Chapter 16

  1. Now the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah while he was shut up in the court of the prison, saying, Go and speak to Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, Thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will bring my words upon this city for evil and not for good, and they shall be accomplished in that day before you. But I will deliver you in that day, says the Lord, and you shall not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid, for I will surely deliver you. And you shall not fall by the sword, but your life shall be for a prey unto you, because you have put your trust in me, says the Lord.
  2. 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 being bound in chains among all that were carried away captive of Jerusalem and Judah who were carried away captive unto Babylon. And the captain of the guard took Jeremiah and said unto him, The Lord your God has pronounced this evil upon this place. Now the Lord has brought it and done according as he has said, because you have sinned against the Lord and have not obeyed his voice. Therefore, this thing has come upon you. And now behold, I release you this day from the chains which were upon your hand. If it seem good unto you to come with me into Babylon, come, and I will look well unto you. But if it seem ill unto you to come with me into Babylon, decline. Behold, all the land is before you — where it seems good and convenient for you to go, there go. Now, while he was not yet gone back, he said, Go back also to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has made governor over the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people. Or go whereever it seems proper unto you to go. So the captain of the guard gave him provisions and a reward and let him go. Then went Jeremiah unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, to Mizpah, and dwelled with him among the people that were left in the land.
  3. Now when all the captains of the forces who were in the fields, even they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam governor in the land, and had committed unto him men, and women, and children, and of the poor of the land, of them that were not carried away captive to Babylon, then they came to Gedaliah, to Mizpah — even Ishmael the son of Nethaniah; and Johanan and Jonathan, the sons of Kareah; and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth; and the sons of Ephai the Netophathite; and Jezaniah the son of a Maachathite — they and their men. And Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, swore unto them and to their men, saying, Fear not to serve the Chaldeans. Dwell in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you. As for me, behold, I will dwell at Mizpah to serve the Chaldeans who will come unto us. But you, gather wine, and summer fruits, and oil, and put them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that you have taken. Likewise, when all the Jews that were in Moab, and among the Ammonites, and in Edom, and that were in all the countries heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant of Judah, and that he had set over them Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, even all the Jews returned out of all places to which they were driven and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah, unto Mizpah, and gathered wine and summer fruits very much.
  4. Moreover, Johanan the son of Kareah and all the captains of the forces that were in the fields came to Gedaliah, to Mizpah, and said unto him, Do you certainly know that Baalis the king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to slay you? But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam believed them not. Then Johanan the son of Kareah spoke to Gedaliah in Mizpah secretly, saying, Let me go, I pray you, and I will slay Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and no man shall know it. Why should he slay you, that all the Jews who are gathered unto you should be scattered and the remnant in Judah perish? But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said unto Johanan the son of Kareah, You shall not do this thing, for you speak falsely of Ishmael.
  5. Now it came to pass in the seventh month that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the royal seed, and the princes of the king, even ten men with him, came unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, to Mizpah. And there they did eat bread together in Mizpah. Then arose Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and the ten men that were with him, and smote Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, with the sword, and slew him whom the king of Babylon had made governor over the land. Ishmael also slew all the Jews that were with him, even with Gedaliah at Mizpah, and the Chaldeans that were found there, and the men of war.
  6. And it came to pass the second day after he had slain Gedaliah — and no man knew it — that there came certain from Shechem, from Shiloh, and from Samaria, even eighty men having their beards shaven and their clothes rent, and having cut themselves, with offerings and incense in their hand, to bring them to the house of the Lord. And Ishmael the son of Nethaniah went forth from Mizpah to meet them, weeping all along as he went. And it came to pass as he met them, he said unto them, Come to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam. And it was so, when they came into the midst of the city, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah slew them and cast them into the midst of the pit, he and the men that were with him. But ten men were found among them that said unto Ishmael, Slay us not, for we have treasures in the field of wheat, and of barley, and of oil, and of honey. So he refrained and slew them not among their brethren.
  7. Now the pit, wherein Ishmael had cast all the dead bodies of the men whom he had slain because of Gedaliah, was it which Asa the king had made for fear of Baasha king of Israel. And Ishmael the son of Nethaniah filled it with them that were slain. Then Ishmael carried away captive all the residue of the people that were in Mizpah, even the king’s daughters and all the people that remained in Mizpah whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had committed to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam. And Ishmael the son of Nethaniah carried them away captive and departed to go over to the Ammonites.
  8. But when Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were with him, heard of all the evil that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had done, then they took all the men and went to fight with Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and found him by the great waters that are in Gibeon. Now it came to pass that when all the people who were with Ishmael saw Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were with him, then they were glad. So all the people that Ishmael had carried away captive from Mizpah cast about, and returned and went unto Johanan the son of Kareah. But Ishmael the son of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with eight men and went to the Ammonites. Then took Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were with him, all the remnant of the people whom he had recovered from Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, from Mizpah, after he had slain Gedaliah the son of Ahikam — even mighty men of war, and the women, and the children, and the eunuchs whom he had brought again from Gibeon. And they departed and dwelled in the habitation of Chimham which is by Bethlehem, to go to enter into Egypt because of the Chaldeans; for they were afraid of them, because Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had slain Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon made governor in the land.
  9. Then all the captains of the forces, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least even unto the greatest came near and said unto Jeremiah the prophet, Let, we implore you, our supplication be accepted before you, and pray for us unto the Lord your God, even for all this remnant (for we are left but a few of many, as your eyes do behold us), that the Lord your God may show us the way wherein we may walk and the thing that we may do. Then Jeremiah the prophet said unto them, I have heard you. Behold, I will pray unto the Lord your God according to your words. And it shall come to pass that whatever thing the Lord shall answer you, I will declare it unto you. I will keep nothing back from you. Then they said to Jeremiah, The Lord be a true and faithful witness between us if we do not even according to all things for which the Lord your God shall send you to us. Whether it be good or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we send you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.
  10. And it came to pass after ten days that the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah. Then he called Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces who were with him, and all the people from the least even to the greatest, and said unto them, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, unto whom you sent me to present your supplication before him: If you will still abide in this land, then will I build you and not pull down. And I will plant you and not pluck up, and I will turn away the evil that I have done unto you. Be not afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid. Be not afraid of him, says the Lord, for I am with you to save you and to deliver you from his hand. And I will show mercies unto you, that he may have mercy upon you and cause you to return to your own land. But if you say, We will not dwell in this land, neither obey the voice of the Lord your God — saying, No, but we will go into the land of Egypt, where we shall see no war, nor hear the sound of the trumpet, nor have hunger for lack of bread, and there will we dwell — and now therefore hear the word of the Lord, you remnant of Judah, thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel: If you wholly set your faces to enter into Egypt and go to sojourn there, then it shall come to pass that the sword which you feared shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine whereof you were afraid shall follow close after you there in Egypt, and there you shall die. So shall it be with all the men that set their faces to go into Egypt to sojourn there: they shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, and none of them shall remain or escape from the evil that I will bring upon them. For thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel: As my anger and my fury has been poured forth upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so shall my fury be poured forth upon you when you shall enter into Egypt. And you shall be an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach, and you shall see this place no more. The Lord has said concerning you, O remnant of Judah, Go not into Egypt. Know certainly that I have admonished you this day. For you went astray in your hearts when you sent me unto the Lord your God, saying, Pray for us unto the Lord our God, and according unto all that the Lord our God shall say, so declare unto us and we will do it. And now I have this day declared it to you, that you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord your God, nor anything for which he has sent me unto you. Now therefore know certainly that you shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, in the place where you desire to go and to sojourn.
  11. And it came to pass that when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking unto all the people all the words of the Lord their God, for which the Lord their God had sent him to them, even all these words, then spoke Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the proud men, saying unto Jeremiah, You speak falsely. The Lord our God has not sent you to say, Go not into Egypt to sojourn there. But Baruch the son of Neriah sets you on against us in order to deliver us into the hand of the Chaldeans, that they might put us to death and carry us away captives into Babylon. So Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces, and all the people obeyed not the voice of the Lord, to dwell in the land of Judah. But Johanan the son of Kareah and all the captains of the forces took all the remnant of Judah, that were returned from all nations to which they had been driven to dwell in the land of Judah — even men, and women, and children, and the king’s daughters, and every person that Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, and Jeremiah the prophet, and Baruch the son of Neriah. So they came into the land of Egypt, for they obeyed not the voice of the Lord; thus came they even to Tahpanhes.
  12. Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, saying, Take great stones in your hand and hide them in the clay in the brick kiln which is at the entry of Pharaoh’s house in Tahpanhes, in the sight of the men of Judah, and say unto them, Thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will send and take Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will set his throne upon these stones that I have hidden. And he shall spread his royal pavilion over them. And when he comes, he shall smite the land of Egypt and deliver such as are for death to death, and such as are for captivity to captivity, and such as are for the sword to the sword. And I will kindle a fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt and he shall burn them and carry them away captives. And he shall array himself with the land of Egypt as a shepherd puts on his garment. And he shall go forth from there in peace. He shall break also the images of Bethshemesh that is in the land of Egypt, and the houses of the gods of the Egyptians shall he burn with fire.
  13. The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews who dwell in the land of Egypt, who dwell at Migdol, and at Tahpanhes, and at Noph, and in the country of Pathros, saying, Thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel: You have seen all the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem and upon all the cities of Judah. And behold, this day they are a desolation and no man dwells therein, because of their wickedness which they have committed to provoke me to anger, in that they went to burn incense, and to serve other gods whom they knew not — neither they, you, nor your fathers. Nevertheless, I sent unto you all my servants the prophets, commanding them to rise early and sending them, saying, Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate. But they listened not, nor inclined their ear to turn from their wickedness, to burn no incense unto other gods. Wherefore, my fury and my anger was poured forth, and was kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. And they are wasted and desolate, as at this day. Therefore now, thus says the Lord, the God of Hosts, the God of Israel: Why do you commit this great evil against your souls, to cut off from you man and woman, child and suckling, out of Judah? To leave you none to remain, in that you provoke me unto wrath with the works of your hands, burning incense unto other gods in the land of Egypt where you have gone to dwell, that you might cut yourselves off and that you might be a curse and a reproach among all the nations of the earth? Have you forgotten the wickedness of your fathers, and the wickedness of the kings of Judah, and the wickedness of their wives, and your own wickedness, and the wickedness of your wives which they have committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? They are not humbled even unto this day, neither have they feared nor walked in my law nor in my statutes that I set before you and before your fathers.
  14. Therefore, thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will set my face against you for evil and to cut off all Judah. And I will take the remnant of Judah that have set their faces to go into the land of Egypt, to sojourn there, and they shall all be consumed and fall in the land of Egypt. They shall even be consumed by the sword and by the famine. They shall die, from the least even unto the greatest, by the sword and by the famine. And they shall be an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach. For I will punish them that dwell in the land of Egypt as I have punished Jerusalem — by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence — so that none of the remnant of Judah who have gone into the land of Egypt, to sojourn there, shall escape or remain that they should return into the land of Judah to which they have a desire to return, to dwell there. For none shall return but such as shall escape.
  15. Then all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by — a great multitude — even all the people that dwelled in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying, As for the word that you have spoken unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not listen unto you, but we will certainly do whatever thing goes forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of Heaven and to pour out drink offerings unto her as we have done — we and our fathers, our kings and our princes, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then had we plenty of provisions, and were well, and saw no evil. But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of Heaven and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have lacked all things and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine. And when we burned incense to the queen of Heaven and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her and pour out drink offerings unto her without our men? Then Jeremiah said unto all the people — to the men, and to the women, and to all the people who had given him that answer — saying, The incense that you burned in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, you and your fathers, your kings and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the Lord remember them and came it not into his mind? So that the Lord could no longer bear because of the evil of your doings and because of the abominations which you have committed? Therefore is your land a desolation, and an astonishment, and a curse, without an inhabitant, as at this day. Because you have burned incense, and because you have sinned against the Lord, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord, nor walked in his law, nor in his statutes, nor in his testimonies, therefore this evil is happened unto you, as at this day. Moreover, Jeremiah said unto all the people and to all the women, Hear the word of the Lord, all Judah that are in the land of Egypt; thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, saying: You and your wives have both spoken with your mouths and fulfilled with your hand, saying, We will surely perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to the queen of Heaven and to pour out drink offerings unto her. You will surely accomplish your vows and surely perform your vows. Therefore hear the word of the Lord, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt: Behold, I have sworn by my great name, says the Lord, that my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Lord God lives. Behold, I will watch over them for evil and not for good. And all the men of Judah that are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine until there is an end of them. Yet a small number that escape the sword shall return out of the land of Egypt into the land of Judah. And all the remnant of Judah that have gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there shall know whose words shall stand — mine or theirs. And this shall be a sign unto you, says the Lord, that I will punish you in this place, that you may know that my words shall surely stand against you for evil. Thus says the Lord: Behold, I will give Pharaoh Hophra, king of Egypt, into the hand of his enemies and into the hand of them that seek his life, as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, his enemy, and that sought his life.






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