Jeremiah (Ch 39-40)

The list of kings of Judah towards the end; in successive reigns, as Josiah (reign 640–609), Jehoahaz (reign 609), Jehoiakim (reign 609–598), Jehoiachin or Jechonias (reign 598–597), and Zedekiah (reign 597–586)

Jeremiah 39

1 In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah in the tenth month, came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army against Jerusalem, and they besieged it. — in the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah; that would be around 588 BC; in the tenth month… the month Tebet, which is part of December and part of January; so that it was in the winter season the siege of Jerusalem began:

— and they besieged it, provoked by Zedekiah’s breaking the covenant with him, and rebelled against him, who had set him upon his throne, so Nebuchadnezzar was determined to revenge; and came even in winter for a long march and a siege.

— the king of Babylon came in person at first; but having begun the siege, and given proper orders to his generals for the carrying of it on, and supposing it would be a long one, retired to Riblah in Syria, either for pleasure or for other issues. The time of beginning the siege exactly agrees with the account in II Kings 25:1; but there are more details given, expressing the day of the month, which was the tenth of it; and so in.

And in the eleventh year of Zedekiah in the fourth month, the ninth day of the month, the city was broken into. — and in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month… the month Tammuz, which answers to part of June, and part of July: the ninth day of the month, the city was broken up; or taken by storm; the walls of it were broken by engines and battering rams, so that the Chaldeans could enter and take it. This was just a year and a half after it had been besieged, which would be around 586 BC; not being able to hold out any longer, because of the famine; Jeremiah 52:6.

And all the princes of the king of Babylon came in and sat in the Middle Gate: even Nergalsharezer, Samgarnebo, Sarsechim, Rabsaris, Nergalsharezer, Rabmag, with all the residue of the princes of the king of Babylon.

And it came to pass that when Zedekiah the king of Judah saw them and all the men of war, then they fled and went forth out of the city by night, by the way of the king’s garden, by the gate betwixt the two walls; and he went out the way of the plain.

But the Chaldeans’ army pursued after them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he gave judgement upon him. — but the Chaldean army pursued after them… being informed of the flight by those surrendered to them, as Josephus says; or not finding the king, his family, nobles and guards at the palace, where they expected them, and knowing which way they must take, pursued after them; not the whole army, only a part of it; for some must remain at Jerusalem to demolish the city and take the spoil of it:

— and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; not far from it, as Josephus says; that when his friends and generals saw the enemy near, they deserted him and fled and only a few were with him when being surrounded:

— and when they had taken him they brought him to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath: which is generally thought to be Antioch in Syria; whither he had retired from the siege of Jerusalem, having left it to his generals to refresh himself in this pleasant place, as it seems it was; or that he might be nearer in his own kingdom; however, here he was, and here the army brought Zedekiah to him, and those they took with him;

— where he passed sentence on him, which was to have his eyes put out: he severely chide him and upbraided him for the perfidy he had been guilty of in breaking his oath;

— so Josephus says, “after he came to him, Nebuchadnezzar began to call him a wicked man and a covenant breaker, unmindful of promises he had made to preserve the country for him; he reproached him with ingratitude, in receiving the kingdom from him he had taken from Jehoiakim, and given to him, who had used his power against the giver; but, says he, the great God that hates thy manners has put thee into our hands.”

Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes in Riblah; also the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah. — all his sons were killed but nothing said about the daughters; these must be very young, at least some of them; since Zedekiah at this time was only thirty two years of age. This must be a dreadful spectacle for him and the pains must be cutting, that it was owing to his own obstinacy in not taking the advice of the prophet Jeremiah to surrender to the Chaldeans, whereby he and his family would have been saved, Jeremiah 38:17;

— also the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah; who did not come over to the Chaldean army and surrender themselves; such who advised the king to stand out to the last and who fled and were taken with him; as many of them as fell into the hands of the king of Babylon. Rashi says those “the nobles of Judah” were members of the Sanhedrin, who advised Zedekiah from his oath to Nebuchadnezzar.

Moreover he put out Zedekiah’s eyes, and bound him with chains to carry him to Babylon. — moreover he put out Zedekiah’s eyes… by what means is not certain; however, hereby the prophecy of Jeremiah was fulfilled, that his eyes should see the king of Babylon, as they did, before they were put out, and that he should not die by the sword, Jeremiah 34:3;

— and also the prophecy of Ezekiel, Ezekiel 12:13; that he should be brought to Babylon, and yet should not see it; for his eyes were put out before he was carried there: a full proof of the prescience of God; of his foreknowledge of future and contingent events; of the truth and certainty of prophecy, and of the authority of divine revelation;

— and bound him with two brass or iron chains, or fetters, for both his legs; and thus bound and was carried to Babylon, where he remained to the day of his death.

And the Chaldeans burned the king’s house and the houses of the people with fire, and broke down the walls of Jerusalem. — and the houses of the people, with fire; the houses of the common people, as distinct from the king’s palace and the houses of the nobles, Jeremiah 52:13; but a den of thieves;

— and broke down the walls of Jerusalem; all the fortifications were entirely dismantled, that it might be no more a city of force and strength as it had been.

Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive into Babylon the remnant of the people that remained in the city and those who fell away, who fell to him, with the rest of the people who remained. — carried away into Babylon the remnant of the people that remained in the city; that were left of the pestilence, famine and sword; and who were found in it when it was taken.

10 But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left the poor of the people, who had nothing, in the land of Judah, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time. — but Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left of the poor of the people, which had nothing, in the land of Judah… because they would have been of no service to the Chaldeans, but a burden to them; and because they had nothing to fear from them; they had no arms to rebel against them, nor money to purchase any; and because it would be to their interest to have the land manured, and not lie waste, that they might have some tribute from it;

— and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time; as their own property to dress and cultivate, and receive the advantage of them; though a tax was laid upon them; or they were to pay tribute to the king of Babylon; or, however, contribute out of them to the support of the government that was placed over them; and this was a happy incident in their favour; they, who before had nothing, are now proprietors of vineyards and fields, when the former owners were carried away as captives: there might be much of the justice of God conspicuous in this affair; such who had been oppressed and ill used by the rich are now retaliated with their possessions.

11 Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, saying,

12 “Take him and look well to him, and do him no harm; but do unto him even as he shall say unto thee.” — take him and look well to him… take him out of prison; take him under his immediate care; receive him kindly and use him humanely; provide everything necessary for him and let him not want for anything: or, “set thine eyes upon him” look pleasantly at him, and let him be always under your view and inspection; treat him not with neglect and contempt, but see to it that nothing is wanting to him;

— and do him no harm; no injury to his person by beating, imprisoning or starving him; nor suffer any to be done to him by the common soldiers or by his own people: let him have whatever he asks for: this was great favour from a heathen prince indeed and more than he met with from his own countrymen.

13 So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard sent Nebushasban, Rabsaris, and Nergalsharezer, Rabmag, and all the king of Babylon’s princes.

14 even they sent and took Jeremiah out of the court of the prison and committed him unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, that he should carry him home. So he dwelt among the people. — even they sent and took Jeremiah out of the court of the prison… where he was, when Jerusalem was taken, Jeremiah 38:28; and where he remained until this order came;

— and committed him unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan; the father of this person seems to be the same who saved Jeremiah from being delivered into the hand of the people to be put to death by them in Jehoiakim’s reign, Jeremiah 26:24; and he himself was doubtless a prince of Judah that deserted to the Chaldeans during the siege and was in esteem with them, and appointed a governor over those that were left in the land.

15 Now the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah while he was shut up in the court of the prison, saying,

16 “Go and speak to Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, ‘Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will bring My words upon this city for evil and not for good; and they shall be accomplished in that day before thee.

17 But I will deliver thee in that day, saith the Lord; and thou shalt not be given into the hand of the men of whom thou art afraid.

18 For I will surely deliver thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword; but thy life shall be as a prize unto thee, because thou hast put thy trust in Me, saith the Lord.’” — because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the Lord; what he had done in serving the prophet and other good actions sprung from a principle of faith and confidence in the Lord and his prophet; and this the Lord had a respect unto; without which works are not right; and without which it is impossible to please God with them; and which faith may be and be true where fears are.

Jeremiah 40

1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord after Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, had let him go from Ramah, when he had taken him bound in chains among all who were carried away captive of Jerusalem and Judah, who were carried away captive unto Babylon. — here Nebuzaradan had further duty to do with his captives as they fell into his hands, among whom were Jeremiah, when he was taken out of prison and out of Jerusalem and brought him to Ramah:

— still bound in chains Jeremiah was not set free yet; but without the knowledge of Nebuzaradan, and through the inadvertency of inferior officers, he was taken and bound, and with other prisoners brought to Ramah, in order to be transported to Babylon, for Ramah was to the north of Jerusalem as Babylon was.

And the captain of the guard took Jeremiah and said unto him, “The Lord thy God hath pronounced this evil upon this place. — and said unto him, the Lord thy God hath pronounced this evil on this place; the city of Jerusalem; and now in ruins; the houses burnt; the walls broken down and the inhabitants spoiled and carried captive. This was the evil which the Lord, he says, had “decreed” as the Targum renders it.

Now the Lord hath brought it, and done according as He hath said: because ye have sinned against the Lord and have not obeyed His voice, therefore this thing has come upon you. — this heathen captain acknowledges the hand of the Lord in all this; and suggests, that his master, the king of Babylon himself, and the rest of the generals, were only instruments the Lord made use of; which is very piously as well as wisely said; and more is here acknowledged by him than by the Jews themselves.

And now behold, I loose thee this day from the chains which were upon thine hand. If it seem good unto thee to come with me into Babylon, come, and I will look well after thee; but if it seem ill unto thee to come with me into Babylon, forbear. Behold, all the land is before thee. Wherever it seemeth good and convenient for thee to go, thither go.” — and now, behold, I loose thee this day from the chains which were upon thine hands… Or rather are; for, when he said these words, it is highly probable they were on him, though now ordered to be taken off;

— whither it seemeth good and convenient for thee to go, thither go; he left him to take his own way and do as he thought fit; and this agrees with his master’s orders to him, Jeremiah 39:12.

Now while he had 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. — according to the Targum, these are the words of Nebuzaradan, which paraphrases them thus; “if thou wilt not return (that is, with him to Babylon, or rather to Jerusalem, or best to his own native place), or if thou wilt not dwell (that is, in this place), go back to Gedaliah.”

— or go wherever it seemeth convenient unto thee to go; though he gave him his advice, he did not press it, but left him at full liberty to take his own way and go into what part of the land he pleased and settle in it:

— so the captain of the guard gave him victuals (food or provisions), and a reward, and let him go; the prophet was just out of prison and destitute for the necessaries of life, and the land was laid waste by the enemy; and therefore he could not have subsisted without a supply, which was liberally given by the captain; not only food for sustenance sufficient for his journey, which way soever he took, but a present of money or clothes or both; which was very kind treatment of a prophet by a heathen victor.

Then went Jeremiah unto Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, to Mizpah, and dwelt with him among the people who were left in the land.

Now when all the captains of the forces which 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 unto him men and women and children, and the poor of the land of those who were not carried away captive to Babylon,

then they came to Gedaliah at 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; — then they came to Gedaliah to Mizpah… having heard that the Chaldean army was gone, and so were in no fear of that; and also that Gedaliah was made deputy governor, one of their own nation, a pious, prudent man, a man of integrity under which was much preferable to captivity in a foreign country, though tributary to Babylon.

And Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, swore unto them and to their men, saying, “Fear not to serve the Chaldeans. Dwell in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you. — saying, fear not to serve the Chaldeans, as if it was an evil to do it; or as if their yoke was hard and intolerable; or they should be always in danger of their lives:

— dwell in the land and serve the king of Babylon; pay your tributes and and it shall he well with you; settle in the land and do not rove about from place to place like fugitives; nor go out of the land through fear of the king of Babylon, but continue in it and live in subjection to him and depend upon it you will live comfortably and safely.

10 As for me, behold, I will dwell at Mizpah to serve the Chaldeans, who 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.”

11 Likewise when all the Jews who were in Moab, and among the Ammonites 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 even all the Jews returned out of all places whither they were driven and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah, and gathered wine and summer fruits in abundance.

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

14 and said unto him, “Dost thou certainly know that Baalis the king of the Ammonites hath sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to slay thee?” But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam believed them not. — that Baalis the king of the Ammonites hath sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to slay thee? very probably Ishmael, with the forces under him, fled to the king of the Ammonites when Jerusalem was captured; who, out of ill will to the Jews, always bore them by the Ammonites, envying their reestablishment under Gedaliah, and hoping to make a prey of them if their governor was removed, moved it to this young prince to dispatch him; and who might be forward enough to undertake it, being displeased that Gedaliah should be governor, which he might think was an office he had a better right to, being of the seed royal; and therefore readily agreed to be sent to take away the governor’s life;

— but Gedaliah believed them not; being a good man, and knowing he had done nothing to disoblige him, could not believe a person of such birth and dignity would ever be guilty of such an action: and being of the seed royal, it is highly probable Gedaliah had shown a distinguished regard to him, which he might think was the reason of this charge being brought against him, out of envy; yet he ought to have inquired into it, and provided for his own safety, against the worst that might happen.

15 Then Johanan the son of Kareah spoke to Gedaliah in Mizpah secretly, saying, “Let me go, I pray thee, and I will slay Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and no man shall know it. Why should he slay thee, that all the Jews who are gathered unto thee should be scattered and the remnant in Judah perish?”

16 But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said unto Johanan the son of Kareah, “Thou shalt not do this thing, for thou speakest falsely of Ishmael.” — but Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said unto Johanan the son of Kareah… in answer to his request, and the motion made by him: thou shalt not do this thing; or, “do not do this thing” dissuading him from it, as being unlawful to take away a man’s life in such a secret manner, without any legal process against him; though it seems to carry more in it, that he laid his commands upon him not to do it, and threatened him if he did:

— for thou speakest falsely of Ishmael; or “a lie” a false accusation or a slander; which isn’t describing Johanan well, who had expressed such a concern for him. The events in the following chapter shows that the information was good and that it was no lie or speakest falsely that was told; and it would have been well for Gedaliah and the people of Judah if they had taken the warning seriously; but the time was not right for Judah to be restored; and things were thus to suffer more and further punishment of the people resulted.

~ by Joel Huan on November 19, 2021.

2 Responses to “Jeremiah (Ch 39-40)”

  1. […] Study of Chapters 39 and 40 HERE ~ —— […]

  2. Thank you so much for.
    This is a source of edification for the body of Christ

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