41 In the seventh month Ishmael son of Nethaniah and ten of his men came to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah. (Nethaniah was the son of Elishama.) Now Ishmael was a member of the king’s family and had been one of the officers of the king of Judah. While they were eating a meal with Gedaliah at Mizpah, 2 Ishmael and his ten men got up and killed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, with a sword. (Gedaliah was the man the king of Babylon had chosen as governor over Judah.) 3 Ishmael also killed all the Jews and the Babylonian soldiers who were there with Gedaliah at Mizpah.
4 The day after Gedaliah was murdered, before anyone knew about it, 5 eighty men came to Mizpah bringing grain offerings and incense to the Temple of the Lord. Those men from Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria had shaved off their beards, torn their clothes, and cut themselves.[a] 6 Ishmael son of Nethaniah went out from Mizpah to meet them, crying as he walked. When he met them, he said, “Come with me to meet Gedaliah son of Ahikam.” 7 So they went into Mizpah. Then Ishmael son of Nethaniah and his men killed seventy of them and threw the bodies into a deep well. 8 But the ten men who were left alive said to Ishmael, “Don’t kill us! We have wheat and barley and oil and honey that we have hidden in a field.” So Ishmael let them live and did not kill them with the others. 9 Now the well where he had thrown all the bodies had been made by King Asa as a part of his defenses against Baasha king of Israel. But Ishmael son of Nethaniah put dead bodies in it until it was full.
10 Ishmael captured all the other people in Mizpah: the king’s daughters and all the other people who were left there. They were the ones whom Nebuzaradan commander of the guard had chosen Gedaliah son of Ahikam to take care of. So Ishmael son of Nethaniah captured those people, and he started to cross over to the country of the Ammonites.
11 Johanan son of Kareah and all his army officers with him heard about all the evil things Ishmael son of Nethaniah had done. 12 So they took their men and went to fight Ishmael son of Nethaniah and caught him near the big pool of water at Gibeon. 13 When the captives Ishmael had taken saw Johanan and the army officers, they were glad. 14 So all the people Ishmael had taken captive from Mizpah turned around and ran to Johanan son of Kareah. 15 But Ishmael son of Nethaniah and eight of his men escaped from Johanan and ran away to the Ammonites.
16 So Johanan son of Kareah and all his army officers saved the captives that Ishmael son of Nethaniah had taken from Mizpah after he murdered Gedaliah son of Ahikam. Among those left alive were soldiers, women, children, and palace officers. And Johanan brought them back from the town of Gibeon.
The Escape to Egypt
17-18 Johanan and the other army officers were afraid of the Babylonians. Since the king of Babylon had chosen Gedaliah son of Ahikam to be governor of Judah but Ishmael son of Nethaniah had murdered him, Johanan was afraid that the Babylonians would be angry. So they decided to run away to Egypt. On the way they stayed at Geruth Kimham, near the town of Bethlehem.
- 41:5 shaved . . . themselves The men did this to show they were sad about the Temple in Jerusalem being destroyed.