Jeremiah 42:1
Then all the captains of the forces, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least even unto the greatest, came near,
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(1) Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah.—Possibly identical with “Jezaniah the son of a Maachathite” (Jeremiah 40:8). In Azariah the son of Hoshaiah (Jeremiah 43:2) we may recognise his brother. The LXX., indeed, reads Azariah here, and it is possibly the true reading.

Jeremiah 42:1-3. Then all the captains, and all the people — That is, both those captains, and many of the people; came near and said unto Jeremiah — Who was probably carried away with the other captives by Ishmael, and rescued by Johanan; Let, we beseech thee, our supplications be accepted before thee — Thus these men, though wretched hypocrites, yet address the prophet with great respect and reverence, and in words which implied that they thought themselves unworthy to be permitted to ask any favour of him. Probably the evidence they had had so lately of his being a true prophet of the Lord, by the accomplishment of all that he had foretold against both the city and temple, might in some measure occasion their showing him such respect. And pray for us, that the Lord may show us the way wherein we may walk — “It is the constant method of hypocrites to pretend an absolute submission to the will of God till that will is found to run counter to their inclinations or interest.” — Lowth.

42:1-6 To serve a turn, Jeremiah is sought out, and the captains ask for his assistance. In every difficult, doubtful case, we must look to God for direction; and we may still, in faith, pray to be guided by a spirit of wisdom in our hearts, and the leadings of Providence. We do not truly desire to know the mind of God, if we do not fully resolve to comply with it when we know it. Many promise to do what the Lord requires, while they hope to have their pride flattered, and their favourite lusts spared. Yet something betrays the state of their hearts.Among those delivered by Johanan from Ishmael had been Jeremiah and Baruch Jeremiah 43:6; and to them now all, without exception, come for counsel.

Jezaniah - He is called Azariah in Jeremiah 43:2. The Septuagint, in both places, call him Azariah. Since there is little reason for identifying him with Jezaniah the Maachathite Jeremiah 40:8, it is probable that the Septuagint is right in calling him in both places Azariah, and that the reading Jezaniah arose from some scribe assuming that his name must be found in the earlier list.


Jer 42:1-22. The Jews and Johanan Inquire of God, through Jeremiah, as to Going to Egypt, Promising Obedience to His Will. Their Safety on Condition of Staying in Judea, and Their Destruction in the Event of Going to Egypt, Are Foretold. Their Hypocrisy in Asking for Counsel Which They Meant Not to Follow, if Contrary to Their Own Determination, Is Reproved.Johanan and the people desire Jeremiah to inquire of God, promising obedience to his will, Jeremiah 42:1-6. Jeremiah assureth them of safety in Judea, Jeremiah 42:7-12, and destruction in Egypt, Jeremiah 42:13-18, reproveth their hypocrisy and obstinacy, Jeremiah 42:19-22.

The three following chapters give us an account of what happened to Johanan the son of Kareah, and the rest, after the slaughter of Ishmael, and their going to dwell in the habitation of Chimham, in order to their going into the land of Egypt; their coming to Jeremiah to go and inquire of the Lord for them, his inquiry of God, with the revelation of the Divine will unto him, that they should not go into Egypt, promising God’s protection of them if they did not go, threatening their destruction if they did go; their proud answer to Jeremiah, and resolution to go, which they accordingly did, and there fell in with the idolatry of the Egyptians, for which God by his prophet threateneth them with an utter ruin.

After that this captain Johanan (who now had made himself head of the Jews) had fixed their abode in the habitation of Chimham in the way to Egypt, with thoughts of going down to inhabit there, for fear of the Chaldeans coming to revenge the death of Gedaliah upon all the remainder of the Jews, both these captains and many of the people, or some of all sorts of the people, (for it cannot be imagined that every particular person came,) made their address to the prophet Jeremiah, who probably was with them, carried away by Ishmael, and rescued by this captain.

Then all the captains of the forces,.... Having taken up their residence at the habitation of Chimham, in their way to Egypt, where they were desirous of going, and being afraid of the Chaldeans, as they pretended:

and Johanan the son of Kareah; or, "even Johanan" (s); especially and particularly he, the principal captain and chief spokesman in this affair:

and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah; said to be the son of a Maachathite, Jeremiah 40:8;

and all the people from the least even unto the greatest: a phrase expressive of the universality of them in the strongest terms:

came near; that is, to Jeremiah; who either was at Mizpah when Gedaliah was slain, but preserved by the Lord; and though carried captive by Ishmael with the rest, was rescued by Johanan; and now along with him: or rather after he had been with Gedaliah at Mizpah, and made a short stay there, he went to Anathoth, and there abode till now; and when Johanan took those that were left at Mizpah, he gathered together all the rest of the Jews in different places to him, in order to go to Egypt, and among the rest the Prophet Jeremiah; for it can hardly be thought, had he been at Mizpah when Ishmael was there, he would have escaped without a miracle.

(s) "imprimis Johanan", Schmidt; "nempe Johanan", Piscator, Grotius.

Then all the captains of the forces, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least even unto the greatest, came near,
1. Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah] See mg. We should probably (with LXX) read Azariah here as well. The name Jezaniah may be due to a copyist who thought that the names of captains here must correspond as closely as might be with the list in ch. 40 (see on Jeremiah 42:8 there).

from the least even unto the greatest] i.e. all, without exception.

Verse 1. - Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah. For "Jezaniah," the Septuagint has "Azariah," the name given in the Hebrew text of Jeremiah 43:2. Jeremiah 42:1"And there drew near all the captains, namely, Johanan the son of Kareah, and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people, from little to great, Jeremiah 42:2. And said to Jeremiah the prophet, Let our supplication come before thee, and pray for us to Jahveh thy God, for all this remnant (for we are left a few out of many, as thine eyes see us); Jeremiah 42:3. That Jahveh thy God may tell us the way in which we should go, and the thing that we should do." Of the captains, two, viz., Johanan and Jezaniah, are mentioned as the leaders of the people and the directors of the whole undertaking, who also, Jeremiah 42:1., insolently accuse the prophet of falsehood, and carry out the proposed march to Egypt. Jezaniah is in Jeremiah 40:8 called the Maachathite; here he is named in connection with his father, "the son of Hoshaiah;" while in Jeremiah 43:2, in conjunction with Johanan the son of Kareah, Azariah the son of Hoshaiah is mentioned, which name the lxx also have in Jeremiah 42:1 of this chapter. Hitzig, Ewald, etc., are consequently of the opinion that יזניה in our verse has been written by mistake for עזריה. But more probable is the supposition that the error is in the עזריה of Jeremiah 43:2, inasmuch as there is no reason to doubt the identity of Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah with the Jezaniah descended from Maacha (Jeremiah 40:8); and the assumption that יזניה is incorrect in two passages (Jeremiah 42:1 and Jeremiah 40:8) is highly improbable. They go to the prophet Jeremiah, whom they had taken with them from Mizpah, where he was living among the people, with the rest of the inhabitants of the place (Jeremiah 41:16). תּפּל־נא as in Jeremiah 37:20; see on Jeremiah 36:7. The request made to the prophet that he would intercede for them with the Lord, which they further urge on the ground that the number left out of the whole people is small, while there is implied in this the wish that God may not let this small remnant also perish; - this request Nהgelsbach considers a piece of hypocrisy, and the form of asking the prophet "a mere farce," since it is quite plain from Jeremiah 43:1-6 that the desire to go to Egypt was already deeply rooted in their minds, and from this they would not allow themselves to be moved, even by the earnest warning of the prophet. But to hypocrites, who were playing a mere farce with the prophet, the Lord would have probably replied in a different way from what we find in Jeremiah 42:8-22. As the Searcher of hearts, He certainly would have laid bare their hypocrisy. And however unequivocally the whole address implies the existence of disobedience to the voice of God, it yet contains nothing which can justify the assumption that it was only in hypocrisy that they wished to learn the will of God. We must therefore assume that their request addressed to the prophet was made in earnest, although they expected that the Lord's reply would be given in terms favourable to their intention. They wished to obtain from God information as to which way they should go, and what they should do, - not as to whether they should remain in the country or go to Egypt. "The way that we should go" is, of course, not to be understood literally, as if they merely wished to be told the road by which they would most safely reach Egypt; neither, on the other hand, are the words to be understood in a merely figurative sense, of the mode of procedure they ought to pursue; but they are to be understood of the road they ought to take in order to avoid the vengeance of the Chaldeans which they dreaded, - in the sense, whither they ought to go, in order to preserve their lives from the danger which threatened them.
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