Jeremiah 40-41

Talks for Growing Christians

Gedaliah’s Unbelief and Ishmael’s Insurrection

Jeremiah 40-41

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Lesson Number 38

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Leaders have a responsibility to review bad reports.
  2. Leaders have a responsibility to remove bad persons.

Practical Application

  1. Your present good actions are not responsible for the future sins of others.


  1. Who did Nebuchadnezzar appoint as puppet-governor over the remnant of the Jewish people left in the land of Judea?
  2. Did Jeremiah choose to remain with the people in the land or be taken to Babylon as a captive? How did the Babylonian captain of the guard treat Jeremiah after he made his decision?
  3. Did the Babylonians know of Jeremiah’s prophecy of judgment on Jerusalem?
  4. Who brought the report to Gedaliah that Ishmael had been sent to kill him? Did Gedaliah believe the report?
  5. Ishmael did murder Gedaliah. Who else did Ishmael and his men kill that day? What did they do with the dead bodies?


  1. Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah as the puppet-governor over the remaining people of Judah. While the great majority of people were taken captive to Babylon after Jerusalem was destroyed, there was a sizable remnant of poor people and refugees who remained.
  2. Jeremiah chose to remain with the people in Judah. Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, treated him kindly, bringing him food and gifts. Remember, Jeremiah had told the people to surrender to the Babylonians.
  3. The Babylonians did know of Jeremiah’s prophecy of judgment on Jerusalem. The captain of the guard made this clear when he spoke to Jeremiah. (vs 2-3.)
  4. Johanan the son of Kareah, along with his captains, brought the report to Gedaliah that Baalis, the king of the Ammonites, had sent Ishmael to murder Gedaliah. Gedaliah, while a good man, did not act wisely and did not believe the report from his trusted military advisor.
  5. In addition to assassinating Gedaliah, Ishmael and his men killed many of Gedaliah’s officials and a large number of pilgrims coming from the north to offer sacrifices in Jerusalem (where the Temple had been before it was destroyed). Ishmael then cast the bodies into a pit. This pit was an old cistern, built by the good king Asa earlier when he was trying to defend Judah from the attacks of the wicked king Baasha of the northern kingdom of Israel. (See 1 Kings 15 and 2 Chronicles 16.)


  1. Jeremiah made the decision to stay with Gedaliah and the remnant of the people in Judea. Discuss what purpose (or purposes) God may have had in leading Jeremiah to this decision.


  1. Have you had a tendency to ignore reports of evil intentions or actions on the part of other people? If a trusted friend brings you such a report in the future, have you learned from this portion of Scripture that you have a responsibility to seriously consider the information given you, and act upon it if necessary?

Key Verses

  • “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.” Jeremiah 40:3

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