1. The word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah after Nebuzaradan, commander of the guards, had released him at Ramah when he had taken him, bound in chains, with those to be deported from Jerusalem and Judah to Babylon.
2. The commander of the guards took Jeremiah and said to him, "Yahweh your God foretold this calamity for this place.
3. Now he has implemented what he then said he would do because you have sinned against him and have not listened to him.
4. But I have been removing today the fetters off your hands and releasing you to be free... You may wish to go with me to Babylon and I will take care of you. However I am not obliging you if you decide not to go. You have the choice to go wherever you like in this land."
5. Nebuzaradan added, "Why don't you go back to Gedaliah son of Ahikam son of Shaphan? He has been appointed governor over the towns of Judah by the King of Babylon. You could stay with him among your people. Yet go wherever it seems right for you to go." The commander of the guards gave him provisions and a gift and set him on his way.
6. And so Jeremiah went to Gedaliah son of Ahikam who was residing at Mizpah. He stayed with him among the people who were left in the land.
7. Now all the army chiefs in the open country with their men heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam to be governor over the land and put him in charge of the men, women and children and the lowliest of the people who had not been deported to Babylon.
8. They came to Gedaliah at Mizpah: Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite and Jaazaniah son of Maacathite and their men.
9. Gedaliah son of Ahikam son of Shaphan swore to them and their men: "Don't be afraid to serve the Chaldeans; remain in the country, serve the king of Babylon and all will be well with you.
10. As for me, I am based here in Mizpah and I am your representative with the Chaldeans who settle at this place. For your part gather wine, fruit and oil; store it in your vessels and stay in the towns you have occupied."
11. The Jews who were in Moab, Ammon, Edom and in the other lands also learned that the king of Babylon had left a remnant of the population and that he had placed over them Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan.
12. All of these Jews returned from the places where they had been dispersed and came to Gedaliah at Mizpah in the land of Judah. There they gathered in wine and fruit in great quantities.
13. Johanan son of Kareah and all the chiefs of guerrilla warfare came to Gedaliah at Mizpah
14. and said, "Don't you know that Baalis, king of the Ammonites has commissioned Ishmael son of Nethaniah to assassinate you?"
15. But Gedaliah, son of Ahikam, did not believe him. Then Johanan spoke secretly to Gedaliah at Mizpah, "Let me go and kill Ishmael son of Nethaniah without anyone knowing. Don't allow him to kill you lest all the Jews assembled with you be dispersed and the rest of Judah perish."
16. But Gedaliah son of Ahikam said to Johanan son of Kareah, "Don't do that because what you have said about Ishmael is a lie."