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Chapter 41

In the seventh month, Ishmael, son of Nethaniah, son of Elishama, of royal descent, one of the king’s nobles, came with ten men to Gedaliah, son of Ahikam, at Mizpah.(A) While they were together at table in Mizpah, Ishmael, son of Nethaniah, and the ten with him, stood up and struck down Gedaliah, son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, with swords. They killed him, since the king of Babylon had set him over the land; Ishmael also killed all the Judahites of military age who were with Gedaliah and the Chaldean soldiers stationed there.

The day after the murder of Gedaliah, before anyone learned about it, eighty men, in ragged clothes, with beards shaved off and gashes on their bodies, came from Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria, bringing grain offerings and incense for the house of the Lord. Weeping as he went, Ishmael son of Nethaniah, set out from Mizpah to meet them. “Come to Gedaliah, son of Ahikam,” he said as he met them. Once they were inside the city, Ishmael, son of Nethaniah, and his men slaughtered them and threw them into the cistern. Ten of them said to Ishmael: “Do not kill us! We have stores of wheat and barley, oil and honey hidden in the field.” So he spared them and did not kill them as he had killed their companions. The cistern into which Ishmael threw all the bodies of the men he had killed was the large one King Asa made to defend himself against Baasha, king of Israel; Ishmael, son of Nethaniah, filled this cistern with the slain.(B)

10 Ishmael led away the rest of the people left in Mizpah, including the princesses,[a] whom Nebuzaradan, captain of the bodyguard, had consigned to Gedaliah, son of Ahikam. With these captives, Ishmael, son of Nethaniah, set out to cross over to the Ammonites.

Flight to Egypt. 11 But when Johanan, son of Kareah, and the other army leaders with him heard about the crimes Ishmael, son of Nethaniah, had committed, 12 they took all their men and set out to attack Ishmael, son of Nethaniah. They overtook him at the great pool in Gibeon.[b] 13 At the sight of Johanan, son of Kareah, and the other army leaders, the people with Ishmael rejoiced; 14 all of those whom Ishmael had taken captive from Mizpah went back to Johanan, son of Kareah. 15 But Ishmael, son of Nethaniah, escaped from Johanan with eight men and fled to the Ammonites. 16 Then Johanan, son of Kareah, and all the military leaders took charge of all the rest of the people whom Ishmael, son of Nethaniah, had taken away from Mizpah after he killed Gedaliah, son of Ahikam—the soldiers, the women with children, and court officials, whom he brought back from Gibeon. 17 They set out and stopped at Geruth Chimham near Bethlehem, intending to go into Egypt. 18 They were afraid of the Chaldeans, because Ishmael, son of Nethaniah, had slain Gedaliah, son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon had set over the land.


  1. 41:10 The princesses: the women of Judah’s royal house.
  2. 41:12 Gibeon: modern El-Jib; northwest of Jerusalem. A huge pit carved into limestone provided water in time of siege, here called the great pool, lit., “many waters”; cf. 2 Sm 2:12–14.