Then all the captains of the forces, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least even unto the greatest, came near,
And said unto Jeremiah the prophet, Let, we beseech thee, our supplication be accepted before thee, and pray for us unto the LORD thy God, even for all this remnant; (for we are left but a few of many, as thine eyes do behold us:)
be accepted before thee
Heb. fall before thee.
That the LORD thy God may shew us the way wherein we may walk, and the thing that we may do.
Then Jeremiah the prophet said unto them, I have heard you; behold, I will pray unto the LORD your God according to your words; and it shall come to pass, that whatsoever thing the LORD shall answer you, I will declare it unto you; I will keep nothing back from you.
The princes seem to have wholly neglected Jeremiah, till on this occasion they wanted his sanction to their purpose of going to Egypt. In order to induce him to favour them, they applied to him with one consent, in the most respectful and plausible manner: they used language to prepossess him with a favourable opinion of them, and to move his compassion; and, in words expressing great humility, they entreated his prayers in their behalf, and that he would enquire of the Lord what he would have them to do. The prophet readily acquiesced; and doubted not but that he should receive an answer from God, which he would unreservedly declare to them; and they called the Lord to witness that they would implicitly follow his directions.
I will pray
I will keep
Then they said to Jeremiah, The LORD be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not even according to all things for the which the LORD thy God shall send thee to us.
The Lord be
Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God, to whom we send thee; that it may be well with us, when we obey the voice of the LORD our God.
it be good
And it came to pass after ten days, that the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah.
Then called he Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces which were with him, and all the people from the least even to the greatest,
And said unto them, Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, unto whom ye sent me to present your supplication before him;
If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you.
Be not afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom ye are afraid; be not afraid of him, saith the LORD: for I am with you to save you, and to deliver you from his hand.
And I will shew mercies unto you, that he may have mercy upon you, and cause you to return to your own land.
But if ye say, We will not dwell in this land, neither obey the voice of the LORD your God,
Saying, No; but we will go into the land of Egypt, where we shall see no war, nor hear the sound of the trumpet, nor have hunger of bread; and there will we dwell:
we will go
And now therefore hear the word of the LORD, ye remnant of Judah; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; If ye wholly set your faces to enter into Egypt, and go to sojourn there;
If ye are determined to go into Egypt, the evils which ye dreaded by staying in your own land shall overtake and destroy you there; "and there shall ye die." God turned the policy of the wicked to their own destruction; for while they thought themselves safe in Egypt, there Nebuchadnezzar destroyed both them and the Egyptians.
Then it shall come to pass, that the sword, which ye feared, shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine, whereof ye were afraid, shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there ye shall die.
that the sword
Heb. cleave. there ye.
So shall it be with all the men that set their faces to go into Egypt to sojourn there; they shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: and none of them shall remain or escape from the evil that I will bring upon them.
it be with all the men
Heb. all the men be. they shall.
For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; As mine anger and my fury hath been poured forth upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem; so shall my fury be poured forth upon you, when ye shall enter into Egypt: and ye shall be an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach; and ye shall see this place no more.
The people had witnessed the tremendous effects of the wrath of God, in the siege and destruction of Jerusalem; and had they not been past feeling, this denunciation must have made their ears tingle, and appalled their very souls.
ye shall be
and ye shall see
The LORD hath said concerning you, O ye remnant of Judah; Go ye not into Egypt: know certainly that I have admonished you this day.
God knew, that such was their miserable propensity to idolatry, that they would adopt the idolatrous worship of Egypt. Add to which, their going thither for protection was in effect refusing to submit to the king of Babylon, to whom God had decreed the rule of Judah and the neighbouring kingdoms.
Heb. testified against you.
For ye dissembled in your hearts, when ye sent me unto the LORD your God, saying, Pray for us unto the LORD our God; and according unto all that the LORD our God shall say, so declare unto us, and we will do it.
God made known to the prophet their dissimulation; which he shunned not to declare to them.
dissembled in your hearts
Heb. have used deceit against your souls.
And now I have this day declared it to you; but ye have not obeyed the voice of the LORD your God, nor any thing for the which he hath sent me unto you.
Now therefore know certainly that ye shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, in the place whither ye desire to go and to sojourn.
to go and to sojourn
or, to go to sojourn.