Jeremiah 41:17
And they departed, and dwelt in the habitation of Chimham, which is by Bethlehem, to go to enter into Egypt,
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(17) They departed, and dwelt in the habitation of Chimham.—The word translated “habitation “is not found elsewhere, but it is connected with one which means “stranger,” “foreigner,” and means probably a caravanserai, or hospitium for travellers. The name of Chimham throws us back on the history of Barzillai in 2Samuel 19:37. When the Gileadite chief pleaded his age as a ground for not accepting David’s invitation to live at his court, the offer was transferred to his son Chimham. On the king’s death-bed he was specially commended to the care of Solomon (1Kings 2:7). It seems probable that some part of David’s personal patrimony, as distinct from his royal domains, had been bestowed on him, and that he had perpetuated his gratitude by erecting a resting-place for travellers, probably enough identical with the “inn” of the Nativity (Luke 2:7). The plan of the fugitives under Johanan took them to Bethlehem, as lying on the road to Egypt, where they hoped to find a refuge both from the anarchy in which the land had been left by the death of Gedaliah, and from the severe punishment which the Chaldæans were likely to inflict, without too careful an inquiry into the question who had been guilty of it, for the murder of the ruler whom they had appointed. The mere fact of their having remained with Ishmael might be construed into circumstantial evidence of complicity. There they halt, and take counsel.

41:11-18 The success of villany must be short, and none can prosper who harden their hearts against God. And those justly lose comfort in real fears, who excuse themselves in sin by pretended fears. The removal of a prudent and peaceable ruler, and the succession of another who is rash and ambitious, affects the welfare of many. Only those are happy and steady who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.The habitation of Chimham - The Hebrew text has Geruth-Chemoham, of which place nothing is known. The Masoretes read: Geruth-Chimham, the Khan or Caravanserai of Chimham, son of the rich Barzillai (marginal reference). The substitution is incapable now of proof or disproof, but it is possibly right. 17. dwelt—for a time, until they were ready for their journey to Egypt (Jer 42:1-22).

habitation to Chimham—his "caravanserai" close by Beth-lehem. David, in reward for Barzillai's loyalty, took Chimham his son under his patronage, and made over to him his own patrimony in the land of Beth-lehem. It was thence called the habitation of Chimham (Geruth-Chimham), though it reverted to David's heirs in the year of jubilee. "Caravanserais" (a compound Persian word, meaning "the house of a company of travellers") differ from our inns, in that there is no host to supply food, but each traveller must carry with him his own.

When Johanan had (as was before expressed) recovered the Jews whom Ishmael had carried away as prisoners, he came and dwelt with them in the

habitation of Chimham. Concerning this

Chimham, all that we read in Scripture is 2 Samuel 19:37,38,40; he was the son of Barzillai, whom David would have had to have gone along with him to his court; but he being eighty years old excused himself, and desired that his son Chimham might be accepted in his stead. David agreeth it, and promiseth to do for him whatsoever his father should desire on his behalf: possibly David, having an estate near thereabouts, might give a portion of it to him, which though it returned to the family of David in the year of jubilee, yet from Chimham’s house there might retain the name of the habitation of Chimham. Into those parts Johanan retired, with a further design to go into Egypt.

And they departed,.... From Mizpah, Johanan, and the captains of the forces, and all the people rescued from Ishmael:

and dwelt in the habitation of Chimham, which is by Bethlehem: so called perhaps from Chimham, the son of Barzillai the Gileadite, to whom David or Solomon might give this place to dwell in, 2 Samuel 19:37, 1 Kings 2:7. The Targum is express for the former, calling it

"the habitation which David gave to Chimham, the son of Barzillai the Gileadite;''

and as it was near Bethlehem, it might be a part of the patrimony which belonged to David, as a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite; which he might give to Chimham, out of respect to his father Barzillai, who showed kindness to him when he was obliged to flee from Absalom; which, though it returned to David's family in the year of jubilee, as all inheritances did, yet might continue to be called after the name of Chimham, in commemoration of the royal grant of it to him. Josephus (r) calls the name of the place Mandra. The reason why Johanan and those with him pitched on this place was, because it lay in the way

to go to enter into Egypt; where they had an inclination to go; having still a friendly regard to that people, and a confidence in them, as appears by some following chapters; and that they might be ready and at hand to flee thither, should the Chaldeans come against them, which they feared.

(r) Antiqu. l. 10. c. 9. sect. 5.

And they departed, and dwelt in the habitation of {i} Chimham, which is by Bethlehem, to go to enter into Egypt,

(i) Which place David of old had given to Chimham the son of Barzillai the Gileadite, 2Sa 19:38.

17. Geruth Chimham] For Chimham see 2 Samuel 19:37-40. Geruth occurs here only, and the mg. variant is a questionable rendering. Aquila and Josephus (Ant. X. ix. 5) read Gidroth (sheepfolds of) Chimham, while Gi. considers Gidroth to be probably a proper name.

to go to enter into Egypt] to prepare for the journey into Egypt, a journey which, according to the first words of the next verse, was undertaken from fear of the Chaldaeans. It seemed likely that the outbreak which had taken place in connexion with the overthrow and death of the governor appointed by the king of Babylon, might be revenged without much discrimination by that monarch.

Verse 17. - And dwelt in the habitation of Chimham. Chimham was the son of the rich Gileadite Barzillai (2 Samuel 19:37-40), who probably founded this "habitation" or rather "hospice" ("khan," "caravanserai"), for the accommodation of travellers - a characteristic mark of public-spirited liberality. Josephus and Aquila, however, appear to have read "by the hurdles of Chimham" - a very possible name for a locality in such a pastoral country. Jeremiah 41:17"They marched and stopped (made a half) at the inn if Chimham, which is near Bethlehem." גּרוּת, ἅπ.λεγ., considered etymologically, must mean diversorium, hospitium, an inn, khan, or caravanserai. Instead of the Kethib כמוהם, many codices read כּמהם (like the Qeri); nor, have any of the old translators read וּ or וׁ in the word. The Qeri is evidently correct, and we are to read כּמהם, the name of a son of Barzillai the rich Gileadite, 2 Samuel 19:38, 2 Samuel 19:41, who is supposed to have built or founded this caravanserai for the convenience of travellers. The words "because of the Chaldeans" in the beginning of Jeremiah 41:18 depend on "to go to Egypt" at the end of the preceding verse: "to go to Egypt for fear of the Chaldeans," on account of the murder of Gedaliah by Ishmael.
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