1 All the army leaders, including Johanan son of Kareah and Azariah son of Hoshaiah, came with people of every class.
2 They said to me: »Please do what we ask you! Pray to Jehovah our God for us. Pray for all of us who have survived. Once there were many of us. Now there are only a few of us left, as you can see.
3 »Pray that Jehovah our God will show us the way we should go and what we should do.«
4 I answered: »Very well, then. I will pray to Jehovah our God, just as you have asked. I will tell you what he says. I will not keep back anything from you.«
5 Then they said to me: »May Jehovah be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not obey all the commandments that Jehovah our God gives you for us.
6 »Whether it pleases us or not, we will obey Jehovah our God, to whom we are asking you to pray. All will go well with us if we obey him.«
7 Ten days later Jehovah spoke to me.
8 I called together Johanan, all the army leaders who were with him, and all the other people.
9 I said to them, »Jehovah, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me with your request said:
10 If you are willing to go on living in this land I will build you up and not tear you down. I will plant you and not uproot you. The destruction I brought on you has caused me great sorrow.
11 Stop being afraid of the king of Babylon. I am with you. I will rescue you from his power.
12 For the reason that I am merciful, I will make him have mercy on you and let you go back home. I Jehovah have spoken.
13 »If you say: »We will not stay in this land, and you disobey Jehovah your God.«
14 Then you say: »We will go to Egypt, where we will not have to see war, hear the sound of a ram's horn, or be hungry. We will stay there.«
15 Listen to the word of Jehovah, you people who are left in Judah. This is what Jehovah of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: »Suppose you are determined to go to Egypt, and you go and live there.
16 »Then the war that you fear will overtake you, and the hunger you dread will follow you, and you will die there in Egypt.
17 »All the people who are determined to go and live in Egypt will die either in war or of starvation or disease. Not one of them will survive, not one will escape the disaster that I am going to bring on them.«
18 »Jehovah, the God of Israel, says: Just as my anger and fury were poured out on the people of Jerusalem, so my fury will be poured out on you if you go to Egypt. You will be a horrifying sight. People will make fun of you and use your name as a curse. You will never see this place again.
19 »Then I continued: Jehovah has told you people who are left in Judah not to go to Egypt. And so I warn you now.
20 »You are making a fatal mistake. You asked me to pray to Jehovah our God for you, and you promised that you would do everything that he commands.
21 »Now I have told you, but you are disobeying everything that Jehovah our God sent me to tell you.
22 »So then, remember this: you will die in war or of starvation or disease in the land where you want to go and live.«