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at Mizpah, and the Chaldeans that were found there, and the men of war.
4—10. He commits further massacres and carries off captives. 4 And it came to pass the second day after he had slain s Gedaliah, and no man knew it, that there came certain from Shechem, from Shiloh, and from Samaria, even fourscore men, having their beards shaven, and their clothes rent, and having cut themselves, with offerings and incense in their
6 hand, to bring them to the house of the Lord. And Ishmael the son of Nethaniah went forth from Mizpah to meet them, weeping all along as he went: and it came to pass, as he met them, he said unto them, Come to Gedaliah the
7 son of Ahikam. And it was so, when they came into the midst of the city, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah slew them, and cast them into the midst of the pit, he, and the
4—10. He Commits Further Massacres And Carries Off Captives.
4. the second day...and no man knav it] The long concealment of the murder shews what precautions Ishmael must have taken, even though we suppose, which is quite possible, that the fortress inhabited by Gedaliah was not inside the town.
6. from Shechem, from Shiloh, and from Samaria] These three towns are in Ephraim. Shechem (the Sychar of John iv. 5), now Ndblusi is beautifully situated in a valley between the mountains Gerizim and Ebal. For Shiloh, see note on chap. vii. 12. It lay 18 miles south of Shechem, which however is no objection to its occurrence in the present narrative. One MS. of the Septuagint however, apparently for this reason, reads Salem, a town which appears to have been close to Shechem.
having their beards shaven, and their clothes rent] in sign of mourning for the destruction of the Temple.
having cut themselves] See note on chap. xvi. 6.
offerings and incense] a meat offering and incense. For the former see note on chap. xvii. 26. Unbloody sacrifices were all that could now be offered, as the only place at which others were permitted (Deut. xii. 13, 14, 17, 18) had been destroyed.
6. weeping all along] so as to feign equal concern with them for the fate of the Temple, and thus put them off their guard.
Come to Gedaliah] probably as governor, to whom therefore they should shew respect and offer greeting.
7. Ishmael the son of Nethaniah slew them] His object probably was twofold; plunder, including captives, and to keep the land in a state of unrest, so as to help out Baalis's ambitious wishes.
the pit] the cistern.
men that vere with him. But ten men were found among a them that said unto Ishmael, Slay us not: for we have treasures in the field, of wheat, and of barley, and of oil, and of honey. £0 he forbare, and slew them not among their brethren Now the pit wherein Ishmael had cast all the 9 dead bodies of the men, whom he had slain because of Gedalial, was it which Asa the king had made for fear of Baashaking of Israel: and Ishmael the son of Nethaniah filled it with them that were slain. Then Ishmael carried 10 away captive all the residue of the people that were in Mizpan, even the king's daughters, and all the people that remained in Mizpah, whom Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard had committed to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam: and Ishmael the son of Nethaniah carried them away captive, anc departed to go over to the Ammonites.
11—18. The captives are rescued by Johanan, and they
prepare to flee into Egypt. But when Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the cap- «
8. toe have treasures] we have hidden stores. In the East it is to this day a common custom to use '' wells or cisterns for grain. In them the farmers store their crops of all kinds after the grain is threshed and winnowed. These cisterns are cool, perfectly dry, and tight. The top is hermetically sealed with plaster, and covered with a deep bed of earth. ...The custom extended through the Carthaginians of North Africa into Spain. ...These ten men had doubtless thus hid their treasures to avoid being plundered in that time of utter lawlessness; and in a similar time I found people storing away grain in cisterns far out in the open country, between Aleppo and Hamath, and they told me it was to hide it from the government tax-gatherers....They would not answer inawet country, but in these dry climates stores have been found quite fresh and sound many years after they were thus buried." Thomson (The Land and the Book, pp. 509, 5 ro).
9. the pit] the cistern.
because of Gedaliah] by the side of Gedaliah, i.e. their corpses placed beside his.
Asa the king had made] This pit is not mentioned in the Historical Books. However, we are told (1 Kings xv. 22 and 2 Chron. xvi. 6) that Asa caused the materials of Ramah, which Baasha had just built, to be removed and used for fortifying Geba and Mizpah.
filled it with them that were slain] like the well of Cawnpore in the Indian mutiny of 1857.
10. all the residue of the people that were in Mizpah] It would appear from the fulness with which the previous particulars are given that Jeremiah (and probably Baruch also) belonged to this number.
tains of the forces that were with him, heard foere anj
12 that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had don<' took all the men, and went to fight with Ishr >
of Nethaniah, and found him by the great wa -faptives.
13 in Gibeon. Now it came to pass, that when al. .d slain which were with Ishmael saw Johanan the son in from and all the captains of the forces that were with urscore
n they were glad. So all the people that Ishmael■ at, and away captive from Mizpah cast about and reti , their
15 went unto Johanan the son of Kareah. But Is J Ishson of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with e: rmeet
16 and went to the Ammonites. Then took Johanai ^pass, of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that 2 the him, all the remnant of the people whom he had n -.the from Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, from Mizpah, af,. »w he had slain Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, even miglu y. of war, and the women, and the children, and the euii
17 whom he had brought again from Gibeon: and thev parted, and dwelt in the habitation of Chimham, whic ¥
11—18. The Captives Are Rescued By Johanan, And They Prepare To Flee Into Egypt.
12. the great waters that are in Gibeon] Gibeon (the modern El Jib), a city of the priests (Josh, xviii. 25, xxi. 17) in the tribe of Benjamin. It stands on one of the hills which abound there. On the east of it "is a copious spring...In the trees further down are the remains of a pool or tank of considerable size. This is doubtless the pool of Gibeon at which Abner and Joab met (2 Sam. ii. 13)...Here, or at the spring, were the great waters (or the many waters) at which Johanan the son of Kareah found the traitor Ishmael." Sm. Bibl. Diet. Art. Gibeon.
14. cast about] turned round. The old English phrase may be illustrated from the writings of John Gower (1325—1408 nearly). "Then cast I all the world about." Confessio A mantis; and Sir Philip Sidney (1554—1586) "Musidorus could doe no more but perswade the mariners to cast about againe." Arcadia.
15. Ishmael, we see from this verse, lost two men in the encounter. went to the Ammonites] Compare xl. 14. It is probable that the
connection of Baalis with these acts of treachery was in part at any rate the cause of the misfortunes predicted for Ammon by Jeremiah (xlix. 1—6) and Ezekiel (xxv. 1—7).
16. mighty men of war] Hence we learn that there,were soldiers at Mizpah who, either from the sudden panic, or from disaffection towards Gedaliah, had made no stand against Ishmael and his small force.
17. the habitation of Chimham, which is by Beth-lehem] For Chim
them^that* jm' t0 &° t0 enter tn*0 Egypt, because of the 18 sures in thi ^0T were a^ra'^ of them, because Ishmael honev P ethaniah had slain Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, brethren ,''nS of Babylon made governor in the land, dead be LII. I—6. Johanan and the others seek through Gedaliah , jeremiah a declaration of God's will.
filled it t^le caPtams of t^ie forces, and Johanan the son 42 away c anc^ Jezarnan tne son of Hoshaiah, and all the Miznal fom t^ie ^east even unt0 tne greatest, came near, remain' unt0 Jeremiah the prophet, Let, we beseech thee, a enard plication be accepted before thee, and pray for us Ishm $ Lord thy God, even for all this remnant; (for we
anc^ jr which however there is also another reading in the Heb. ■■ham), the son of Barzillai, see 2 Sam. xix. 37, 38. It was natural David as a mark of gratitude should have given him, as appears 1 this passage, a portion of land which, being in the neighbourhood ^thlehem the king's birth-place, may be supposed to have belonged to Viim. The Heb. for habitation (geruth) occurs here only. The sense however is pretty clear, viz. Khan, or Caravanserai. "The need of shelter led very early to the erection of rude and simple buildings of varying size, known as khans, which offered the wayfarer the protection of walls and a roof, and water, but little more....From immemorial antiquity it has been a favourite mode of benevolence to raise such places of shelter." The special utility of this Khan lay in its being on the great caravan route to Egypt. Such was the inn, and in that very neighbourhood too, in which "there was no room" for the mother of our Lord and Joseph just before the Nativity (Luke ii. 7).
to go to enter into Egypt] to prepare for the journey into Egypt, a journey which, according to the first words of the next verse, was undertaken from fear of the Chaldaeans. It seemed likely that the outbreak which had taken place in connexion with the overthrow and death of the governor appointed by the king of Babylon, might be revenged without much discrimination by that monarch.
Chap. XLII. 1—6. Johanan And The Others Seek Through Jeremiah A Declaration Of God's Will.
1. Jezaniah, the son of Hoshaiah] probably not the Jezaniah of chap. xl. 8. In xliii. 2 he is called Azariah, a name which the Septuagint here also has instead of Jezaniah. It is thus possible that the latter name in this place may be due to a copyist, who thought that the names of captains here must correspond as closely as might be with the list in chap. xl.
from the least even unto the greatest] i.e. all, without exception.
2. be accepted] literally, fall. See note on xxxvi. 7.
3 are left but a few of many, as thine eyes do behold us :) that the Lord thy God may shew us the way wherein we may
4 walk, and the thing that we may do. Then Jeremiah the prophet said unto them, I have heard you; behold, I will pray unto the Lord your God according to your words; and it shall come to pass, that whatsoever thing the Lord shall answer you, I will declare it unto you; I will keep
s nothing back from you. Then they said to Jeremiah, The Lord be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not even according to all things for the which the Lord thy
6 God shall send thee to us. Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God, to whom we send thee; that it may be well with us, when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.
7—22. God's will is that they should remain in their own land.
7 And it came to pass after ten days, that the word of the
8 Lord came unto Jeremiah. Then called he Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the- captains of the forces which were with him, and all the people from the least even to the greatest,
9 and said unto them, Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, unto whom ye sent me to present your supplication before
io him: if ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you,
3. that the Lord thy God may shew us] The desire to ascertain God's will expressed here, even when compared with their disobedience to that will when declared (chap, xliii. 4), need not imply hypocrisy. They may have made up their minds that it was necessary to flee into Egypt, and, assuming that this resolution would be confirmed by the divine response, desired only to know what particular course they should adopt in accordance with it.
4. / have heard you] See note on xxxiv. 10.
5. Between us] against us, i.e. to bear witness and punish us if we fail to do our part as we now promise.
7—22. God's Will Is That They Should Remain In Their Own
7. after ten days] Generally the reply seems to have come at once. We can easily see however in the present case a reason for delay, viz. that the panic consequent upon the late disasters might be over before the command not to flee into Egypt was given.
9. to present] literally, to make to fall. See note on ver. 7.
10. then will I build you...] Compare i. 10 and xxiv. 6 for these figures of speech.