Per the words of the Lord’s prophet, the people were taken into exile in Babylon: “The Lord your God pronounced this disaster against this place. The Lord has brought it about, and has done as he said” (40:2-3; Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, to Jeremiah.). The remnant of the people who remained in Judah murdered Gedaliah, who had been appointed governor by Nebuchadnezzar. Then, fearing the king of Babylon, they forced Jeremiah to run to Egypt with them, refusing, once again, to heed the words of the Lord through his prophet: “If you will remain in this land, then I will build you up and not pull you down; I will plant you, and not pluck you up; for I relent of the disaster that I did to you” (42:10). Wow! Again, they would not listen.
An interesting postlude of sorts in chapter 45. Baruch, as Jeremiah’s scribe and companion, had felt the pain of the prophet’s experiences. The Lord explains that he himself had suffered great loss in the failure of his people and their consequent judgment (45:4). In fact, the Lord had lost much more than Baruch, all that he had planted and built up: the people of Israel and the land. Rather than “Woe is me!” perhaps Baruch should sing:
I do not ask for earthly store
Beyond a day’s supply;
I only covet, more and more,
The clear and single eye,
To see my duty face to face,
And trust the Lord for daily grace.
Then shall my heart keep singing,
While to the cross I cling;
For rest is sweet at Jesus’ feet,
While homeward faith keeps winging,
While homeward faith keeps winging. –J. J. Maxfield