In The Word
Read: Jeremiah 39-41
39 Now when Jerusalem was captured in the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came to Jerusalem and laid siege to it; 2 in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, in the ninth day of the month, the city wall was breached. 3 Then all the officials of the king of Babylon came in and sat down at the Middle Gate: Nergal-sar-ezer, Samgar-nebu, Sar-sekim the Rab-saris, Nergal-sar-ezer the Rab-mag, and all the rest of the officials of the king of Babylon. 4 And when Zedekiah the king of Judah and all the men of war saw them, they fled and left the city at night by way of the king’s garden through the gate between the two walls; and he went out toward the Arabah. 5 But the army of the Chaldeans pursued them and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and they took him and brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, and he passed sentence on him. 6 Then the king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes at Riblah; the king of Babylon also slaughtered all the nobles of Judah. 7 He then blinded Zedekiah’s eyes and bound him in shackles of bronze to bring him to Babylon.8 The Chaldeans also burned the king’s palace and the houses of the people with fire, and they tore down the walls of Jerusalem. 9 And as for the rest of the people who were left in the city, the deserters who had deserted to him and the rest of the people who remained, Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard took them into exile in Babylon. 10 But some of the poorest people, who had nothing, Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard left behind in the land of Judah, and gave them vineyards and fields at that time.
11 Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave orders regarding Jeremiah through Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard, saying, 12 “Take him and look after him, and do not do anything harmful to him, but rather deal with him just as he tells you.” 13 So Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard sent word, along with Nebushazban the Rab-saris, Nergal-sar-ezer the Rab-mag, and all the leading officers of the king of Babylon;14 they even sent word and took Jeremiah out of the courtyard of the guardhouse and entrusted him to Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, to take him home. So he stayed among the people.
15 Now the word of the Lord had come to Jeremiah while he was confined in the courtyard of the guardhouse, saying, 16 “Go and speak to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, ‘This is what the Lord of armies, the God of Israel says: “Behold, I am going to bring My words on this city for disaster and not for prosperity; and they will take place before you on that day. 17 But I will save you on that day,” declares the Lord, “and you will not be handed over to the men of whom you are afraid. 18 For I will assuredly rescue you, and you will not fall by the sword; but you will have your own life as plunder, because you have trusted in Me,” declares the Lord.’”
Jeremiah Remains in Judah
40 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord after Nebuzaradan captain of the bodyguard had released him from Ramah, when he had taken him bound in chains among all the exiles of Jerusalem and Judah who were being exiled to Babylon. 2 Now the captain of the bodyguard had taken Jeremiah and said to him, “The Lord your God promised this disaster against this place;3 and the Lord has brought it and done just as He promised. Because you people sinned against the Lordand did not listen to His voice, this thing has happened to you. 4 But now, behold, I am setting you free today from the chains that are on your hands. If you would prefer to come with me to Babylon, come along, and I will look after you; but if you would prefer not to come with me to Babylon, do not come. Look, the whole land is before you; go wherever it seems good and right for you to go.” 5 As Jeremiah was still not going back, he said, “Go on back then to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has appointed over the cities of Judah, and stay with him among the people; or else go anywhere it seems right for you to go.” So the captain of the bodyguard gave him a ration and a gift, and let him go. 6 Then Jeremiah went to Mizpah to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam and stayed with him among the people who were left in the land.
7 Now all the commanders of the forces that were in the field, they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam over the land, and that he had put him in charge of the men, women, and children, those of the poorest of the land who had not been exiled to Babylon. 8 So they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah, along with 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, both they and their men. 9 Then Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, swore to them and to their men, saying, “Do not be afraid of serving the Chaldeans; stay in the land and serve the king of Babylon, so that it may go well for you.10 Now as for me, behold, I am going to stay in Mizpah to stand for you before the Chaldeans who come to us; but as for you, gather wine, summer fruit, and oil, and put them in your storage vessels, and live in your cities that you have taken over.” 11 Likewise, also all the Jews who were in Moab and among the sons of Ammon and in Edom, and who were in all the other countries, heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant for Judah, and that he had appointed over them Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan. 12 Then all the Jews returned from all the places to which they had been scattered and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah, and gathered wine and summer fruit in great abundance.
13 Now Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were in the field came to Gedaliah at Mizpah, 14 and said to him, “Are you well aware that Baalis the king of the sons of Ammon has sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to take your life?” But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam did not believe them. 15 Then Johanan the son of Kareah spoke secretly to Gedaliah in Mizpah, saying, “Let me go and kill Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and no one will know! Why should he take your life, so that all the Jews who are gathered to you would be scattered and the remnant of Judah would perish?” 16 But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said to Johanan the son of Kareah, “Do not do this thing, for you are telling a lie about Ishmael.”
Gedaliah Is Murdered
41 Now in the seventh month Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the royal family and one of the chief officers of the king, along with ten men, came to Mizpah to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam. While they were eating bread together there in Mizpah,2 Ishmael the son of Nethaniah and the ten men who were with him rose up, and struck and killed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, with the sword and put to death the one whom the king of Babylon had appointed over the land. 3 Ishmael also struck and killed all the Jews who were with him, that is with Gedaliah in Mizpah, and the Chaldeans who were found there, the men of war.
4 Now it happened on the next day after the killing of Gedaliah, when no one knew about it, 5 that eighty men came from Shechem, from Shiloh, and from Samaria with their beards shaved off, their clothes torn, and their bodies gashed, having grain offerings and incense in their hands to bring to the house of the Lord. 6 Then Ishmael the son of Nethaniah left Mizpah to meet them, weeping as he went; and as he met them, he said to them, “Come to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam!” 7 Yet it turned out that as soon as they came inside the city, Ishmael the son of Nethaniah and the men who were with him slaughtered them and threw them into the cistern. 8 But ten men who were found among them said to Ishmael, “Do not put us to death, for we have supplies of wheat, barley, oil, and honey hidden in the field.” So he refrained and did not put them to death along with their companions.
9 Now as for the cistern where Ishmael had thrown all the bodies of the men whom he had struck and killed because of Gedaliah, it was the one that King Asa had constructed on account of Baasha, king of Israel; Ishmael the son of Nethaniah filled it with the dead. 10 Then Ishmael took captive all the remnant of the people who were in Mizpah, the king’s daughters and all the people who were left in Mizpah, whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard had put in the custody of Gedaliah the son of Ahikam. Ishmael the son of Nethaniah took them captive and proceeded to cross over to the sons of Ammon.
Johanan Rescues the People
11 But Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were with him heard about all the evil that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had done. 12 So they took all the men and went to fight with Ishmael the son of Nethaniah and they found him by the large pool that is in Gibeon. 13 Now as soon as all the people who were with Ishmael saw Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were with him, they were joyful. 14 So all the people whom Ishmael had taken captive from Mizpah turned around and came back, and went to Johanan the son of Kareah. 15 But Ishmael the son of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with eight men, and went to the sons of Ammon. 16 Then Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were with him took from Mizpah all the remnant of the people whom he had recovered from Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, after he had struck and killed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, that is, the men who were soldiers, thewomen, the children, and the high officials, whom he had brought back from Gibeon. 17 And they went and stayed in Geruth Chimham, which is beside Bethlehem, in order to proceed into Egypt 18 because of the Chaldeans; for they were afraid of them, since Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had struck and killed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon had appointed over the land.
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Walking In The Word
The Babylonian army attacked Jerusalem for a year and a half and then broke through the city’s wall. The king and his army tried to escape, but they were caught. The city was destroyed and many of its inhabitants were taken captive. Only the poor were allowed to remain to care for the land. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, gave instructions to set Jeremiah free to decide where to live; Jeremiah decided to stay with his people in Israel.
The Babylonian captain that set Jeremiah free said, “The Lord your God promised this calamity against this place; and the Lord has brought it on and done just as He promised.” It is interesting that the enemy knew of God’s promise to discipline His people for sinning and disobeying His commands.
God means what He says, and He will carry out all of His promises contained in His Word. Numbers 23:19 states, “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” God will fulfill His promises to bless us for our obedience to His commands, and He will carry out the discipline He promises when we disobey. There are consequences that correspond to both obedience and disobedience. Do not neglect any of God’s Word. Rather, accept and believe all of it. He will bring every word to pass.