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Bible Commentaries

James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary
Jeremiah 40

 

 

Verses 1-5

LAST MESSAGE TO THE REMNANT

Chapter 40 opens with an account of Nebuchadnezzar’s kindness to Jeremiah, inspired by what he had known of the latter’s advice to his countrymen (Jeremiah 40:1-4). Jeremiah had been the friend of Babylon, but not necessarily the enemy of his own nation. His patriotism was unquestioned, but the highest expression of his patriotism was his counsel to Judah to obey the will of God and submit to Babylon.

Jeremiah’s choice of action is in Jeremiah 40:5-6. The new governor is loyal and things promise well (Jeremiah 40:7-12). But the Ammonites see an opportunity to get even with their old enemy and obtain control of their land through the treachery of an apostate Jew (Jeremiah 40:13-16).

Chapter 41 narrates how the plot is carried out (Jeremiah 41:1-10), and the resultant fear on the part of the people (Jeremiah 41:11-18). This fear leads them to plan an exodus from Judah into Egypt.

Chapter 42 shows them consulting with the prophet before carrying out this plan, albeit they are determined to do it.

Chapter 43 is a prophecy of Egypt’s conquest by Babylon (Jeremiah 43:8-13) delivered after Jeremiah’s arrival there (Jeremiah 43:4-7). Today the place indicated in verse nine is marked by a ruined column.

JEREMIAH’S LAST MESSAGE

The contents of chapter 44 may be regarded as the continuation of the preceding, though how long after the entrance into Egypt the prophecy was uttered is impossible to say. Some have surmised twenty-five years. Certainly the Jews had spread themselves considerably (Jeremiah 44:1). The prophecy opens with a retrospect (Jeremiah 44:2-6); but present conditions are no improvement over the past (Jeremiah 44:7-10); only doom can await them (Jeremiah 44:11-14). Opposition is aroused as of old (Jeremiah 44:15-19), showing the former infatuation (Jeremiah 44:17). They had forgotten that God gave them these good things even when they were rebelling against him (Hosea 2). So men still trace misfortune to everything but the true cause, which is sin. Notice the prominence of women here, on whose regeneration that of society still depends. The prophecy concludes with the prediction of an awful judgment, the truth of which will be established by an appeal to history (Jeremiah 44:20-30).

BARUCH COUNSELLED

Chapter 45 is a word to Baruch, the prophet’s amanuensis and friend spoken doubtless at an earlier period than its position indicates, and some would say just after the events of chapter 36. Weighed down by responsibility and dismayed at the aspect of things, he is seeking better things for himself an easier lot dare we say? At all events he is warned of his moral danger at the same time that he is promised physical deliverance at least, in the dire hour coming on the land (Jeremiah 45:5). He accompanied Jeremiah into Egypt, and to his labors doubtless, we trace the copies of these prophecies which have circulated in that country, and given rise to a Greek version of them (the Septuagint so-called).

QUESTIONS

1. Explain Nebuchadnezzar’s interest in Jeremiah.

2. Did this interest compromise the prophet’s character of a patriot in any way?

3. What is Jeremiah’s choice of a location, and with whom does he now take up his home?

4. Give the history of Gedaliah’s brief authority in your own words.

5. Give the history of the people’s dealings with Jeremiah at this crisis.

6. Analyze the prophet’s last message.

7. Explain chapter 45.

 


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Bibliography Information
Gray, James. "Commentary on Jeremiah 40:4". The James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jgc/jeremiah-40.html. 1897-1910.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, July 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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