We will begin this lesson in Jeremiah 40:1 "The word that came to
Jeremiah from the LORD, after that Nebuzar-adan 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 are, now, looking into what happened to Jeremiah, after the
fall of Jerusalem. Jeremiah had been chained, as if he were a
criminal.  We have discussed before, how the innocent sometimes are
caught up in war, and there is nothing they can do about it. The real
rewards that Jeremiah would experience were not in this world. His
greatest reward is to stand before the LORD and hear Him say, "Well
done, thy good and faithful servant". His chains are gone. He is free.

     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

     Even this Babylonian knew the destruction, here, was a judgement
from God. This was not only a witness to Judah and Benjamin, but to
the Babylonians, as well, that this was truly God. The Babylonians had
worshipped false gods, but this captain realizes Jeremiah's God is

     Jeremiah 40:3 "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."

     There was no question in anyone's mind, that this judgement from
God was caused by their unfaithfulness to God.

     Jeremiah 40:4 "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."

     We see that this captain was very smart. He did not want to anger
God by forcing Jeremiah to go with him. He had great respect for this
mighty prophet of God. Jeremiah is free to choose his habitation.

     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."

     One of the greatest blessings a man or woman can have, is to be
free, especially, when you have been imprisoned for a long time.
Jeremiah is now free. Gedaliah was chosen as a governor over Judah.
He will rule Judah under the supervision of Nebuchadnezzar. This
captain did not just wish Jeremiah God speed, but gave him food
{victuals} and some money to sustain him.

     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

     Jeremiah's choice from the beginning had been to live in his home
land. He had not planned to go to Babylon. He had made his choice
early to stay in Jerusalem. His people were here, and he could,
possibly, help them. Gedaliah was the grandson of Shaphan. Shaphan had
been a scribe for Josiah. It appears, the grandson had inherited some
of his faithfulness from his grandfather.

     Jeremiah 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 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

     These, who fled the siege, had been living in exile. They, now,
hear that Nebuchadnezzar has made Gedaliah governor in Judah. He was
over the remnant of people left in the land. If you remember from a
previous lesson, these are the poor. They could not rule themselves,
so Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah for that task.

     Jeremiah 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."

     Ishmael was believed to be of royal birth. Some believe he might
have been a close relative of Zedekiah. For our study here, it does
not matter. During the siege, he had escaped to Baalis. He was a very
evil man. Johanon was with this group, but did not share their evil
intentions. These appear to have been leaders of some men. Perhaps,
they were like the captains themselves.

     Jeremiah 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."

     Gedaliah offered them peace. If they would lay down their arms
and serve the Chaldeans, they could live. He told them not to fear
that Nebuchadnezzar would not harm them, if they would live peaceably.

     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."

     This is a promise that their vineyards would be fruitful again.
It seems, that Gedaliah had been appointed as a mediator between the
Chaldeans and the Hebrews that were left. He had the authority to
offer them peace. They needed to start producing this fruitful land.

     Jeremiah 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

     We remember from a previous lesson, that many had fled to safety
in the lands around Judah. Now, the word has spread that the war is
over, and one of their own has been made ruler. Shaphan had a good
reputation. They should have known that Gedaliah would be a good man,

     Jeremiah 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."

     There was an inflow of the exiled Jews, that came into the land
and began to produce the vineyards and the fruit trees.

     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 was a city of Benjamin. Remember, Johanan was the good one
of the captains that ran from the siege.

     Jeremiah 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

     Johanan was trying to save the life of Gedaliah. He was taking a
big chance, coming to warn him. Baalis was behind the plot to kill
Gedaliah. Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah, was the man assigned to the
actual killing of Gedaliah.

     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?" Jeremiah 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."

     Johanan realizes the seriousness of the threat. He, also,
realizes what a cruel man Ishmael is. He offers to kill Ishmael to
keep him from killing Gedaliah. It appears, the reason for this
assasination is to scatter the Jews again. Gedaliah trusted Ishmael
too much.
                         Jeremiah 43 Questions

1.  Verse 1 is the beginning of what for Jeremiah?
2.  Jeremiah had been chained, as if he were a _________.
3.  Where would Jeremiah receive his greatest reward?
4.  What startling statement did the captain of the guard make to
    Jeremiah in verse 2?
5.  Why had the judgement come?
6.  What two choices did the captain give Jeremiah?
7.  Who did he tell Jeremiah to go back to?
8.  Who was Gedaliah?
9.  What office had Nebuchadnezzar given him?
10. What did the captain give Jeremiah?
11. What is one of the greatest blessings a man or woman can have?
12. Which place did Jeremiah choose to go?
13. Who was Shaphan?
14. What news spread to those captains of the forces in the fields?
15. Who did Gedaliah rule over?
16. Which of these captains came to talk with Gedaliah?
17. Where was Gedaliah staying?
18. Ishmael was believed to be of _________ birth.
19. To whom had Ishmael escaped during the siege?
20. What promise did Gedaliah make them?
21. Gedaliah had been appointed a mediator of whom?
22. When the exiled Jews heard that some were left in the land living,
    what did they do?
23. Who came to Gedaliah and reported the plot against his life?
24. What did Johanan offer to do for Gedaliah?
25. Why would Gedaliah not let Johanan do this thing?