1. The word which came to Jeremiah from Yahweh after Nebuzaradan commander of the guard had released him from Ramah, where he had found him in chains with all the other captives from Jerusalem and Judah who were being deported to Babylon:
2. The commander of the guard took Jeremiah and said to him, 'Yahweh your God foretold calamity for this country,
3. and now he has brought it. He has done what he threatened to do, because you had sinned against Yahweh and would not listen to his voice; so all this has happened to you.
4. Look, today I am having your hands unchained. If you like to come with me to Babylon, come: I shall look after you. If you do not want to come with me to Babylon, do not. Look, you have the whole country before you: go wherever you think it best and most suitable to go.'
5. And before Jeremiah retired, he added, 'You can go back to Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has appointed governor of the towns of Judah, and stay with him among the people, or go anywhere else you think suitable.' With that, the commander of the guard gave him provisions and a present, and dismissed him.
6. Jeremiah went to Mizpah, to Gedaliah son of Ahikam and stayed with him, among those people still left in the country.
7. When the military leaders who with their men were still in the field, all heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam as governor of the country, making him responsible for the men, women and children, and those of the poor country people who had not been deported to Babylon,
8. they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah: Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan and Jonathan sons of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, Jezaniah son of the Maacathite, they and their men.
9. To them and to their men Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, swore an oath. 'Do not be afraid', he said, 'of serving the Chaldaeans, stay in the country, serve the king of Babylon, and all will go well with you.
10. I for my part, as the man answerable to the Chaldaeans when they come to us, shall stay here at Mizpah, whereas you can harvest the wine, summer fruit and oil, fill your storage jars and settle in the towns which you have seized.'
11. Similarly, when all the Judaeans living in Moab, with the Ammonites, in Edom and elsewhere, heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant in Judah and had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan as their governor,
12. the Judaeans all came back from wherever they had been driven. On their return to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah, they harvested an immense quantity of wine and summer fruit.
13. Now Johanan son of Kareah and all the military leaders still in the field, came to Gedaliah at Mizpah
14. and said to him, 'Are you aware that Baalis king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to assassinate you?' But Gedaliah son of Ahikam would not believe them.
15. Johanan son of Kareah then spoke in secret to Gedaliah at Mizpah, as follows: 'Please let me go and kill Ishmael son of Nethaniah, and no one will be any the wiser. Why should he assassinate you and cause the dispersal of all the Judaeans who have rallied round you. Why should the remnant of Judah perish?'
16. But Gedaliah son of Ahikam replied to Johanan son of Kareah, 'You will do no such thing, for what you say about Ishmael is false.'