New Defender's Study Bible Notes
40:5 Gedaliah. This new Babylonian-designated governor of Judah had been placed in charge of Jeremiah when the Babylonians captured the city (Jeremiah 39:14). His father Ahikam had been a faithful servant of King Josiah (II Kings 22:10-14), and had supported Jeremiah in his conflicts with Judah’s subsequent kings (Jeremiah 26:24). Probably because of this background, Nebuchadnezzar had confidence in Gedaliah and appointed him governor over Judah. Jeremiah chose to stay with Gedaliah rather than go to Babylon or anywhere else.
40:6 in the land. Jeremiah was given the choice of going to Babylon or remaining with the people left in the land. He chose the latter, and Part IV of his book (Jeremiah 40–42) relates to this period and its prophecies.
40:7 captains. Evidently a number of bands of soldiers, with their captains, had scattered under the Babylonian onslaught and so had escaped capture. These captains came to meet Gedaliah after his appointment as governor, ostensibly to offer support to him. One of them, however, Ishmael, resented his acquiescence to Babylon’s control, and began to plot a coup. He was a surviving member of the royal family (Jeremiah 41:1), and perhaps felt that he should have been made governor.
40:11 set over them Gedaliah. A seal has been found by archaeologists that has Gedaliah’s name as being “over the house.”
40:14 Baalis the king of the Ammonites. An artifact has been found containing the name of this king. The collaboration of Ishmael with Baalis may suggest (though no proof exists) that Ishmael may have been related (via his mother) to the Ammonites, thereby being named after an ancestor of the Arabs (Ishmael, one of Abraham’s sons) rather than being given a more typical Israelite name.