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with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Jeremiah 40

Jeremiah is directed to go to Gedaliah. (1-6) A conspiracy against Gedaliah. (7-16)

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Jeremiah is directed to go to Gedaliah

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.

2 And the captain of the guard took Jeremiah, and said unto him, The LORD thy God hath pronounced this evil upon this place.

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.

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.

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.

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.

A conspiracy against Gedaliah

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 Babylon;

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.

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.

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.

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;

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.

13 Moreover Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were in the fields, came to Gedaliah to Mizpah,

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.

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?

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.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Word. This happened to Jeremias; (Raban) or the prophet rather interrupts what he was about to say, to let the reader know the state of affairs, when he was consulted about the journey into Egypt. C. xlii. 9. — Rama; probably in Benjamin, near Bethel. Judg. xix. 12. C. — In this last part, Jeremias foretells what would befall the Jews in Egypt, and other nations. W.

Ver. 3. You, people of Juda. H. — This pagan acknowledges that God had punished his people, (C. xviii. 16. C.) as Titus did at the last siege. Josephus. H. — He acknowledges the justice of God. W.

Ver. 4. Eyes, with all kindness. C. xxxix. 12. H. — Before thee. Thou hast liberty to choose. Gen. xiii. 9. and xx. 15. and xxiv. 51.

Ver. 5. And. Heb. “And as he (the people, or Godolias) will not return, dwell;” or, “He had not yet answered, when the general said: Return to Godolias.” He perceived that the prophet was not desirous of going to Babylon; and he insinuated that such a step would not be for his advantage, as the captives would not return. — Presents. He had been plundered like the rest.

Ver. 6. Masphath; because it was near Jerusalem, and an ancient place of devotion. C.

Ver. 7. Captains, who had fled from Sedecias, and effected their escape. Jos. Ant. x. 11.

Ver. 9. With you. They might naturally suspect Godolias, and think that the Chaldees would seize them as soon as they should know of their escape.

Ver. 10. Answer. Heb. “stand before,” as minister (H.) for the Chaldees. You need not be jealous of my power; and I can answer that they will not hurt you, provided you continue quiet. C. — He promises to act in behalf of the people, as a governor ought to do. W.

Ver. 11. Countries. They had fled to avoid the taxes, &c. but found no redress. Lam. i. 3.

Ver. 13. Came, having discovered the design of Ismahel, whose ambition prompted him to murder the governor, that he might reign: as he was of the royal family. C. xli. 1. C.

Ver. 14. Baalis. Queen. Grot. — The Ammonites sought the entire ruin of the Jews.

Ver. 16. Do not. He did right in forbidding this assassination, which could never be authorized, even to prevent a similar crime. Godolias should have taken precautions: but he was too open, (C.) like Eumenes. Grot.