Jeremiah 40

Jeremiah Freed

1 The word came to Jeremiah from the LORD after Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard had released him at Ramah. He had found Jeremiah bound in chains among all the captives from Jerusalem and Judah who were being carried into exile to Babylon.
2 When the commander of the guard found Jeremiah, he said to him, “The LORD your God decreed this disaster for this place.
3 And now the LORD has brought it about; he has done just as he said he would. All this happened because you people sinned against the LORD and did not obey him.
4 But today I am freeing you from the chains on your wrists. Come with me to Babylon, if you like, and I will look after you; but if you do not want to, then don’t come. Look, the whole country lies before you; go wherever you please.”
5 However, before Jeremiah turned to go,[a] Nebuzaradan added, “Go back to Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has appointed over the towns of Judah, and live with him among the people, or go anywhere else you please.” Then the commander gave him provisions and a present and let him go.
6 So Jeremiah went to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah and stayed with him among the people who were left behind in the land.

Gedaliah Assassinated

7 When all the army officers and their men who were still in the open country heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam as governor over the land and had put him in charge of the men, women and children who were the poorest in the land and who had not been carried into exile to Babylon,
8 they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah—Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah[b] the son of the Maakathite, and their men.
9 Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, took an oath to reassure them and their men. “Do not be afraid to serve the Babylonians,[c] ” he said. “Settle down in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well with you.
10 I myself will stay at Mizpah to represent you before the Babylonians who come to us, but you are to harvest the wine, summer fruit and olive oil, and put them in your storage jars, and live in the towns you have taken over.”
11 When all the Jews in Moab, Ammon, Edom and all the other countries heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant in Judah and had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, as governor over them,
12 they all came back to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah, from all the countries where they had been scattered. And they harvested an abundance of wine and summer fruit.
13 Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers still in the open country came to Gedaliah at Mizpah
14 and said to him, “Don’t you know that Baalis king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to take your life?” But Gedaliah son of Ahikam did not believe them.
15 Then Johanan son of Kareah said privately to Gedaliah in Mizpah, “Let me go and kill Ishmael son of Nethaniah, and no one will know it. Why should he take your life and cause all the Jews who are gathered around you to be scattered and the remnant of Judah to perish?”
16 But Gedaliah son of Ahikam said to Johanan son of Kareah, “Don’t do such a thing! What you are saying about Ishmael is not true.”

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 45

  • 1. S Joshua 18:25; 1 Samuel 8:4; Matthew 2:18
  • 2. S Deuteronomy 21:10; S 2 Kings 24:1; S 2 Chronicles 36:10; Nahum 3:10
  • 3. Romans 13:4
  • 4. S Isaiah 10:22
  • 5. S 2 Chronicles 34:24; S Psalms 18:18; S Proverbs 8:36; Galatians 6:7-8
  • 6. S Joshua 23:15; Jeremiah 50:7
  • 7. S Proverbs 13:21; Romans 6:23; James 1:15; Daniel 9:11
  • 8. S Leviticus 26:33; Deuteronomy 28:45-52; Deuteronomy 29:24-28; Deuteronomy 31:17-18; S 1 Kings 9:9; Jeremiah 22:8-9; Daniel 9:14; Acts 7:39; Romans 2:5-9
  • 9. Psalms 105:18-20; S Jeremiah 37:14
  • 10. Lamentations 3:7
  • 11. S Genesis 13:9; Jeremiah 39:11-12
  • 12. S 2 Kings 25:22
  • 13. 2 Kings 22:12-14
  • 14. Nehemiah 5:14; Jeremiah 41:2
  • 15. Jeremiah 44:2; Zechariah 1:12
  • 16. Jeremiah 39:14
  • 17. S Genesis 32:20; S 1 Samuel 9:7
  • 18. ver 10; Judges 20:1; 1 Samuel 7:5-17
  • 19. S Genesis 41:41; S Nehemiah 5:14
  • 20. S 2 Kings 24:14; S Acts 24:17; James 2:5; Jeremiah 39:10
  • 21. ver 13
  • 22. ver 14; Jeremiah 41:1,2
  • 23. ver 15; Jeremiah 41:11
  • 24. S 2 Samuel 23:28
  • 25. S Deuteronomy 3:14
  • 26. Jeremiah 5:19; Jeremiah 27:11; Romans 13:1-2; Ephesians 6:5-8
  • 27. Ezekiel 23:23
  • 28. S Jeremiah 38:20; Lamentations 1:1
  • 29. S ver 6
  • 30. S Genesis 27:28; S Exodus 23:16
  • 31. Exodus 7:19; 2 Corinthians 4:7
  • 32. Deuteronomy 1:39
  • 33. S Numbers 21:11; Numbers 25:1
  • 34. S Genesis 25:30
  • 35. Jeremiah 12:14
  • 36. Jeremiah 43:5
  • 37. Jeremiah 42:1
  • 38. ver 8
  • 39. S Genesis 19:38; 2 Samuel 10:1-19; Jeremiah 25:21; Jeremiah 41:10; Jeremiah 49:1
  • 40. S ver 8
  • 41. S ver 8
  • 42. S Deuteronomy 5:17; Matthew 5:21-22
  • 43. S Genesis 11:4; S Leviticus 26:33; Matthew 26:31; John 11:52; James 1:1
  • 44. S 2 Kings 21:14; S Isaiah 1:9; Romans 11:5
  • 45. Jeremiah 43:2

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Or "Jeremiah answered"
  • [b]. Hebrew "Jezaniah," a variant of "Jaazaniah"
  • [c]. Or "Chaldeans" ; also in verse 10

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

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