Warning against Going to Egypt
1Then all the commanders of the forces, and Johanan the son of Kareah and Jezaniah (Azariah) the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least to the greatest approached 2and said to Jeremiah the prophet, “Please let our petition be presented before you, and pray to the Lord your God for us, that is, for all this remnant [of the people of Judah]; for we were once many, but now [only] a few of us are left, as you see with your own eyes, [so please pray] 3that the Lord your God may show us the way in which we should walk and the thing that we should do.” 4Then Jeremiah the prophet said to them, “I have heard you. Now hear me, I will pray to the Lord your God in accordance with your words; and I will declare to you whatever message the Lord answers; I will keep nothing back from you.” 5Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we fail to act in accordance with all the things that the Lord your God sends you to tell us. 6Whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, we will listen to and honor the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, so that it may go well with us when we listen to the voice of the Lord our God.”
7Now after ten days [of prayer] had passed the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah. 8Then he called for Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were with him and all the people from the least to the greatest, 9and said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your petition before Him: 10‘If you will indeed remain in this land, then I will build you up and not tear you down, and I will plant you and not uproot you; for I will relent and be satisfied concerning the disaster that I have inflicted on you [as discipline, and I will replace judgment with compassion]. 11Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, whom you now fear [as if he were deity]; do not be afraid of him,’ says the Lord, ‘for [he is a mere man, but I am the living, omniscient God and] I am with you [always] to protect you and to deliver you from his hand. 12And I will show you compassion, so that he will have compassion on you and restore you to your own land. 13But if you are going to say, “We will not stay in this land,” and [in so doing] do not listen to the voice of the Lord your God, 14saying, “No, but we will go to the land of Egypt, where we will not see war or hear the sound of the [warrior’s] trumpet or hunger for bread, and we will stay there,” 15then in that case listen to the word of the Lord, O remnant of Judah. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “If you are really determined to go to Egypt and to reside there [temporarily], 16then the sword, of which you are afraid, will overtake you there in the land of Egypt; and the famine of which you are afraid will follow closely after you in Egypt, and you will die there. 17So all the men who set their mind to go to Egypt to reside there [temporarily] will die by the sword, by famine and by virulent disease; none of them will remain or survive the disaster that I am going to bring on them.” ’ ”
18For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “As My anger and My wrath have been poured out on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so My wrath will be poured out on you when you enter Egypt. You will become detested, an object of horror, a curse and a people scorned; and you will no longer see this place.” 19The Lord has spoken to you, O remnant of Judah, “Do not go into Egypt!” Know with certainty that I [Jeremiah] have warned you and testified to you this day 20that you have deceived yourselves; for you sent me to the Lord your God, saying, “Pray for us to the Lord our God; and whatever the Lord our God says, declare it to us and we will do it.” 21And so I have told you today, but you have not listened to the voice of the Lord your God, in anything that He has sent me to tell you. 22Now therefore know for certain that you will die by the sword, by famine, and by virulent disease in the land [of Egypt] where you wish to reside [temporarily].