Jeremiah 40

1 The word which 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 amongst all the captives of Jerusalem and Judah, who were carried away captive to Babylon. 2 The captain of the guard took Jeremiah, and said to him, the LORD your God pronounced this evil on this place; 3 and the LORD has brought it, and done according as he spoke: because you have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed his voice, therefore this thing has come on you. 4 Now, behold, I release you today from the chains which are on your hand. If it seems good to you to come with me into Babylon, come, and I will take care of you; but if it seems bad to you to come with me into Babylon, don’t: behold, all the land is before you; where it seems good and right to you to go, there go. 5 Now while he had not yet gone back, Go back then, he said, to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has made governor over the cities of Judah, and dwell with him amongst the people; or go wherever it seems right to you to go. So the captain of the guard gave him food and a present, and let him go. 6 Then went Jeremiah to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam to Mizpah, and lived with him amongst the people who were left in the land. 7 Now when all the captains of the forces who were in the fields, even they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam governor in the land, and had committed to him men, and women, and children, and of the poorest of the land, of those who were not carried away captive to Babylon; 8 then they came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, 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 the Maacathite, they and their men. 9 Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan swore to them and to their men, saying, Don’t be afraid to serve the Chaldeans: dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you. 10 As for me, behold, I will dwell at Mizpah, to stand before the Chaldeans who shall come to us: but you, gather wine and summer fruits and oil, and put them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that you have taken. 11 Likewise when all the Jews who were in Moab, and amongst the children of Ammon, and in Edom, and who were in all the countries, heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant of Judah, and that he had set over them Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan; 12 then all the Jews returned out of all places where they were driven, and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah, to Mizpah, and gathered wine and summer fruits very much. 13 Moreover Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces who were in the fields, came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, 14 and said to him, Do you know that Baalis the king of the children of Ammon has sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to take your life? But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam didn’t believe them. 15 Then Johanan the son of Kareah spoke to Gedaliah in Mizpah secretly, saying, Please let me go, and I will kill Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and no man shall know it: why should he take your life, that all the Jews who are gathered to you should be scattered, and the remnant of Judah perish? 16 But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said to Johanan the son of Kareah, You shall not do this thing; for you speak falsely of Ishmael.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

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.

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