kareah spoke to Gedaliah in private at Mizpah. Johanan said to Gedaliah, “Let me go and kill Ishmael son of Nethaniah. No one will know anything about it. We should not let Ishmael kill you. That would cause all the people of Judah who are gathered around you to be scattered to different countries again. And that would mean that the few survivors of Judah would be lost.”
16 But Gedaliah son of Ahikam said to Johanan son of Kareah, “Don’t kill Ishmael. The things you are saying about Ishmael are not true.”
- Jeremiah 40:5 Or … Gedaliah Or “Before Gedaliah goes back, return to him ….”
New International Version
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. 2 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) 3 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. 4 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) 5 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. 6 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.
7 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, 8 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. 9 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.”