1The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh after Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah, when he had taken him bound in chains among all the captives of Jerusalem and Judah who were carried away captive to Babylon.
2The captain of the guard took Jeremiah and said to him, “Yahweh your God pronounced this evil on this place,
3and Yahweh has brought it and done just as he said. Because you people sinned against Yahweh and have not obeyed his voice, this thing has come on you all.
4Now, behold, I am releasing you this day from the chains that are on your hands. If it seems good to you to come with me into Babylon, come, and I will take care of you, but if it seems bad to you to come with me into Babylon, do not. Behold, all the land is before you, wherever it seems good and right for you to go, go there.”
5Now when Jeremiah had still not turned to go back, he said, “Go back then, to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan whom the king of Babylon has made governor over the cities of Judah, and live with him among the people, or go wherever it seems right to you to go.” So the captain of the guard gave him food and a present, and let him go.
6Then Jeremiah went to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam at Mizpah, and lived with him among the people who were left in the land.
7Now when all the leaders 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 to him men and women and children, those of the poorest of the land who had not been carried away captive to Babylon,
8then they came to Gedaliah to Mizpah. These included 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 the Maacathite, they and their men.
9Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan swore to them and to their men, saying, “Do not be afraid to serve the Chaldeans. Live in the land, and serve the king of Babylon, and it will be well with you.
10As for me, behold, I will live at Mizpah to represent you before the Chaldeans who will come to us. But as for you, gather wine and summer fruit and oil, and put them in your storage vessels, and live in your cities that you have taken over.”
11Likewise, when all the Jews who were in Moab, and among the children of Ammon, and in Edom, and who were in all the countries, heard that the king of Babylon had let some of the people remain in Judah, and that he had set over them Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan,
12then all the Judeans returned out of all places to which they had been driven and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah, and gathered wine and summer fruit in great abundance.
13Now Johanan the son of Kareah and all the leaders of the forces who were in the fields came to Gedaliah at Mizpah
14and said to him, “Do you know that Baalis the king of the children of Ammon has sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to take your life?” But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam did not believe them.
15Then Johanan the son of Kareah spoke to Gedaliah in Mizpah secretly, saying, “Please let me go, and I will kill Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and no man will know it. Why should he take your life, so that all the Jews who are gathered to you should be scattered and the remnant of Judah perish?”