Jeremiah 41:1
Now it came to pass in the seventh month, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah the son of Elishama, of the seed royal, and the princes of the king, even ten men with him, came unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam to Mizpah; and there they did eat bread together in Mizpah.
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(1) It came to pass in the seventh month.—It lies in the nature of the case that the visit purported to be one of courtesy and recognition. The remaining representatives of the house of David (Jeremiah 40:8) would show that they were ready to welcome the new Satrap. As the seventh month included the Feast of Tabernacles, it is not unlikely that they came as if to share in its festivities. Three months had passed since the capture of the city (Jeremiah 39:2).

Jeremiah 41:1. Now, in the seventh month — Answering partly to our September, and partly to October; two months after the taking of Jerusalem. The murder of Gedaliah gave occasion to the fasts of the seventh month, which the Jews observed after their return from captivity, Zechariah 7:5; Zechariah 8:19. Ishmael the son of Nethaniah — The same Ishmael that came to Gedaliah, Jeremiah 40:8-9, and to whom he sware protection; of the seed royal — Being of the family of David, he supposed he had a greater right to the government than Gedaliah, and therefore seems to have borne him a grudge: on which account he was the fitter instrument for the king of the Ammonites to make use of; and the princes of the king, even ten men with him — Some of the chief officers of state belonging to Zedekiah. These, undoubtedly, brought a great number of others with them in their retinue, or else they could not have made such a destruction as they did.

41:1-10 Those who hate the worshippers of God, often put on the appearance of piety, that they may the easier hurt them. As death often meets men where they least expect it, we should continually search whether we are in such a state and frame of mind, as we would wish to be found in when called to appear before our Judge. Sometimes the ransom of a man's life is his riches. But those who think to bribe death, saying, Slay us not, for we have treasures in the field, will find themselves wretchedly deceived. This melancholy history warns us, never to be secure in this world. We never can be sure of peace on this side heaven.The seventh month - Gedaliah's government lasted less than two months.

Even - Rather, and. Ishmael was descended probably from Elishama the son of David 2 Samuel 5:16. Ten grandees each with his retinue would have aroused suspicion, but the smallness of Ishmael's following put Gedaliah completely off his guard.


Jer 41:1-18. Ishmael Murders Gedaliah and Others, Then Flees to the Ammonites. Johanan Pursues Him, Recovers the Captives, and Purposes to Flee to Egypt for Fear of the Chaldeans.

1. seventh month—the second month after the burning of the city (Jer 52:12, 13).

and the princes—not the nominative. And the princes came, for the "princes" are not mentioned either in Jer 41:2 or in 2Ki 25:25: but, "Ishmael being of the seed royal and of the princes of the king" [Maurer]. But the ten men were the "princes of the king"; thus Maurer's objection has no weight: so English Version.

eat bread together—Ishmael murdered Gedaliah, by whom he was hospitably received, in violation of the sacred right of hospitality (Ps 41:9).Ishmael, under a color of friendship, killeth Gedaliah and others, both Jews and Chaldeans, Jeremiah 41:1-9. He purposeth to carry the residue captive to the Ammonites, but they are rescued from him by Johanan, who intendeth to flee into Egypt, Jeremiah 41:10-18.

In the seventh month; that is, three months after the city was taken, Jeremiah 39:2.

Ishmael the son of Nethaniah the son of Elishama, of the seed royal; the same Ishmael that came to Gedaliah, Jeremiah 40:8,9, to whom he sware protection; only here we are told that he was of the royal blood, which might both raise his spirits, as having a more legal pretence to the government, and rendered him a fitter instrument for Baalis, the king or queen of the Ammonites, to make use of.

And the princes of the king, even ten men with him; some of the princes, who had escaped the army of the king of Babylon; they and their retinue came in pretended compliment to Gedaliah, who treated them kindly, they dined or supped with him.

Now it came to pass in the seventh month,.... The month Tisri, which answers to part of our September, and part of October; according to the Jewish (b) chronicle, it was on the third day of this month, fifty two days after the destruction of the temple, that Gedaliah was slain; on which day a fast was kept by the Jews, after their return from captivity, on this occasion, called the fast of the seventh month, Zechariah 7:5; though, according to Kimchi and Ben Melech, this event happened on the first day of the month, the beginning of the new year; but the fast was kept the day following, because the first day was a festival. Josephus (c) says it was thirty days after Johanan had departed from Gedaliah, having given him information of the conspiracy against him:

that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah the son of Elishama, of the seed royal: not the son of King Zedekiah, but one of the remoter branches of the family; whether Elishama his father was the same with Elishama the scribe is not certain, Jeremiah 36:12; the Jews have a tradition that he descended from Jerahmeel, whose wife, Atarah, was the daughter of a Heathen king, and was a proselyte, which Kimchi on the place relates; see 1 Chronicles 2:26; this circumstance, of his being akin to the royal family, is mentioned, to show that he envied the governor, and bore him a grudge for the honour he had, thinking that he had a better title to it, as being of the seed royal:

and the princes of the king, even ten men with him; some of the nobles of Zedekiah, who fled with him from Jerusalem, and deserted him when he was pursued and taken, and ever since had remained in the land; even ten of these joined with Ishmael in the conspiracy against Gedaliah, whom they bore an ill will to, for going over to the Chaldeans, and envying the power he was now possessed of. Some think these were ten ruffians, besides the princes of the king, since it may be rendered, "and the princes of the king, and ten men with him"; whom Ishmael and the princes took with them, as fit persons to assassinate the governor; and, besides, it is thought that eleven men were not sufficient to slay the Jews and the Chaldeans, as afterwards related; though it may be observed, that Ishmael, and these ten princes, did not come alone, as it can hardly be imagined they should, but with a number of servants and soldiers with them: these

came unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam to Mizpah: they had been with him before, to whom he had swore, and given them assurance of security; and they departed from him to their respective cities, seemingly satisfied; and now return, to pay him a friendly visit, as they pretended:

and there they did eat bread together at Mizpah; had a feast, and kept holiday together, it being a new moon, the first day of the month, and the beginning of the new year too; so that it was a high festival: and perhaps this season was fixed upon the rather, to cover their design, and to perpetrate it; pretending they came to keep the festival with him, and who, no doubt, liberally provided for them; for bread here is put for all provisions and accommodations.

(b) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 26. p. 76. (c) Antiqu. l. 10. c. 9. sect. 4.

Now it came to pass in the {a} seventh month, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah the son of Elishama, of the seed royal, and the princes of the {b} king, even ten men with him, came to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam to Mizpah; and there they {c} ate bread together in Mizpah.

(a) The city was destroyed in the fourth month and in the seventh month, which contained part of September and part of October, the governor Gedaliah was slain.

(b) Meaning, Zedekiah.

(c) They ate together as familiar friends.

1. in the seventh month] three months after the capture and two after the burning of the city.

and one of the chief officers of the king] We should probably, with LXX, omit this clause. It is absent also from 2 Kings 25:25.

they did eat bread together] i.e. Gedaliah received Ishmael as a guest. Hence the crime assumed a still more atrocious character.

Jeremiah 41:1-3. See introd. summary to the section. For Jeremiah 41:1 see 2 Kings 25:25.

Verses 1-10. - Assassination of Gedaliah and other Jews. Verse 1. - In the seventh month; i.e. two months after the destruction of Jerusalem and the appointment of Gedaliah. It seems strange, however, that the occurrences related in ch. 40. and 41. should have taken so short a time. Gratz calls in question the accuracy of the chronological statement. He quotes Ezekiel 33:24-29, which shows that at least six months (according to his calculation) after the fall of Jerusalem Jewish fugitives still lingered on, and hoped to obtain possession of their fatherland, and points out that time was necessary for Gedaliah to erect a temple at Mizpah (see on ver. 5), for cities to arise out of their ruins, and for cultivation of the soil to be resumed (Jeremiah 40:10). Besides, according to Jeremiah 52:30, a third deportation of Jews is mentioned. How can this be accounted for, if, only two months after the fall of Jerusalem, the remnant of the Jewish population emigrated under Johanan ben Kareah to Egypt? Gratz shows reason for thinking that this last deportation stands in close connection with Gedaliah's death, and that consequently the interval between this latter event and the fall of Jerusalem lasted, not two months, but five years. The son of Elishama. Perhaps the Elishama men. tioned in Jeremiah 36:12 as a secretary of state; or perhaps a son of David of that name (see 2 Samuel 5:18; 1 Chronicles 3:8; 1 Chronicles 14:7; "son" being taken here in a wider sense). And the princes of the king; rather, and (one of) the princes of the king. Even ten men; rather, and ten men. Elevon determined bravoes overpower a crowd of unprepared men. Did eat bread together. Gedaliah, then, had invited them to a friendly banquet. Jeremiah 41:1Murder of Gedaliah and his followers, as well as other Jews, by Ishmael. - Jeremiah 41:1-3. The warning of Johanan had been only too well founded. In the seventh month - only two months, therefore, after the destruction of Jerusalem and the appointment of Gedaliah as governor - Ishmael came with the men to Mizpah, and was hospitably received by Gedaliah and invited to his table. Ishmael is here more exactly described as to his family descent, for the purpose of throwing a stronger light upon the exceeding cruelty of the murders afterwards ascribed to him. He was the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama - perhaps the secretary of state mentioned Jeremiah 36:12, or more likely the son of David who bore this name, 2 Samuel 5:6; 1 Chronicles 3:8; 1 Chronicles 14:7; so that Ishmael would belong to a lateral branch of the house of David, be of royal extraction, and one of the royal lords. ורבּי המּלך cannot be joined with Ishmael as the subject, because in what follows there is no further mention made of the royal lords, but only of Ishmael and his ten men; it belongs to what precedes, מזּרע המּלוּכּה, so that we must repeat מן before רבּי. The objections of Ngelsbach to this view will not stand examination. It is not self-evident that Ishmael, because he was of royal blood, was therefore also one of the royal nobles; for the רבּים certainly did not form a hereditary caste, but were perhaps a class of nobles in the service of the king, to which class the princes did not belong simply in virtue of their being princes. But the improbability that Ishmael should have been able with ten men to overpower the whole of the Jewish followers of Gedaliah, together with the Chaldean warriors, and (according to Jeremiah 41:7) out of eighty men to kill some, making prisoners of the rest, is not so great as to compel us to take רבּי המּלך in such a meaning as to make it stand in contradiction with the statement, repeated twice, over, that Ishmael, with his ten men, did all this. Eleven men who are determined to commit murder can kill a large number of persons who are not prepared against such an attempt, and may also keep a whole district in terror.

(Note: There is still less ground, with Hitzig, Graf, and Ngelsbach, for assuming that ורבּי המּלך is a gloss that has crept into the text. The fact that רבּים, which is used here, is elsewhere applied only to Chaldean nobles, is insufficient to show this; and even Ewald has remarked that "the last king (Zedekiah) may well be supposed to have appointed a number of grandees, after the example of the Chaldeans, and given them, too, Chaldean names.")

"And they did eat bread there together," i.e., they were invited by Gedaliah to his table. While at meat, Ishmael and his ten men rose and slew Gedaliah with the sword. On account of ויּמת אתו, which comes after, Hitzig and Graf would change ויּכּוּ into ויּכּוּ, he slew him, Gedaliah; this alteration is possibly warranted, but by no means absolutely necessary. The words 'ויּמת אתו וגו, "and he killed him," contain a reflection of the narrator as to the greatness of the crime; in conformity with the facts of the case, the murder is ascribed only to the originator of the deed, since the ten men of Ishmael's retinue were simply his executioners. Besides Gedaliah, Ishmael killed "all the Jews that were with him, with Gedaliah in Mizpah, and the Chaldeans that were found there, the men of war." The very expression shows that, of the Jews, only those are meant who were present in the house with Gedaliah, and, of the Chaldean soldiers, only those warriors who had been allowed him as a guard, who for the time being were his servants, and who, though they were not, as Schmidt thinks, hausto liberalius vino inebriati, yet, as Chr. B. Michaelis remarks, were tunc temporis inermes et imparati. The Jews of post-exile times used to keep the third day of the seventh month as a fast-day, in commemoration of the murder of Gedaliah; see on Zechariah 7:3.

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