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Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, [1834], at

Jeremiah Chapter 40

Jeremiah 40:1

jer 40:1

As what follows is mainly a historical narrative, it seems that the title "The word ..." was appropriate not merely to a prediction of the future, but to an account of the past, if written by a prophet. The Jews regarded history as inspired if written by a seer, and thus their historical books are called "the early prophets."

Ramah - Probably all the prisoners of note were collected at Ramah indiscriminately, and examined there.

Bound in chains - The prisoners were probably fastened together in couples by one hand, and a rope passed down the center to bind them in a long line, and prevent attempts at escape.

Jeremiah 40:5

jer 40:5

Now while he was not yet gone back - Most modern commentators render "And as he yet answered nothing, Return then, he said, to Gedaliah ..."

Victuals - A ration of food.

A reward - A present.

Jeremiah 40:7

jer 40:7

The men would be the old and infirm: the women those whose husbands and protectors had perished in the wars (e. g. Jer 41:10). The word children includes all the inferior members of a household.

Jeremiah 40:9

jer 40:9

To serve the Chaldeans - literally, as margin; to be their minister and lieutenant. Gedaliah supposed that officers of high rank would come from time to time from Babylon to look after the king's interests. But whatever was ordered would be done through him, as being the prime minister.

Gather ye wine - As Jerusalem was captured in the fifth month, August, it would now be autumn, and there would be fruit upon the trees, enough to maintain the scanty population during the winter.

Taken - Or, seized. Every captain had probably occupied some place by force as his head quarters, and Gedaliah bids them retain them. He frankly accepts the whole existing state of things, as a necessary step toward re-establishing confidence.

Jeremiah 40:14

jer 40:14

It is difficult to say what object Baalis can have had in murdering Gedaliah. As an ally of Zedekiah Jer 27:3, he may have had a spite against the family of Ahikam for opposing, as most probably they did at Jeremiah's instigation, the league proposed Jer. 27. Ishmael's motive was envy and spite at seeing a subject who had always opposed the war now invested with kingly power, in place of the royal family.

Next: Jeremiah Chapter 41