Jeremiah 41: The Assassination of Gedaliah

cistern reservoir plughole drain Hebrew-English Text

I. Summary

Ishmael son of Nethaniah, a man of royal descent, assassinates Gedaliah and takes his allies prisoner. Johanan frees Ishmael’s prisoners and sets off for Egypt. Ishmael escapes to Ammon.

II. Photo

Ishmael is confronted at the great pool: “They took all their men and went to fight against Ishmael son of Nethaniah; and they encountered him by the great pool in Gibeon.” (v. 12)

III. Select Verses

1-3: In the seventh month, Ishmael son of Nethaniah son of Elishama, who was of royal descent and one of the king’s commanders, came with ten men to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah; and they ate together there at Mizpah. Then Ishmael son of Nethaniah and the ten men who were with him arose and struck down Gedaliah son of Ahikam son of Shaphan with the sword and killed him, because the king of Babylon had put him in charge of the land. Ishmael also killed all the Judeans who were with him — with Gedaliah in Mizpah — and the Chaldean soldiers who were stationed there.

9: The cistern into which Ishmael threw all the corpses of the men he had killed in the affair of Gedaliah was the one that King Asa had constructed on account of King Baasha of Israel. That was the one which Ishmael son of Nethaniah filled with corpses.

10: Ishmael carried off all the rest of the people who were in Mizpah, including the daughters of the king — all the people left in Mizpah, over whom Nebuzaradan, the chief of the guards, had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam. Ishmael son of Nethaniah carried them off, and set out to cross over to the Ammonites.

13-15: When all the people held by Ishmael saw Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers with him, they were glad; all the people whom Ishmael had carried off from Mizpah turned back and went over to Johanan son of Kareah. But Ishmael son of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with eight men, and went to the Ammonites.

17-18: They set out, and they stopped at Geruth Chimham, near Bethlehem, on their way to go to Egypt because of the Chaldeans. For they were afraid of them, because Ishmael son of Nethaniah had killed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon had put in charge of the land.

IV. Outline

1-3. Ishmael son of Nethaniah, a man of royal descent, and his men kill Gedaliah, his comrades, and the Babylonian guards

4-9. Ishmael and his men kill 70 of 80 of Gedaliah’s visitors

10. Ishmael sets off to Ammon with prisoners that include the king’s daughters

11-14. Johanan rescuses Ishmael’s prisoners at the great pool of Gibeon

15. Ishmael escapes with 8 men to the Ammonites

16-18. Johanan and his party set out for Egypt, wary of the Babylonians whose comrades were just murdered

V. Comment

No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used

(see “Commentaries” page)

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