And it came to pass the second day after he had slain Gedaliah, and no man knew it,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.
and no man knew it; not any out of the city, or in remote parts; for those that were in the city must be sensible of it; but as yet the report of it had not reached the neighbourhood, and much less distant parts; this is observed on account of the following story, and to show how easily the persons after mentioned were drawn in by Ishmael.And it came to pass the second day after he had slain Gedaliah, and no man knew it,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)4. the second day] probably meaning the next day.
Ch. Jeremiah 41:4-18. Ishmael commits further massacres and carries off captives
The section may be summarized as follows.
(i) Jeremiah 41:4-10. The following day eighty pilgrims arrive. Ishmael goes weeping to meet them, and bids them come to Gedaliah. Having thus decoyed them into the city, he puts them all to death, except ten men who purchase their lives by disclosing the places where they possess hidden stores of food. Ishmael fills a pit with the slain, and carries away captive all the rest of the inhabitants of Mizpah. (ii) Jeremiah 41:11-18. Johanan and the captains who were with him go in pursuit of Ishmael, and release his captives. Ishmael himself with ten men escapes to the country of Ammon, while Johanan takes those whom he had rescued to the vicinity of Bethlehem, with a view of passing into Egypt as a refuge from the Chaldaeans.Verses 4-7. - The news of the deed of violence had not yet been spread, and Ishmael seized the opportunity of imbruing his hands in fresh blood. He could have had no personal motive; but his employer, Baalis, desired that "the remnant in Judah might perish" (Jeremiah 40:15). 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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