Bible Study, Commentary

Jeremiah 40 – Solitary Man

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Jeremiah 40

February 16, 2024 1:01 PM
Solitary Man

Jer 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 had touched on this verse in the last chapter. Ramah was a town in the land of Benjamin, about 6 miles from Jerusalem. It served as some sort of temporary headquarters of the Babylonian army.

Comparing this verse to Jer 39:11-14, some confusion arises. There, the king of Babylon told his chief of staff to take care of Jeremiah. So he took Jeremiah out of the court of the prison. This sounds like the same place that Jeremiah was last locked up, in Jerusalem. Yet they turned him over to the care of Gedaliah, who would be the new puppet ruler installed by Babylon. He was charged with getting Jeremiah home. Here is the text:

Jer 39:11 Now Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, saying,
Jer 39:12 Take him, and look well to him, and do him no harm; but do unto him even as he shall say unto thee.
Jer 39:13 So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard sent, and Nebushasban, Rabsaris, and Nergalsharezer, Rabmag, and all the king of Babylon’s princes;
Jer 39:14 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.

Now this verse in chapter 40 talks about Jeremiah being freed from Ramah, a town 6 miles away from Jerusalem. Moreover, he had been taken to Ramah in chains. What really happened here?

I think the most logical explanation is your typical bureaucratic screwup. Nebuzaradan was given an order by Nebuchadnezzar to grab Jeremiah out of the prison in Jerusalem. He was supposed to treat him well, and let him have his freedom. He was supposed to be escorted in the same group that contained Gedaliah, who would watch over him, and perhaps give directions to the Babylonian soldiers as to where Anathoth, Jeremiah’s home was. The main group was headed to Ramah, where there was some sort of headquarters. Most likely these new appointees would receive detailed instructions there.

There would of been many natives rounded up in this caravan. Many would be exiled out of Judah forever. Ramah would be the first stop on a long road back to Babylon. The soldiers would of been busy chaining everyone up, as it was their head if someone escaped.

Although Jeremiah was supposed to receive special treatment, some soldier down the line may of not heard this order. He would of laughed at Jeremiah if he brought it up. He would of been chained up and treated the same as everyone else. The whole group would of been delivered to Ramah.

Eventually, Nebuzaradan would of found out that Jeremiah was in Ramah, and was locked up there. This verse says he (Nebuzaradan) had taken him there in chains. This could just as easily mean that he had overall responsibility. Yet someone had messed up. Once he was aware what had occurred, he immediately freed the prophet.

I wonder if Jeremiah had a moment of pure panic when someone slapped the chains upon him. He had just been freed from prison, while everyone else was being chained or slaughtered. He seemed to of been the only faithful prophet left in the land. After a brief moment of protection, he was now in chains, even worse off than during the siege. Was Jeremiah’s faith shaken? After everything he had endured, was he going to end up with the same punishment as everyone else? Was this one test too many for the prophet to handle?

I pray that I never have to face such continual testing, as I honestly don’t know that I would be strong enough to stand. Only by the pure grace of God can any of us endure unto the end.

Jer 40:2 And the captain of the guard took Jeremiah, and said unto him, The LORD (Yehovah) thy God hath pronounced this evil (rah) upon this place.
Jer 40:3 Now the LORD (Yehovah) hath brought it, and done according as he hath said: because ye have sinned against the LORD (Yehovah), and have not obeyed (shama) his voice, therefore this thing (daw-bawr – word, matter) is come upon you.

This is an amazing verse. Apparently, Jeremiah’s prophecies were well known amongst the pagan. The pagans believed the word of the Lord, but God’s people had rejected it. How many times have we listened to some smug theologian explain in a condescending manner why what the bible plainly says actually means something else? Yet whosoever that would humble themselves like a child, and simply believe what it says, would be saved?

I am reminded of the spiritual journey that this world renowned Canadian professor who has shared his thoughts on youtube. Apparently he has been searching for 40 years the meaning of life, and attempting to validate the claims of Christ. He speaks in very abstract, super intelligent sentences and high sounding speeches. People love his stance on opposing marxism and other topics relating to freedom. All very commendable. He seems to be very close to fully embracing the gospel. Yet I feel sorry for him. He tries so hard to understand every jot and tittle of the gospel. He tries so hard to be able to explain every little thing in a coherent philosophical manner that would satisfy his intellect. Yet I think he’s still missing the point. He needs to drop all that. Stop worshipping the intellect. Come to the foot of the cross like a little child. Embrace the simplicity of Calvary. Just let go and trust in him, and in him alone. We may profit wonderfully from a deep dive into the scriptures like we are attempting to do here in Jeremiah, but we cannot even begin to walk on this road unless we first come to Jesus as little children.

Let us never forget the simplicity of following Jesus. In the end, it will all come down to trust and obey, as there is no other way. To be happy in Jesus, trust and obey.

This Babylonian knew of Yahweh. He also knew that Yahweh had brought all this evil (rah) on Judah. How come this Babylonian understood the most basic, fundamental truth of God’s ways but 99% of the church just cannot and does not want to accept these basic facts?

If we don’t know as much about Yehovah as Joe Babylonian, then what hope do we have of understanding what is really going on all around us?

Jer 40:4 And now, behold, I loose thee this day from the chains which were upon thine hand. If it seem good unto thee (if it looks correct in your eyes) to come with me into Babylon, come; and I will look well unto thee I will keep my eye on you): but if it seem ill unto thee to come with me into Babylon, forbear (don’t go): behold, all the land is before thee: whither it seemeth good and convenient (straight or correct) for thee to go, thither go.

After receiving a bible lesson from this chief of the slaughterers (see the explanation of this man’s name and job description in the previous chapter), Jeremiah was given his freedom back. He was even given the option of staying with this preachy slaughter guy. He would take care of him back where he lived. Or, he could stay here, in this judged and ruined land, but at least it was still home.

Jer 40:5 Now while he was not yet gone back (shoob), he said, Go back (shoob) also to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon hath made governor (paw-kad – overseer) over the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people: or go wheresoever it seemeth convenient (straight, correct course) unto thee to go. So the captain of the guard gave him victuals (food) and a reward (gift), and let him go (sent him away).

Jeremiah just couldn’t decide which way to shoob. Should he shoob (turn back) to Jerusalem, or shoob (turn away) from Jerusalem? He must of gave some sort of sign or body signal that looked like he wanted to stay, so his captor urged him to go and support the new overseer. This would of pleased the rulers of Babylon, since this man had spoken so uniformly about it being the will of God that Babylon was supposed to rule Judah at this time. Jeremiah’s message was 100% consistent, so I think the Babylonians trusted that he would not try to stir up rebellion, but rather would put the divine stamp on what had just occurred, which would help keep the peace in this newly conquered territory.

Jer 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.

We have already covered Gedaliah and his godly lineage in the previous chapter. Mizpah was another town 6 miles north of Jerusalem, in Benjamin (Josh 18:25-26). it was prominent in the history of Samuel and Saul (1 Sam 7:5-13, 10:17-25). This was a different Mizpah than the one in Gilead, beyond the Jordan (Judg 10:17).

Jeremiah showed his piety, loyalty and patriotism by remaining in this afflicted land, amongst his ungrateful countrymen, rather than enjoying the honors and pleasures of a heathen court. Moses is seen making a similar choice in Heb 11:24-27.

Jer 40:7 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 (Jah has become great) 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;

There would of been various remnants of Judah’s army scattered over the land that had not been captured or killed. They would of been in hiding, watching the fall of Jerusalem from a distance. They knew they did not have the forces to intervene. They would of been closely following the events as the invaders attacked, overcame, conquered, and now began to rule the land.

Jer 40:8 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.

Instead of trying to explain things in my own words, I will borrow straight from Ellicott’s commentary for English readers:

Of the captains thus named, Ishmael, “of the seed royal” (we have no date for determining his precise position in the line of successors) (Jer 41:1), is prominent in the history of the next chapter, Johanan (the Hebrew form of Joannes or John) in that of Jer 42, Seraiah and Jaazaniah are named in the parallel passage of 2Ki 25:23, but nothing more is known of them. Netophah, to which the sons of Ephai belonged, was a town of Benjamin not far from Bethlehem (1Chr 2:54; 9:16; Ez 2:22; Neh 7:26). The Maachathite, whose father is not named, was probably a naturalised alien from the small kingdom of Maachah, on the east side of the Jordan, near Argob (Deut 3:14; 2Sam 10:6,8) and Bashan (Josh 12:5), not far from the modern Lejah.

Jer 40:9 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.

The ‘sware’ is shaw-bah – to seven oneself. That is, to repeat a declaration seven times. I guess this means that he was really, really, really, really, really, really, really sure of what he said.

Gedaliah was convinced that this situation was the best that they could expect. Of course, all these freedom fighters wanted to continue the battle. Maybe do some guerrilla warfare. They wanted to see where this puppet stood. Was he on their side, or Babylon’s?

There are so many issues to ponder here. First, Gedaliah was one of the strongest sympathizers of Jeremiah’s prophecies. He seemed to of got it. Thus, I am sure he was fully convinced that having a limited form of self rule for the remnant was the best that they could expect. He knew the season Judah was in. It was not a season of revival, restoration, reversal or revolution. It was a season of judgment. Until that season ran its course, there was nothing they could do. Any resistance and you’d in reality be fighting against God.

Secondly, was this someone who was secretly content with the current situation because he seemed to be one of the very few who benefited politically? That suspicion would always hang over his head.

Third, what should be the stance of those in the army? They were the ones who risked their lives against the Babylonians. Some may of been fighting for 19 years. Remember the first invasion / deportation was way back in 605 BC. They had seen nothing but defeat after defeat. Many of their friends and comrades had perished. Was all of their sacrifice to be in vain? It would be very difficult just to lay down their arms and walk away.

The fact of the matter was that God never wanted them to fight in the first place. He wanted them to repent. They should of been concentrating defending and restoring the faith, not the borders. Since 911, America had been engaged in endless wars. They have ignored God, and completely lost their way. They don’t know what the word repentance even means. Defeat after defeat, is all that America has reaped. They are on the verge of collapse. If we are to compare our timeline to Judah’s, we are now in the final siege, in about the 16th, 17th or 18th month of it. In other words, the final breaking of our last line of defense is just a matter of time. A week, a month, a year? Does it really matter all that much? Should we not throw all our resources into spiritual pursuits, and see if God is willing to cut us a last minute deal like he offered Zedekiah in Jer 38:17?

i believe Gedaliah was speaking God’s will. It would be up to the survivors to decide how to respond.

Jer 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 (settle down) in your cities that ye have taken (seized).

Gedaliah urges them to accept reality. You may not like it, you may want to avenge your comrades. You may want to punish and slay your enemies. But for now, you must see that you have no choice. These militia groups had even seized some strongholds in the country. They should go there and live their lives. They should be grateful that the Babylonians are done destroying the land. As long as you don’t make trouble, they will leave you alone.

We need to also accept the reality of our situation. Never again will we be able to live in a nation(s) like the ones we grew up in. Those are gone forever.

Jer 40:11 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;
Jer 40:12 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.

These prescient citizens saw the trouble approaching and those who could flee, fled. Moab had always been a place of refuge (Ru 1:2, 1 Sam 22:3, Is 16:4). David’s lineage had roots there. We have all heard of Canadian and American citizens fleeing down south to Mexico and other Central and South American nations. However, many of us would be limited by resources and age from fleeing to strange lands. They found a place of refuge and waited out the storm. Just like God is leading many of us to do. After the worst of the judgment passed and things began to stabilize, God started calling them home to help rebuild a shattered country. It seemed that God was blessing these endeavours, as the produce was abundant. No doubt the Babylonians did not ravage all the land. Now with the depopulation that had occurred, there was abundant provision to be harvested.

Jer 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,
Jer 40:14 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.

These freedom fighters were still watching the Alex Jones broadcasts. We shall see that just as in the past, when time and time again Alex had been proven right, so he would be again. These patriots were plugged into the undercurrents percolating under the surface. They had received reliable intel that something bad was afoot. There was yet another conspiracy under way. The cabal was not finished causing mischief, chaos, and division.

Strange bedfellows and alliances occur in times of chaos and upheaval. Why would the Ammonite king, a traditional enemy of Israel, ally himself with someone who could claim blood descent of the royal line of David? Most likely this Ishmael believed that he was the rightful ruler. He went to Judah’s enemy, and probably made treasonous promises to Ammon, in order to obtain help and a place of sanctuary. Since Ishmael wasn’t installed as king, he certainly wouldn’t sleep while this usurper Gedaliah enjoyed sitting on the throne. The wicked are never happy if someone else is happy. They will not stop until you own nothing, and then you won’t be happy, but they will. This doesn’t sound like anything that we’ve heard is happening between America/Canada, and China/WEF/cabal, does it?

The sad thing is Gedaliah was not willing to even consider that this could be true, and therefore took no steps to protect himself. Perhaps he had reached his limit in the amount of reality that he could take. Perhaps he had taken the jab. His family took the boosters, and all died suddenly. He lost his professional license for speaking out against something on youtube. His own government had sued him and ticketed him into near bankruptcy. His city was burned to the ground by blm and antifa. Now he finally had obtained a secure job, and there was relative peace in the land. And here someone watching the latest infowars video is now warning him of yet another plot. Well, Gedaliah was having none of it. This was one reality check too many. He wilfully closed his eyes, and shut his ears. He had reached his limit.

Another very tragic truth is that even after their country is destroyed, and their crown jewel of a city had been knocked to the ground, there still was no repentance. Wicked men continued to plot and scheme wicked deeds in the dark. There was no realization that Judah had been utterly humbled by the hand of God. Normally, the entire nation would of been in sackcloth and ashes. Judah had passed far beyond normal a long time ago. They had departed so far away from the living God, that even total destruction was not enough of a wake up call for them to even try and shoob (turn) back to him. It did not even enter their mind.

Jeremiah was proven to be 100% correct in all that he predicted. Yet it did not seem to penetrate anyone’s brain that this was so.

Jer 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?

At least this Johanan freedom fighter fellow had embraced the current reality, and was willing to support and defend the person who was put in charge, recognizing that we all need some form of limited government in order to have a functioning society. Pure libertarians are not the answer. Limited government is good. Virtually no accountability is bad. That is anarchy. Government is there to punish sin. Sin as defined by God. Quit punishing sin, and sin will eventually swallow you up.

Johanan was willing to put his life on the line to halt a threat before it could take root. Do we not wish that we had some Johanans a few decades, or even a few years ago, that could of taken out some key globalists, to prevent their worldwide genocide from even launching? But then, without repentance, is it really in our interests to keep going and going, becoming more and more estranged from God, without any signs that God is severely displeased? Even though so few so far have recognized the hand of God in all our calamities, yet how much more spiritually blind would we be if we haven’t had these judgments? I am sure many of us have rediscovered an intimacy with Jesus and a prayer life that would of never occurred without the destruction unleashed all around us.

This bad guy could of been taken care of with no fuss or bother. But since we think we know better than God, we refuse to deal with evil biblically. We never want to deal with wickedness until it’s too late. If we only were like the person in Psalm 15:4, in whose eyes a vile person is contemned (despised). We always default to the lazy, tolerant, cowardly path. Thus evil is allowed to take root and grow, until it destroys the entire crop.

Judah had just gone through the most traumatic event in history. They did not need another political shock.

Jer 40:16 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.

We simply refuse to believe just how wicked others can be. Because we don’t think like the satanists and the demonized, we can’t believe there are actually people like that. People that promote so called vaccines as life saving medicine, when in fact they are genocidal venomous toxic death shots. That our own government is doing all it can to poison and kill its own citizens. That they only want to arrest those who expose what they are doing, and want all real criminals to go free. That doctors really want to kill you, and even brag and joke about how much they are being paid to do so. That all sodomites fantasize about molesting your children. They may not all act on the urge, but going down the well of perversion will always turn into a bottomless pit of unnatural dark desires. Illicit sex is the second most evil thing you can engage in, next to idolatry. These are the big 2 that bring down earth ending judgments.

However, who really wants to consider these things? Is there not enough darkness? Why do you keep bringing up more and more? Yet for those who have persevered in the chasing after truth thus far, we find that no matter how bad we think it is, it is actually much worse. That is the reality of our age. How soon till the open border leads to a complete breakdown of all law and order? When they are unleashed to go and kill as many of us as they can? When they are encouraged to steal all our property? And who made this all possible? Your government. Your bureaucrats. Your doctors and teachers, your lawyers and judges, your plumbers and bakers, your candle stick makers. We are all guilty.

The time to not believe just how bad it is has come and gone. If we as Christians cannot face our world head on, then who will?

While we may not have all the answers, we do have the one and only answer – Jesus!

Solitary Man

Photos courtesy Depositphotos


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