Jeremiah 40

Jeremiah 40 has the prophet getting a word from the Lord.  This word came to Jeremiah after the Babylonians had conquered and destroyed Jerusalem.  When Jerusalem was conquered Jeremiah was briefly moved with the other deportees, but then the Babylonian captain of the guard let him go. As he let him go, he shared these words.  “The Lord your God pronounced this disaster against this place. The Lord has brought it about, and has done as he said”.  Then he released Jeremiah and gave him the freedom to move about the country as he wished.

The captain offered Jeremiah the opportunity to go with him to Babylon and be cared for there.  “If it seems good to you to come with me to Babylon, come, and I will look after you well”.  But Jeremiah chose to go to the place where the people from Judah were allowed to live.  The Babylonian captain of the guard made provision that Jeremiah would stay in the care of Gedaliah, who was appointed by the king of Babylon as governor over the cities of Judah.

It tells us much of the character of Jeremiah, that when, undoubtedly, he might have secured safety and even comfort for himself in Babylon, he elected to remain in his own land and among the weak remnant of his own people.  There were some who had escaped the battle where Jerusalem fell, and they were plotting an attack on the leader of the Judean cities overseen by Gedaliah.  But Gedaliah told them to do what Jeremiah the prophet had told the people to do. Submit to God’s judgment through the Babylonians, and seek to honor God and glorify Him in normal life.

Jews from all around began to return to this Judean city.  There was a plot to attempt to kill the Babylonian ruler Gedaliah by a neighboring king, but he wouldn’t believe it and rejects an offer for protection against the threat.  One of the leaders who brought the report of a murder plot to Gedaliah pressed him further, speaking to him secretly. He offered to eliminate the man accused of plotting the murder.  But Gedaliah still did not believe the warning, and continued to trust what he knew of Ishmael and regarded the warning as a false report.  We’ll find out next chapter that this was a bad choice.

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