Jeremiah 40:1
The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, after that Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah, when he had taken him being bound in chains among all that were carried away captive of Jerusalem and Judah, which were carried away captive unto Babylon.
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(1) The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord.—It is noticeable that this introduction is not followed by any specific utterance of prophecy until we come to Jeremiah 42:7. It is a natural conclusion that it stands as a kind of heading to the section of the collected prophecies subsequent to the capture of the city.

Had let him go from Ramah.—The town so named was in the tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 18:25), about six miles from Jerusalem, and retains its old name in the form Er-Ram. It was used on this occasion as a depot for the prisoners who were brought to it from Jerusalem, to await the orders of Nebuzaradan as to their ultimate disposal. The captain of the guard and the prophet had apparently not met before, and the latter had been brought in chains (literally, manacles, chains fastened to the wrists, Jeremiah 40:4), like the other captives.

(2–4) The Lord thy God . . .—It is significant that the Chaldæan general speaks as if recognising Jehovah as the God of Israel, and the prophet’s mission from Him. Such a recognition did not, however, imply more than the belief of the polytheist, that each nation had its own guardian deity. We find language of a like kind, though spoken with a tone of sarcasm, coming even from the lips of Rab-shakeh (2Kings 18:25). As a prophet, however, Jeremiah is treated with marked respect—in part, perhaps, due to the policy he had advocated; in part, possibly, to the influence of men like Daniel and his friends at Babylon—and offered the option of going, with the promise of honourable treatment. to that city, from which, however, it is assumed, that he would not return, or remaining in Judaea, to go where he will. The prophet obviously chooses the second alternative, but before he acts on it another plan occurs to Nebuzar-adan.

Jeremiah 40:1. The word which came to Jeremiah, &c. — This relates to the prophecy recorded Jeremiah 42:7, which was occasioned by the story that here follows concerning Ishmael’s conspiracy against Gedaliah. After that Nebuzar-adan had let him go from Ramah — After Jeremiah was taken out of the court of the prison, he was carried, probably by mistake, expressly contrary to Nebuchadnezzar’s orders, among the other prisoners to Ramah, a city in the tribe of Benjamin near Gibeon. Here, it seems, the mistake was discovered, and the prophet was discharged by the special order of the court.

40:1-6 The captain of the guard seems to glory that he had been God's instrument to fulfil, what Jeremiah had been God's messenger to foretell. Many can see God's justice and truth with regard to others, who are heedless and blind as to themselves and their own sins. But, sooner or later, all men shall be made sensible that their sin is the cause of all their miseries. Jeremiah has leave to dispose of himself; but is advised to go to Gedaliah, governor of the land under the king of Babylon. It is doubtful whether Jeremiah acted right in this decision. But those who desire the salvation of sinners, and the good of the church, are apt to expect better times from slight appearances, and they will prefer the hope of being useful, to the most secure situations without it.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.


Jer 40:1-16. Jeremiah Is Set Free at Ramah, and Goes to Gedaliah, to Whom the Remnant of Jews Repair. Johanan Warns Gedaliah of Ishmael's Conspiracy in Vain.

1. word that came—the heading of a new part of the book (the forty-first through forty-fourth chapters), namely, the prophecies to the Jews in Judea and Egypt after the taking of the city, blended with history. The prophecy does not begin till Jer 42:7, and the previous history is introductory to it.

bound in chains—Though released from the court of the prison (see on [958]Jer 39:14), in the confusion at the burning of the city he seems to have been led away in chains with the other captives, and not till he reached Ramah to have gained full liberty. Nebuzara-dan had his quarters at Ramah, in Benjamin; and there he collected the captives previous to their removal to Babylon (Jer 31:15). He in releasing Jeremiah obeyed the king's commands (Jer 39:11). Jeremiah's "chains" for a time were due to the negligence of those to whom he had been committed; or else to Nebuzara-dan's wish to upbraid the people with their perverse ingratitude in imprisoning Jeremiah [Calvin]; hence he addresses the people (ye … you) as much as Jeremiah (Jer 40:2, 3).Jeremiah, being set free by Nebuchadnezzar, goeth to Gedaliah, Jeremiah 40:1-6, to whom the remaining Jews repair, Jeremiah 40:7-12. Johanan revealing Ishmael’s conspiracy, is not believed, Jeremiah 40:13-16.

These words refer to the forty-second chapter, where begins the revelation which Jeremiah had from God, for all this chapter and the next are no prophecy, but only an historical narration of some passages after the taking of the city, and so cannot be called a prophecy, but are a piece of history previous to that prophecy.

Ramah was a city in the tribe of Benjamin near Gibeon. See Jeremiah 31:15. Jeremiah was by mistake, and expressly contrary to the king’s orders, Jeremiah 39:11, manacled and carried away amongst the other prisoners; probably the captain of the guard at that place called over his prisoners, and amongst them he found the prophet, contrary to his expectation.

The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord,.... The word of prophecy, as the Targum; but there being no prophecy in this and the following chapter, only a narration of facts, this is generally referred to what came ten days after, and which begins Jeremiah 42:7; so Jarchi and Kimchi; all between being included in a parenthesis, or a relation of facts preparatory, to lead on to it; though Abarbinel takes it to be a general title to all histories and prophecies in this book, from henceforward to the end of it. Jarchi and Kimchi make mention of a Midrash, which refers it to the special word of the Lord to Jeremiah to go to Gedaliah, Jeremiah 40:5; interpreting that passage as the words of the Lord, and not of Nebuzaradan; but Abarbinel's sense seems best. The time of this prophecy was

after that Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah; which was a city in the land of Benjamin near Gibeon, seven miles from Jerusalem, as Jerom (q) says; here Nebuzaradan had his rendezvous, whither he brought his captives as they fell into his hands, among whom were Jeremiah:

when he had taken him; out of the court of the prison, and out of Jerusalem, and brought him to Ramah:

being bound in chains among all them that were carried away captive of Jerusalem and Judah, that were carried away captive unto Babylon; how it came to pass is not certain, but so it was; that, though by the orders of Nebuzaradan and the princes, agreeably to the command of the king of Babylon, Jeremiah was taken out of the court of the prison, yet was not set free; but without the knowledge of Nebuzaradan, and through the inadvertency of inferior officers, he was taken and bound, and with other prisoners brought to Ramah, in order to be transported to Babylon, which lay in the way to it; for Ramah was to the north of Jerusalem, as Babylon was: these chains were for the hands, or what we call handcuffs, as Kimchi, Abarbinel, and Ben Melech observe, and as appears from Jeremiah 40:4.

(q) Comment in Hos. v. 8,

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, after that Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah, when he had taken him being bound in chains among all that were carried away captive of Jerusalem and Judah, which were carried away captive unto Babylon.
1. Ramah] See on Jeremiah 31:15.

Verses 1-6. - The liberation of Jeremiah. Verse 1. - The word that came to Jeremiah. The formula seems to announce a prophecy; but no prophecy follows. It is not allowable to suppose, with Keil and others, that "the word" describes the entire body of prophetic utterance in ch. 40-45. (in spite of the fact that ch. 44. and 45. have special headings). The use would be unexampled; and a prologue of forty verses (see Jeremiah 42:7) is equally contrary to prophetic analogy. Apparently the "word," or prophecy, which originally followed the heading has been lost or removed to some other place. Had let him go from Ramah. Here is an apparent discrepancy with the account in Jeremiah 39:14. The brevity of the latter seems to account for it. No doubt the more precise statement in our passage is to be followed. After the capture of the city, a number of captives, including Jeremiah, were probably conducted to Ramah (see on Jeremiah 31:15), where they had to wait for the royal decision as to their fate. Jeremiah, however, had already been in custody in the "court of the watch," and the writer of Jeremiah 29:14 simply omits the second stage of his captivity (Keil). In chains. See ver. 4, "The chains which were upon thine hand." Jeremiah 40:1The liberation of Jeremiah by Nebuzaradan, the chief of the body-guards. - The superscription, "The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, after that Nebuzaradan, the captain of the body-guard, had let him go from Ramah," does not seem to be appropriate; for in what follows there is no word of God declared by Jeremiah, but first, Jeremiah 1:2-6, we are told that Jeremiah was liberated and given in charge to Gedaliah; then is told, Jeremiah 40:7-41:18, the story of the murder of Gedaliah the governor by Ishmael, together with its consequences; and not till Jeremiah 42:7. is there communicated a word of God, which Jeremiah uttered regarding the Jews who wished to flee to Egypt, and had besought him for some revelation from God (Jeremiah 42:1-6). The heading of our verse cannot refer to this prophecy, not merely for the reason that it is too far removed, but still more because it has a historical notice introducing it, Jeremiah 42:1-6. Our superscription rather refers to Jeremiah 1:1-3; and דּבר here, as well as there, means, not a single prophecy, but a number of prophecies. Just as דבר in Jeremiah 1:2 forms the heading for all the prophecies uttered by Jeremiah from the thirteenth year of Josiah till the destruction of Jerusalem and the carrying away of the people in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, so the words 'הדּבר אשׁר וגו of this verse form the superscription for the prophecies which Jeremiah uttered after the destruction of Jerusalem, i.e., to the section formed by Jeremiah 40-45, although Jeremiah 44; Jeremiah 45:1-5 have headings of their own; these, however, are subordinate to the heading of this chapter, in the same way as the titles in Jeremiah 7:1; Jeremiah 11:11; Jeremiah 14:1, etc. fall under the general title given in Jeremiah 1:2-3. - Regarding Nebuzaradan and the discharge of Jeremiah at Ramah (i.e., er Rm, see on Jeremiah 31:15), cf. the explanations given on Jeremiah 39:13 (p. 335 of this volume). In what follows, from בּקחתּו onwards, further details are given regarding Jeremiah's liberation. "When he (Nebuzaradan) sent for him, he (Jeremiah), bound with fetters, was among all the captives of Jerusalem and Judah who were being carried away to Babylon." Those who were to be carried away had been gathered together to Ramah, which lies about five miles north from Jerusalem; thence they were to set out for Babylon. אזקּים ( equals זקּים, Job 36:8; Isaiah 45:14), "fetters," - here, according to Jeremiah 40:4, "manacles," by which, perhaps, two or more prisoners were fastened to one another.
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