Jeremiah 40:14
And said to him, Do you certainly know that Baalis the king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to slay you? But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam believed them not.
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(14) Dost thou certainly know that Baalis . . .—The king of the Ammonites so named appears from Jeremiah 27:3 to have been in alliance with Zedekiah; and Ishmael, as belonging to the royal house of Judah, seems to have been still plotting with him against the authority of the Chaldæans. Open resistance being now impossible, they have recourse to assassination. The plot becomes known, and Johanan, faithful to his new protector, warns him against it, but, as the sequel shows, in vain. Gedaliah, in the guileless trustfulness of his character, does not believe that Ishmael is capable of such a crime, and will not sanction another crime by way of precaution.

40:7-16 Jeremiah had never in his prophecies spoken of any good days for the Jews, to come immediately after the captivity; yet Providence seemed to encourage such an expectation. But how soon is this hopeful prospect blighted! When God begins a judgment, he will complete it. While pride, ambition, or revenge, bears rule in the heart, men will form new projects, and be restless in mischief, which commonly ends in their own ruin. Who would have thought, that after the destruction of Jerusalem, rebellion would so soon have sprung up? There can be no thorough change but what grace makes. And if the miserable, who are kept in everlasting chains for the judgment of the great day, were again permitted to come on earth, the sin and evil of their nature would be unchanged. Lord, give us new hearts, and that new mind in which the new birth consists, since thou hast said we cannot without it see thy heavenly kingdom.It is difficult to say what object Baalis can have had in murdering Gedaliah. As an ally of Zedekiah Jeremiah 27:3, he may have had a spite against the family of Ahikam for opposing, as most probably they did at Jeremiah's instigation, the league proposed Jeremiah 27. Ishmael's motive was envy and spite at seeing a subject who had always opposed the war now invested with kingly power, in place of the royal family. 14. Baalis—named from the idol Baal, as was often the case in heathen names.

Ammonites—So it was to them that Ishmael went after murdering Gedaliah (Jer 41:10).

slay—literally, "strike thee in the soul," that is, a deadly stroke.

Ishmael—Being of the royal seed of David (Jer 41:1), he envied Gedaliah the presidency to which he thought himself entitled; therefore he leagued himself with the ancient heathen enemy of Judah.

believed … not—generous, but unwise unsuspiciousness (Ec 9:16).

Dost thou, for dost thou not; for not is plainly understood, as the sense makes evident. Whether this Baalis be a proper name of the

king of the Ammonites, or, as some think, an appellative name, signifying the lady or the queen regent, is uncertain. What made the prince of the Ammonites do this can be but guessed; probably the old hatred they had to Israel, or hopes that they should have the better fishing in these waters when they were troubled. Gedaliah seems a man of a good humour, not too credulous, and believes not the information. And said unto him, dost thou certainly know,.... Not that they thought he did know, or that the thing was so flagrant that he must know it; but that he might be assured of the truth of it, from the information they were now about to give him: or, "dost thou not in knowing know?" (x) it is most certainly true; and thou mayest depend upon it that it is real matter of fact:

that Baalis the king of the Ammonites hath sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to slay thee? very probably Ishmael, with the forces under him, fled to the king of the Ammonites upon the taking of Jerusalem; who, out of ill will to the Jews, always bore them by the Ammonites, envying their reestablishment under Gedaliah, and hoping to make a prey of them if their governor was removed, moved it to this young prince to dispatch him; and who might be forward enough to undertake it, being displeased that Gedaliah should be governor, which he might think was an office he had a better right to, being of the seed royal; and therefore readily agreed to be sent on this bloody errand, to take away the governor's life: or, "to smite him in the soul"; or "to smite his soul" (y); that is, to give him a mortal blow, his death's wound, to separate soul and body:

but Gedaliah the son of Ahikam believed them not; being a good man, and knowing he had done nothing to disoblige him, could not believe a person of such birth and dignity would ever be guilty of such an action: very likely Ishmael had behaved in a very princely complaisant manner, and had expressed a great affection for the governor, and had been very familiar with him; and being of the seed royal, it is highly probable Gedaliah had shown a distinguished regard to him, which he might think was the reason of this charge being brought against him, out of envy to him; however, since it came from such a body of men, though he was not over credulous, yet he ought to have inquired into it, and provided for his own safety, and the public good, against the worst that might happen.

(x) "nonne cognoscendo cognosces", Pagninus, Montanus. (y) "ut percutiat animam tuam", Munster; "te in anima", Pagninus; "secundum animam", Piscator; "ad percutiendum te (quoad) animam", Schmidt.

And said to him, Dost thou certainly know that {g} Baalis the king of the Ammonites hath sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to slay thee? But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam believed them not.

(g) For under the colour of entertaining Ishmael, he sought only to make them destroy one another.

14. Baalis the king of the children of Ammon] It is easier to see the motives of Ishmael than those of his instigator Baalis. The former no doubt felt aggrieved that he, although of royal birth (Jeremiah 41:1), should be set aside in favour of Gedaliah, and at once determined to get rid of him and take his place. Baalis may have had a spite against Gedaliah and his family as friends of Jeremiah, and as having probably taken the side of that prophet openly, when (ch. 27) he sent back the messengers of Ammon and the other neighbouring nations, refusing the alliance against the Chaldaeans which they had desired; or it may have been a design against Palestine generally which influenced him on this occasion, and the belief that, if he were to get rid of Gedaliah and the firm and peaceful rule which he seemed to be inaugurating, there would be more chance for himself in carrying out his plans of conquest.Verse 14. - Baalis the king of the Ammonites. Perhaps the same king referred to in Jeremiah 27:3 as seeking alliance with Zedekiah. He was naturally opposed to the Babylonian official, Gedaliah. Hath sent Ishmael. Ishmael was connected with the royal family (Jeremiah 41:1), and was probably jealous of Gedaliah.

These captains came to Mizpah, namely (ו explicative), Ishmael the son of Nethaniah (according to Jeremiah 41:1, the grandson of Elishama, and of royal blood), Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah (cf. Jeremiah 40:13 and Jeremiah 41:11, Jeremiah 41:16; Jeremiah 42:1.; the name Jonathan is omitted in 2 Kings 25:23; see on this passage), Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth, and the sons of Ephai the Netophathite (from Netophah in the vicinity of Bethlehem, 1 Chronicles 2:54; Ezra 2:22), Jezaniah (יזניהוּ; but in 2 Kings 25:23 יאזניהוּ), the Maachathite, from Maachah, a district in Syria near Hermon, Deuteronomy 3:14; Joshua 12:5. These men, who had borne arms against the Chaldeans, were concerned for their safety when they returned into the country. Gedaliah sware to them, i.e., promised them on oath, "Be not afraid to serve the Chaldeans; remain in the country and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you. And as for me, behold, I shall remain at Mizpah to stand before the Chaldeans who will come to us," i.e., as lieutenant of the king of Babylon, to represent you before the Chaldean officers and armies, to maintain your rights and interests, so that you may be able to settle down where you choose, without anxiety, and cultivate the land. "And as for yourselves, father ye wine and fruit (קיץ, see on 2 Samuel 16:1) and oil, and put them in your vessels." אסף is used of the ingathering of the fruits of the ground. It was during the fifth or sixth month (2 Kings 25:8), the end of July or beginning of August, that grapes, figs, and olives became ripe; and these had grown so plentifully in comparison with the small number of those who had returned, that they could gather sufficient for their wants. "And dwell in your cities, cities which ye seize," i.e., which you shall take possession of. Jeremiah 40:11. Those Jews also who had fled, during the war, into the neighbouring countries of Moab, Ammon, Edom, etc., returned to Judah when they learned that the king of Babylon had left a remnant, and placed Gedaliah over them; they came to Mizpah and Gedaliah, who appointed them places to dwell in, and they gathered much wine and fruit, i.e., made a rich vintage and fruit harvest. נתן שׁארית, "to give a remainder," as it were to leave a remainder ('הותיר שׁ'( redniamer, Jeremiah 44:7, or 'שׂוּם שׁ, Genesis 45:7).
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