Ishmael escapes to Ammon (Jer 41:15-41:15)

“But Ishmael,

The son of Nethaniah,

Escaped from Johanan

With eight men.

They went

To the Ammonites.”

Unfortunately this little escapade does not have a happy ending. Ishmael with 8 out of 10 of his trusty troops got away. They went to King Baalis in Ammon on the other side of the Jordan River.

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.

The warning from Johanan (Jer 40:13-40:14)

“Now Johanan,

The son of Kareah,

With all the leaders

Of the forces

In the open country,

Came to Gedaliah

At Mizpah.

He said to him.

‘Are you at all aware

That King Baalis

Of the Ammonites

Has sent Ishmael,

The son of Nethaniah,

To take your life?’

But Gedaliah,

The son of Ahikam,

Would not believe them.”

Johanan, the son of Kareah, was one of the open field leaders against Babylon. He and the other rebel leaders came to Mizpah to see what was going on there. When he got there, he told Governor Gedaliah that the king of the Ammonites, King Baalis, had sent Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah, also another Judean country leader, to kill Gedaliah. They have actually found a seal from this King Baalis of Ammon dated around 600 BCE. However, Gedaliah did not believe him, since Ishmael was also a member of the Judean royal household.