We pick up today where we left off yesterday. Nebuchadnezzar told Nebuzaradan to deal with Jeremiah “as he tells you” (39:12). Here, Jeremiah was bound with the captives headed to Babylon (40:1) and Nebuzaradan shares Nebuchadnezzar’s understanding of YHWH’s words (vv. 2-3) and tells Jeremiah he is free to do as he pleases (v. 4). We also see that in God’s providence, a son of Shaphan has been appointed governor by Nebuchadnezzar (v. 5 – see 2 Kings 25:22). So Jeremiah stays in Judah (v. 6).
And we see that God blesses Judah through the Godly Gedaliah (vv. 7-12). However, he is told of a plot against his life by the king of Ammon (v. 14), and one of the Jews asks permission to secretly kill the assassin (v. 15). But Gedaliah declines, refusing to the believe the plot (v. 16).
In chapter 41, we see that the plot was true (41:1-3). This fills in details that 2 Kings 25:25 glosses over. Ishmael doesn’t stop with Gedaliah and his men. He crosses the path of eighty pilgrims coming to Jerusalem and kills all but ten of them that bribe him with the promise of food (vv. 4-8). Ishmael then takes captive those remaining in Mizpah (v. 10). It is possible that since Ishmael was of royal lineage (see 41:1) that those he saved alive are relatives.
So some of the Jews come against Ishmael (vv. 11-12). The captives join in the fight (v. 14), but Ishmael escapes (v. 15). So those remaining in Judah now intend to go to Egypt (v. 17 – see 2 Kings 25:26) to get away from the Babylonian garrison (v. 18). With Gedaliah’s death, chaos had taken hold.
We see in this narrative that even good, Godly people suffer, often because of the sin of others. That is a microcosm of the Babylonian captivity for the spiritual people of God. More suffering is coming.