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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 41

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary

Verse 1

THE MURDER OF GEDALIAH, Jeremiah 41:1-10.

1. Seventh month Gedaliah was in office less than two months. And the princes, etc, Rather, and of the princes, etc. The language covers simply Ishmael and the ten men with him.

Eat bread together Hospitality on the one side, the basest treachery on the other.

Verse 2

2. Had made governor This was his crime. It was not simply murder, but the slaying of a ruler; striking down not merely a human life but the State in him.

Verse 3

3. Slew all the Jews Namely, those in the governor’s palace.

Verse 4

4. No man knew it “No man” beyond Mizpah.

Verse 5

5. Shechem,… Shiloh,… and Samaria These places are not named in topographical order. The reason does not appear. It may be on account of rhythm, or it may be that most of the men came from Shechem, and that the other two places are simply mentioned as incidentally connected with the affair.

Cut themselves This practice was strictly forbidden by the law, (Leviticus 19:28; Leviticus 21:5; Deuteronomy 14:1,) and yet seems to have remained in common use. (Jeremiah 7:29; Isaiah 22:12; Ezekiel 7:18, etc.) These signs of grief had reference to the calamity which had befallen Jerusalem.

Offerings and incense Notwithstanding their violating Jewish law as above, there can be little doubt that they were Jews. Possibly in the region of Samaria. from which they came, heathen practices had been fallen into to an unusual extent.

Verse 6

6. Weeping all along as he went Literally, going to go and weep weeping continually. The idea is well expressed in our version. He simulated grief for the same purpose for which the Indian lies in ambush.

Verse 7

7. Slew them… into the midst of the pit This is a pregnant construction, quite characteristic of the Hebrew. The words inserted by the translators are fully justified, and indeed necessary for the English reader.

Verse 8

8. Treasures In Isaiah 45:3, the same original word is translated “ hid den riches.” Doubtless at this troublous and dangerous time the practice of concealing the choicest products of the earth in caves or subterranean chambers must have been quite common.

Verse 9

9. Now the pit From Jeremiah 41:7 it would appear probable that this pit was within the city, though this is not quite certain. Probably, then, the meaning here is, that this was simply a cistern of extraordinary size intended to supply water in time of siege. A store of water is as necessary as a fortification.

Because of Gedaliah The words have been variously interpreted. The most satisfactory sense is, by the side of, as in the margin. The reason of this extraordinary double assassination is not very clear. It could hardly be for booty merely, though it would seem that Ishmael was not indifferent to this. His real design was hostile to the Jews, and his object seems to be their ruin and dispersion. The whole affair expresses and illustrates the enmity of the Ammonite king, though the secret of his enmity we may not fully know.

Verse 10

10. King’s daughters Not only those who were really such, but all the younger female members of the royal household.

Verse 11


11. Johanan The friend of Gedaliah, who had warned him of this plot.

Verse 12

12. The great waters that are in Gibeon Probably a reservoir or pool. Robinson describes such a pool still existing there fed by a natural spring. Gibeon is about two miles north of Mizpah, and was one of the sacerdotal cities of Benjamin.

Verse 14

14. Cast about Turned around.

Verse 16

16. Mighty men of war In Jeremiah 41:3 it is related that Ishmael “slew… the men of war.” That must refer to those who were about the person of Gedaliah; this, to other soldiers Johanan had been able to make prisoners. Among the eunuchs who are here mentioned, probably, may have been Ebed-melech.

Verse 17

17. Departed, and dwelt Temporarily, until ready for a journey into Egypt.

Habitation of Chimham The inn of Chimham. The word translated “habitation” occurs nowhere else, but etymologically has the meaning of inn. Chimham was the founder of it. See 2 Samuel 19:38; 2 Samuel 19:40.

Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Jeremiah 41". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/jeremiah-41.html. 1874-1909.
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