Gedaliah Is Murdered
1 Now in the (a)seventh month Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the royal family [of David] and one of the princes of the king, came [at the instigation of the Ammonites] with ten men to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam in Mizpah. As they were eating a meal together there in Mizpah, 2 Ishmael the son of Nethaniah and the ten men who were with him got up and struck down Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, with the sword and killed the one whom the king of Babylon had appointed [governor] over the land.(A) 3 Ishmael also killed all the Jews who were [at the banquet] with Gedaliah at Mizpah, in addition to the Chaldean soldiers who were there.
4 Now it happened on the second day after the killing of Gedaliah, before anyone knew about it, 5 that eighty men came from Shechem, from Shiloh, and from Samaria with their beards shaved off and their clothes torn and their bodies cut, carrying in their hands grain offerings and incense to present at the [site of the] house of the Lord [in Jerusalem]. 6 Then Ishmael the son of Nethaniah went out from Mizpah to meet them, weeping [false tears] as he went. As he met them, he said to them, “Come to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam!” 7 Yet when they came into the city, Ishmael the son of Nethaniah and the men who were with him slaughtered them and threw them into the cistern (underground water reservoir). 8 But ten men who were among them said to Ishmael, “Do not kill us! We have stores of wheat and barley and oil and honey hidden in the field.” So he stopped and did not kill them along with their companions.
9 Now the cistern into which Ishmael had thrown all the corpses of the men whom he had killed along with Gedaliah was the one which King Asa [of Judah] had made [about three hundred years earlier] on account of King Baasha of Israel [believing that Baasha would lay siege to Mizpah]. Ishmael the son of Nethaniah filled it with [the bodies of] those who were killed. 10 Then Ishmael took captive all the rest of the people who were in Mizpah—even the king’s daughters (ladies of the court) and all the people who remained in Mizpah, whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard had put under the charge of Gedaliah the son of Ahikam. Ishmael the son of Nethaniah took them captive and crossed over [the Jordan] to [meet his allies] the Ammonites.
Johanan Rescues the People
11 But when Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were with him heard of the murderous behavior of Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, 12 they took all their men and went to fight with Ishmael the son of Nethaniah and found him by the great pool in Gibeon. 13 Now when all the [captive] people who were with Ishmael saw Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were with him, they were glad. 14 So all the people whom Ishmael had taken captive from Mizpah turned around and came back, and joined Johanan the son of Kareah. 15 But Ishmael the son of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with eight men and went to join the Ammonites. 16 Then Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were with him took from Mizpah all the people whom he had rescued from Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, after Ishmael had killed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam: the soldiers, the women, the children, and the high officials whom Johanan had brought back from Gibeon. 17 And they went and stayed in Geruth [the lodging place of] Chimham, which is near Bethlehem, intending to go to Egypt 18 because of the Chaldeans; for they were afraid of them because Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had killed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon had appointed [governor] over the land [and whose death the king might avenge].
a. Jeremiah 41:1: The year in which the assassination occurred is uncertain, but it was probably two or three years after the Babylonian conquest.