Jeremiah Goes Free

In 1838, on the night when the slaves were set free in Jamaica, a large mahogany coffin was made and a grave was dug. Into that coffin the liberated slaves threw the reminders of their former life of slavery—whips, torture irons, branding irons, coarse frocks and shirts, la … More

In our study today we will see how the people are led by the deceitfulness of the flesh into that place of utter and insolent rebellion against God which marked the very nature of their downfall. In this chapter we have the account of Jeremiah’s experience after the capture of Jerusalem (v. 1). He is freed by Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard under Nebuchadnezzar, and given his choice as to where to live. He can go to Babylon, and there be treated with honor and respect, or he can stay in the land. Jeremiah chooses to stay in the land and to associate himself with Gedaliah, the governor appointed by the king of Babylon to rule over this nation. (vv. 2-8).

This account tells us there were still unsubdued Judean warriors who gathered themselves into roving guerrilla bands under various captains (vv. 9-12). Gedaliah told them to not be afraid of the Babylonians and that they should live peaceable and submit to the king. He said he would stay at Mizpah and would meet with the officials and they should go back to their towns and bring in the harvest which they did with the Jews, from other countries, who came back to help them. Johanan and some of the army officers came to Mizpah to meet with Gedaliah and warned him that King Baalis of Ammon had hired Ishmael to murder him (vv. 13-15). Gedaliah refused to believe them and told Johanan not to kill Ishmael (v. 16). 


Jesus set me free from my sin with His shed blood and there is nothing that I can do to help Him out.

Jeremiah 40:1-16 (English Standard Version)

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD after Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah, when he took him bound in chains along with all the captives of Jerusalem and Judah who were being exiled to Babylon. The captain of the guard took Jeremiah and said to him, "The LORD your God pronounced this disaster against this place. The LORD has brought it about, and has done as he said. Because you sinned against the LORD and did not obey his voice, this thing has come upon you. Now, behold, I release you today from the chains on your hands. If it seems good to you to come with me to Babylon, come, and I will look after you well, but if it seems wrong to you to come with me to Babylon, do not come. See, the whole land is before you; go wherever you think it good and right to go. If you remain, then return to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon appointed governor of the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people. Or go wherever you think it right to go." So the captain of the guard gave him an allowance of food and a present, and let him go. Then Jeremiah went to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, at Mizpah, and lived with him among the people who were left in the land. When all the captains of the forces in the open country and their men heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam governor in the land and had committed to him men, women, and children, those of the poorest of the land who had not been taken into exile to Babylon, they went to Gedaliah at Mizpah--Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, Johanan the son of Kareah, Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, Jezaniah the son of the Maacathite, they and their men. Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, swore to them and their men, saying, "Do not be afraid to serve the Chaldeans. Dwell in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you. As for me, I will dwell at Mizpah, to represent you before the Chaldeans who will come to us. But as for you, gather wine and summer fruits and oil, and store them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that you have taken." Likewise, when all the Judeans who were in Moab and among the Ammonites and in Edom and in other lands heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant in Judah and had appointed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, as governor over them, then all the Judeans returned from all the places to which they had been driven and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah. And they gathered wine and summer fruits in great abundance. Now Johanan the son of Kareah and all the leaders of the forces in the open country came to Gedaliah at Mizpah and said to him, "Do you know that Baalis the king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to take your life?" But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam would not believe them. Then Johanan the son of Kareah spoke secretly to Gedaliah at Mizpah, "Please let me go and strike down Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and no one will know it. Why should he take your life, so that all the Judeans who are gathered about you would be scattered, and the remnant of Judah would perish?" But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said to Johanan the son of Kareah, "You shall not do this thing, for you are speaking falsely of Ishmael."

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