Jeremiah 40


This and the four following chapters contain a distinct account

of what passed in the land of Judah from the taking of

Jerusalem to the retreat of the remnant of the people to Egypt;

together with the prophecies of Jeremiah concerning that place,

whither he himself accompanied them. In this chapter we have an

account of the enlargement of Jeremiah by Nebuzar-adan, the

captain of the guard, who advises him to put himself under the

jurisdiction of Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, whom the king of

Babylon had made governor over the land of Judea, 1-5.

The prophet and many of the dispersed Jews repair to Gedaliah,


Johanan acquaints the governor of a conspiracy against him, but

is not believed, 13-16.


Verse 1. The word that came to Jeremiah] This and the four

following chapters contain a particular account of what passed in

the land of Judea from the taking of the city to the retreat of

the people into Egypt, and the prophecies of Jeremiah concerning

them there.

Had let him go from Ramah] This has embarrassed most of the

commentators. Dr. Blayney has thrown much light upon it by his

translation and note:-

"The word that came to Jeremiah from Jehovah, after that

Nebu-Zaradan captain of the guards had taken him, and let him go

from Ramah: for he had been bound with chains among all the

captives of Jerusalem and Judah, who were carried away captive to


"HAD TAKEN HIM, AND LET HIM GO.-Most interpreters have

understood bekachto otho of Nebuchadnezzar's having

first taken Jeremiah as a captive unto Ramah. But if the order of

the sentence be well observed, as well as the more common use of

the verb lakach, it will, I think, rather appear that those

words relate to his taking or having him brought to him, in order

to give him his discharge."

Verse 2. The Lord thy God hath pronounced] I know that thou art

a true prophet, for what thou hast predicted from thy God is come

to pass.

Verse 4. Come; and I will look well unto thee] Thou art now at

full liberty to do as thou pleasest; either to come to Babylon or

to stay in thy own land.

Verse 5. Go back also to Gedaliah] If thou wilt stay in thy own

land, thou hadst best put thyself under the protection of thy

countryman Gedaliah, whom the King of Babylon has made governor of

the land.

Verse 8. Ishmael the son of Nethaniah] This is he who afterwards

murdered Gedaliah. He had been employed to do this by Baalis, king

of the Ammonites, with whom he appears to have taken refuge during

the siege. See Jer 40:14.

Verse 14. But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam believed then not.] The

account given of this man proves him to have been a person of

uncommon greatness of soul. Conscious of his own integrity and

benevolence, he took the portrait of others from his own mind; and

therefore believed evil of no man, because he felt none towards

any in his own breast. He may be reproached for being too

credulous and confident: but any thing of this kind that may be

justly charged against him serves only to show the greatness of

his mind. A little soul is ever suspicious, and ready to believe

the worst of every person and thing. A great mind acts always on

the contrary.

Verse 16. Thou shalt not do this thing] He cannot be so base.

Thou speakest falsely of Ishmael.] He thought it quite possible

that the man who was capable of becoming an assassin was capable

of telling a lie; and therefore he would not credit what he said.

Had he been a little more distrustful, he would have saved his own

life. The next chapter shows that Johanan's information was too

true. So noble Gedaliah lost his life by not believing that evil

of others of which he himself was incapable.

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