Pastor Carolyn Sissom

Tuesday Morning Bible Study

September 20,2021; January 27, 2009


Redistribution of wealth is a favorite move by a conquering command with the motive to destroy a nation’s economy.


Chapter 39 tells of the fall of Jerusalem. People who defected and remained in the city prized their lives and were carried away to Babylon, just as Jeremiah prophesied.  Those people who were allowed to remain were the poor, unlanded population.  They were given vineyards and fields.  Re-distribution of wealth is a favorite move by a conquering command with the motive to destroying a nation’s economy.  Obama’s move to redistribute the wealth of America is as old as Nebuchadnezzar.  The 5 trillion dollar bill before congress in 2021 is a move to redistribute the wealth of America. 


 This dramatic event is so momentous in the history of God’s people it is recounted four times in scripture (Here, Ch. 52, 2 Kg. 25; 2 Chr. 36). With the fall of Jerusalem, prophecies made over the preceding forty years now come to pass.  The eighteen-month siege (January 588-587 B.C.) takes its toll through famine and the Babylonians make a breach and the weakened defenders capitulate. 


39: 1-2:  In the ninth year of Zedekiah, king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem, and besieged it.  In the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, the city was penetrated. 


Zedekiah and his princes did the opposite of the word of the LORD.  They fled by night to Jericho (about 15 miles).  Having been told by the prophet that life or death was set before them, Zedekiah and his princes chose death (the King, however, was spared).


39: 6-8:  Then the king of Babylon killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes in Riblah; the king of Babylon also killed all the nobles of Judah.  Moreover, he put out Zedekiah’s eyes, and bound him with bronze fetters to carry him off to Babylon.  The Chaldeans burned the king’s house and the house of the people with fire, and broke down the walls of Jerusalem.


All nobles, every person with leadership responsibility who called for the death of Jeremiah, plus all the rest of them, whether present at the meeting or not met death!


The most serious matter before world legislators THIS DAY is whether they will obey God or man.  Their lives literally depend on their decision. The general public, whom Jeremiah was accused of causing harm, had their houses burned to the ground.  An electorate shares responsibility in a most severe way with those whom they elect or acknowledge as leaders.  There is such a thing as corroborative linkage!  There is such a thing as “associative judgment.”  Irrespective of your country of origin---every soul on earth is responsible for the society in which they live. {Know the Word.  Identify with those who honor it.  Paul in Philippians 4 said he was with the saints (the one’s written in the book of life) and stand to be counted with those who live by the Word.} (Dr. C. R. Oliver – The Road to Captivity).



The very next action the Scripture points out are the actions of Nebuchadnezzar’s chief military officer, who carried out and decreed the prophetic word of Jeremiah to the letter.


39: 9-10: Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, carried away captive to Babylon the remnant of the people who remained in the city and those who defected to him, with the rest of the people who remained. He left in the land of Judah the poor people, who had nothing, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time.



Nebuchadnezzar personally ordered the release and care of Jeremiah. Knowing of Jeremiah’s life-long admonition to Jerusalem to submit to him, now offered to confer upon the prophet any honor that he would accept, even a worthy place in the Babylonian court! (39:2; 41:1)


39: 11-14:  Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, saying, “Take him and look after him, and him no harm; but do to him just as he says to you.  Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard sent all the king of Babylon’s chief officers to take Jeremiah from the court of the prison.  They committed him to Gedaliah, son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, that he should take him home.  So, he dwelt among the people.


Jeremiah was committed to the home of one whose house was not burned and who was of the priestly line.  Second, Jeremiah got to dwell among the poor people who now owned all the vineyards and lands. 


39: 15-18: Meanwhile the word of the LORD had come to Jeremiah while he was shut up in the court of the prison, saying. Go speak to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Thus, says the Lord of Host of Israel, Behold, I will bring My words upon this city for adversity and not for good, and they shall be performed in that day before you.  I will deliver you in that day, says the Lord: and you shall not be given into the hands of the men of whom you are afraid.  For I will surely deliver you, and you shall not fall by the sword, but your life shall be for a prey unto you; because you have put your trust in me, says the Lord.


Provision is made for Ebed-Melech.  The LORD does not forget him.  Though many do forget those who aid them in times of dire trouble, His kindness to God’s servant in his time of need is recognized by God and was the base of his salvation.  When the judgment and vengeance of God comes, it never proceeds without discrimination, and those who put their trust in him are delivered!





Personal attention, before, during, and after calamity, is a reward from the LORD for being righteous.  Righteousness does pay off.  Holiness does bring blessing.  While governments go crazy and every aspect of society is threatened by extinction, the peace of God ruled because He sent His Word!  Better to be Ebed-Melech than to be the King! 


God’s warnings finally gave way to God’s judgments.  Jeremiah was the only man to have any say in his own future!  Offered a place of honor, he chooses instead to throw in his lot with the have-nots left behind in the land of Judah.


Like Moses as described in Hebrews 11: 25-26: Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.


The King of Babylon charged his captain of the guard, Nebuzaradan, to afford protection for Jeremiah.  This was done by committing him to the care of Gedaliah who had been appointed to be the governor of the subjected and broken people.


(In the mad scramble for recognition and power, especially in politics as well as ministry or any area of selfish-ambition, it is good to view Ebed-Melech and remember the Rechabites.)   


In chapter 40: 1-4, the LORD allowed the captain of the guards to verbalize the carrying out of the prophesied judgement.  The captain decrees verbatim Jeremiah’s prophecy recorded in 39: 16-18. 


40: 2-5: The LORD your God has pronounced this doom on this place.  Now the LORD has brought it, and has done just as He said.  Because you people have sinned against the LORD, and not obeyed His voice, therefore this thing has come upon you. I free you this day from the chains that were on your hand.  If it seems good to you to come with me to Babylon, come, and I will look after you.  But if it seems wrong for you to come with me to Babylon, remain here.  See all the land is before you, wherever it seems good and convenient for you to go, go there.  Now while he was not yet gone back, he said, “go back also to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, to whom the king of Babylon has made governor over the cities of Judah and dwell with him among the people; or go wheresoever it seems convenient unto you to go.”   So. the captain of the guard gave him victuals and a reward, and let him go.


Even the Babylonians knew they were instruments of God’s judgment and gave him the Glory.  Note the two reasons the guard says is the reason for their capture.


1.       Because the people have sinned against the LORD.

2.      Because the people have not obeyed His voice.


Now if a modern nation implements points “a” and “b”, should they not expect a similar result?  Do moderns believe they will have a different outcome (a special dispensation)?  How much sin is required to fill up God’s wrath?  United States we are already there.


Jeremiah was brought to Ramah bound in chains (vs. 1).  He is chained to someone else.   His feet and hands are chained together.  In Ramah, Jeremiah was released.  How important is Ramah spiritually?  It is the traditional burial place of Rachael and was one of the ten cities of refuge.  Ramah, just a few miles from Mizpah in the land of Benjamin, was the birthplace of Samuel, the city where the widow chased off the vultures from Saul’s slain sons.  It is the place where Samuel raised his Ebenezer stone.  This area was loaded with meaning, but none so grave as the murder of the good man, Gedaliah, the appointed governor of the region, friend of Jeremiah, and a son of Zadok.  When Jeremiah obtained his release and received ration and a gift, he headed to Mizpah and the house of Gedaliah. 


 40:6-13:  Then went Jeremiah unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam to Mizpah; and dwelt with him among the people that were left in the land… (Vs.11-13) Likewise when all the Jews that were in Moab, and among the Ammonites, and in Edom, and that were in all the countries heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant of Judah, and that he had set over them Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan; Even all the Jews returned out of all places where they were driven and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah, unto Mizpah, and gathered wine and summer fruits very much.  Moreover, Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were in the fields, came to Gedaliah to Mizpah.


Who is Gedaliah?  His name means “whom Jah has made great.  Jehovah is great.  Great things of Jehovah. 


Mizpah means watchtower


Tzom Gedaliah (Fast of Gedaliah) is an annual fast day instituted by the Jewish Sages to commemorate the assassination of Gedaliah Ben Ahikam, the Governor of Israel during the days of Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylonia. As a result of Gedaliah’s death, the final vestiges of Judean autonomy after the Babylonian conquest were destroyed, many thousands of Jews were slain, and the remaining Jews were driven into final exile.

When Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylonia, destroyed the Temple's Sanctuary in Jerusalem and exiled the Jewish people to Babylonia, he allowed an impoverished remnant to remain in the land and appointed Gedaliah Ben Ahikam as their Governor. Many Jews who had fled to Moab, Ammon, Edom, and other neighboring lands returned to the land of Judah, tended the vineyards given to them by the king of Babylonia and enjoyed a new respite after their earlier oppression.

The King of Ammon however - hostile and envious of the Judean remnant sent a loyal Jew, (Ishmael (41:1) Ishmael, Ben Netaniah, to assassinate Gedaliah. In the seventh month (Tishrei) Ishmael came to Gedaliah in the town of Mizpah, and was received cordially.

The surviving remnant of Jews was thus dispersed and the land remained desolate.

When the Lachish letters were found in 1935, a seal inscribed, “Belonging to Gedaliah, who is over the house,” was found in ashes left by Nebuchadnezzar’s fires at Lachish.  Gedaliah’s wise regime prospered (40: 9-12).


 40: 13-16: Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were in the fields, came to Gedaliah to Mizpah. They said to him, “Do you certainly know that Baalis, the king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to murder you?”  But, Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, did not believe them. Johanan spoke secretly to Gedaliah saying, “Let me go, please, and I will kill Ishmael and no one will know it.  Why should he murder you, so that all the Jews who are gathered to you would be scattered, and the remnant in Judah perish?  But Gedaliah replied, “You shall not do this thing, for you speak falsely concerning Ishmael.”


Tragedy and the sin of Ishmael was again to strike.  The Ishmaelite spirit still prevails.  His descendants through rage and jealousy still murder without cause and plunder with no regard to man or beast.   


In Chapter 41, we have the murder of Gedaliah.  Ishmael, with a company of ten men, slew Gedaliah.  A sorrowing band on the way to Jerusalem was murdered en-masse (41: 5-8).  There were 80 men with offerings and incense in their hand to bring into the house of the Lord.  Ishmael fled to Ammon.  We can compare this Ishmael, the killer with the Ishmael of Genesis as a symbol for the flesh and the carnal mind!  The Ishmael of Genesis was a wild man and points to the beast nature.


Gedaliah had been warned, but foolishly ignored it.   The flesh wants to kill you.  He will do it with the help of ten men, The law of sin and death. (Rom 8: 1-6).


Taught by:  Carolyn Sissom

Text from F.F. Bruce Bible Commentary, Donald Wiseman and Principles of Present Truth by: Kelly Varner; Dr. C. R. Oliver, Road to Captivity. 

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