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42 While there, Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah son of Hoshaiah went to Jeremiah the prophet. All the army officers went with Johanan and Jezaniah. All the people, from the least important to the greatest, all went along, too. They said to him, “Jeremiah, please listen to what we ask. Pray to the Lord your God. Pray for all the people left alive from the family of Judah. At one time there were many of us. You can see that there are few of us now. So pray that the Lord your God will tell us where we should go. And pray he will tell us what we should do.”

Then Jeremiah the prophet answered, “I understand what you want me to do. I will pray to the Lord your God as you have asked. I will tell you everything he says. I will not hide anything from you.”

Then the people said to Jeremiah, “We will do everything the Lord your God tells us. If we don’t, may the Lord be a true and loyal witness against us. We know he will send you to tell us what to do. It does not matter if we like the message or not. We will obey the Lord our God. We are sending you to the Lord for a message from him. We will obey what he says. Then good things will happen to us.”

Ten days later the Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah. Then Jeremiah called for Johanan son of Kareah and the army officers who were with him. Jeremiah also called all the other people, from the least important to the greatest. Then Jeremiah said to them, “You sent me to ask the Lord for what you wanted. This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 10 ‘If you will stay in Judah, I will make you strong. I will not destroy you. I will plant you, and I will not pull you up. This is because I am sad about the disaster I brought on you. 11 Now you are afraid of the king of Babylon. But don’t be afraid of him. Don’t be afraid of the king of Babylon,’ says the Lord. ‘I am with you. I will save you. I will rescue you from his power. 12 I will be kind to you. And the king of Babylon will also treat you with mercy. He will bring you back to your land.’

13 “But you might say, ‘We will not stay in Judah.’ If you say that, you will disobey the Lord your God. 14 Or you might say, ‘No, we will go and live in Egypt. We will not be bothered with war there. We will not hear the trumpets of war. And in Egypt we will not be hungry.’ 15 If you say that, listen to the message of the Lord. It is to you who are left alive from Judah. This is what the Lord of heaven’s armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you make up your mind to go and live in Egypt, these things will happen: 16 You are afraid of war. But it will defeat you in the land of Egypt. And you are worried about hunger. But you will be hungry in Egypt. You will die there. 17 Everyone who goes to live in Egypt will die in war. Or he will die from hunger or terrible disease. No one who goes to Egypt will live. No one will escape the terrible things I will bring to them.’

18 “This is what the Lord of heaven’s armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘I showed my anger against Jerusalem. I punished the people who lived in Jerusalem. In the same way I will show my anger against you when you go to Egypt. Other nations will speak evil of you. People will be shocked by what has happened to you. You will become a curse word. People will insult you. And you will never see Judah again.’

19 “You who are left alive in Judah, the Lord has told you, ‘Don’t go to Egypt.’ I warn you today. 20 You are making a mistake that will cause your deaths. You sent me to the Lord your God. You said to me, ‘Pray to the Lord our God for us. Tell us everything the Lord says, and we will do it.’ 21 So today I have told you the message from the Lord. But you have not obeyed the Lord your God. You have not done all that he sent me to tell you to do. 22 So now be sure you understand this: You want to go to live in Egypt. But you will die by war, hunger or terrible diseases.”

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