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.
This, and the four following chapters, record the events which occurred in Judea from the taking of Jerusalem to the retreat of the remnant of the people to Egypt; and contain several prophecies of Jeremiah concerning them there; which were "the word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord." It appears that Jeremiah, after being freed from prison, continued among the Jews, till he was bound, with others of them, and carried to Ramah; where he was set a liberty in the manner related.
And the captain of the guard took Jeremiah, and said unto him, The LORD thy God hath pronounced this evil upon this place.
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.
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.
victuals and a reward
Rather, "victuals, (aruchah, a stated allowance, sufficient for the journey,) and a present," masse‰th.
Then went Jeremiah unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam to Mizpah; and dwelt with him among the people that were left in the land.
It has been doubted whether Jeremiah acted prudently in this decision, as the event seems to indicate the contrary, and as it was the evident meaning of all his predictions that the Jews should not prosper in their own country till the expiration of seventy years. But he was evidently influenced by the most unbounded love to his country, for whose welfare he had watched, prayed, and lived; and he now chose rather to share her adversities, her sorrows, her wants, her afflictions, and her disgrace, than to be the companion of princes, and to sit at the table of kings. His patriotism was as unbounded as it was sincere: he only ceased to live for country when he ceased to breathe.
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;
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.
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.
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.
Heb. stand before.
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;
all the Jews
Moreover Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were in the fields, came to Gedaliah to Mizpah,
Johanan and his companions seem to have acted honestly in this affair. They had received intelligence of designs formed against Gedaliah's life, and consequently against the whole new settlement. Ishmael, being a branch of David's family, was probably displeased that another was preferred above him; and the king of the Ammonites, out of hatred to the Jews, employed him to slay Gedaliah. But Gedaliah, conscious of his own integrity and benevolence, took the portrait of others from his own mind; and therefore believed evil of no man, because he felt none towards any in his own breast. He may be reproached for being too credulous and confiding; but this only serves to shew the greatness of his soul; for a little mind is always suspicious, and ready to believe the worst of every person and thing.
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.
slay thee? Heb
strike thee in soul. believed.
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?
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.