Jeremiah 41:15
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
But Ishmael the son of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with eight men, and went to the Ammonites.

King James Bible
But Ishmael the son of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with eight men, and went to the Ammonites.

American Standard Version
But Ishmael the son of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with eight men, and went to the children of Ammon.

Douay-Rheims Bible
But Ismahel the son of Nathanias fled with eight men, from the face of Johanan, and went to the children of Ammon.

English Revised Version
But Ishmael the son of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with eight men, and went to the children of Ammon.

Webster's Bible Translation
But Ishmael the son of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with eight men, and went to the Ammonites.

Jeremiah 41:15 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

Only ten men out of the eighty saved their lives, and this by saying to Ishmael, "Do not kill us, for we have hidden stores in the field - wheat, and barley, and oil, and honey." מטמנים are excavations in the form of cisterns, or subterranean storehouses in the open country, for keeping grain; the openings or entrances to these are so concealed that the eye of a stranger could not perceive them. Such places are still universally employed in Palestine at the present day (Robinson's Palestine, i. pp. 324-5), and are also to be found in other southern countries, both in ancient and modern times; see proofs of this in Rosenmller's Scholia ad hunc locum. It is remarked, in Jeremiah 41:9, of the pit into which Ishmael threw the corpses, that it was the same that King Asa had made, i.e., had caused to be made, against, i.e., for protection against, Baasha the king of Israel. In the historical books there is no mention made of this pit in the account of the war between Asa and Baasha, 1 Kings 15:16-22 and 2 Chronicles 16:1-6; it is only stated in 1 Kings 15:22 and 2 Chronicles 16:6 that, after Baasha, who had fortified Ramah, had been compelled to return to his own land because of the invasion of Benhadad the Syrian king, whom Asa had called to his aid, the king of Judah ordered all his people to carry away from Ramah the stones and timber which Baasha had employed in building, and therewith fortify Geba and Mizpah. The expression מפּני בעשׁא certainly implies that the pit had been formed as a protection against Baasha, and belonged to the fortifications raised at that time. However, הבּור cannot mean the burial-place belonging to the city (Grotius), but only a cistern (cf. 2 Kings 10:14); and one such as could contain a considerable store of water was as necessary as a wall and a moat for the fortification of a city, so that it might be able to endure a long siege (Graf). Hitzig, on the other hand, takes בּור to mean a long and broad ditch which cut off the approach to the city from Ephraim, or which, forming a part of the fortifications, made a break in the road to Jerusalem, though it was bridged over in times of peace, thus forming a kind of tunnel. This idea is certainly incorrect; for, according to Jeremiah 41:7, the "ditch" was inside the city (בּתוך). The expression בּיד גּדליהוּ is obscure, and cannot be explained with any of certainty. בּיד cannot mean "through the fault of" Gedaliah (Raschi), or "because of" Gedaliah - for his sake (Kimchi, Umbreit), or "coram" Gedaliah (Venema), but must rather be rendered "by means of, through the medium of," or "at the side of, together with." Ngelsbach has decided for the rendering "by means of," giving as his reason the fact that Ishmael had made use of the name of Gedaliah in order to decoy these men into destruction. He had called to them, "Come to Gedaliah" (Jeremiah 41:6); and simply on the authority of this name, they had followed him. But the employment of the name as a means of decoy can hardly be expressed by בּיד. We therefore prefer the meaning "at the hand equals at the side of" (following the Syriac, L. de Dieu, Rosenmller, Ewald), although this signification cannot be established from the passages cited by Rosenm. (1 Samuel 14:34; 1 Samuel 16:2; Ezra 7:23), nor can the meaning "together with" (Ewald) be shown to belong to it. On the other hand, a passage which is quite decisive for the rendering "by the hand of, beside," is Job 15:23 : "there stands ready at his hand (בּידו, i.e., close to him) a day of darkness." If we take this meaning for the passage now before us, then בּיד גּדליהוּ cannot be connected with אשׁר , in accordance with the Masoretic accents, but with השׁליך שׁם, "where Ishmael cast the bodies of the men whom he had slain, by the side of Gedaliah;" so that it is not stated till here and now, and only in a casual manner, what had become of Gedaliah's corpse. Nothing that admits of being proved can be brought against this view.

(Note: Because the lxx have, for בּיד גּדליהוּ הוּא, φρέαρ μέγα τοῦτό ἐστιν, J. D. Michaelis, Dahler, Movers, Hitzig, and Graf would change the text, and either take ryb lwdg 'wh (Dahler, Movers) or בּיר הגּדול הוּא ( equals בּור) as the original reading, inasmuch as one codex of De Rossi's also has בור. But apart from the improbability of בּור גּדול or הגּדול being incorrectly changed into בּיד גּדליהוּ, we find that הוּא stands provokingly in the way; for it would be superfluous, or introduce an improper emphasis into the sentence. The lxx have but been attempting to guess at a translation of a text they did not understand. What Hitzig further supposes has no foundation, viz., that this "ditch" is identical with that mentioned 1 Samuel 19:22, in שׂכוּ, and with τὸ φρέαρ τὸ μέγα of 1 Macc. 7:19; for the ditch at Sechu was near Ramah, which was about four miles from Mizpah, and the large fountain 1 Macc. 7:19 was ἐν Βηζέθ, an unknown place in the vicinity of Jerusalem.)

The הוּא which follows is a predicate: "the ditch wherein...was that which Asa the king had formed."

The motive for this second series of assassinations by Ishmael is difficult to discover. The supposition that he was afraid of being betrayed, and for this reason killed these strangers, not wishing to be troubled with them, is improbable, for the simple reason that these strangers did not want to go to Mizpah, but to Jerusalem. For the supposition of Thenius (on 2 Kings 25:23) and of Schmieder, that the people had intended going to Mizpah to a house of God that was there, is very properly rejected by Hitzig, because no mention is made in history of a place of worship at Mizpah; and, according to the express statement of Jeremiah 41:6., Ishmael had enticed them into this city only by inviting them to come and see Gedaliah. Had Ishmael wished merely to conceal the murder of Gedaliah from these strangers, he ought to have done anything but let them into Mizpah. As little can we regard this deed (with Graf) as an act of revenge on these Israelites by Ishmael for the murder of his relations and equals in rank by Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 52:10), because these men, who had now for a long time been living together with heathens, were Assyrian and Chaldean subjects. For we cannot comprehend how he could look on these Israelites as friends of the Chaldeans, and vent his anger against the Chaldean rule by murdering them; the mournful procession which they formed, and the offerings they were carrying to present, proclaimed them faithful adherents of Judah. Ngelsbach, accordingly, is of opinion that Ishmael had simply intended robbery. As it is evident that he, a rough and wild man, had assassinated the noble Gedaliah from personal jealousy, and in order to further the political interest of his Ammonite patron, he must have been seeking to put himself in the position of his victim, or to flee. "When we find, moreover, that he soon murdered a peaceable caravan of pilgrims, and preserved the lives only of a few who offered to show him hidden treasures; when, finally, we perceive that the whole turba imbellis of Mizpah were seized and carried off into slavery, Ishmael proves himself a mere robber." But, though the fact that Ishmael spared the lives of the ten men who offered to show him hidden treasures seems to support this view, yet the supposition that nothing more than robbery was intended does not suffice to explain the double murder. The two series of assassinations plainly stand in the closest connection, and must have been executed from one and the same motive. It was at the instigation of the Ammonite king that Ishmael murdered Gedaliah; moreover, as we learn from the report brought to Gedaliah by Johanan (Jeremiah 40:15), the crime was committed in the expectation that the whole of Judah would then be dispersed, and the remnant of them perish. This murder was thus the work of the Ammonite king, who selected the royally-descended Ishmael as his instrument simply because he could conveniently, for the execution of his plans, employ the personal envy of one man against another who had been preferred by the king of Babylon. There can be no doubt that the same motive which urged him to destroy the remnant of Judah, i.e., to frustrate the attempt to gather and restore Judah, was also at work in the massacre of the pilgrims who were coming to the temple. If Ishmael, the leader of a robber-gang, had entered into the design of the Ammonite king, then everything that might serve for the preservation and consolidation of Judah must have been a source of pain to him; and this hatred of his towards Judah, which derived its strength and support from his religious views, incited him to murder the Jewish pilgrims to the temple, although the prospect of obtaining treasures might well cooperate with this in such a way as to make him spare the ten men who pretended they had hidden stores. With this, too, we can easily connect the hypocritical dealing on the part of Ishmael, in going forth, with tears, to meet these pious pilgrims, so that he might deceive them by making such a show of grief over the calamity that had befallen Judah; fore the wicked often assume an appearance of sanctity for the more effectual accomplishment of their evil deeds. The lxx evidently did not know what to make of this passage as it stands; hence, in Jeremiah 41:6, they have quite dropped the words "from Mizpah," and have rendered הלך הלך by αὐτοὶ ἐπορεύοντο καὶ ἔκλαιον. Hitzig and Graf accept this as indicating the original text, since Ishmael had no ostensible ground for weeping. But the reasons which are supposed to justify this conjecture are, as Ngelsbach well remarks, of such a nature that one can scarcely believe they are seriously held.

Jeremiah 41:15 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


1 Samuel 30:17 And David smote them from the twilight even to the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them...

1 Kings 20:20 And they slew every one his man: and the Syrians fled; and Israel pursued them...

Job 21:30 That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.

Proverbs 28:17 A man that does violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him.

Ecclesiastes 8:11,12 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil...

Acts 28:4 And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom...

eight men.

Jeremiah 41:2 Then arose Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and the ten men that were with him...

2 Kings 25:25 But it came to pass in the seventh month, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the seed royal, came...

Cross References
1 Samuel 30:17
And David struck them down from twilight until the evening of the next day, and not a man of them escaped, except four hundred young men, who mounted camels and fled.

1 Kings 20:20
And each struck down his man. The Syrians fled, and Israel pursued them, but Ben-hadad king of Syria escaped on a horse with horsemen.

Job 21:30
that the evil man is spared in the day of calamity, that he is rescued in the day of wrath?

Proverbs 28:17
If one is burdened with the blood of another, he will be a fugitive until death; let no one help him.

Jeremiah 41:14
So all the people whom Ishmael had carried away captive from Mizpah turned around and came back, and went to Johanan the son of Kareah.

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