Filling the large cistern pit with dead people (Jer 41:9-41:9)

“Now the cistern

Into which Ishmael

Had thrown

All the bodies

Of the men

Whom he had struck down

Was the large cistern

That King Asa

Had made for defense

Against King Baasha

Of Israel.

Ishmael,

The son of Nethaniah,

Filled that cistern

With those

Whom he had killed.”

Jeremiah explains that this big cistern was able to hold 80 bodies because this cistern was more like a pit or a trench that King Asa of Judah (911-870 BCE) had built over 300 years earlier. At that time he was having a war standoff with King Baasha of Israel (909-886 BCE) about Ramah. Thus, he built the city of Mizpah according to 1 Kings, chapter 15. This was then some kind of large trench pit rather than a simple well, so that it was able to hold all these bodies. There was no mention of the bodies of the other Judeans and Chaldeans who had been killed a couple of days earlier.

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