1 The word that came to Yirmiyahu from Hashem, after Nebuzaradan, the chief of the guards, set him free at Rama, to which he had taken him, chained in fetters, among those from Yerushalayim and Yehuda who were being exiled to Babylon.
ha-da-VAR a-SHER ha-YAH el yir-m’-YA-hu may-AYT a-do-NAI a-KHAR sha-LAKH o-TO n’-vu-zar-a-DAN rav ta-ba-KHEEM min ha-ra-MAH b’-kakh-TO o-TO v’-hu a-SUR ba-zi-KEEM b’-TOKH kol ga-LUT y’-ru-sha-LA-im vee-hu-DAH ha-mug-LEEM ba-VE-lah
א הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר־הָיָה אֶל־יִרְמְיָהוּ מֵאֵת יְהֹוָה אַחַר שַׁלַּח אֹתוֹ נְבוּזַרְאֲדָן רַב־טַבָּחִים מִן־הָרָמָה בְּקַחְתּוֹ אֹתוֹ וְהוּא־אָסוּר בָּאזִקִּים בְּתוֹךְ כָּל־גָּלוּת יְרוּשָׁלַ ִם וִיהוּדָה הַמֻּגְלִים בָּבֶלָה׃
40:1 Set him free at Rama
Although King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon orders his soldiers to treat Yirmiyahu with respect and consideration, only when the convoy reaches Rama, about nine kilometers north of Yerushalayim, does the Babylonian captain release him from his chains. According to Rashi, Yirmiyahu voluntarily fettered himself to the chains leading the exiles away from Israel in order to demonstrate his complete identification with his people and their suffering. Such is the characteristic of a true leader. Though mistreated and abused by them, Yirmiyahu still identifies with, and cares for, his people.2 comments
2 The chief of the guards took charge of Yirmiyahu, and he said to him, “Hashem your God threatened this place with this disaster;
ב וַיִּקַּח רַב־טַבָּחִים לְיִרְמְיָהוּ וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ דִּבֶּר אֶת־הָרָעָה הַזֹּאת אֶל־הַמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה׃
3 and now Hashem has brought it about. He has acted as He threatened, because you sinned against Hashem and did not obey Him. That is why this has happened to you.
ג וַיָּבֵא וַיַּעַשׂ יְהֹוָה כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֵּר כִּי־חֲטָאתֶם לַיהֹוָה וְלֹא־שְׁמַעְתֶּם בְּקוֹלוֹ וְהָיָה לָכֶם דבר [הַדָּבָר] הַזֶּה׃
4 Now, I release you this day from the fetters which were on your hands. If you would like to go with me to Babylon, come, and I will look after you. And if you don’t want to come with me to Babylon, you need not. See, the whole land is before you: go wherever seems good and right to you.”—
ד וְעַתָּה הִנֵּה פִתַּחְתִּיךָ הַיּוֹם מִן־הָאזִקִּים אֲשֶׁר עַל־יָדֶךָ אִם־טוֹב בְּעֵינֶיךָ לָבוֹא אִתִּי בָבֶל בֹּא וְאָשִׂים אֶת־עֵינִי עָלֶיךָ וְאִם־רַע בְּעֵינֶיךָ לָבוֹא־אִתִּי בָבֶל חֲדָל רְאֵה כָּל־הָאָרֶץ לְפָנֶיךָ אֶל־טוֹב וְאֶל־הַיָּשָׁר בְּעֵינֶיךָ לָלֶכֶת שָׁמָּה לֵךְ׃
5 But [Yirmiyahu] still did not turn back.—“Or go to Gedalya son of Achikam son of Shafan, whom the king of Babylon has put in charge of the towns of Yehuda, and stay with him among the people, or go wherever you want to go.” The chief of the guards gave him an allowance of food, and dismissed him.
7 The officers of the troops in the open country, and their men with them, heard that the king of Babylon had put Gedalya son of Achikam in charge of the region, and that he had put in his charge the men, women, and children—of the poorest in the land—those who had not been exiled to Babylon.
8 So they with their men came to Gedalya at Mitzpa—Ishmael son of Nethaniah; Yochanan and Yonatan the sons of Kareah; Seraya son of Tanhumeth; the sons of Ephai the Netophathite; and Jezaniah son of the Maacathite.
10 I am going to stay in Mitzpa to attend upon the Chaldeans who will come to us. But you may gather wine and figs and oil and put them in your own vessels, and settle in the towns you have occupied.”
י וַאֲנִי הִנְנִי יֹשֵׁב בַּמִּצְפָּה לַעֲמֹד לִפְנֵי הַכַּשְׂדִּים אֲשֶׁר יָבֹאוּ אֵלֵינוּ וְאַתֶּם אִסְפוּ יַיִן וְקַיִץ וְשֶׁמֶן וְשִׂמוּ בִּכְלֵיכֶם וּשְׁבוּ בְּעָרֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר־תְּפַשְׂתֶּם׃
11 Likewise, all the Judeans who were in Moab, Ammon, and Edom, or who were in other lands, heard that the king of Babylon had let a remnant stay in Yehuda, and that he had put Gedalya son of Achikam son of Shafan in charge of them.
12 All these Judeans returned from all the places to which they had scattered. They came to the land of Yehuda, to Gedalya at Mitzpa, and they gathered large quantities of wine and figs.
13 Yochanan son of Kareah, and all the officers of the troops in the open country, came to Gedalya at Mitzpa
15 Yochanan son of Kareah also said secretly to Gedalya at Mitzpa, “Let me go and strike down Ishmael son of Nethaniah before anyone knows about it; otherwise he will kill you, and all the Judeans who have gathered about you will be dispersed, and the remnant of Yehuda will perish!”