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 the two fetters (39:7) among all that were carried away captive of Jerusalem and Judah, which were carried away captive to Babylon.
2 And the captain of the executioners took Jeremiah, and said to him (Nebuzar-adan takes all the credit to himself. Cp. 39:11), "The LORD your God has pronounced this calamity upon this place.
3 Now the LORD has brought it, and done according as He has said: because you have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed His voice (cp. Deut. 29:24,25), therefore this thing is come upon you.
4 And now, behold, I loose you this day from the chains which were upon your hand. If it seem good to you to come with me into Babylon, come; and I will look well unto you: but if it seem ill to you to come with me into Babylon, forbear: behold, all the land is before you: whether it seems good and convenient for you to go, there go."
5 And before he could make reply, he said, "Go back also to Gedaliah (see 26;24, and cp.9:14) the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan (see 2 Kinks 22:5), whom the king of Babylon has made governor over the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people: or go wheresoever it seems convenient to you to go." So the captain of the guard gave him victuals and a present, and let him go.
6 Then went Jeremiah to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam to Mizpah (north of Jerusalem, near Anathoth. Cp. 41:5-9. Josh. 18:26. 1 Sam. 7;16; 19:17, and 1 Kings 15:22. The scene of the following events: here had been Asa's fortress [41:9]; here Sennacherib and Nebuchadnezzar and Titus got their 1st view of Jerusalem); and dwelt with him among the people that were left in the land.
C F1 40:7-41:15. Under Gedaliah in the land. F2 41:16-43:7. Under Johanan in the land. F3 43:8-44:30. Under Johanan in Egypt.
F1 G 40:7. Gedaliah. Administration. H J 40:8. Ishmael's visit. K 40:9,10. Invitation of Gedaliah. G 40:11. Gedaliah. Administration. H K 40:12. Invitation. Accepted. J 40:13-40:15. Ishmael's treachery.
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 (no more attempts to make a king, after Zedekiah's perjury. See Ezek. 17:15-19), and had committed to him men, and women, and young 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 Massorites set their hand to obliterate the Divine names in the case of men who had served to disgrace it. One is 'el, in the compound "Ishmael", which mean "whom El hears". It is used of 5 different men, and occurs 48 times: 20 times of Hagar's son; 23 times of Nethaniah's son in this history; and 5 times of the other 3. On account of his horrible treachery, the memory of which is perpetuated by the fast of the 7th month [Zech. 7:5; 8:9], the vowel points were changed to obliterate the Divine name [El]: viz. yishma'e'l, instead of yishma''el, which is not observable in ordinary English spelling) 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 (= a man of Netophah, now Khan Umm Tobah, north of Bethlehem [1 Chron. 2:54. Ezra 2:22. Neh. 7:26]), and Jezaniah the son of a Maachathite, they and their men.
9 And Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan swore to 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.
10 As for me, behold, I will dwell at Mizpah, to serve the Chaldeans, which will come to us: but you, gather you 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 house of Judah 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 house of Judah 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 that were in the field, came to Gedaliah to Mizpah,
14 And said to him, "Do you certainly know that Baalis the king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to strike your soul?" But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam believed them not.
15 Then Johanan the son of Kareah spake to Gedaliah in Mizpah secretly saying, "Let me go, I pray you, and I will slay Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and no man shall know it: wherefore should he slay you, that all the house of Judah which are gathered out to you should be scattered, and the remnant in 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."