1Johanan, Jezaniah, the other army officers, and everyone else in the group, came to me 2and said, “Please, Jeremiah, pray to the Lord your God for us. Judah used to have many people, but as you can see, only a few of us are left. 3Ask the Lord to tell us where he wants us to go and what he wants us to do.”
4“All right,” I answered, “I will pray to the Lord your God, and I will tell you everything he says.”
5They answered, “The Lord himself will be our witness that we promise to do whatever he says, 6even if it isn't what we want to do. We will obey the Lord so that all will go well for us.”
7Ten days later, the Lord gave me an answer for 8Johanan, the officers, and the other people. So I called them together 9and told them that the Lord God of Israel had said:
You asked Jeremiah to pray and find out what you should do. 10I am sorry that I had to punish you, and so I now tell you to stay here in Judah, where I will plant you and build you up, instead of tearing you down and uprooting you. 11Don't be afraid of the King of Babylonia. I will protect you from him, 12and I will even force him to have mercy on you and give back your farms.
13But you might keep on saying, “We won't stay here in Judah, and we won't obey the Lord our God. 14We are going to Egypt, where there is plenty of food and no danger of war.”
15People of Judah, you survived when the Babylonian army attacked. Now you are planning to move to Egypt, and if you do go, this is what will happen. 16-17You are afraid of war, starvation, and disease here in Judah, but they will follow you to Egypt and kill you there. None of you will survive the disasters I will send.
18I, the Lord, was angry with the people of Jerusalem and punished them. And if you go to Egypt, I will be angry and punish you the same way. You will never again see your homeland. People will be horrified at what I do to you, and they will use the name of your city as a curse word.
Jeremiah Gives a Warning
19I told the people:
You escaped the disaster that struck Judah, but now the Lord warns you to stay away from Egypt. 20You asked me to pray and find out what the Lord our God wants you to do, and you promised to obey him. But that was a terrible mistake, 21because now that I have given you the Lord's answer, you refuse to obey him. 22And so, you will die in Egypt from war, hunger, and disease.