Jeremiah Index

Jeremiah Chapter 40


  • Jeremiah 40:1 The word that 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 among all that were carried away captive of Jerusalem and Judah, which were carried away captive unto Babylon.

We know this is a fulfillment of God's warning and was to happen but I never cease to be shocked by the absolute cruelty of some nations and people. Why bind someone in chains? 

  • Jeremiah 40:2 And the captain of the guard took Jeremiah, and said unto him, The LORD thy God hath pronounced this evil upon this place.
  • 3 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 is come upon you.
  • 4 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 unto thee: but if it seem ill unto thee to come with me into Babylon, forbear: behold, all the land is before thee: whither it seemeth good and convenient for thee to go, thither go.

The captain of the guard recognized that God allowed these things to come upon them because of their sin. We see here that God did not leave the Jews or the Babylonians in the dark. One way or another they all knew that judgment had come upon the land of Judah because of sin. Babylon was judged 70 years later because they went beyond what God had allowed.

When we read about king Nebuchadnezzar setting up an image requiring all to bow down to the image, we can see how things went wrong with Babylon later. Sin will be judged no matter who does it.

One of the worse sins is forbidding those who believe in God to worship Him in freedom. Another sin is forbidding the preaching of the word and persecuting followers of the Lord.

God will sometimes allow evil nations to continue without judgment knowing that they will receive judgment on the great judgment day, but when a nation begins to hinder the gospel or persecute God's people, God's wrath may come much quicker.

  • Jeremiah 40:5 Now while he was 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.

The captain gave Jeremiah provisions and let him go free to Gedaliah. Gedaliah was appointed by the king of Babylon as governor over the cities of Judah. Gedaliah was one who recognized the will of God for the Jews and was willing to be subject to the king of Babylon until the time God delivered them.

  • Jeremiah 40:6 Then went Jeremiah unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam to Mizpah; and dwelt with him among the people that were left in the land.
  • 7 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 of the poor of the land, of them that were not carried away captive to Babylon;
  • 8 Then they came to Gedaliah to 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.
  • 9 And Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan sware 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.

Gedaliah encourages all them not to fear to serve the Chaldeans and dwell safely in the land. Here is one who seems to accept the fact that this is where they are to be for the time being. Unfortunately, he is too trusting. He reminds me of the type that sees good in everybody.

  • Jeremiah 40:10 As for me, behold, I will dwell at Mizpah to serve the Chaldeans, which 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 that were in Moab, and among the Ammonites, and in Edom, and that 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, unto Mizpah, and gathered wine and summer fruits very much.

Jews that were scattered to Moab and Ammon returned to their homeland to dwell with the remnant Jews that were left of the captivity. The ones still in the land of Judah could live peaceably but under subjection to the king of Babylon.

  • Jeremiah 40:13 Moreover Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were in the fields, came to Gedaliah to 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.

A man named Johanan found out about a plot to slay the remaining Jews and warned Gedaliah but Gedaliah did not believe the report.

My guess is that Ishmael spurred on by the king of Ammon was against the Jews who submitted to Babylonian authority without a fight and wanted to kill them. Another guess is that Ammon wanted all the Jews taken captive and not have any remnant people left. Ammon and Moab were often enemies of the Jews. Perhaps Ammon just stirred up Ishmael and use him to get rid of the remaining Jews left in Judah.

Which ever the reason was, Ammon wanted to be rid of the remaining remnant of the Jews. These type of people are agents of Satan, for Satan has always desired to rid the world of the Jews. That would defeat the purpose of God to use the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and then Judah to bring salvation to mankind through Jesus Christ.

We saw this when Israel was in Egypt and Pharaoh slew all male children under two years old. We saw this in the book of Esther when Haman tried to kill all Jews. We saw this in the time of Christ when Herod sought to kill all male children under two.

Satan desires to stop the whole world from hearing about how they can be saved from sin and inherit eternal life by faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

  • Jeremiah 40:15 Then Johanan the son of Kareah spake 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: wherefore should he slay thee, that all the Jews which 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.

It was commendable for Gedaliah not to allow the slaying of Ishmael over a rumor but there could have been another way for him to protect himself against the sword of Ishmael. He should have at least listened to the warning of Johanan and not be so trusting.

We can't always trust men and women. There are many deceivers. At the same time we can't be suspicious and false accusing of every one either. The answer is to always be men and women of prayer and always ask for God to fill us with His Spirit and give us understanding of His word. Then we can have discernment and not be deceived by the charlatans and imitators of the true preachers of righteousness.

I remember hearing Carter Conlin saying once in a sermon I was listening to, "Have discernment but with the heart of God."  I do hope I never forget those words.

This doesn't mean that everyone who is of the truth is going to be 100% accurate about everything but it means that the true faithful believers will strive for that goal. We shall know them by their fruits. What is their motive? Is their hearts truly wanting to follow God's way even if they don't always get it right.

Yes, they should teach the truth but we can get it wrong once in a while without being a false prophet or false teacher. A false teacher is one who continually opposes the truth and leads one to another way of salvation other than Jesus Christ.

One trait of the false teacher is one who wants to get all the glory and draw believers to himself rather than to God.

Another type are those that push a doctrine so strongly that it sidetracks us away from the gospel into something else. An example of this would be like what happened in the letter to the Galatians where some Jews wanted to require Gentiles to be circumcised.

The apostle Paul stated clearly the Jesus was the way of salvation and not whether or not one was circumcised. Circumcision is good for health reasons but since the coming of the gospel we are saved by faith in Jesus, who fulfilled the old covenant and brought us the new covenant. Our faith now stands in Him and not in the old covenant of circumcision.

Circumcision, outward ordinances, observing special feasts days and so forth are not wrong but they do not change the heart and do not bring salvation.

Repenting of sin and accepting God's Son into our lives is the way of salvation, not outward religious rites. God's spirit enters the heart and he or she becomes born again by the Spirit of God. This is an act done solely by God when we come to Jesus Christ. It is not something we earn by doing religious works. We are not saved by religious works but by repenting of sin and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives. The goal is to walk in perfect love. Perfect love has compassion, forgives and is lenient to those that make mistakes but it also speaks and lives in truth, not deception and lies. Speak truth but in perfect love. 


Jeremiah 41