August 11, 2020 – Tuesday
Jeremiah 40:13-14 NIV
13 Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers still in the open country came to Gedaliah at Mizpah
14 and said to him, “Don’t you know that Baalis king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to take your life?” But Gedaliah son of Ahikam did not believe them.
Gedaliah’s life was in danger. At least that is what was being reported to him; Don’t you know that Baalis king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to take your life? But who is Gedaliah anyway? If we go back to the beginning of the chapter, we find Jeremiah was being released to go where he wished and he wished to return to nation of Judah. Then in verses 5 Jeremiah was told by commander of the imperial guard “Go back to Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has appointed over the towns of Judah [as governor], and live with him among the people, or go anywhere else you please.” Then the commander gave him provisions and a present and let him go. The next verse tells us that is exactly what Jeremiah did; So Jeremiah went to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah and stayed with him among the people who were left behind in the land.
Now we know Gedaliah ruled over the towns of Judah and Jeremiah was staying with him, but why would anyone want to take his life. Turns out Gedaliah wanted the rebellion of those who remained against those serving the king of Babylon to end. Instead serve them and it would go well with those who had remained.
Turns out Baalis, king of the Ammonites, wanted Gedaliah dead, assassinated. Theories abound as to why. The most common is the old hatred the Ammonites had of Israel and wanted anyone in charge assassinated. And it was Gedaliah who was in charge and became the target. The king of the Ammonites used Ishmael son of Nethaniah to do his dirty work.
However, as our verse of the day says Gedaliah son of Ahikam did not believe them. In fact, when his allies offered to kill Ishmael to protect him Gedaliah replied in verse 16 Don’t do such a thing! What you are saying about Ishmael is not true. Turns out what they were saying was true. All we have to do is turn the page to the next chapter to discover just how true the threat really was and how blood thirsty Ishmael was. Still, why did Gedaliah discount the warnings? Ellicott’s commentary says, Gedaliah, in the guileless trustfulness of his character, does not believe that Ishmael is capable of such a crime, and will not sanction another crime by way of precaution. Another said he could not conceive of someone doing what he himself could not or would not do.
He was wrong and he died as did many of those around him. Gedaliah ignored the wisdom of Proverbs 15:22, Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. Reading how he took no precautions when Ishmael showed up displayed how little attention he had paid to the counsel of those who had warned him.
Perhaps we can draw a lesson from this. After all we are given many, many, many warnings about our eternal future if we will but listen, Instead all too often we or those we know insist on acting as if they had not been warned and live a life leading directly to Hell. What a shame to see the word of God ignored and the how the sacrifice of His Son is treated so cavalierly, with no respect at all. They ignore the great love God expressed for each of us with the Grace He has offered through His Son.
His warnings and His free offer of grace are ignored at the peril, the eternal peril, of those who continue to ignore them.