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English Bible Dictionary

Ishmael, son of Nethaniah

 

(whom God hears).

The son of Nethaniah; a perfect marvel of craft and villainy, whose treachery forms one of the chief episodes of the history of the period immediately succeeding the first fall of Jerusalem. His exploits are related in (Jeremiah 40:7; Jeremiah 41:16) with a short summary. During the siege of the city he had fled across the Jordan where he found a refuge at the court of Baalis. After the departure of the Chaldeans, Ishmael made no secret of his intention to kill the superintendent left by the king of Babylon and usurp his position. of this Zedaliah was warned in express terms by Johanan and his companions, but notwithstanding entertained Ishmael and his followers at a feast, (Jeremiah 41:1) during which Ishmael murdered Gedaliah and all his attendants. The same night he killed all Zedaliah's establishment, including some Chaldean soldiers who were there. For two days the massacre remained entirely unknown to the people of the town, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. On the second day eighty devotees were bringing incense and offerings to the ruins of the temple. At his invitation they turned aside to the residence of the superintendent, and there Ishmael and his band butchered nearly the whole number: ten only escaped by offering a heavy ransom for their lives. This done he descended to the town, surprised and carried off the daughters of King Zedekiah, who had been sent there by Nebuchadnezzar for safety, with their eunuchs and their Chaldean guard, (Jeremiah 41:10,16) and all the people of the town, and made off with his prisoners to the country of the Ammonites. The news of the massacre had by this time got abroad, and Ishmael was quickly pursued by Johanan and his companions. He was attacked, two of his bravos slain, the whole of the prey recovered; and Ishmael himself with the remaining eight of his people, escaped to the Ammonites.

 

* See other occurrences of the same term: Ishmael.

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