Jeremiah 40

Listen to Jeremiah 40

Jeremiah Remains in Judah

1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD 1after Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from 2Ramah, when he took him 3bound in chains along with all the captives of Jerusalem and Judah who were being exiled to Babylon.
2 The captain of the guard took Jeremiah and said to him, 4"The LORD your God pronounced this disaster against this place.
3 The LORD has brought it about, and has done as he said. 5Because you sinned against the LORD and did not obey his voice, this thing has come upon you.
4 Now, behold, I release you today from 6the chains on your hands. 7If it seems good to you to come with me to Babylon, come, and I will look after you well, 8but if it seems wrong to you to come with me to Babylon, do not come. 9See, the whole land is before you; go wherever you think it good and right to go.
5 If you remain,[a] then return to 10Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, 11whom the king of Babylon appointed governor of the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people. Or go wherever you think it right to go." So the captain of the guard gave him an allowance of food and a present, and let him go.
6 Then Jeremiah went to 12Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, at 13Mizpah, and lived with him 14among the people 15who were left in the land.
7 16When all the captains of the forces in the open country and their men heard that 17the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam governor in the land and had committed to him men, women, and children, those of 18the poorest of the land who had not been taken into exile to Babylon,
8 they went to Gedaliah at 19Mizpah--20Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, 21Johanan the son of Kareah, Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, 22Jezaniah the son of the Maacathite, they and their men.
9 Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, swore to them and their men, saying, "Do not be afraid to serve the Chaldeans. Dwell in the land and serve the king of Babylon, 23and it shall be well with you.
10 As for me, I will dwell at 24Mizpah, to represent you before the Chaldeans who will come to us. But as for you, 25gather wine and summer fruits and oil, and store them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that you have taken."
11 Likewise, when all the Judeans who were in 26Moab and among 27the Ammonites and in 28Edom and in other lands heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant in Judah and had appointed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, as governor over them,
12 29then all the Judeans returned from all the places to which they had been driven and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah. And they 30gathered wine and summer fruits in great abundance.
13 Now 31Johanan the son of Kareah and 32all the leaders of the forces in the open country came to Gedaliah at Mizpah
14 and said to him, "Do you know that Baalis the king of 33the Ammonites has sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to take your life?" But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam would not believe them.
15 Then Johanan the son of Kareah spoke secretly to Gedaliah at Mizpah, "Please let me go and strike down Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and no one will know it. Why should he take your life, so that all the Judeans who are gathered about you would be scattered, 34and the remnant of Judah would perish?"
16 But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said to Johanan the son of Kareah, "You shall not do this thing, for you are speaking falsely of Ishmael."

Jeremiah 40 Commentary

Chapter 40

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

Verses 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.

Verses 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.

Cross References 34

  • 1. [Jeremiah 39:14]
  • 2. Joshua 18:25
  • 3. [Psalms 149:8]
  • 4. [Deuteronomy 29:24, 28]
  • 5. Jeremiah 44:3, 23; Deuteronomy 29:25; See Daniel 9:10-12
  • 6. [See ver. 1 above]
  • 7. [Jeremiah 39:12]
  • 8. [Jeremiah 39:12]
  • 9. [Genesis 20:15]
  • 10. See Jeremiah 39:14
  • 11. Jeremiah 41:2
  • 12. [See ver. 5 above]
  • 13. Jeremiah 41:6; Joshua 18:26
  • 14. Jeremiah 37:12; Jeremiah 39:14
  • 15. Jeremiah 39:10
  • 16. For ver. 7-9, see 2 Kings 25:23, 24
  • 17. ver. 5
  • 18. Jeremiah 39:10; 2 Kings 25:12
  • 19. [See ver. 6 above]
  • 20. ver. 14, 15, 16; See Jeremiah 41:1-3
  • 21. ver. 13, 15, 16; Jeremiah 42:1, 8
  • 22. Jeremiah 42:1
  • 23. Jeremiah 38:20
  • 24. [See ver. 6 above]
  • 25. [ver. 12]
  • 26. [Numbers 22:1; 2 Samuel 8:2]
  • 27. 1 Samuel 11:1; 1 Samuel 12:12
  • 28. Genesis 36:8
  • 29. [Jeremiah 43:5]
  • 30. [ver. 10]
  • 31. ver. 8, 15, 16; Jeremiah 42:1, 8
  • 32. Jeremiah 41:11; Jeremiah 42:1
  • 33. [Jeremiah 41:10]
  • 34. [Jeremiah 42:2]

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Syriac; the meaning of the Hebrew phrase is uncertain

Chapter Summary


This chapter treats of the release of Jeremiah, and the care taken of him; of the gathering of the princes and people of the Jews to Gedaliah, appointed their governor, dispersed about Judea, and other countries; and of a conspiracy against him, of which information was given him. The release of Jeremiah, where, and by whom, Jer 40:1-4; the liberty granted him to go to Babylon, or stay in Judea, as he thought fit; and, if he chose the latter, is advised to go to Gedaliah, appointed governor, or where he would; and is dismissed with food, and a reward, Jer 40:4-6; upon which he went and dwelt with Gedaliah, Jer 40:7; to whom also the captains of the dispersed forces joined themselves, to whom he swore, and bid them be of good cheer; and exhorted them to serve the Chaldeans, which he urged from the profit of it to them, and by his own example, Jer 40:8-10; and to whom also gathered the Jews in other countries, Jer 40:11,12; by the captains he is informed of a conspiracy against his life, and one of them offers to destroy the conspirator, which Gedaliah would not agree to, disbelieving the information, Jer 40:13-16.

Jeremiah 40 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.