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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 4 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 40:7-8

7. Now, when all the captains of the forces which were in the fields, even they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam governor in the land, and had committed unto him men, and women, and children, and of the poor of the land, of them that were not carried away captive to Babylon;

7. Et audierunt omnes principes exercituum qui erant in agro, ipsi et viri eorum, quod praefecisset rex Babylonis Godoliam filium Achikam in terra; et quod commiserat ei viros et mulieres et parvulum (hoc est, parvulos, sed fere in singulari numero hoc nomen legitur tam singulari quam plurali·significatione,) et ex paupertate terrae ex his qui non fuerant translati Babylonem;

8. Then they came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, even Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth, and the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah the son of a Maachathite, they and their men.

8. Et venerunt ad Godoliam in Mispath Ishmael filius Nathaniae et Jochanan (Joannes) et Jonathan filii Chareah et Seraiah filius Thanekumeth et filii Ophi, qui erat Nethophites, et Jazanias filius Maachati, ipsi et viri eorum.

Mention has been before made of Gedaliah. We have seen that the Prophet was once rescued from death through his kindness, for he interposed for him when almost all with one consent doomed the holy Prophet to death. And God bestowed on him no common honor, that while he was seeking nothing, Nebuchadnezzar should set him as governor over the land. He did not, indeed, enjoy power for any length of time; but it was yet God's will to extend his hand to the pious man, so that he might have, at least for a time, some evidence of his favor. He was at length, as we shall see, killed by treachery.

The Prophet now tells us, that the leaders of the forces, before scattered together with their troops, were now come to him. When the Prophet says that they were in the field, I do not think as some, that they were those who fled when the city was taken. But probably they were those who were forced to flee from the cities at the first entrance of the Chaldean army. Nor does it seem probable that they escaped, when all the companions of the king were overtaken and caught in the plain of Jericho, as we have already seen. I then think that they were those who had been scattered here and there, having deserted the cities committed to them at the first approach of their enemies. As then they had been wanderers from their own country and exiles, they now returned to Gedaliah. By saying that the leaders of the forces had heard, he does not mean that they had now an army, but that they had been set over cities and towns in Judea together with their troops.

They then and their men, came to Gedaliah, when they heard that the king of Babylon had set Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, over Judea, and that men, women, and children were committed to his power or keeping. And then he adds, from the poverty of the land, that is, from the dregs of the people, even from those who had not been removed to Babylon: they came, even Ishmael, etc.; who, as we shall hereafter see, became a traitor. He was, as the Prophet says, of the royal family. His spirits were still very high, and influenced by envy, he killed Gedaliah, though he had been kindly received by him. He had, at the same time, received a reward for his treachery from the king of Amon. But all these things we shall see in what follows.

He names here the fugitive chiefs, the first of whom was Ishmael, and among them were the sons of Kareah; who had pledged their faith to Gedaliah; but he was too credulous, and, at the same time, closed his ears to wise counsels and warnings. The Prophet proceeds to tell us how Geda-liah dealt with his own nation, --

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