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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 40

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-6



Chapters 40-44 deal with events in the land of Judith following the fall of Jerusalem. When the city fell, Nebuchadnezzar was at his general base of operation in Riblah. Thus, Jeremiah was rounded up with others, whom it seemed appropriate to deport to Babylon, and taken to Riblah. There Nebuchadnezzar, who was aware of his office, and persistent counselling of Zedekiah to surrender, ordered his release, and gave him the liberty to choose where he would live.


1. Some see a contradiction between verse 1 and the account of Jeremiah’s release recorded in Jeremiah 39:11-14; it is probably only an addition of details.

2. The captain is aware that the fall of Jerusalem has come as a judgment from Jehovah, the God of Judah, because of her sins, (vs. 2­3).

3. Setting Jeremiah free, the captain offers him the choice of going to Babylon (where he will be treated with honor and respect), or of remaining in the land with the poor remnant, (vs. 4).

a. If he comes to Babylon, the Captain will, personally, see to his welfare.

b. If he chooses to dwell in the land, he may select any place that he desires; the whole land is before him!

4. Seeing Jeremiah’s hesitancy, the Captain then suggested that he might want to go back and encourage Gedaliah, whom Nebuchadnezzar had appointed governor over the cities of Judah; but, he was free to go wherever it seemed right to him that he should go, (vs. 5).

5. Nebuzar-adan then gave to Jeremiah a supply of food, and a present, and let him go to Gedaliah who dwelt among the people at Mizpah, (vs.6 ).

6. Having been used of God, for the past 40 years, to "pluck up", "break down", "destroy" and "overthrow"; it was now his desire to assist in "building and planting"-the reconstruction of the nation.

Verses 7-12


1. The responsibility of Gedaliah, as governor, was to assist the remnant to settle down, cultivate the land and pay the appointed tribute to Babylon from their harvests.

2. Since Jerusalem was devastated, he selected Mizpah (where the first king of Judah was selected) as. his seat of government, and many leaders of Judah’s scattered forces came to him there, (vs. 7; comp. 1 Samuel 10:17-25).

3. Knowing that there could be no political or economic stability until guerrilla activity was halted, Gedaliah endeavored to gain the confidence of the guerrilla leaders.

a. They were urged not to fear the Babylonian officials who dwelt in the land, (vs. 8-9; 2 Kings 25:24).

b. Promising to represent them before the king, he set them to harvesting the crops that had been neglected during the conflict (vs. 10), and urged them to dwell in the cities they had taken.

4. When news of Gedaliah’s governorship was spread abroad, many Jews who had fled to Moab, Ammon, Edom, etc., returned to the land of Judah also, (vs. 11-12).

Verses 13-16


1. A number of officers, under the leadership of Johanan, came to Gedaliah to warn of a plot against his life, (vs. 13-14).

a. They inquired whether he was aware that Baalis, the king of the Ammonites, had sent Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah, to assassinate him, (vs. 14a).

b. But Gedaliah refused to give any- credit to the report, (vs. 14b).

2. Later Johanan conferred secretly with Gedaliah - pleading for permission to slay Ishmael before he could carry out his treacherous mission, (vs. 15).

’ a. If he succeeds in taking the life of the governor, all who have gathered around his leadership will be scattered.

b. Nebuchadnezzar will quite likely avenge the murder in such a way that the remnant of Judah will utterly perish.

3. Gedaliah, however, refused the plea of Johanan - accusing him, rather, of lying against a fellow-officer! (vs.16).

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Jeremiah 40". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/jeremiah-40.html. 1985.
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