1 In 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.
2 Then 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.
41:2 And struck down Gedalya
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.Comment
3 Ishmael also killed all the Judeans who were with him—with Gedalya in Mitzpa—and the Chaldean soldiers who were stationed there.
4 The second day after Gedalya was killed, when no one yet knew about it,
ד וַיְהִי בַּיּוֹם הַשֵּׁנִי לְהָמִית אֶת־גְּדַלְיָהוּ וְאִישׁ לֹא יָדָע׃
ה וַיָּבֹאוּ אֲנָשִׁים מִשְּׁכֶם מִשִּׁלוֹ וּמִשֹּׁמְרוֹן שְׁמֹנִים אִישׁ מְגֻלְּחֵי זָקָן וּקְרֻעֵי בְגָדִים וּמִתְגֹּדְדִים וּמִנְחָה וּלְבוֹנָה בְּיָדָם לְהָבִיא בֵּית יְהֹוָה׃
7 When 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.
ז וַיְהִי כְּבוֹאָם אֶל־תּוֹךְ הָעִיר וַיִּשְׁחָטֵם יִשְׁמָעֵאל בֶּן־נְתַנְיָה אֶל־תּוֹךְ הַבּוֹר הוּא וְהָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר־אִתּוֹ׃
8 But 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.—
9 The 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.—
10 Ishmael 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.
יב וַיִּקְחוּ אֶת־כָּל־הָאֲנָשִׁים וַיֵּלְכוּ לְהִלָּחֵם עִם־יִשְׁמָעֵאל בֶּן־נְתַנְיָה וַיִּמְצְאוּ אֹתוֹ אֶל־מַיִם רַבִּים אֲשֶׁר בְּגִבְעוֹן׃
16 Yochanan 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.