Jeremiah 41:1-18 (JDV)
Jeremiah 41:1 It happened in the seventh month: Ishmael son of Nethaniah, son of Elishama, of the royal family and one of the king’s chief officers, came with ten men to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah. They were eating bread together there in Mizpah,
Jeremiah 41:2 but then Ishmael son of Nethaniah and the ten men who were with him got up and killed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, with the sword; he killed the one the king of Babylon had appointed in the land.
Jeremiah 41:3 Ishmael also struck down all the Judeans who were with Gedaliah at Mizpah, as well as the Chaldean soldiers who were there.
Jeremiah 41:4 On the day after he had killed Gedaliah, when no one knew yet,
Jeremiah 41:5 eighty men came from Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria who had shaved their beards, torn their clothes, and gashed themselves, and who were carrying grain and incense offerings to bring to the temple of Yahveh.
Jeremiah 41:6 Ishmael son of Nethaniah came out of Mizpah to meet them, weeping as he came. When he encountered them, he said, “Come to Gedaliah son of Ahikam!”
Jeremiah 41:7 But when they came into the city, Ishmael son of Nethaniah and the men with him slaughtered them and threw them into a cistern.
Jeremiah 41:8 However, there were ten men among them who said to Ishmael, “Don’t kill us, because we have hidden treasure in the field – wheat, barley, oil, and honey!” So he stopped and did not kill them along with their companions.
Jeremiah 41:9 And the cistern where Ishmael had thrown all the corpses of the men he had struck down was a large one that King Asa had made in the encounter with King Baasha of Israel. Ishmael son of Nethaniah filled it with the victims.
Jeremiah 41:10 Then Ishmael took captive all the remainder of the people of Mizpah including the daughters of the king– all those who remained in Mizpah over whom Nebuzaradan, captain of the guards, had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam. Ishmael son of Nethaniah took them captive and set off to cross over to the Ammonites.
Jeremiah 41:11 When Johanan son of Kareah and all the commanders of the armies with him heard of all the evil that Ishmael son of Nethaniah had done,
Jeremiah 41:12 they took all their men and went to fight with Ishmael son of Nethaniah. They found him by the great pool in Gibeon.
Jeremiah 41:13 When all the people held by Ishmael saw Johanan son of Kareah and all the commanders of the army with him, they celebrated.
Jeremiah 41:14 All the people whom Ishmael had taken captive from Mizpah turned around and rejoined Johanan son of Kareah.
Jeremiah 41:15 But Ishmael son of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with eight men and went to the Ammonites.
Jeremiah 41:16 Johanan son of Kareah and all the commanders of the armies with him then took from Mizpah all the remainder of the people whom he had recovered from Ishmael son of Nethaniah after Ishmael had killed Gedaliah son of Ahikam– men, soldiers, women, children, and court officials whom he brought back from Gibeon.
Jeremiah 41:17 They left, stopping in Geruth Chimham, which is near Bethlehem, in order to make their way into Egypt,
Jeremiah 41:18 away from the Chaldeans. For they feared them because Ishmael son of Nethaniah had struck down Gedaliah son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon had appointed over the land.
Chaos ensued as the remnant in Israel attempts to stay alive in an environment where leaders conspire to destroy one another. Jeremiah has been set free to go wherever he wishes, but there is no safe place. Gedaliah was appointed as the people’s representative to Babylon, but he is soon killed, and his murderer cannot be trusted. These are dangerous times, but God is still in control.
LORD, when the dangerous times come, and no safe haven is really safe, we will trust in you.