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Jeremiah Chapter Forty                            


Jeremiah 40

Chapter Contents

Jeremiah is directed to go to Gedaliah. (1-6) A conspiracy against Gedaliah. (7-16)

Commentary on Jeremiah 40:1-6

(Read Jeremiah 40:1-6)

The captain of the guard seems to glory that he had been God's instrument to fulfil, what Jeremiah had been God's messenger to foretell. Many can see God's justice and truth with regard to others, who are heedless and blind as to themselves and their own sins. But, sooner or later, all men shall be made sensible that their sin is the cause of all their miseries. Jeremiah has leave to dispose of himself; but is advised to go to Gedaliah, governor of the land under the king of Babylon. It is doubtful whether Jeremiah acted right in this decision. But those who desire the salvation of sinners, and the good of the church, are apt to expect better times from slight appearances, and they will prefer the hope of being useful, to the most secure situations without it.

Commentary on Jeremiah 40:7-16

(Read Jeremiah 40:7-16)

Jeremiah had never in his prophecies spoken of any good days for the Jews, to come immediately after the captivity; yet Providence seemed to encourage such an expectation. But how soon is this hopeful prospect blighted! When God begins a judgment, he will complete it. While pride, ambition, or revenge, bears rule in the heart, men will form new projects, and be restless in mischief, which commonly ends in their own ruin. Who would have thought, that after the destruction of Jerusalem, rebellion would so soon have sprung up? There can be no thorough change but what grace makes. And if the miserable, who are kept in everlasting chains for the judgment of the great day, were again permitted to come on earth, the sin and evil of their nature would be unchanged. Lord, give us new hearts, and that new mind in which the new birth consists, since thou hast said we cannot without it see thy heavenly kingdom.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on Jeremiah


Jeremiah 40

Verse 1

[1] The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, after that Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah, when he had taken him being bound in chains among all that were carried away captive of Jerusalem and Judah, which were carried away captive unto Babylon.

Ramah — Ramah was a city in the tribe of Benjamin near Gibeon.

Babylon — Jeremiah was by mistake and expressly contrary to the king's orders carried amongst the other prisoners; probably the captain of the guard at that place called over his prisoners, and among them found the prophet contrary to his expectation.

Verse 5

[5] 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 hath made governor over the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people: or go wheresoever it seemeth convenient unto thee to go. So the captain of the guard gave him victuals and a reward, and let him go.

Now — Jeremiah before he was gone out of the presence of Nebuzar-adan, declaring that he was more inclined to stay in his own country, Nebuzar-adan bid him, Go back.

Verse 8

[8] Then they came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, even Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth, and the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah the son of a Maachathite, they and their men.

Ishmael — It is likely these were commanders of parties, which either were within the city 'till it was taken, and then escaped, or where somewhere in the country, and not so much regarded by the Chaldeans, who were more intent upon the conquest of the city, than pursuing these little parties.

Verse 10

[10] As for me, behold, I will dwell at Mizpah to serve the Chaldeans, which will come unto us: but ye, gather ye wine, and summer fruits, and oil, and put them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that ye have taken.

I will dwell — I have choice made of Mizpah, a city upon the frontiers, to make my residence, it being a convenient place for me to receive orders from the king of Babylon.

But ye — Gather such fruits as the country affords, as you use to do in the times of peace.

Verse 12

[12] Even all the Jews returned out of all places whither they were driven, and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah, unto Mizpah, and gathered wine and summer fruits very much.

Returned — Probably upon the king of Babylon's first invading Judah, many fled, and more as he went on his conquests, over-running the country; and it is likely at the taking of the city, many escaped, and fled into several countries, as they had opportunity, or judged this or that country would be safest; some fled to Moab, some to Ammon some to Edom, some one way, and some another: but when they heard that the king of Babylon had set a governor of their own religion and country over them, they came back to him; and there being few people left in the land, which was wonderfully fruitful, they gathered plenty of grapes, and other summer fruits.

Verse 13

[13] Moreover Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were in the fields, came to Gedaliah to Mizpah,

Moreover — They had been with him before, but now they come to discover a conspiracy against his life.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on Jeremiah


40 Chapter 40


Verses 1-16

Verse 1

Jeremiah 40:1

Being bound in chains.

Jeremiah in chains

There is sadness In a shackle and bitterness In bonds. Many men part with life rather than liberty. Speaking humanly, Paul’s lot In chains would have been intolerably irksome; but his soul was free! They could not chain his spirit. It is melancholy to watch the attitude of a caged eagle; its eye is dull, its plumage droops. The chain is round the spirit of the creature of the skies. Not so with the Christian soul. “It is not the shackle on the wrist that constitutes the slave,” said Robertson of Brighton, “but the loss of self-respect.” In Christian service we learn to reverence self. Our only bonds are the bonds of love. Our manhood is exalted, our service is liberty. (Christian Commonwealth.)

Verse 3

Jeremiah 40:3

And have not obeyed His voice.

Unheeding warnings lead to ruin

If I were in a boat on the river in the rapids, it would not be necessary to insure my destruction that I should enter into violent controversy with those who would urge me from the shore to take heed and come to land. All I should have to do would be to shut my ears to their entreaty, and leave myself alone; the current would do the rest. Neglect of the Gospel is thus just as perilous as the open rejection of it. Indeed half the evils of our daily life in temporal things are caused by neglect, and countless are the souls who put off the seeking of the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof. (W. Bates.)

──The Biblical Illustrator