Jeremiah 41

1 But in the seventh month of the year, Nethaniah's son Ishmael went to Mizpah to visit Ahikam's son Gedaliah. Ishmael was the grandson of Elishama who belonged to the royal family. He had been an officer who served King Zedekiah. Ishmael brought ten of his men with him. They were all eating a meal with Gedaliah in Mizpah. 2 During the meal, Ishmael and his ten men stood up. They took hold of their swords and they killed Gedaliah, Ahikam's son and grandson of Shaphan. Ishmael and his men killed the man that the king of Babylon had chosen to rule Judah. 3 Ishmael also killed the men of Judah and the soldiers of Babylon who were there with Gedaliah.

4 The next day, before anyone knew about Gedaliah's murder, 5 80 men arrived in Mizpah. They had come from their homes in Shechem, Shiloh and Samaria. They brought grain offerings and incense to offer to the Lord in his temple. They had cut off their beards, torn their clothes and cut their skin to show that they were very upset. 6 Nethaniah's son Ishmael went out of the city to meet them. He was weeping as he went. When he met the men, he said to them, ‘Come with me to meet Ahikam's son Gedaliah.’ 7 So they all went into the city. Then Ishmael and his men killed them. They threw the dead bodies into a deep hole which stored water. 8 But ten of the men said, ‘Please do not kill us! We have hidden lots of wheat, barley, olive oil and honey in a field. We will give it to you.’ So Ishmael let them stay alive. He did not kill them with the other men. 9 Ishmael filled the deep hole with all the dead bodies of the men he had murdered. The hole had been built by King Asa to store water. Asa had dug holes like that to keep the city safe from King Baasha of Israel.

10 Then Ishmael took hold of all the other people in Mizpah who were still alive. He made them his prisoners. These people included the king's daughters, as well as all the other people who remained in Mizpah. Captain Nebuzaradan had said that Ahikam's son Gedaliah would have authority over those people. But Ishmael took them away as his prisoners. He started to take them towards the land of Ammon.

Johanan rescues the people from Ishmael

11 Kareah's son Johanan and the army officers who were with him heard news about what had happened. They heard about the wicked things that Nethaniah's son Ishmael had done. 12 So they took all their soldiers to go and fight against Ishmael. They chased after him. They caught him near the large pool at Gibeon. 13 All the people that Ishmael had taken as his prisoners saw Johanan and the officers who were with him. They were very happy to see them. 14 All the people that Ishmael had taken away from Mizpah ran away from him. They went to join Kareah's son Johanan. 15 But Ishmael and eight of his men escaped from Johanan. They went to live among the Ammonite people.

16 Johanan and the army officers who were with him led the people away from Gibeon. Those were the people who were still alive in Mizpah after Ishmael had murdered Gedaliah. Now Johanan and his men had rescued them from Ishmael. Johanan brought those men, women, children, soldiers and palace officers away from Gibeon.

17 They started on the way towards Egypt. They stopped at Geruth Kimham, a town that is near Bethlehem. 18 They were afraid that the soldiers of Babylon would want to kill them. They would be angry because Nethaniah's son Ishmael had killed Ahikam's son Gedaliah. The king of Babylon had chosen Gedaliah to rule Judah.