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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 40

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary


Jeremiah 27-29. Certain linguistic peculiarities ( e.g. the incorrect spelling, Nebuchadnezzar) suggest that these three chapters may have circulated as a separate pamphlet, e.g. in Babylon. They deal with the rebuke of false hopes concerning a speedy return from exile.

Jeremiah 30-31. The Future of Israel and Judah.— These two chapters of prophecy, dealing with the future restoration of Israel and Judah, appear to be a later editorial insertion in the narrative scheme of Jeremiah 26-45, placed here perhaps because Jeremiah 32 and Jeremiah 33 contain narratives and prophecies dealing with the same subject ( cf. also Jeremiah 29:10 ff.). In Jeremiah 30 and Jeremiah 31, there are numerous points of contact with Deutero-Isaiah, a fact which, with other features, has suggested to many scholars an exilic or post-exilic date for much that these chapters contain. The contrast with the general “ pessimism” of earlier chapters is very noticeable. On the other hand, the internal evidence for Jeremiah 31:2-6, Jeremiah 31:15-22, Jeremiah 31:31-34 entitles us to regard these sections as Jeremianic.

Jeremiah 40-44. The next five chapters continue the biography of Jeremiah, including connected events, after the capture of Jerusalem.

Jeremiah 46-51. The Foreign Prophecies.— These form the third principal division of the Book of Jeremiah. As already seen ( Jeremiah 1:5; Jeremiah 1:10, Jeremiah 25:15), Jeremiah’ s prophetic horizon naturally included the surrounding nations; how far the prophecies that follow are his can be decided only by detailed criticism in each case. They refer, though in somewhat different order, to the several nations enumerated in Jeremiah 25:19-26 (which may be regarded as an introduction to them), except that an oracle on Damascus here replaces the reference to Tyre, Sidon, and the Mediterranean. (The LXX, which places this group of prophecies after Jeremiah 25:13, follows a third order.) It is generally admitted that the long prophecy on Babylon (Jeremiah 50 f.) is not by Jeremiah (see prefatory note). As to Jeremiah 46-49, there is considerable difference of opinion, ranging from Duhm’ s rejection of the whole, through Giesebrecht’ s acceptance of Jeremiah 47 (except towards end), with the nucleus of Jeremiah 46:2-12, Jeremiah 49:7-11, up to Cornill’ s acceptance of most of Jeremiah 46-49 (so also Peake). It is in any case natural to suppose that there are genuine prophecies by Jeremiah which underlie these chapters, though they have been worked over, or incorporated with other non-Jeremianic prophecies ( e.g. Jeremiah 48) by later writers. For details, the larger commentaries must be consulted.

Jeremiah 26-45. These chapters, usually ascribed in the main to Baruch, chiefly narrate selected incidents in the life of Jeremiah, often with connected prophecies; they form a second main section of the book, in contrast with 1– 25, which consist chiefly of prophecies, with little narrative.

Verses 1-6

Jeremiah 40-44. The next five chapters continue the biography of Jeremiah, including connected events, after the capture of Jerusalem.

Jeremiah 40:1-6 . Release of Jeremiah.— This paragraph is possibly a later expansion of Jeremiah 39:11 f.; the opening words do not suit what follows, and Nebuzaradan, the Babylonian general, would not speak as in Jeremiah 40:2 f., whilst, according to Jeremiah 39:14, Jeremiah had been given into Gedaliah’ s charge a month before. Jeremiah, one of a band of captives to be deported to Babylon, was released at Ramah ( Jeremiah 31:15) by the Babylonian commander, with full liberty of choice as to his future residence; he chose to join Gedaliah ( Jeremiah 39:14) at Mizpah (4½ m. NW. of Jerusalem).

Jeremiah 40:5 . Omit “ Now . . . gone back” , with LXX; the Hebrew is strange, and the clause awkward.

Verses 7-12

Jeremiah 40:7-12 . The Governorship of Gedaliah.— The scattered Jewish forces which remained heard of Gedaliah’ s appointment as governor, and made submission to him at Mizpah. He guaranteed their security, and encouraged them to proceed with agriculture. Their example was followed by Jews who had migrated to the surrounding districts. The hope of this community to become the nucleus of future growth is reflected in Ezekiel 33:24.

Jeremiah 40:8 . Netophah: E. of Bethlehem; Maacah: a district SE. of Hermon.

Jeremiah 40:9. For “ to serve” read, with LXX and 2 Kings 25:24, “ because of the servants of” .

Jeremiah 40:10 . to stand before: “ to serve” , Jeremiah 15:19, Jeremiah 35:19; i.e. Gedaliah is responsible to Babylon, and implies that he will protect Jewish interests.— ye have taken: should be “ ye will take” .

Verses 13-16

Jeremiah 40:13-16 . Gedaliah’ s Peril.— Johanan warns Gedaliah of his danger from Ishmael, another of the newly-submitted leaders ( Jeremiah 41:1), alleged to be an agent of the king of Ammon ( Jeremiah 27:3). Gedaliah refuses to believe this, or to avail himself of Johanan’ s offer to kill Ishmael.

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Jeremiah 40". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/jeremiah-40.html. 1919.
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