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CHAPTER 40 Aug. 19 
Jeremiah is Set Free
The word which came to Jeremiah from Yahweh after Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah, when he had taken him being bound in chains among all the captives of Jerusalem and Judah, who were carried away captive to Babylon. 2The captain of the guard took Jeremiah and said to him, Yahweh your God pronounced this evil on this place; 3and Yahweh has brought it, and done according as He spoke: because you have sinned against Yahweh, and have not obeyed His voice, therefore this thing has come on you. 4Now, behold, I release you this day from the chains which are on your hand. If it seems good to you to come with me into Babylon, come, and I will take care of you; but if it seems bad to you to come with me into Babylon, don’t: behold, all the land is before you; where it seems good and right to you to go, there go. 5If 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. 6Then went Jeremiah to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam to Mizpah, and lived with him among the people who were left in the land. 7Now when all the captains of the forces who 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 to him men, and women, and children, and of the poorest of the land, of those who were not carried away captive to Babylon; 8then they came to Gedaliah to 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. 9Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan swore to them and to their men saying, Don’t be afraid to serve the Chaldeans: dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you.
The Harvest
10As for me, behold, I will dwell at Mizpah, to stand before the Chaldeans who shall come to us: but you, gather grapes and summer fruits and oil, and put them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that you have taken. 11Likewise when all the Jews who were in Moab, and among the children of Ammon, and in Edom, and who 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; 12then all the Jews returned out of all places where they were driven, and came to the land of Judah to Gedaliah, to Mizpah, and gathered grapes and summer fruits very much. 13Moreover Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces who were in the fields, came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, 14and said to him, Do you know that Baalis the king of the children of Ammon has sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to take your life? But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam didn’t believe them. 15Then Johanan the son of Kareah spoke to Gedaliah in Mizpah secretly saying, Please let me go, and I will kill Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and no man shall know it: why should he take your life, that all the Jews who are gathered to you should be scattered, and the remnant of Judah perish? 16But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said to Johanan the son of Kareah, You shall not do this thing; for you speak falsely of Ishmael.


40:4 All the land is before you- Jeremiah would have recalled how Lot was in a similar position, given the opportunity of living where he wanted; and he wrongly chose the Sodom area, and spiritually suffered for it. Jeremiah would’ve immediately been on his guard, in case this offer of living where he liked could lead him to wrong choices. The more familiar we are with Scripture and the more we reflect upon and personalize it, the easier it will be for us to see our situations as being in essence what others were in, and the clearer the decisions will become.
40:6 Jeremiah was popular with the Babylonians because he had repeatedly urged Judah to surrender to them and predicted the Babylonian victory. So he was offered a nice retirement package in the opulence of Babylon, amongst his fellow Jews, whom God had predicted would be the ones who would repent, rather than those very poor few who remained in the land. Jeremiah’s chose to remain in unstable Judah, which would’ve suffered all the practical and economic problems associated with anarchy, marauding gangs and a land destroyed by a lengthy military campaign; and he also chose to remain among the materially poor and spiritually weakest. They wouldn’t have been very nice company. The first wave of Jews taken captive to Babylon included faithful Daniel and his friends, Ezekiel and other prophets. But Jeremiah chose the hardest way, to stay with the weakest and poorest; he must’ve been so spiritually lonely. In various contexts we also have these choices, and if we are truly motivated by the love of Christ, we will seek the higher level choices as Jeremiah did.
40:9 Don’t be afraid to serve the Chaldeans- Gedaliah is alluding to Jeremiah’s words of 27:8,11,12, where he had urged Judah to recognize their sins and the need for punishment of them, and therefore serve the Chaldeans. Because they didn’t do this, destruction came. But even afterwards, it seems Gedaliah was still urging the people to accept this principle. 
40:10-15 The positive situation described here, both materially and spiritually, was perhaps an outcome of the people being willing to obey Jeremiah’s earlier appeal to serve the Babylonians (see on :9). It would seem from 41:5 that the destroyed temple was at least partially operating; and as many as 80 men had cut themselves in repentance and a fervent desire for God to hear their prayers, and were bringing sacrifice to Him. The king’s daughters were allowed to remain in Mizpah, and some of the “greatest” amongst the Jews also remained in the land (42:1). This situation is never predicted by Jeremiah; all the prophecies suggest a total destruction of the people and the severing of God’s relationship with the land. But in wrath God remembered mercy; what we see here is grace indeed. And yet, once again, the situation didn’t last because of human failure- in this case, Ishmael’s evil explained in chapter 41, and Gedaliah’s unwisdom in :16.