Chapter 41

1In the seventh month, Ishmael son of Nethaniah son of Elishama, who was of royal descent and one of the king's commanders, came with ten men to Gedalya son of Achikam at Mitzpa; and they ate together there at Mitzpa.

אוַיְהִי בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי בָּא יִשְׁמָעֵאל בֶּן־נְתַנְיָה בֶן־אֱלִישָׁמָע מִזֶּרַע הַמְּלוּכָה וְרַבֵּי הַמֶּלֶךְ וַעֲשָׂרָה אֲנָשִׁים אִתּוֹ אֶל־גְּדַלְיָהוּ בֶן־אֲחִיקָם הַמִּצְפָּתָה וַיֹּאכְלוּ שָׁם לֶחֶם יַחְדָּו בַּמִּצְפָּה׃

2Then Ishmael son of Nethaniah and the ten men who were with him arose and struck down Gedalya son of Achikam son of Shafan with the sword and killed him, because the king of Babylon had put him in charge of the land.

va-YA-kom yish-ma-AYL ben n'-tan-YAH va-a-SE-ret ha-a-na-SHEEM a-sher ha-YU i-TO va-ya-KU et g'-dal-YA-hu ven a-khee-KAM ben sha-FAN ba-KHE-rev va-YA-met o-TO a-sher hif-KEED me-lekh ba-VEL ba-A-retz

בוַיָּקָם יִשְׁמָעֵאל בֶּן־נְתַנְיָה וַעֲשֶׂרֶת הָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר־הָיוּ אִתּוֹ וַיַּכּוּ אֶת־גְּדַלְיָהוּ בֶן־אֲחִיקָם בֶּן־שָׁפָן בַּחֶרֶב וַיָּמֶת אֹתוֹ אֲשֶׁר־הִפְקִיד מֶלֶךְ־בָּבֶל בָּאָרֶץ׃

 41:2   And struck down Gedalya

Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (1865-1935)

Gedalya son of Achikam is appointed by the Babylonians as governor of Yehuda after the destruction of Yerushalayim. A small band of Jewish fanatics, led by Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, take advantage of Gedalya’s hospitality and assassinate him on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year. As a result, the few Jews remaining in Israel flee to Egypt to avoid the vengeance of the Babylonian army, ridding the Holy Land of a Jewish presence for the remainder of the Babylonian exile. The death of the last Jewish leader in Israel marked the end of the First Israelite Commonwealth. Since then, for over two thousand years, Jews have fasted in commemoration of Gedalyah’s death on the day after Rosh Hashana, to remind them how hatred and zealousness cost them their sovereignty in the Land of Israel. Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook taught that since Yerushalayim was destroyed on account of hatred and factionalism (Yoma 9b), it is through love and kindness that the Jews will return to the land and the Beit Hamikdash will be rebuilt.

3Ishmael also killed all the Judeans who were with him—with Gedalya in Mitzpa—and the Chaldean soldiers who were stationed there.

גוְאֵת כָּל־הַיְּהוּדִים אֲשֶׁר־הָיוּ אִתּוֹ אֶת־גְּדַלְיָהוּ בַּמִּצְפָּה וְאֶת־הַכַּשְׂדִּים אֲשֶׁר נִמְצְאוּ־שָׁם אֵת אַנְשֵׁי הַמִּלְחָמָה הִכָּה יִשְׁמָעֵאל׃

4The second day after Gedalya was killed, when no one yet knew about it,

דוַיְהִי בַּיּוֹם הַשֵּׁנִי לְהָמִית אֶת־גְּדַלְיָהוּ וְאִישׁ לֹא יָדָע׃

5eighty men came from Shechem, Shilo, and Shomron, their beards shaved, their garments torn, and their bodies gashed, carrying meal offerings and frankincense to present at the House of Hashem.

הוַיָּבֹאוּ אֲנָשִׁים מִשְּׁכֶם מִשִּׁלוֹ וּמִשֹּׁמְרוֹן שְׁמֹנִים אִישׁ מְגֻלְּחֵי זָקָן וּקְרֻעֵי בְגָדִים וּמִתְגֹּדְדִים וּמִנְחָה וּלְבוֹנָה בְּיָדָם לְהָבִיא בֵּית יְהֹוָה׃

6Ishmael son of Nethaniah went out from Mitzpa to meet them, weeping as he walked. As he met them, he said to them, “Come to Gedalya son of Achikam.”

ווַיֵּצֵא יִשְׁמָעֵאל בֶּן־נְתַנְיָה לִקְרָאתָם מִן־הַמִּצְפָּה הֹלֵךְ הָלֹךְ וּבֹכֶה וַיְהִי כִּפְגֹשׁ אֹתָם וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם בֹּאוּ אֶל־גְּדַלְיָהוּ בֶן־אֲחִיקָם׃

7When they came inside the town, Ishmael son of Nethaniah and the men who were with him slaughtered them [and threw their bodies] into a cistern.

זוַיְהִי כְּבוֹאָם אֶל־תּוֹךְ הָעִיר וַיִּשְׁחָטֵם יִשְׁמָעֵאל בֶּן־נְתַנְיָה אֶל־תּוֹךְ הַבּוֹר הוּא וְהָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר־אִתּוֹ׃

8But there were ten men among them who said to Ishmael, “Don't kill us! We have stores hidden in a field—wheat, barley, oil, and honey.” So he stopped, and did not kill them along with their fellows.—

חוַעֲשָׂרָה אֲנָשִׁים נִמְצְאוּ־בָם וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֶל־יִשְׁמָעֵאל אַל־תְּמִתֵנוּ כִּי־יֶשׁ־לָנוּ מַטְמֹנִים בַּשָּׂדֶה חִטִּים וּשְׂעֹרִים וְשֶׁמֶן וּדְבָשׁ וַיֶּחְדַּל וְלֹא הֱמִיתָם בְּתוֹךְ אֲחֵיהֶם׃

9The cistern into which Ishmael threw all the corpses of the men he had killed in the affair of Gedalya was the one that King Asa had constructed on account of King Basha of Yisrael. That was the one which Ishmael son of Nethaniah filled with corpses.—

טוְהַבּוֹר אֲשֶׁר הִשְׁלִיךְ שָׁם יִשְׁמָעֵאל אֵת כָּל־פִּגְרֵי הָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר הִכָּה בְּיַד־גְּדַלְיָהוּ הוּא אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה הַמֶּלֶךְ אָסָא מִפְּנֵי בַּעְשָׁא מֶלֶךְ־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֹתוֹ מִלֵּא יִשְׁמָעֵאל בֶּן־נְתַנְיָהוּ חֲלָלִים׃

10Ishmael carried off all the rest of the people who were in Mitzpa, including the daughters of the king—all the people left in Mitzpa, over whom Nebuzaradan, the chief of the guards, had appointed Gedalya son of Achikam. Ishmael son of Nethaniah carried them off, and set out to cross over to the Amonites.

יוַיִּשְׁבְּ יִשְׁמָעֵאל אֶת־כָּל־שְׁאֵרִית הָעָם אֲשֶׁר בַּמִּצְפָּה אֶת־בְּנוֹת הַמֶּלֶךְ וְאֶת־כָּל־הָעָם הַנִּשְׁאָרִים בַּמִּצְפָּה אֲשֶׁר הִפְקִיד נְבוּזַרְאֲדָן רַב־טַבָּחִים אֶת־גְּדַלְיָהוּ בֶּן־אֲחִיקָם וַיִּשְׁבֵּם יִשְׁמָעֵאל בֶּן־נְתַנְיָה וַיֵּלֶךְ לַעֲבֹר אֶל־בְּנֵי עַמּוֹן׃

11Yochanan son of Kareah, and all the army officers with him, heard of all the crimes committed by Ishmael son of Nethaniah.

יאוַיִּשְׁמַע יוֹחָנָן בֶּן־קָרֵחַ וְכָל־שָׂרֵי הַחֲיָלִים אֲשֶׁר אִתּוֹ אֵת כָּל־הָרָעָה אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה יִשְׁמָעֵאל בֶּן־נְתַנְיָה׃

12They took all their men and went to fight against Ishmael son of Nethaniah; and they encountered him by the great pool in Givon.

יבוַיִּקְחוּ אֶת־כָּל־הָאֲנָשִׁים וַיֵּלְכוּ לְהִלָּחֵם עִם־יִשְׁמָעֵאל בֶּן־נְתַנְיָה וַיִּמְצְאוּ אֹתוֹ אֶל־מַיִם רַבִּים אֲשֶׁר בְּגִבְעוֹן׃

13When all the people held by Ishmael saw Yochanan son of Kareah and all the army officers with him, they were glad;

יגוַיְהִי כִּרְאוֹת כָּל־הָעָם אֲשֶׁר אֶת־יִשְׁמָעֵאל אֶת־יוֹחָנָן בֶּן־קָרֵחַ וְאֵת כָּל־שָׂרֵי הַחֲיָלִים אֲשֶׁר אִתּוֹ וַיִּשְׂמָחוּ׃

14all the people whom Ishmael had carried off from Mitzpa turned back and went over to Yochanan son of Kareah.

ידוַיָּסֹבּוּ כָּל־הָעָם אֲשֶׁר־שָׁבָה יִשְׁמָעֵאל מִן־הַמִּצְפָּה וַיָּשֻׁבוּ וַיֵּלְכוּ אֶל־יוֹחָנָן בֶּן־קָרֵחַ׃

15But Ishmael son of Nethaniah escaped from Yochanan with eight men, and went to the Amonites.

טווְיִשְׁמָעֵאל בֶּן־נְתַנְיָה נִמְלַט בִּשְׁמֹנָה אֲנָשִׁים מִפְּנֵי יוֹחָנָן וַיֵּלֶךְ אֶל־בְּנֵי עַמּוֹן׃

16Yochanan son of Kareah and all the army officers with him took all the rest of the people whom he had rescued from Ishmael son of Nethaniah from Mitzpa after he had murdered Gedalya son of Achikam—the men, soldiers, women, children, and eunuchs whom [Yochanan] had brought back from Givon.

טזוַיִּקַּח יוֹחָנָן בֶּן־קָרֵחַ וְכָל־שָׂרֵי הַחֲיָלִים אֲשֶׁר־אִתּוֹ אֵת כָּל־שְׁאֵרִית הָעָם אֲשֶׁר הֵשִׁיב מֵאֵת יִשְׁמָעֵאל בֶּן־נְתַנְיָה מִן־הַמִּצְפָּה אַחַר הִכָּה אֶת־גְּדַלְיָה בֶּן־אֲחִיקָם גְּבָרִים אַנְשֵׁי הַמִּלְחָמָה וְנָשִׁים וְטַף וְסָרִסִים אֲשֶׁר הֵשִׁיב מִגִּבְעוֹן׃

17They set out, and they stopped at Geruth Chimham, near Beit Lechem, on their way to go to Egypt

יזוַיֵּלְכוּ וַיֵּשְׁבוּ בְּגֵרוּת כמוהם [כִּמְהָם] אֲשֶׁר־אֵצֶל בֵּית לָחֶם לָלֶכֶת לָבוֹא מִצְרָיִם׃

18because of the Chaldeans. For they were afraid of them, because Ishmael son of Nethaniah had killed Gedalya son of Achikam, whom the king of Babylon had put in charge of the land.

יחמִפְּנֵי הַכַּשְׂדִּים כִּי יָרְאוּ מִפְּנֵיהֶם כִּי־הִכָּה יִשְׁמָעֵאל בֶּן־נְתַנְיָה אֶת־גְּדַלְיָהוּ בֶּן־אֲחִיקָם אֲשֶׁר־הִפְקִיד מֶלֶךְ־בָּבֶל בָּאָרֶץ׃