1 The word that came to Jeremiah from Jehovah after Nebuʹzaradʹan the chief of the guard let him go free from Raʹmah. He had taken him there bound with handcuffs, and he was among all the exiles of Jerusalem and of Judah who were being deported to Babylon.
2 Then the chief of the guard took Jeremiah and said to him: “Jehovah your God foretold this calamity against this place,
3 and Jehovah has brought it about just as he said, because you people sinned against Jehovah and did not obey his voice. That is why this has happened to you.
4 Now I am releasing you today from the handcuffs that were on your hands. If it seems good to you to come with me to Babylon, come, and I will look after you. But if you do not want to come with me to Babylon, do not come. See! The entire land is before you. Go wherever you choose.”
5 While Jeremiah still had not turned back, Nebuʹzaradʹan said: “Return to Gedaliʹah the son of Ahiʹkam the son of Shaʹphan, whom the king of Babylon has appointed over the cities of Judah, and stay with him among the people; or go wherever you choose.” The chief of the guard then gave him a food allowance and a gift and let him go.
6 So Jeremiah went to Gedaliʹah the son of Ahiʹkam at Mizʹpah and stayed with him among the people who were left in the land.
7 In time all the army chiefs who were in the field with their men heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliʹah the son of Ahiʹkam over the land and that he had appointed him over the men, women, and children from the poor people of the land who had not been deported to Babylon.
8 So they came to Gedaliʹah at Mizʹpah. They were Ishʹmael the son of Nethaniʹah, Johaʹnan and Jonʹathan the sons of Kareʹah, Seraiʹah the son of Tanhuʹmeth, the sons of Eʹphai the Netophʹathite, and Jezaniʹah the son of the Maacʹathite, together with their men.
9 Gedaliʹah the son of Ahiʹkam the son of Shaʹphan swore an oath to them and to their men, saying: “Do not be afraid of serving the Chaldeʹans. Live in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well with you.
10 As for me, I will stay in Mizʹpah to represent you to the Chaldeʹans who come to us. But you should gather wine, summer fruits, and oil and put them in your storage containers and settle in the cities that you have taken over.”
11 And all the Jews who were in Moʹab, Amʹmon, and Eʹdom, as well as those who were in all the other lands, also heard that the king of Babylon had let a remnant stay in Judah and that he had appointed over them Gedaliʹah the son of Ahiʹkam the son of Shaʹphan.
12 So all the Jews began returning from all the places to which they had been dispersed, and they came into the land of Judah, to Gedaliʹah at Mizʹpah. And they gathered wine and summer fruits in very great quantity.
13 Johaʹnan the son of Kareʹah and all the army chiefs who were in the field came to Gedaliʹah at Mizʹpah.
14 They said to him: “Do you not know that Baʹalis, the king of the Amʹmonites, has sent Ishʹmael the son of Nethaniʹah to kill you?” But Gedaliʹah the son of Ahiʹkam did not believe them.
15 Then Johaʹnan the son of Kareʹah secretly told Gedaliʹah in Mizʹpah: “I want to go and strike down Ishʹmael the son of Nethaniʹah, and no one will know. Why should he kill you, and why should all the people of Judah who have gathered to you be scattered and the remnant of Judah perish?”
16 But Gedaliʹah the son of Ahiʹkam said to Johaʹnan the son of Kareʹah: “Do not do this, for what you are saying concerning Ishʹmael is a lie.”