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). Jeremiah 41:4On the next day after the murder of Gedaliah, "when no man knew it," i.e., before the deed had become known beyond Mizpah, "there came eighty men from Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria," having all the tokens of mourning, "with their beards shaven, their clothes rent, and with cuts and scratches on their bodies (מתגּדדים, see on Jeremiah 16:6), and a meat-offering and frankincense in their hand, to bring them into the house of Jahveh." The order in which the towns are named is not geographical; for Shiloh lay south from Shechem, and a little to the side from the straight road leading from Shechem to Jerusalem. Instead of שׁלו, the lxx (Cod. Vat.) have Σαλήμ; they use the same word as the name of a place in Genesis 33:18, although the Hebrew שׁלם is there an adjective, meaning safe, in good condition. According to Robinson (Bibl. Res. iii. 102), there is a village named Slim three miles east from Nabls (Shechem); Hitzig and Graf, on the strength of this, prefer the reading of the lxx, to preserve the order of the names in the text. But Hitzig has renounced this conjecture in the second edition of his Commentary, "because Slim in Hebrew would be שׁולם, not שׁלם." There is absolutely no foundation for the view in the lxx and in Genesis 33:18; the supposition, moreover, that the three towns are given in their topographical order, and must have stood near each other, is also unfounded. Shechem may have been named first because the greater number of these men came from that city, and other men from Shiloh and Samaria accompanied them. These men were pious descendants of the Israelites who belonged to the kingdom of Israel; they dwelt among the heathen colonists who had been settled in the country under Esarhaddon (2 Kings 17:24.), but, from the days of Hezekiah or Josiah, had continued to serve Jahveh in Jerusalem, where they used to attend the feasts (2 Chronicles 34:9, cf. Jeremiah 30:11). Nay, even after the destruction of Jerusalem, at the seasons of the sacred feasts, they were still content to bring at least unbloody offerings - meat-offerings and incense - on the still sacred spot where these things used to be offered to Jahveh; but just because this could now be done only on the ruins of what had once been the sanctuary, they appeared there with all the signs of deep sorrow for the destruction of this holy place and the cessation of sacrificial worship. In illustration of this, Grotius has adduced a passage from Papinian's instit. de rerum divis. sacrae: "Locus in quo aedes sacrae sunt aedificatae, etiam diruto aedificio, sacer adhuc manet."
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