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Monday, June 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 40

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-16

Chapter 40

Now as we come into the fourth part of the book of Jeremiah, these are the prophecies of Jeremiah to the people after Zedekiah was carried away and the remnant of the people who stayed here in the land. They still did not take everybody. Remember he left the poor people in the land to just have the land. Take over the vineyards and everything else and you can just have it. So the poor of the people, the poor people were given the land. So this Jeremiah remained with them, and this is the word that the Lord that came to Jeremiah.

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, after that Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah ( Jeremiah 40:1 ),

Now Ramah is Ramallah, which is only about five miles from Jerusalem. So Jeremiah had been taken by the Babylonians and was being led and the message came from Nebuchadnezzar, "Hey, let him do whatever he wants." And so they released him and he was able to come back. So they let him go from Ramah.

when he had taken him being bound in chains among those that were carried away captive of Jerusalem and Judah, which were carried away captive unto Babylon ( Jeremiah 40:1 ).

So he was bound in chains with the rest of those that they were leading back to Babylon. Wouldn't that be a sad and terrible journey? Talk about some of these death marches and so forth, to go to Babylon from Jerusalem about 200 miles or so, and in chains. Oh, and here the prophet had said, "Hey look, just go over to them. Surrender, go on out, sneak out, give yourself over to them and you'll be okay." And yet the people chose to rebel and against the word of the Lord and against the Babylonians, and now the consequences.

And the captain of the guard took Jeremiah, and said unto him, The LORD thy God hath pronounced this evil upon this place. Now the LORD hath brought it, and he has done according as he has said ( Jeremiah 40:2-3 ):

Always true. God will always keep His word. He has done as He said.

because you have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed his voice, therefore this thing is come upon you ( Jeremiah 40:3 ).

Now, it is interesting that the enemies of Judah recognized the reason for their problems and difficulties. "God has done this to you because you didn't obey Him."

And now, behold, I am loosing thee this day from the chains which are on your hands. And if it seems good unto you to come with me to Babylon, come on; and I will look unto your well being: but if it doesn't seem good to you to come with me into Babylon, then you don't have to: behold, all of the land is before you: and wherever it seems good and convenient for thee to go, there you can go ( Jeremiah 40:4 ).

So Jeremiah was given a totally free reign. "Come on to Babylon, we'll treat you well. Stay here if you want. Just wherever you want to go, the whole land is before you, you can go where you want."

Now while he was not yet gone back, he said, Go back also to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has made governor over the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people: or go wheresoever it seemeth convenient unto you to go. So the captain of the guard gave him food and a reward, and they let him go. Then went Jeremiah unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam to Mizpah; and dwelt with him among the people that were left in the land. Now when all the captains of the forces which were in the fields, even they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam governor in the land, and had committed unto him men, and women, and children, and of the poor of the land, of those that were not carried away captive to Babylon; Then they came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, even Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Johanan and Jonathan [and these various captains], and they came with their men. And Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan sware unto them and to their men, saying, Fear not to serve the Chaldeans: dwell in the land, serve the king of Babylon, and it will be well with you ( Jeremiah 40:5-9 ).

So Gedaliah was being faithful to the responsibilities given to him by Nebuchadnezzar, encouraging the people, "Don't rebel any more. Just live and dwell in the land. It's going to be all right."

As for me, behold, I am going to dwell here at Mizpah, and serve the Chaldeans, which will come unto us: but you, gather your wine, and summer fruits, and oil, and put them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that you have taken ( Jeremiah 40:10 ).

Now Jerusalem was left desolate. It had been so destroyed by the Babylonians. No sense of even trying to go back there with the poor people that he had. So just dwelling in Mizpah instead, and you men dwell in the cities that you have.

Likewise when all the Jews that were in Moab [across the Jordan River from them], and among the Ammonites, and those that were in Edom [south from Moab], and those that were in all the countries, heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant of Judah, and that he had set over them Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan; Even all the Jews returned out of every place whither they were driven, and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah, unto Mizpah, and they gathered wine and summer fruits very great. Moreover Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were in the fields, came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, and said unto him, Do you not certainly know that Baalis the king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to kill you? But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam did not believe them. Then Johanan the son of Kareah spake to Gedaliah in Mizpah secretly, saying, Let me go, I pray you, and I will slay Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and no man will know it: for why should he slay you, that all the Jews which are gathered unto thee should be scattered, and the remnant that are in Judah perish? But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said unto Johanan the son of Kareah, You shall not do this thing: for you are speaking falsely of Ishmael ( Jeremiah 40:11-16 ).

May God help us to give heed to the Word of God and to the warnings of God. Jesus said, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the church" ( Revelation 2:7 ). And may God give to us ears to hear and a heart that will respond unto the Lord. May the Lord bless and keep you. May the Lord guide you in your activities this week. May the hand of the Lord be upon your life for good that He might bless you. In Jesus' name. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Jeremiah 40". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/jeremiah-40.html. 2014.
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