Ishmael also slew all the Jews that were with him, even with Gedaliah, at Mizpah, and the Chaldeans that were found there, and the men of war.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Ishmael also slew all the Jews. . . .—We wonder at first that ten men were able to effect so much. It does not follow, however, that the massacre went beyond the Jews and Chaldæan officers who were sharing Gedaliah’s hospitality, and they may easily have been surprised, like Gedaliah, unarmed, and in the act of feasting. Possibly, too, the ten princes may each have brought their retinue of attendants. Greek history presents two analogous massacres—that of the Persian generals by Alexander, the son of Amyntas (Herod, v. 19, 20); and that of Archias and Leontiades, the tyrants of Thebes, by Pelopidas and his associates. The massacre in this case was so complete that none escaped to tell the tale (Jeremiah 41:4). The italics in the last clause of the verse indicate that the conjunction “and” is not in the Hebrew, and that the words, “the men of war,” are in apposition with the previous clause, and limit their extent.Jeremiah 41:3-4. Ishmael also slew all the Jews and the men of war — That is, all that joined in opposing him, and in assisting Gedaliah: for several of the commanders, as well as the greater part of the people, were still left alive, as appears by the sequel of the story. And on the second day after, &c., no man knew it — That is, no man who lived at any considerable distance from Mizpah, for Ishmael undoubtedly used every means in his power to keep this slaughter secret, lest the news of it should reach the ears of some of the Chaldean commanders, and so he should be prevented from making his escape.
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.Jeremiah 41:10, that by all the Jews here must be understood only all those who were about the court of Gedaliah, for it is there said that he carried away many that were with him. Jeremiah 41:9; but of those that opposed him, or were able to avenge the death of their governor, and he might suspect would do it:
and the Chaldeans that were found there, and the men of war; or, "even the men of war" (g); this describes more particularly who they were that were slain, those of the Jews, and especially the Chaldeans, who were in military service; either the bodyguards of the governor, or the city guards, or both, whom Ishmael thought it advisable to cut off, lest they should fall upon him, and revenge the death of Gedaliah, and prevent his further designs.Ishmael also slew all the Jews that were with him, even with Gedaliah, at Mizpah, and the Chaldeans that were found there, and the men of war.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)3. The Jews on their return from the exile used to keep the third day of the seventh month (Tisri) as a fast in memory of Ishmael’s deed (Zechariah 7:5; Zechariah 8:19).
even the men of war] Gedaliah’s body-guard. But the words are absent, probably rightly, from LXX.Verse 3. - The Chaldeans. Gedaliah's Chaldean bodyguard. And the men of war; rather, even the men of war. Jewish as well as Chaldean warriors are meant; the non-military Jews, including the prophet, were carried away captive (see vers. 10,16). Jeremiah 40:7 (as Hitzig and Graf suppose), but they are repeated for the purpose of distinguishing plainly between the captains with their men from the Jews who had returned out of Moab, Ammon, and Edom. הכּות, "to strike the soul, life" equals to kill; cf. Genesis 37:21; Deuteronomy 19:6. What induced the king of Ammon to think of assassination - whether it was personal hostility towards Gedaliah, or the hope of destroying the only remaining support of the Jews, and thereby perhaps putting himself in possession of the country, - cannot be determined. That he employed Ishmael for the accomplishment of his purpose, may have been owing to the fact that this man had a personal envy of Gedaliah; for Ishmael, being sprung from the royal family (Jeremiah 40:1), probably could not endure being subordinate to Gedaliah. - The plot had become known, and Gedaliah was secretly informed of it by Johanan; but the former did not believe the rumour. Johanan then secretly offered to slay Ishmael, taking care that no one should know who did it, and urged compliance in the following terms: "Why should he slay thee, and all the Jews who have gathered themselves round thee be scattered, and the remnant of Judah perish?" Johanan thus called his attention to the evil consequences which would result to the remnant left in the land were he killed; but Gedaliah replied, "Do not this thing, for thou speakest a lie against Ishmael." The Qeri needlessly changes אל־תּעשׂ into אל־תּעשׂה; cf. Jeremiah 39:12.
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