Jeremiah 40:12
Even all the Jews returned out of all places whither they were driven, and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah, unto Mizpah, and gathered wine and summer fruits very much.
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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.

11. Jews … in Moab—who had fled thither at the approach of the Chaldeans. God thus tempered the severity of His vengeance that a remnant might be left. Probably upon the king of Babylon’s first invading Judah many fled, and more as he went on in his conquests, overrunning the country, and it is likely at the taking of the city many escaped, and fled into several countries as they had opportunity, or judged this or that country would be safest; some fled to Moab, some to Ammon, some to Edom, some one way, some another. But when they heard that the king of Babylon had set a governor of their own religion and country over them, they came back to him; and there being few people left in the land, which was of itself wonderfully fruitful, they gathered a great plenty of grapes and other summer fruits which the country produced.

Even all the Jews returned from all places whither they were driven,.... Through fear of the Chaldean army; they came all of them from the several countries before mentioned; so that here was like to be a happy settlement and a flourishing commonwealth again; here being princes and generals, soldiers and common people, in large numbers, that were returned and coalesced under the government of Gedaliah:

and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah, unto Mizpah; they came out of the several countries where they had been for some time, and entered the land of Judah; but did not take up their abode anywhere, till they had presented themselves to the governor, and put themselves under his protection; promising, no doubt, to regard him as such, and to be tributary to the Chaldeans; being assured by him, as the generals and their forces before, that all would be well with them, giving them free liberty to settle in the cities and villages to which they belonged; and accordingly they set out from Mizpah, and went to their respective habitations they had abandoned:

and gathered wine and summer fruits very much; See Gill on Jeremiah 40:10; the people of the land being carried captive; and the Chaldean army not having ravaged these parts, or however had left an abundance of fruits, which these people, at their return, found and gathered.

Even all the Jews returned out of all places whither they were driven, and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah, unto Mizpah, and gathered wine and summer fruits very much.
12. gathered wine … very much] This was done in the 6th month (Aug.–Sept.), only two months (cp. Jeremiah 39:2) after the capture of the city. It is clear that the Babylonians had not devastated the country, but “had risen above the methods of barbarism which characterized ancient and have characterized so much modern warfare.” Peake.

Jeremiah 40:12These captains came to Mizpah, namely (ו explicative), Ishmael the son of Nethaniah (according to Jeremiah 41:1, the grandson of Elishama, and of royal blood), Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah (cf. Jeremiah 40:13 and Jeremiah 41:11, Jeremiah 41:16; Jeremiah 42:1.; the name Jonathan is omitted in 2 Kings 25:23; see on this passage), Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth, and the sons of Ephai the Netophathite (from Netophah in the vicinity of Bethlehem, 1 Chronicles 2:54; Ezra 2:22), Jezaniah (יזניהוּ; but in 2 Kings 25:23 יאזניהוּ), the Maachathite, from Maachah, a district in Syria near Hermon, Deuteronomy 3:14; Joshua 12:5. These men, who had borne arms against the Chaldeans, were concerned for their safety when they returned into the country. Gedaliah sware to them, i.e., promised them on oath, "Be not afraid to serve the Chaldeans; remain in the country and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you. And as for me, behold, I shall remain at Mizpah to stand before the Chaldeans who will come to us," i.e., as lieutenant of the king of Babylon, to represent you before the Chaldean officers and armies, to maintain your rights and interests, so that you may be able to settle down where you choose, without anxiety, and cultivate the land. "And as for yourselves, father ye wine and fruit (קיץ, see on 2 Samuel 16:1) and oil, and put them in your vessels." אסף is used of the ingathering of the fruits of the ground. It was during the fifth or sixth month (2 Kings 25:8), the end of July or beginning of August, that grapes, figs, and olives became ripe; and these had grown so plentifully in comparison with the small number of those who had returned, that they could gather sufficient for their wants. "And dwell in your cities, cities which ye seize," i.e., which you shall take possession of. Jeremiah 40:11. Those Jews also who had fled, during the war, into the neighbouring countries of Moab, Ammon, Edom, etc., returned to Judah when they learned that the king of Babylon had left a remnant, and placed Gedaliah over them; they came to Mizpah and Gedaliah, who appointed them places to dwell in, and they gathered much wine and fruit, i.e., made a rich vintage and fruit harvest. נתן שׁארית, "to give a remainder," as it were to leave a remainder ('הותיר שׁ'( redniamer, Jeremiah 44:7, or 'שׂוּם שׁ, Genesis 45:7).
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