CLICK HERE to read Jeremiah 42.
The survivors gathered together on their way (verse 1), and approached Jeremiah the prophet for a blessing before they traveled to Egypt to get away from the Chaldeans and warring poor (verse 2). They stated they were prepared to be obedient to whatever the Lord told them to do (verse 3).
Jeremiah agreed to pray for them and intercede and ask the Lord’s will, promising to hold nothing from them that the Lord told him (verse 4). The people agreed to this, again stating they would do what the Lord told them to do (verse 5). They said, that no matter what the Lord told them, “we will obey the voice of the Lord our God… that it may be well with us…” (verse 6).
Jeremiah prayed for ten days (verse 7) while the people waited (verse 8). He finally returned with the response from the Lord (verse 9), saying that if the people would stay in the land they would be built up and planted and established instead of destroyed (verse 10) and that they should not be afraid of the Babylonian king because the Lord would deliver them (verse 11). He promised to show them mercy and help them be restored to their own lands (verse 12).
However, Jeremiah warned, the Lord also said that if they did leave and go to Egypt (verses 14-15) and disobey the Lord’s command in this (verse 13), then they will be conquered there and suffer famine even while the warring poor chased them down there and won against them (verse 16). None who tried to disobey the Lord would live or escape (verse 17). The Lord said that just as the people of Jerusalem had provoked Him, and so were destroyed, so it would be with those who tried to leave now after all He had done for them (verse 18).
This was the will of the Lord (verse 19), and He reminded them that they had promised beforehand to be obedient to what He commanded (verse 20). He warned them that if they fled to Egypt (verse 21), they would be destroyed by disease and famine and war (verse 22). But the choice was theirs to make: they could have faith in God and find courage to face their enemies, or flee in fear to find illusions of safety and surely be destroyed.