The Concern for Judah, cont’d. Jeremiah 2-45
Jeremiah 40-45 The Ministry to the Jews
Jeremiah 40:1-6-Jeremiah was given a choice. He could either go with the people to Babylon, or he could stay with the people in Judah. He chose to stay.
Jeremiah 40:7-12-Gedaliah was put in control by Nebuchadnezzar. He told the people to go back to their crops and live their lives without fear of Babylon.
Jeremiah 40:13-16-Johanan told Gedaliah that Baalis, king of the Ammonites, had sent Ishmael to kill him. But he didn't believe him.
Jeremiah 41:1-10-Ishmael was of the lineage of the royal family...and was probably jealous that Gedaliah had been put in charge, and not him. He and some other men killed Gedaliah, some Jews who were with him, and some of the Babylonians. He then forced the other Jews to follow with him to join him and the Ammonites.
Jeremiah 41:11-16-Johanan and the commanders heard what Ishmael had done and attacked him. Most of Gedaliah’s men died, but he escaped.
(1) Son of Kareah, and one of "the captains of the forces who were in the fields" (i.e. probably guerrilla bands), who allied with Gedaliah, governor of Judah, after the fall of Jerusalem, 586 B.C. (2 Kings 25:23 Jeremiah 40:7-43:7). He warned Gedaliah of the plot of Ishmael ben Nethaniah, who was instigated by the Ammonite king Baalis, to murder the governor; but the latter refused to believe him nor would he grant Johanan permission to slay Ishmael (Jeremiah 40:8-16). After Ishmael had murdered Gedaliah and also 70 northern pilgrims, Johanan went in pursuit. He was joined by the unwilling followers of Ishmael, but the murderer escaped. Thereupon Johanan settled at Geruth-Chimham near Bethlehem (Jeremiah 41). As Ishmael's plan was to take the remnant to the land of Ammon, so that of Johanan and his fellow-chiefs was to go to Egypt. They consulted the Divine oracle through Jeremiah, and received the answer that they should remain in Judah (Jeremiah 42). But the prophet was accused of giving false counsel and of being influenced by Baruch. The chiefs then resolved to go to Egypt, and forced Jeremiah and Baruch to accompany them (Jeremiah 43).
International Standard Bible Dictionary,
Jeremiah 41:17-18-Johanan took the remaining people that he found in Jerusalem to a place near Bethlehem…before they left for Egypt. They were afraid that when the Babylonians heard that a group of the Jews had rebelled against them and killed some of the Babylonians (even though they had not been a part of it) that they would come back and kill them.
Jeremiah 42:1-22-They asked Jeremiah to pray for them and said that whatever the LORD said, they would do. Jeremiah told them that he would pray and that whatever God told him…he would them tell them exactly what He had said and hold nothing back (:4). They promised that they would do whatever God told them to do (:5-6). Jeremiah prayed for 10 days before the Lord spoke to him (:7). God told them to stay in Judah and not go to Egypt. If they stayed…then He would bless them. If they go to Egypt…then they will die from the very things that they thought they were escaping. They chose to leave.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, how often we are faithful to You…as long as You do what we want. We promise to be obedient to what You say…but then, when it contradicts our own desires and intentions, we suddenly find an excuse to do something different. Please, Lord, help me to be faithful and obedient to You…period. Don’t let me make excuses. Don’t let me interpret Your word for my own purposes. Don’t let me ignore what You have said. Help me Lord…my old nature is strong and has great influence. Holy Spirit, I submit my life to You completely.