Jeremiah 40:10
As for me, behold, I will dwell at Mizpah, to serve the Chaldeans, which will come to us: but you, gather you wine, and summer fruits, and oil, and put them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that you have taken.
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(10) Gather ye wine, and summer fruits.—The words show that the application took place in the autumn. The captains and their followers were invited to help themselves freely from the fields and vineyards and olive-yards, the owners of which had been carried off to Babylon, so as to relieve their immediate wants and provide for the coming winter. The “summer fruits” would probably include figs, apples, and the like.

40:7-16 Jeremiah had never in his prophecies spoken of any good days for the Jews, to come immediately after the captivity; yet Providence seemed to encourage such an expectation. But how soon is this hopeful prospect blighted! When God begins a judgment, he will complete it. While pride, ambition, or revenge, bears rule in the heart, men will form new projects, and be restless in mischief, which commonly ends in their own ruin. Who would have thought, that after the destruction of Jerusalem, rebellion would so soon have sprung up? There can be no thorough change but what grace makes. And if the miserable, who are kept in everlasting chains for the judgment of the great day, were again permitted to come on earth, the sin and evil of their nature would be unchanged. Lord, give us new hearts, and that new mind in which the new birth consists, since thou hast said we cannot without it see thy heavenly kingdom.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.

10. Mizpah—lying on the way between Babylon and Judah, and so convenient for transacting business between the two countries.

As for me … but ye—He artfully, in order to conciliate them, represents the burden of the service to the Chaldeans as falling on him, while they may freely gather their wine, fruits, and oil. He does not now add that these very fruits were to constitute the chief part of the tribute to be paid to Babylon: which, though fruitful in corn, was less productive of grapes, figs, and olives [Herodotus, 1.193]. The grant of "vineyards" to the "poor" (Jer 39:10) would give hope to the discontended of enjoying the best fruits (Jer 40:12).

That is, I have made choice of Mizpah, a city upon the frontiers, where I intend to make my residence, it being a convenient place for me to receive orders from the king of Babylon, and to manage state matters. But do ye live in the country, and gather such fruits as the country affordeth; do not fear being stripped or spoiled of them, but do as you use to do in the times of greatest peace and security. As for me, behold, I will dwell at Mizpah, to serve the Chaldeans that come unto us,.... Here he urges his own example, as before their welfare, to engage them to dwell in the land, and serve the Chaldeans; this was what he had determined to do, and had fixed upon Mizpah, a frontier town, and in the way to Babylon, as a proper seat of residence for him, as a governor under the king of Babylon: "to serve the Chaldeans"; or "to stand before them" (u); that should come to him as messengers from the king of Babylon, to receive tribute or bring orders to him; all which he would take care of, as well as be an advocate for the Jews, and plead on their behalf, for favours to be bestowed on them; and particularly for these generals and their forces, that they might be pardoned, and dwell safely in the land: he suggests, that they need not trouble themselves about these things; all affairs of this kind he would take upon himself to transact; so that they would have nothing to fear, nor anything to do, but as follows:

but ye, gather ye wine, and summer fruits, and oil; that is, grapes to make wine of, and olives to make oil of, and summer fruits, such as figs and apples. The Targum interprets it lumps of figs; and so Jarchi; for fruits of trees are meant, and not fruits of the earth, as corn and wheat; for both barley and wheat harvests were over before this time; the city being taken in July, and, a month after that, Nebuzaradan came and carried off the captives, and left the poor with Gedaliah, appointed governor. It may be rendered, "autumnal fruits" (w); for the word signifies autumn as well as summer;

and put them in your vessels; casks, bottles, and such like vessels, suitable to the things mentioned, and which were in common use, in order to be laid up for winter; and as they used to do in times of peace, not fearing any enemy to come and take them from them:

and dwell in your cities which ye have taken; not by force of arms, or as they pleased; but which they had held in possession formerly as the inheritances of their families, and which they had lately reassumed, or might however enter upon the quiet possession of.

(u) "ut stem coram", Vatablus, Pagninus; "ad standum coram", Schmidt. (w) "et autumni fructus", Schmidt; "fructus autumnales", Vatablus.

As for me, behold, I will dwell at Mizpah, to serve the Chaldeans, which will come unto us: but ye, gather ye wine, and summer fruits, and oil, and put them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that ye have taken.
10. to stand before] probably meaning that, as a servant of the Chaldaeans, he would be able in their presence to defend the interests of the Jews. See on Jeremiah 15:1.Verse 10. - To serve the Chaldeans; rather, to stand before the Chaldeans (so literally); i.e. to mediate between you and them (comp. Jeremiah 15:1). Gather ye wine, etc. It was the fifth or sixth month (comp. Jeremiah 41:1; 2 Kings 25:8), the end of July or the beginning of August, when grapes, figs, and olives become ripe. Observe, "wine" is here the wine in the grape; the Hebrew yayin seems originally to have meant a cluster of grapes, like the corresponding word (wain) in Arabic (setup. on ch. 48:33). That ye have taken; rather, that ye shall have taken. (The "captains" had up to this time been in the open country, ver. 7.) Nebuzaradan then declared him free: "And now, behold, I free thee this day from the shackles on thine hands. If it please thee to come with me to Babylon, then come, and I will set mine eye upon thee (i.e., take thee under my protection, cf. Jeremiah 39:12). But if it please thee not to come with me to Babylon, then let it be so. See, the whole country is before thee (cf. Genesis 13:9; Genesis 20:5, etc.); whithersoever it pleases thee, and seems right to thee to go, go." Jeremiah 40:5. And because Jeremiah had not yet returned, he said, "Go back to Gedaliah,...whom the king of Babylon hath set over the cities of Judah, and remain with him among the people; or go wherever it seemeth right to thee to go." And the commander of the guard gave him what provisions he required and a present, and sent him away; thereafter Jeremiah went to Gedaliah to Mizpah, and remained there among the people who had been left behind in the land (Jeremiah 40:6). The words ועדנּוּ were certainly misunderstood by the old translators, who made various conjectures as to their meaning; even yet, Dahler, Movers, Graf, and Nהgelsbach are of opinion that "it is impossible to understand" this sentence, and that the text is plainly corrupt. Luther renders: "for no one will any longer return thither." Hitzig considers this translation substantially correct, and only requiring to be a little more exactly rendered: "but there, no one returns home again." Apart, however, from the consideration that on this view עדנּוּ, which stands at the head of the sentence, does not get full justice paid to it, the thought does not accord with what precedes, and the reference of the suffix to the indefinite "person" or "one" is extremely forced. According to what goes before, in which Nebuzaradan gives the prophet full liberty of choosing whether he would go with him to Babylon or remain in the country, in whatever part he likes, and from the following advice which he gives him, "Go, or return, to Gedaliah," the words עדנּוּ לא ישׁוּב, on account of the third person (ישׁוּב), cannot certainly be an address of the chief captain to Jeremiah, and as little can they contain a remark about going to Babylon. The words are evidently, both as to their form and their contents, a circumstantial clause, containing a statement regarding the relation of Jeremiah to the proposal of the chief captain (and this is the view taken long ago by Kimchi), i.e., a parenthetical remark of the narrator, according to which Nebuzaradan demands that he shall remain with Gedaliah, in the sense, "and yet he was not going back," or, still better, on account of the imperfect ישׁוּב, "because he was still unwilling to go back," namely, to this or that place indefinitely; then Nebuzaradan further said, "Return, then, to Gedaliah." If we supply ויּאמר before 'ושׁוּבה וגו, with which Nebuzaradan brings the matter to a close, the meaning is quite clear. It is evident from Jeremiah 40:4 that Nebuzaradan stopped a little in order to let Jeremiah decide; but since the prophet did not return, i.e., neither decided in the one way nor the other, he adds 'ושׁוּבה וגו, and thereby puts an end to the indecision. ארחה means a portion of food, or victuals; cf. Jeremiah 52:34 and Proverbs 15:17. Mizpah, where Gedaliah had taken up his position, is the Mizpah of the tribe of Benjamin, where Samuel judged the people and chose Saul to be king (1 Samuel 7:15., Jeremiah 10:17); doubtless the modern Neby Samwil, five miles north-west from Jerusalem, a short distance south-west from Ramah; see on Joshua 18:26.
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