Abraham (Lk 3:34-3:34)

This is where the genealogy of Matthew ends with Abraham.  Luke continued further back.  He said that Judah was the son of Jacob (τοῦ Ἰακὼβ), who had 12 sons with 4 different women, that become the 12 tribes of Israel.  Jacob was the son of Isaac (τοῦ Ἰσαὰκ), the son of Abraham (τοῦ Ἀβραὰμ), who was the son of Terah (τοῦ Θάρα), the son of Nahor (τοῦ Ναχὼρ).  Throughout the Torah, there was a continual reference to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  These 3 generations were key to Hebrew and Jewish history.  Their stories can be found in the book of Genesis, chapters 12-35.  Remember that Abraham had a son with his wife’s maid, Hagar, who was called Ishmael.  However, both were sent away.  Jacob had a twin brother named Esau, whom he tricked out of his father’s inheritance.  Terah and Nahor can be found in 1 Chronicles, chapter 1:26, and Genesis, chapter 11:24-32.  Nahor was the name of Abram’s grandfather and his brother.  Abram, appeared to be the oldest, took a wife named Sarai, who was barren.  Later it will be revealed that Sarai is his half-sister, since Terah had a concubine.  They all lived at Ur in the Chaldeans, probably in northwest Mesopotamia.  Terah took his son Abram and his wife, Sarai, and his grandson Lot, and left Ur and went to Canaan.  However, they settled in a place that had the same name as his dead son, Haran.  This may have been part of a huge migration in the early second millennium, about 2000 years before the common Christian era.

Arabia (Ezek 27:21-27:21)

“Arabia,

With all the princes

Of Kedar,

Were your favored dealers

In lambs,

Rams,

Goats.

They did business

With you

In these things.”

The princes of the Arabian Peninsula were the favorite trading partners of Tyre as regards livestock, especially lambs, rams, and goats. The princes of Kedar referred to those dark skinned Arabs who were descendants of Ishmael that lived in the northwestern section of the Arabian Peninsula.

Against Kedar (Jer 49:28-49:29)

“Concerning Kedar

With the kingdoms of Hazor

That King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon

Defeated.

Thus says Yahweh.

‘Rise up!

Advance against Kedar!

Destroy the people of the east!

Take their tents!

Take their flocks!

Take their curtains!

Take all their goods!

Carry off their camels

For yourselves!

A cry shall go up.

‘Terror is all around!’”

Kedar was the second son of Ishmael, the step brother of Isaac. However, this biblical term was applied to a group of nomadic tribes in the northwest Arabian desert, east of the Jordan River and Ammon, in what is today Saudi Arabia. They were considered to be the people of the east, the Arabs. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was going to defeat them. He was going to take their possessions since they had no buildings to burn. They were going to lose their tents, flocks, curtains, and most importantly their camels. They would cry out that terror was all around them. They had no fortresses to defend themselves. Both Kedar and Hazor were not restored, but left as wastelands.

Johanan asks Jeremiah for help (Jer 42:1-42:3)

“Then all the commanders

Of the forces,

With Johanan,

The son of Kareah,

Also with Azariah,

The son of Hoshaiah,

All the people,

From the least

To the greatest,

Approached

The prophet Jeremiah.

They said to him.

‘Be good enough

To listen

To our plea!

Pray to Yahweh!

Your God!

For us!

For all this remnant!

There are only a few

Of us left

Out of the many,

As you can see.

Let Yahweh

Your God

Show us

Where we should go!

What we should do!’”

Apparently this small group of Judeans, with the leaders Johanan and Azariah decided to approach Jeremiah. As he had been released to the protection of Governor Gedaliah, he probably was at Mizpah while the attack of Ishmael had taken place. Thus he was with the freed group at Gibeon. Interesting enough, they referred to Yahweh as Jeremiah’s God not their God. They wanted Jeremiah to intercede for them with Yahweh, as Moses had done centuries earlier. They were only a small group or remnant of what had been many people. They wanted to know where they should go and what to do. Like the preceding chapter, this section has a different numbered chapter in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, chapters 49 and 50, not chapter 42 as here.

The revolt against Ishmael (Jer 41:13-41:14)

“When all the people

Who were with Ishmael

Saw Johanan,

The son of Kareah,

With all the leaders

Of the forces with him,

They were glad.

So all the people,

Whom Ishmael

Had carried away captive

From Mizpah,

Turned around.

They came back.

They went to Johanan,

The son of Kareah.”

When all the people with Ishmael saw Johanan with all his leaders and troops, they were happy. Instead of being taken captive, they now rebelled against Ishmael. They turned around and ran back to Johanan with his forces. Their captivity came to a quick end a few miles outside of Mizpah at Gibeon.

Johanan goes to Gibeon (Jer 41:11-41:12)

“But Johanan,

The son of Kareah,

With all the leaders

Of the forces with him,

Heard of all the crimes

That Ishmael,

The son of Nethaniah,

Had done.

They then took

All their men.

They went to fight

Against Ishmael,

The son of Nethaniah.

They came upon him

At the great pool

That is in Gibeon.”

Johanan, the son of Kareah, who had wanted to kill Ishmael before this, heard about what had happened at Mizpah. It is not clear how he found out about all the killings there. Johanan got all the open field leaders and their troops, and then he set out to fight against Ishmael. They actually found him about a couple miles outside of Mizpah, at the ancient Canaanite and Levitical city of Gibeon in the Benjamin territory, by the great pool.

Ishmael captured the people of Mizpah (Jer 41:10-41:10)

“Then Ishmael

Took captive

All the rest of the people

Who were in Mizpah.

This included

The king’s daughters

With all the people

Who were left at Mizpah.

Nebuzaradan,

The captain of the guard,

Had committed them

To Governor Gedaliah,

The son of Ahikam.

Ishmael,

The son of Nethaniah,

Took them captive.

He set out to cross over

To the Ammonites.”

As Ishmael had killed so many people already, there were not too many people left in Mizpah. Thus Ishmael took the remaining people captive. Of special mention were the daughters of King Zedekiah. The Babylonians had killed the king’s sons, but the captain of the troops, Nebuzaradan, committed the daughters of the king to the care of the new governor, Gedaliah. Thus the remaining people and these young women set out as captives to go to Ammon, on the other side of the Jordan. Ishmael must have had some kind of deal with the king of the Ammonites, since King Baalis of Ammon was mentioned in the last chapter.

Ishmael kills the pilgrim worshippers (Jer 41:6-41:8)

“Ishmael,

The son of Nethaniah,

Came out from Mizpah

To meet

The weeping pilgrims.

As he met them,

He said to them.

‘Come to Governor Gedaliah,

The son of Ahikam.’

When they reached

The middle of the city,

Ishmael,

The son of Nethaniah,

With his men

Slaughtered them.

He threw them into a cistern.

But there were ten men

Among them

Who said to Ishmael,

‘Do not kill us!

We have stores

Of wheat,

Of barley,

Of oil,

Of honey

Hidden in the fields.’

So he refrained.

He did not kill them

Along with their companions.”

Ishmael went out to meet these 80 mourning crying pilgrims as they approached Mizpah. He told them to come and meet the new governor of Judah, Gedaliah. When they got to the center of Mizpah, Ishmael and his 10 men killed these 80 pilgrims. He saved 10 of these northern pilgrims because they said that they hidden provisions of wheat, barley, oil, and honey in the fields. However, the other dead people were thrown into a cistern well. It is amazing how strong these 10 men with Ishmael were.

Ishmael kills Gedaliah at Mizpah (Jer 41:2-41:3)

“Ishmael,

The son of Nethaniah,

With his ten men

Got up.

They struck down

Governor Gedaliah,

The son of Ahikam,

The son of Shaphan,

With the sword.

They killed him.

Because the king of Babylon

Had appointed him

Governor in the land.

Ishmael also killed

All the Judeans

Who were with

Governor Gedaliah

At Mizpah.

They also killed

The Chaldean soldiers

Who happened to be there.”

This is similar to 2 Kings, chapter 25. As they were eating, Ishmael rose up against Governor Gedaliah and killed him with a sword. Ishmael was mad, either because he was passed over by not being named governor or at the Babylonians for taking his king, King Zedekiah. Either way, he and his 10 men killed everyone that was with Governor Gedaliah at Mizpah, both all the Judeans and the Chaldean soldiers who happened to be there.

The plan to kill Ishmael (Jer 40:15-40:16)

“Then Johanan

The son of Kareah,

Spoke secretly

To Gedaliah

At Mizpah.

‘Please let me go!

Let me kill Ishmael,

The son of Nethaniah!

No one else will know.

Why should he

Take your life?

Then all the Judeans

Who are gathered

Around you

Would be scattered.

The remnant of Judah

Would perish.’

But Gedaliah,

The son of Ahikam,

Said to Johanan,

The son of Kareah.

‘Do not do such a thing!

You are telling a lie

About Ishmael.’”

Johanan toke Governor Gedaliah aside and spoke to him secretly. He wanted permission to kill Ishmael before he was able to kill the new governor. He said that no would have to know about it. Why should Governor Gedaliah die? If he died, then all the Judeans gathered at Mizpah would scatter. The small remnant of Judeans there would all die. However, Governor Gedaliah responded to Johanan in no uncertain terms. Johanan was not to kill Ishmael, because this story about the plot to kill him was a lie. Thus Governor Gedaliah dismissed the warning against his life.