Jeremiah 40: Questions and Answers.

December 5, 2020 in Today's Q&A by TGV

Bible Study Guide/ Jeremiah 40, (24-BSG-40J)/ Questions and Answers.


[1] Discuss briefly the main events that are happening after the Fall of Jerusalem? (Jer. 40-42). Nebuzaradan, the Babylonian army commander, found Jeremiah in chains among the other captives at the prison camp in Ramah and release him. Gedaliah is appointed governor over Judah. Gedaliah is killed by Ishmael. Johanan asks Jeremiah whether the people should stay in Judah or go to Egypt.

[2] Describe the treatment which Jeremiah received at the hands of the Chaldeans? — (40:1–5). “Jeremiah was free to go wherever he wanted. If he went to Babylon with the other captives, Nebuzaradan promised to look after him (cf. 39:12). If he wished to stay in Judah, he could settle wherever he pleased. However, if he did stay in Judah Nebuzaradan suggested that he go … to Gedaliah and live with him. No doubt Governor Gedaliah could offer both the protection and the physical provisions that Jeremiah would need if he stayed. As Jeremiah left Ramah to make the three-mile journey to Mizpah- the administrative center for Judah after the destruction of Jerusalem-Nebuzaradan displayed his kindness by providing Jeremiah with provisions and a present.” [Charles H. Dyer, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, 1985, 1, 1186].

[3] Notice the heathen commander’s astonishing familiarity with Jeremiah’s preaching. What did he say? “And the captain of the guard took Jeremiah and said to him: “The Lord your God has pronounced this doom on this place. Now the Lord has brought it, and has done just as He said. Because you people have sinned against the Lord, and not obeyed His voice, therefore this thing has come upon you.” (Jeremiah 40:2–3, NKJV)

[4] Whom did the king of Babylon appoint governor over the cities of Judah? (40:5) — Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan.

[5] What three notable things were made available to Jeremiah after his release? — (40:4-5)

  • Nebuzaradan gave him the choice to go to Babylon with him or anywhere the prophet wished.
  • He suggested that Jeremiah go to Gedaliah, the newly appointed governor (if he chose to stay in Jerusalem); or go elsewhere in Judah
  • He also gave the prophet provisions and a gifts (probably money).

Note: Because Jeremiah was not guilty of revolting against Babylon, he was given these choices/ freedom as an expression of appreciation for his loyalty to the Babylonian government.

[6] What choice did Jeremiah ended up making? — (40:6) He stayed in Judah, in the promised land. His mission: to minister to the people. “Then Jeremiah went to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, to Mizpah, and dwelt with him among the people who were left in the land.” (Jeremiah 40:6, NKJV)

[7] What do we know about Mizpah? — (40:6) It was the new seat of government chosen by Nebuchadnezzar. Mizpah was a place in territory of the tribe of Benjamin, where Samuel judged, and where Saul was elected king (see 1 Sam. 7:15-16; 10:17-25).

[8] Discuss the Judean resistance fighters’ response to Gedaliah’s appointment as governor— (40:7). They requested a meeting: “they went to Gedaliah at Mizpah— Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah the son of the Maacathite, they and their men.” (Jer. 40:8)

Note: “From 40:7 until 42:2 Jeremiah is not mentioned in the narrative. Many of the army officers and their men had escaped the Babylonian mop-up operation after Jerusalem’s fall and were hiding in the “open country,” probably in the Judean hills. Some may have been continuing to fight as guerrillas, not willing to surrender to the enemy. However, when they heard that Nebuchadnezzar had appointed Gedaliah, one of their own, as governor, they joined him at Mizpah. Gedaliah had been put in charge of the poorest in the land and those not carried away as exiles.” [F. B. Huey, Jeremiah, Lamentations, The New American Commentary, (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1993), 16:350].

[9] When Gedaliah, the new governor met with these fighters, what was his appeal to them? — (40:9) Put down your arms, return home, and settle down; Subject yourself to the rule of Babylon.

[10] What was Gedaliah’s promise to them? — (40:10a) I will represent you well before the king of Babylon.

[11] What was Gedaliah’s challenge to the officers? — (40:10b) Help rebuild the farms and towns of Judah

[12] Who returned to Judah? From what other quarters did the Jews assemble to Mispah?— (40:11) They returned from Moab, Ammon, Edom, and all the other countries to which they had fled. They settled down and began farming as well as the process of rebuilding their nation and their economy.

[13] What important information did Johanan bring to Gedaliah? — (40:13-14) He informed him that Ishmael was planning to kill him. Note: Ishmael had been hired by King Baalis of Ammon to kill the governor. But unfortunately Gedaliah did not believe these report, much less question/ investigate Ishmael’s motives.

[14] How did Johanan propose to defeat the object of Ishmael’s plot? — (40:15)

“Johanan met privately with Gedaliah and offered to kill Ishmael. He planned to do it secretly so no one would know who was responsible. Johanan thought Ishmael should be eliminated for the good of Judah. If Ishmael were allowed to take Gedaliah’s life, it could cause all the Jews in the land to be scattered and to perish. Gedaliah ordered Johanan not to do such a thing because he was certain that the rumors about Ishmael were not true. Gedaliah was an honorable man who made a fatal mistake when he misjudged Ishmael’s character.” [Charles H. Dyer, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, 1985, 1, 1187].

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