Jeremiah 41:4
And it came to pass the second day after he had slain Gedaliah, and no man knew it,
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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.

4. no man knew it—that is, outside Mizpah. Before tidings of the murder had gone abroad. That is, no man who lived at any great distance from Mizpah, for Ishmael was concerned what in him lay to keep this slaughter private, for fear the news of it should have reached the ears of the king of Babylon, or the commanders of some of his forces, so as he should not have had time to make his escape. And it came to pass, the second day after he had slain Gedaliah,.... That is, the day following, for it was in the night, as Josephus relates, as before observed, the murder was committed:

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,
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). Gedaliah is forewarned of Ishmael's intention to murder him. - After the return of those who had taken refuge in Moab, etc., Johanan the son of Kareah, together with the rest of the captains who were scattered here and there through the country, came to Gedaliah at Mizpah, to say to him: "Dost thou know indeed that Baalis the king of the Ammonites hath sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to take thy life?" The words "that were in the country" are neither a gloss, nor a thoughtless repetition by some scribe from 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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