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Jeremiah 41

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

(The parentheses represent poetic literary units)

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
Gedaliah Is Murdered Insurrection Against Gedaliah The Third Revolt
(40:7-41:18)
Gedaliah Is Murdered
(40:13-41:18)
Gedaliah the Governor; His Assassination
(40:7-41:18)
41:1-3 41:1-3 41:1-3 41:1-3 41:1-3
41:4-8 41:4-10 41:4-8 41:4-7 41:4-10
      41:8-10  
41:9-10   41:9-10    
Johanan Rescues the People        
41:11-18 41:11-18 41:11-18 41:11-15 41:11-18
      41:16-18  

READING CYCLE THREE (see introductory section)

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary,which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 41:1-3
1In the seventh month Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the royal family and one of the chief officers of the king, along with ten men, came to Mizpah to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam. While they were eating bread together there in Mizpah, 2Ishmael the son of Nethaniah and the ten men who were with him arose and struck down Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, with the sword and put to death the one whom the king of Babylon had appointed over the land. 3Ishmael also struck down all the Jews who were with him, that is with Gedaliah at Mizpah, and the Chaldeans who were found there, the men of war.

41:1 "Now it came about" Chapter 41 continues the literary unit which began in chapter 40, specifically about the plot to assassinate Gedaliah (40:13-16).

▣ "while they were eating bread together there at Mizpah" The viciousness of this act can only be seen in the eastern culture's attitude toward the importance of eating together (i.e., Ps. 41:9).

41:2 "arose and struck down Gedeliah" The exact date is uncertain but it preceded the deportation of 582 b.c. (cf. Jer. 52:30). The time can be from three months after the fall of Jerusalem (586 b.c.) to (2) four years after the fall of Jerusalem (the deportation of 582 b.c., cf. 52:30).

▣ "struck down Gedaliah" Josephus says that Gedaliah was drunk (Antiq. 10.9.4).

41:3 "and the Chaldeans who were found there, the men of war" As we learn from v. 18, the remaining Jews were afraid of Babylon's reprisals (cf. Antiq. 10.9.5).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 41:4-8
4Now it happened on the next day after the killing of Gedaliah, when no one knew about it, 5that eighty men came from Shechem, from Shiloh, and from Samaria with their beards shaved off and their clothes torn and their bodies gashed, having grain offerings and incense in their hands to bring to the house of the Lord. 6Then Ishmael the son of Nethaniah went out from Mizpah to meet them, weeping as he went; and as he met them, he said to them, "Come to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam!" 7Yet it turned out that as soon as they came inside the city, Ishmael the son of Nethaniah and the men that were with him slaughtered them and cast them into the cistern. 8But ten men who were found among them said to Ishmael, "Do not put us to death; for we have stores of wheat, barley, oil and honey hidden in the field." So he refrained and did not put them to death along with their companions.

41:5 "Shechem. . .Shiloh. . .Samaria" These were three northern cities. Samaria was the ancient capital of the Northern Ten Tribes, established by Omri. This area was devastated by Assyria in 722 b.c.

▣ "with their beards shaved off and their clothes torn and their bodies gashed" They were Jews going to Jerusalem to bemoan the destruction of the temple (see SPECIAL TOPIC: GRIEVING RITES at 2:37). The gashing of their bodies is related to pagan mourning rites (cf. 16:6; 47:5; Lev. 19:28; 21:5; Deut. 14:1; I Kgs. 18:28). The elements of the amalgamated worship of YHWH and the gods of Canaan continue.

41:6-10 Something of Ishmael's personality can be seen.

1. fake crying, v. 6

2. killing 70 innocent mourners, apparently just to cover up his slaughter of Gedaliah

3. sparing ten people for their hidden supplies or for ransom

4. polluting the water supply of Mizpah with the dead corpses

5. kidnapping the remainder of the population of Mizpah, for what reason is unsure, possibly to sell into slavery or as a gift to Baalis

 

41:8 "oil and honey hidden in the field" This was a usual procedure both for keeping the food cool and for hiding it in times of war.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 41:9-10
9Now as for the cistern where Ishmael had cast all the corpses of the men whom he had struck down because of Gedaliah, it was the one that King Asa had made on account of Baasha, king of Israel; Ishmael the son of Nethaniah filled it with the slain. 10Then Ishmael took captive all the remnant of the people who were in Mizpah, the king's daughters and all the people who were left in Mizpah, whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard had put under the charge of Gedaliah the son of Ahikam; thus Ishmael the son of Nethaniah took them captive and proceeded to cross over to the sons of Ammon.

41:9 "because of Gedaliah" The Masoretic Text has "by the hand of Gedaliah." This is obviously an impossible translation, therefore, some scholars have used a Ugaritic root to translate "because of Gedaliah." The LXX omits this phrase.

▣ "the one that King Asa had made on account of Baasha, king of Israel" See the account in I Kgs. 15:17-22; II Chr. 16:1-6.

41:10 "all the remnant of the people who were in Mizpah" This group must have included Jeremiah.

▣ "the king's daughters" This could refer to the literal royal family left in Gedaliah's charge or some of the line of David returning from the surrounding countries.

▣ "to cross over to the sons of Ammon" This implies that he traveled to the east and planned to cross the Jordan River into the transJordan region controlled by Baalis (cf. 40:14).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 41:11-18
11But Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were with him heard of all the evil that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had done. 12So they took all the men and went to fight with Ishmael the son of Nethaniah and they found him by the great pool that is in Gibeon. 13Now as soon as all the people who were with Ishmael saw Johanan the son of Kareah and the commanders of the forces that were with him, they were glad. 14So all the people whom Ishmael had taken captive from Mizpah turned around and came back, and went to Johanan the son of Kareah. 15But Ishmael the son of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with eight men and went to the sons of Ammon. 16Then Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were with him took from Mizpah all the remnant of the people whom he had recovered from Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, after he had struck down Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, that is, the men who were soldiers, the women, the children, and the eunuchs, whom he had brought back from Gibeon. 17And they went and stayed in Geruth Chimham, which is beside Bethlehem, in order to proceed into Egypt 18because of the Chaldeans; for they were afraid of them, since Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had struck down Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon had appointed over the land.

41:12 "the great pool that is at Gibeon" Archaeology has found a large rock cistern seventy to eighty feet deep at Gibeon (cf. II Sam. 2:12-16).

41:13 "they were glad" This must refer to those taken forcibly from Mizpah (cf. vv. 10,16).

41:17 "Geruth Chimham" The first word (BDB 158) means "lodging place" or "inn." It denoted a caravan camping place (possibly had a well or natural protection from the wind).

The second word (BDB 484) can be

1. a location near Bethlehem

2. a person (cf. II Sam. 19:37,38,40, an attendant of David)

Josephus calls the place "Mandara" (Antiq. 10.9.5).

▣ "in order to proceed into Egypt" This shows that Johanan had already made up his mind to go to Egypt, and also sets the stage for chapter 42. They went to Egypt out of fear of Nebuchadnezzar's reprisals!