41 In the seventh month, Ishmael son of Nethaniah (the son of Elishama) came to Gedaliah son of Ahikam. Ishmael came with ten of his men. They came to the town of Mizpah. Ishmael was a member of the king’s family. He had been one of the officers of the king of Judah. Ishmael and his men ate a meal with Gedaliah. 2 While they were eating together, Ishmael and his ten men got up and killed Gedaliah son of Ahikam with a sword. Gedaliah was the man the king of Babylon had chosen to be governor of Judah. 3 Ishmael also killed all the men of Judah who were with Gedaliah at the town of Mizpah. He also killed the Babylonian soldiers who were there with Gedaliah.
4-5 The day after Gedaliah was murdered, 80 men came to Mizpah. They were bringing grain offerings and incense to the Lord’s Temple. They had shaved off their beards, torn their clothes, and cut themselves.[a] They came from Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria. None of these men knew that Gedaliah had been murdered. 6 Ishmael left Mizpah and went to meet the 80 men. He cried[b] while he walked out to meet them. Ishmael met them and said, “Come with me to meet with Gedaliah son of Ahikam.” 7-8 As soon as they were in the city, Ishmael and the men with him began to kill the 80 men and throw them into a deep cistern! But ten of the men said to Ishmael, “Don’t kill us! We have hidden some things in a field. We have wheat and barley and oil and honey.” So Ishmael stopped and didn’t kill them with the others. 9 (Ishmael threw the dead bodies into the cistern until it was full, and that cistern was very big! It had been built by a king of Judah named Asa. King Asa had made the cistern so that during war there would be water in the city.[c] Asa did this to protect his city from King Baasha of Israel.)
10 Ishmael captured all the other people in the town of Mizpah and started to cross over to the country of the Ammonites. They included the king’s daughters, and all those who were left there. Nebuzaradan, the commander of the king of Babylon’s special guards, had chosen Gedaliah to watch over those people.
11 Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers who were with him heard about all the evil things Ishmael had done. 12 So Johanan and the army officers with him took their men and went to fight Ishmael son of Nethaniah. They caught Ishmael near the big pool of water that is at the town of Gibeon. 13 When the captives that Ishmael had taken saw Johanan and the army officers, they were very happy. 14 Then all the captives who Ishmael had taken from the town of Mizpah ran to Johanan son of Kareah. 15 But Ishmael and eight of his men escaped from Johanan and ran away to the Ammonites.
16 So Johanan son of Kareah and all his army officers rescued the captives. Ishmael had murdered Gedaliah and then he had taken those people from Mizpah. Among the survivors were soldiers, women, children, and court officials. Johanan brought them back from the town of Gibeon.
The Escape to Egypt
17-18 Johanan and the other army officers were afraid of the Chaldeans. The king of Babylon had chosen Gedaliah to be governor of Judah. But Ishmael murdered Gedaliah, and Johanan was afraid that the Chaldeans would be angry. So they decided to run away to Egypt. On the way to Egypt, they stayed at Geruth Kimham, near the town of Bethlehem.
- Jeremiah 41:4 shaved … cut themselves The men did this to show that they were sad about the destruction of the Lord’s Temple in Jerusalem.
- Jeremiah 41:6 He cried Ishmael was acting like he was sad about the destruction of the Temple.
- Jeremiah 41:9 King Asa … city King Asa lived about 300 years before the time of Gedaliah. See 1 Kings 15:22 for the story about Asa building defenses for Mizpah.
New International Version
41 In the seventh month Ishmael(A) son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, who was of royal blood and had been one of the king’s officers, came with ten men to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah. While they were eating together there, 2 Ishmael(B) son of Nethaniah and the ten men who were with him got up and struck down Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, with the sword,(C) killing the one whom the king of Babylon had appointed(D) as governor over the land.(E) 3 Ishmael also killed all the men of Judah who were with Gedaliah at Mizpah, as well as the Babylonian[a] soldiers who were there.
4 The day after Gedaliah’s assassination, before anyone knew about it, 5 eighty men who had shaved off their beards,(F) torn their clothes(G) and cut(H) themselves came from Shechem,(I) Shiloh(J) and Samaria,(K) bringing grain offerings and incense(L) with them to the house of the Lord.(M) 6 Ishmael son of Nethaniah went out from Mizpah to meet them, weeping(N) as he went. When he met them, he said, “Come to Gedaliah son of Ahikam.”(O) 7 When they went into the city, Ishmael son of Nethaniah and the men who were with him slaughtered them and threw them into a cistern.(P) 8 But ten of them said to Ishmael, “Don’t kill us! We have wheat and barley, olive oil and honey, hidden in a field.”(Q) So he let them alone and did not kill them with the others. 9 Now the cistern where he threw all the bodies of the men he had killed along with Gedaliah was the one King Asa(R) had made as part of his defense(S) against Baasha(T) king of Israel. Ishmael son of Nethaniah filled it with the dead.
10 Ishmael made captives of all the rest of the people(U) who were in Mizpah—the king’s daughters(V) along with all the others who were left there, over whom Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam. Ishmael son of Nethaniah took them captive and set out to cross over to the Ammonites.(W)
11 When Johanan(X) son of Kareah and all the army officers who were with him heard about all the crimes Ishmael son of Nethaniah had committed, 12 they took all their men and went to fight(Y) Ishmael son of Nethaniah. They caught up with him near the great pool(Z) in Gibeon. 13 When all the people(AA) Ishmael had with him saw Johanan son of Kareah and the army officers who were with him, they were glad. 14 All the people Ishmael had taken captive at Mizpah(AB) turned and went over to Johanan son of Kareah. 15 But Ishmael son of Nethaniah and eight of his men escaped(AC) from Johanan and fled to the Ammonites.
Flight to Egypt
16 Then Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers(AD) who were with him led away all the people of Mizpah who had survived,(AE) whom Johanan had recovered from Ishmael son of Nethaniah after Ishmael had assassinated Gedaliah son of Ahikam—the soldiers, women, children and court officials he had recovered from Gibeon. 17 And they went on, stopping at Geruth Kimham(AF) near Bethlehem(AG) on their way to Egypt(AH) 18 to escape the Babylonians.[b] They were afraid(AI) of them because Ishmael son of Nethaniah had killed Gedaliah(AJ) son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon had appointed as governor over the land.