JEREMIAH – CHAPTERS 41-42 (2021)


Tuesday Morning Bible Study

September 28, 2021

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


We could write a book with these two chapters.  Only the wisdom of the LORD can guide me to teach/preach it.  There is so much to cover, I will deviate from teaching this verse by verse.


After the siege of Jerusalem and when the war had waned.  Israelites from distances began gathering in Mizpah, a haven for the refugee and the forlorn.  It was to be a safe haven city under Chaldean rule, but alas, evil plots found their way to its gates.  The plot was not unknown to Gedaliah, for Johanan, the son of Kareah, warned him.  Johanan was one of the oath takers.  As we read last week in Chapter 40, he even offered to assassinate Ishmael of the Ammonites.  Gedaliah would not believe Johanan’s report. 


At this time, no one consulted Jehovah, which continues to be part of the problem. When they finally did consult the LORD through His prophet, they did the opposite of what the LORD told them to do.   


Gedaliah could not believe that one of the men who took an oath with him (Ishmael) would plot against him.  Like David of old, he could not comprehend why his friend and bosom confident would turn against him---but he did.  The great over-riding truth remains, “that man is cursed, who puts his trust in man.”  One thing for sure, Ishmael wanted to rule and would kill to obtain that rule.  It is through this line that all of Islam flows.


In the seventh month on the Jewish calendar, Ishmael is described of the royal family and with him were ten of the officers of the king.  They came to Mizpah and ate bread with Gedaliah who had been ruling as governor only 2-3 months.  Ishmael struck Gedaliah with the sword and killed him.  He also struck down all the Jews who were with him, and the Chaldean men of war who were there at the time.


Then Ishmael entices eighty men from Shechem, Shiloh and Samaria bringing incense and offerings on their way to the house of the LORD.   Ishmael goes out from Mizpah to meet them, weeping telling them to come to Mizpah to meet Gedaliah.  This is the method of hypocrites and those spoken of by Jude and Simon (2 Peter), who cautioned the end-time church about their presence.  Ishmael filled trenches (pits) with the dead bodies of those he and his henchmen murdered.  It meant nothing to him that innocent human life was taken. 


41:8:  But ten men were found among them who said to Ishmael, “Do not kill us, for we have treasures of wheat, barley, oil and honey in the field.  So, he desisted and did not kill them among their brethren.


41:10: Ishmael carried away captive all the rest of the people who were in Mizpah, the king’s daughters and all the people who remained in Mizpah, whom Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, had committed to Gedaliah, the son of Ahikim.  Ishmael carried them away captive and departed to go over to the Ammonites.  


Soon, however, the hunter became the hunted as Johanan, one of the field fighters for Israel, heard about the crimes.  He pursued Ishmael and his gang, but by this time, God’s people had been pirated away.  Among those captives were the daughters of the King (Zedekiah), and they had to be rescued so God’s great plan for future generations would be fulfilled (study next week).  The future of those daughters would determine future history. Johanan caught up with Ishmael by the great pool that is in Gibeon. 


41:15-18:  But Ishmael the son of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with eight men and went to the Ammonites.  Then Johanan, the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were with him, took from Mizpah all the rest of the people whom he had recovered from Ishmael…the mighty men of war, the women and the children, and the eunuch, whom he brought back from Gibeon. They departed and dwelt in the habitation of Chimham, which is near Bethlehem, as they went on their way to Egypt, because of the Chaldeans, for they were afraid of them, because Ishmael had murdered Gedaliah, whom the king of Babylon had made governor in the


Johanan makes a fatal error in judgment.  Their fear of the Chaldeans and the surrounding territories caused them to look for safety and turned back toward Egypt.


It is written, Deut. 17:16: He shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the LORD has said to you, “You shall not return that way again.”


Once God delivers one from a place, one is never to return. 


Egypt had been a great place of refuge in the past.  Abraham went there due to the famine in Canaan.  Joseph suffered there, but rose to power under the hand of the LORD.  Moses was born there and delivered a nation. 


After the children of Israel escaped with Moses,  Egypt was a repository for much treachery.   Solomon made a treaty with Egypt and thereby married Pharaoh’s daughter, making an alliance which proved to be his spiritual downfall.


The stories of Hada, Rehoboam, Jeroboam, and Hoshea (separately) fleeing to Egypt all ended in their destruction.


After Moses’ deliverance from Egypt, with the exception of Joseph and Mary’s flight there (Mt. 2;15), (Out of Egypt, I called My Son). God’s emphasis throughout scripture was always in coming out of that land. (Ez. 30:6; Zech. 10:11; Joshua 5: 8-9).

Egypt was a pagan, animalist, spiritism state where witchcraft and darkness were invasive.  Just living there tainted the mind (Ez. 20:8; 23:19).


Egypt was always an easy option in the mind of the rebellious.  From the time of Israel’s deliverance to the present, “going to Egypt” represented a rebellion against God, challenging His power to deliver a people.


Johanan and company now give the appearance of being  humble and decide it is a good time to go see the Prophet Jeremiah.




42: 1-6:  Now all the captains of the forces, Johanan, the son of Kareah, Jezaniah, the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people, from the least to the greatest, came near and said to Jeremiah the prophet, “Please let our petition be acceptable to you, and pray for us to the LORD your God, for all this remnant (since we are left but a few of many as you can see), that the LORD your God may show us the way in which we should walk and the thing we should do.  Then Jeremiah the prophet said to them,

“I have heard indeed, I will pray to the LORD your God according to your words, and it shall be that whatever the LORD answered you, I will declare it to you.  I will keep nothing back from you.  So., they said to Jeremiah, “let the LORD be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not do according to everything which the LORD your God sends us by you.  Whether it is pleasing or displeasing, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God to whom we send you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the LORD our God.”


Johanan is in way over his head.  Jeremiah knows they were feigning humility.   Jeremiah spoke their words back to them; I will pray to the LORD your God according to your words. Jeremiah says he will petition the LORD using Johanan’s words. 


They had already made up their mind that they were going to Egypt.  They had no intention of obeying the Word of the Lord if it did not agree with their plans.  Their request to Jeremiah is hypocrisy at the highest level.  This is a warning to us today.  If you have already made up your mind what you are going to do, do not go to a prophet and request the Word of the Lord.


When I realize someone is using my gift to try to get a “Word” that will confirm what they have decided to do, I won’t prophesy to them.  I will only speak what I feel God is saying when a person is truly seeking God and will obey Him, or give a confirmation.   If your decision is from the LORD, he will confirm it; but if it is not, then we must obey or come into judgment.  Prophesy is not a parlor game like playing Ouija board.  The Word of the Lord is a serious matter.  Until we obey the first directive, we will not be given another one.


1.       They asked Jeremiah to approach, the LORD you God.  These people were the remnant of Judah.  They sound as if they had been worshipping a different deity from the God of Jeremiah.

2.      Jeremiah promised two things: he would sincerely pray, regardless of the time required and he would bring them the exact answer given him, withholding nothing.


I don’t think Jeremiah was duped by their declarations.  He had been a prophet used of God many years, and declarations of faithfulness like this one had a hollow ring.  


They came into covenant with God with the words they spoke, “Let the LORD be a true and faithful witness.  With God as witness, things could get complicated.  Everything you command, we will obey.”  They knew that tied to obedience was blessing, “that it may be well with us when we obey.”


For ten days, the prophet sought the LORD diligently in prayer and supplication.  In verse 7 is a phrase repeated many times in scripture.  “And it happened.”   When that phrase is used, the God of Glory moved into the situation.  


Jer. 42:7-18: (KJV):


And it happened, aafter ten days, the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah, then he called Johanan and all the captains of the forces which were with him, and all the people from the least even to the greatest, and said unto them, thus, says the Lord, the God of Israel unto whom you sent me to present your supplication before him;  If you will still abide in this land, then I will build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up; for I repent of the evil that I have done unto you.  Be not afraid of the king of Babylon of whom you are afraid; be not afraid of him, says the Lord; for I am with you to save you, and to deliver you from his hand.  And I will show mercies unto you, and cause you to return to your own land.  But if you say, we will not dwell in this land, neither obey the voice of the Lord your God, Saying, No; but we will go into the land of Egypt, where we shall see no war, nor hear the sound of the trumpet, nor have hunger of bread; and there will we dwell;  And now, therefore, hear the Word of the Lord you Remnant of Judah; thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; If you wholly set your faces to enter into Egypt, and go to sojourn there; Then it shall come to pass, that the sword, which you feared, shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine, whereof you were afraid, shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there you shall die.  So, shall it be with all the men that set their faces to go into Egypt to sojourn there; they shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: and one of them shall remain or escape from the evil that I will bring upon them.  For thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel; As my anger and my fury has been poured forth upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem; so, shall my fury be poured forth upon you, when you shall enter into Egypt; and you shall be execration (loathed, hated) and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach; and you shall see this place no more.


The summation of this treatise is “Don’t go to Egypt.”  We can hear God’s offer of mercy to a broken people.  He forthrightly declared He had relented of all the destruction He had brought upon them, and then He promised them He would turn and be their defender.  They were to remain in the land of promise (knowing they had discussed and had already decided to go to Egypt).  The Sovereign knew their hearts feared nebuchadnezzar, so He said, “And I will show you mercy, that he (the king of Babylon) may have mercy on you and cause you to return to your own land.”  The Lord knows our fears.  He knows where we are weak and irresolute.  He is not taken by our declarations and pronouncements.  He knows they are merely fleshly expressions as weak as Simon’s pledge to Jesus. If they would obey Him, Jehovah gave His solemn assurance of His personal attention to all their needs.


42:  19-22: The Lord has said concerning you, O’ you remnant of Judah; “Do not go into Egypt; know certainly that I have admonished you this day.  For you dissembled (to go astray; to seduce; to deceive) in your hearts, when you sent me unto the Lord your God, saying Pray for us unto the Lord our God; and according unto all that the Lord our God shall say, so declare unto us, and we will do it.  And now I have this day declared it to you; but you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord your God, nor any thing for the reason he has sent me unto you.  Now, therefore know certainly that you shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, in the place where you desire to go and to dwell.


Jehovah developed a scenario for them that included His wrath and their death by the three horsemen: famine, sword and pestilence.  He told them if they went to Egypt, they would experience the same destruction of life and property as He poured out in Jerusalem. This promise included everyone: including every man, woman and child.  He promised to make them an oath composed of, astonishment, curse and reproach.  He promised they would never return to their beloved land.  God’s offer was on the table, and the prophet had delivered it in exactness.


Be careful when you go before the LORD, after ten days before the LORD, Jeremiah calls them hypocrites.  Jeremiah had been inquired of by many political professionals during the years of his ministry.  Kings and Priests had stood before him seeking the word of the LORD.  Johanan was presumptuous and arrogant to think he could stand before God’s prophet and manipulate the prophet or manipulate God.  Jeremiah is here facing down the dereliction of the human will.


When we get to chapter 43, they turn on Jeremiah.  Just like their kings, they accuse Jeremiah of speaking falsely.

Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church

Scripture from KJV and NKJV.  I entered into the labors of Dr. C. R. Oliver, The Road to Captivity.  Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect Dr. Oliver’s views. 


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