1. word that came--the heading of a new part of the book (the
forty-first through forty-fourth chapters), namely, the prophecies to
the Jews in Judea and Egypt after the taking of the city, blended
with history. The prophecy does not begin till
and the previous history is introductory to it.
bound in chains--Though released from the court of the prison
in the confusion at the burning of the city he seems to have been led
away in chains with the other captives, and not till he reached Ramah
to have gained full liberty. Nebuzara-dan had his quarters at Ramah, in
Benjamin; and there he collected the captives previous to their removal
He in releasing Jeremiah obeyed the king's commands
Jeremiah's "chains" for a time were due to the negligence of those to
whom he had been committed; or else to Nebuzara-dan's wish to upbraid
the people with their perverse ingratitude in imprisoning Jeremiah
[CALVIN]; hence he addresses the people
(ye . . . you) as much as
(Jer 40:2, 3).
2. The Babylonians were in some measure aware, through Jeremiah's
that they were the instruments of God's wrath on His people.
3. ye--(See on
His address is directed to the Jews as well as to Jeremiah. God makes
the very heathen testify for Him against them
(De 29:24, 25).
4. look well unto thee--the very words of Nebuchadnezzar's charge
all the land is before thee . . . seemeth good--
Margin). Jeremiah alone had the option given him of staying
where he pleased, when all the rest were either carried off or forced
to remain there.
5. while he was not yet gone back--parenthetical. When Jeremiah
hesitated whether it would be best for him to go, Nebuzara-dan
proceeded to say, "Go, then, to Gedaliah," (not as
English Version, "Go back, also"), if thou preferrest
(as Nebuzara-dan inferred from Jeremiah's hesitancy) to stop here rather
than go with me.
reward--rather, "a present." This must have been a seasonable relief
to the prophet, who probably lost his all in the siege.
6. Mizpah--in Benjamin, northwest of Jerusalem
(Jer 41:5, 6, 9).
Not the Mizpah in Gilead, beyond Jordan
Jeremiah showed his patriotism and piety in remaining in his country
amidst afflictions and notwithstanding the ingratitude of the Jews,
rather than go to enjoy honors and pleasures in a heathen court
This vindicates his purity of motive in his withdrawal
7. captains . . . in the fields--The leaders of the Jewish army had
been "scattered" throughout the country on the capture of Zedekiah
in order to escape the notice of the Chaldeans.
8. Netophathite--from Netophah, a town in Judah
Maachathite--from Maachathi, at the foot of Mount Hermon
9. Fear not--They were afraid that they should not obtain pardon
from the Chaldeans for their acts. He therefore assured them of safety
by an oath.
serve--literally, "to stand before"
that is, to be at hand ready to execute the commands of the king of
10. Mizpah--lying on the way between Babylon and Judah, and so
convenient for transacting business between the two countries.
As for me . . . but ye--He artfully, in order to
conciliate them, represents the burden of the service to the Chaldeans
as falling on him, while they may freely gather their
wine, fruits, and oil. He does not now add that these very fruits were
to constitute the chief part of the tribute to be paid to Babylon:
which, though fruitful in corn, was less productive of grapes, figs,
and olives [HERODOTUS, 1.193]. The grant of
"vineyards" to the "poor"
would give hope to the discontended of enjoying the best fruits
11. Jews . . . in Moab--who had fled thither at the approach of the
Chaldeans. God thus tempered the severity of His vengeance that a
remnant might be left.
13. in the fields--not in the city, but scattered in the country
14. Baalis--named from the idol Baal, as was often the case in
Ammonites--So it was to them that Ishmael went after murdering
slay--literally, "strike thee in the soul," that is, a deadly
Ishmael--Being of the royal seed of David
he envied Gedaliah the presidency to which he thought himself entitled;
therefore he leagued himself with the ancient heathen enemy of Judah.
believed . . . not--generous, but unwise unsuspiciousness
16. thou speakest falsely--a mystery of providence that God should
permit the righteous, in spite of warning, thus to rush into the trap
laid for them!
suggests a solution.