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and thou shalt not be given into the hand of the men of whom thou art afraid.
For I will surely deliver thee; and thou shalt not fall by the sword, but thy life shall be for a prey unto thee: because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the Lord.
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.
In the preservation of Jeremiah we have a remarkable instance *, that the wrath of man is often made to advance the temporal prosperity of the righteous. The violence with which wicked men pursued their resentment against this good prophet, might make his predictions known to Nebuchadnezzar, and so engage him in his favour. The attempts of malice to blacken and defame him, brought forth his character with more advantage to the view of impartial beholders; and his imprisonment proved the means of saving him from the more dreadful calamities which had befallen the other inhabitants of Judea.
Though Baruch is not mentioned here, his life was also preserved, according to the divine promise, that it should be given him as a prey +.
Gedaliah, who was made governor over the wretched remainder of the Jews, was the son of that Ahikam J, who had on a former occasion shewn such kindness to Jeremiah: and it is probable that he was appointed to this trust in consequence of the prophet's recommendation.
* Dr. Blair's Sermon on the Divine government of the passion* of men.
t See Section icx. } Jer, xxvi. 24.
SECTION SECTION XXXVII.
THE HISTORY OF GEDALIAH.
From Jer. Chap. xl. xli.
Now when all the captains of the forces which were in the fields, even they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam governor in the land, and had committed unto him men and women and children, and of the poor of the land, of them that were not carried away captive to Babylon;
Then they came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, even Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, and Seraiahthe son of Tanhumeth, and the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah the son of a Maachathite, they and their men.
And Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan sware unto them and to their men, saying, Fear not to serve the Chaldeans: dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you.
As for me, behold, I will dwell at Mizpah, to serve the Chaldeans, which will come unto us: but ye, gather ye wine, and summer fruits, and oil, and put them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that ye have taken. t
Likewise when all the Jews that were in Moab, and among the Ammonites, and in Edom, and that were in all the countries, heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant of Judah, and that he had set over them Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan;
Even all the Jews returned out of all places whither they were driven, and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah unto Mizpah, and gathered wine and summer fruits very much.
Moreover Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were in the fields, came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, and said unto him, Dost thou certainly know that Baalis the king of the Ammonites hath sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to slay thee? but Gedaliah the son of Ahikam believed them not.
Then Johanan the son of Kareah spake to Gedaliah in Mizpah secretly, saying, Let me go, I pray thee, and I will slay Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and no man shall know it: wherefore should he slay thee, that all the Jews which are gathered unto thee should be scattered, and the remnant of Judah perish?
But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said unto Johanan the son of Kareah, Thou shalt not do this thing: for thou speakest falsely of Ishmael.
Now it came to pass in the seventh month, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah the son of Elishama of the seed royal, and the princes of the king, even ten men with him, came unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam to Mizpah: and there they did eat bread together in Mizpah.
Then arose Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and the ten men that were with him, and smote Gedaliah the •on of Ahikam the son of Shaphan with the sword, and slew him, whom the king of Babylon had made governor over the land.
Ishmael also slew all the Jews that were with him, even with Gedaliah at Mizpah, and the Chaldeans that were found there, and the men of war.
And it came to pass the second day after he had slain 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 hands, 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 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 men that were with him.
But ten men were found among 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. So he forbare. and slew them not among their brethren.
Now the pit wherein Ishmael had cast all the dead bodies of the men whom he had slain because of Gedaliah, was that which Asa the king had made for fear of fiaasha king of Israel: and Ishmael the son of Nethaniah filled it with them that were slain.
Then Ishmael carried away captive all the residue of the people that were in Mizpah, 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, and departed to go over to the Ammonites.
But when Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were with him, heard of all the evil that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had done, then they took all the men, and went to fight with Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and found him by the great waters that are in Gibeon.
Now it came to pass, that when all the people which were with Ishmael saw Johanan the son of Kareah, and
all all the captains of the forces that were with hiro, then they were glad.
So all the people that Ishmael had carried away captive from Mizpah cast about and returned, and went unto Johanan the son of Kareah.
But Ishmael the son of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with eight men, and went to the Ammonites.
Then took Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were with him, all the remnant of the people whom he had recovered from Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, from Mizpah, after that he had slain Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, even mighty men of war, and the women, and the children, and the eunuchs whom he had brought again from Gibeon:
And they departed, and dwelt in the habitation of Chimham, which is by Bethlehem, to go to enter into Egypt, because of the Chaldeans: for they were afraid of them, because Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had slain Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon made governor in the land.
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.
Ishmael being related to the royal family, had formed a design to make himself king of the land. This is a certain proof, that he was an impious man; for had he feared the Loan, he would not have taken such a step immediately after the dreadful visitation which had fallen on the country; much less would he have entertained a thought of putting to death a worthy friend, who, conscious of his own integrity, and naturally of a benign and generous disposition, could not believe that one whom he had never injured could harbour such