Jeremiah 40:13
Moreover Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were in the fields, came to Gedaliah to Mizpah,
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Jeremiah 40:13-16. Johanan the son of Kareah came to Gedaliah, &c. — They had been with him before, Jeremiah 40:8-9, but now they come to discover to him a conspiracy formed against his life. And said, Dost thou certainly know, &c. — Or, rather, Dost thou not know, &c., (which is evidently the sense intended,) that the king of the Ammonites hath sent Ishmael to slay thee? — The king of the Ammonites had concerted this matter with Ishmael, with a design to make the Jews, who still remained in their own country, his vassals: see Jeremiah 41:10. But Gedaliah believed them not — Not being credulous, or of a suspicious temper. Then Johanan spake to Gedaliah secretly — Finding that Gedaliah took little notice of what he had spoken to him in the presence of the other captains, he goes to him secretly, and offers him his service to prevent the stroke designed against him, suggesting to him, that if he did not value his own life, yet he ought to consider in what a destitute condition the people would be, in case he should be cut off: they were at present but a small remnant, and if that calamity should happen, even this remnant would also perish. But Gedaliah said, Thou shalt not do this thing, for thou speakest falsely of Ishmael — Gedaliah shows in this instance more of that charity that thinks no evil, than of that prudence and discretion which became a chief magistrate. He ought to have been particularly on his guard against one, concerning whose mischievous designs he had received such information; but, alas! he placed too great confidence in the fidelity of those about him, and this proved ruinous, both to himself and to the poor people whom he was appointed to govern and protect.

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.

13. in the fields—not in the city, but scattered in the country (Jer 40:7). They had been with him before, Jeremiah 40:8,9, but now they come to discover a conspiracy against his life.

Moreover, Johanan the son of Kareah,.... Who seems to be the principal captain next to Ishmael, against whom an information is brought, and so not present; this captain is here only mentioned by name, and before next to Ishmael:

and all the captains of the forces that were in the fields; or that had been in the fields, and probably might be there again; see Jeremiah 40:7; that is, the rest of them, besides Johanan mentioned, and Ishmael the conspirator: these

came to Gedaliah to Mizpah; they had been with him before, and being satisfied by him of the safety they would be in, in the service of the Chaldeans, under him, either returned to the fields from whence they came, or went to those cities and villages he directed them to; but, like honest and faithful men, knowing there was a conspiracy against his life, came in a body to inform him of it, for the greater certainty of it; as judging he would be more ready to give heed unto it, than if only a single person had informed him of it, as well as to show their affection and loyalty to him.

Moreover Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were in the fields, came to Gedaliah to Mizpah,
13. Moreover … came] The grammatical construction in the Heb. suggests that we should render, Now … had come.

fields] See note on Jeremiah 40:7.

13–16. See introd. summary to section.

Verses 13-16. - Gedaliah receives a warning of a plot against his life. Jeremiah 40:13Gedaliah is forewarned of Ishmael's intention to murder him. - After the return of those who had taken refuge in Moab, etc., Johanan the son of Kareah, together with the rest of the captains who were scattered here and there through the country, came to Gedaliah at Mizpah, to say to him: "Dost thou know indeed that Baalis the king of the Ammonites hath sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to take thy life?" The words "that were in the country" are neither a gloss, nor a thoughtless repetition by some scribe from Jeremiah 40:7 (as Hitzig and Graf suppose), but they are repeated for the purpose of distinguishing plainly between the captains with their men from the Jews who had returned out of Moab, Ammon, and Edom. הכּות, "to strike the soul, life" equals to kill; cf. Genesis 37:21; Deuteronomy 19:6. What induced the king of Ammon to think of assassination - whether it was personal hostility towards Gedaliah, or the hope of destroying the only remaining support of the Jews, and thereby perhaps putting himself in possession of the country, - cannot be determined. That he employed Ishmael for the accomplishment of his purpose, may have been owing to the fact that this man had a personal envy of Gedaliah; for Ishmael, being sprung from the royal family (Jeremiah 40:1), probably could not endure being subordinate to Gedaliah. - The plot had become known, and Gedaliah was secretly informed of it by Johanan; but the former did not believe the rumour. Johanan then secretly offered to slay Ishmael, taking care that no one should know who did it, and urged compliance in the following terms: "Why should he slay thee, and all the Jews who have gathered themselves round thee be scattered, and the remnant of Judah perish?" Johanan thus called his attention to the evil consequences which would result to the remnant left in the land were he killed; but Gedaliah replied, "Do not this thing, for thou speakest a lie against Ishmael." The Qeri needlessly changes אל־תּעשׂ into אל־תּעשׂה; cf. Jeremiah 39:12.
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