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Jeremiah 41:6-7

6. And Ishmael the son of Nethaniah went forth from Mizpah to meet them, weeping all along as he went: and it came to pass, as he met them, he said unto them, Come to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam.

6. Et egressus est Ismael filius Nathaniae obviam ipsis e Mispath, ambnlans ambulando et fiens; et factum est cum occurrisset illis, tune dixit illis, Venite ad Godoliam filium Achikam.

7. And it was so, when they came into the midst of the city, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah slew them, and cast them into the midst of the pit, he, and the men that were with him.

7. Et factum est cum venissent in medium urbis, tunc jugulavit (vel, mactavit) eos Ismael filius Natha-niae ad medium fossae, ipse et viri qui erant cum eo.

 

Here Jeremiah relates another circumstance in the nefarious conduct of Ishmael, that by flatteries he enticed simple men, who feared no evil, and while pretending kindness, slew them. The slaughter was in itself very detestable, but added to it was the most abominable deceit, for he pretended to weep with them, and offered an act of kindness, to bring them to Gedaliah, and then he traitorously killed them! We hence see that it was an act of extreme wickedness. In saying that he wept, it was no doubt a sign of feigned piety, 121121     The words may be thus literally rendered, —
   And Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah, went out from Mizpah to meet them, walking, walking and weeping, etc.

   He went on foot, and wept as he went out.

   — Ed.
He saw these good men in torn garments and in tears on account of the Temple being destroyed, he therefore pretended that he had the same feeling. This was falsely to pretend a regard for God, and his tears were those of the crocodile; for he shed tears as though he lamented the ruin of the Temple and of the city. He thus gained the confidence of the unwary men, and then after having led them into the middle of the city, he slew them. The place also is mentioned, nigh to the middle of the pit, for so I render it, rather than in the middle, for it is not credible that he killed them in the pit itself; but when led to the pit they were killed and were cast into it, as we shall see. 122122     “At the pit,” is the Sept.; “About the middle of the pool,” is the Vulg. and the Targum. It was evidently a ditch or a trench made for the defense of the city. See Jeremiah 41:9Ed. He then slew them at the outside of the pit, and immediately cast them in.

It may, however be asked, Whether he could with so few attack with success so many men? for it seems strange, that as they were eighty men they did not resist; they might at least have frightened their enemies. But we must, in the first place, recollect that they were, as we have seen, unarmed; for they had brought only a sacred offering with incense; but the others were armed and well trained for war; they had also been reduced to a state of hopeless despair, so that they had doubtless contracted great ferocity, as those who are continually in danger accustom themselves to acts of cruelty. Ishmael, then, and his companions were armed, but the others were without any arms, and were also simple men and in no degree accustomed to war. Hence it was that they were killed like sheep, while Ishmael and his associates were like wolves, altogether ferocious. It now follows, —


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