2 Kings 25:23
And when all the captains of the armies, they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah governor, there came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, even Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Johanan the son of Careah, and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah the son of a Maachathite, they and their men.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(23) The captains of the armies.—Rather, the army captains; or, the captains of the forces. They and their men had fled with the king, and dispersed themselves over the country (Jeremiah 40:7). Now they came out of hiding.

Their men.—The Hebrew text has the men, but all the versions, and Jeremiah 40:7, read rightly, their men.

Mizpah.—See 1Kings 15:22. It was well suited to be the governor’s residence, as it lay high, and was a naturally strong position. Moreover, it was the seat of an ancient sanctuary (Judges 20:1), which might serve in some sort as a substitute for the destroyed Temple of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 41:5).

Ishmael.—Grandson of Elishama the royal secretary (2Kings 25:25; Jeremiah 36:12; Jeremiah 36:20), and of royal blood (Jeremiah 41:1).

Johanan the son of Careah.Jeremiah 40:8, “and Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Careah.”

The Netophathite.—The words, “and the sons of Ophai,” have fallen out before this epithet (Jeremiah 40:8), and probably the names of these sons of Ophai in both passages. Netophah is mentioned in Ezra 2:22; Nehemiah 7:26. It may be Beit Nettif south-west of Jerusalem.

The son of a (the) Maachathite.—His father was an alien, and belonged to the Syrian state of Maachah (2Samuel 10:6; 2Samuel 10:8).

2 Kings 25:23. When all the captains of the armies — Who escaped when Zedekiah was taken; heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah governor — One of themselves, and that things were put into a good posture: there came to Gedaliah to Mizpah — A place in the land of Benjamin, famous in Samuel’s time; Ishmael, Johanan, &c., they and their men — To put themselves under his protection. Gedaliah, though he had not the pomp and power of a sovereign prince, yet might have been a greater blessing to them than many of their kings had been, especially having such a privy counsellor as Jeremiah, who was now with them, and interested himself in their affairs, Jeremiah 40:5-6.25:22-30 The king of Babylon appointed Gedaliah to be the governor and protector of the Jews left their land. But the things of their peace were so hidden from their eyes, that they knew not when they were well off. Ishmael basely slew him and all his friends, and, against the counsel of Jeremiah, the rest went to Egypt. Thus was a full end made of them by their own folly and disobedience; see Jeremiah chap. 40 to 45. Jehoiachin was released out of prison, where he had been kept 37 years. Let none say that they shall never see good again, because they have long seen little but evil: the most miserable know not what turn Providence may yet give to their affairs, nor what comforts they are reserved for, according to the days wherein they have been afflicted. Even in this world the Saviour brings a release from bondage to the distressed sinner who seeks him, bestowing foretastes of the pleasures which are at his right hand for evermore. Sin alone can hurt us; Jesus alone can do good to sinners.The captains of the armies - i. e., the officers of the troops who had fled from Jerusalem with Zedekiah 2 Kings 25:4, and had then dispersed and gone into hiding 2 Kings 25:5.

For Mizpah, see Joshua 18:26 note.

The Netophathite - Netophah, the city of Ephai (compare Jeremiah 40:8), appears to have been in the neighborhood of Bethlehem Nehemiah 7:26; Ezra 2:21-22. The name is perhaps continued in the modern Antubeh, about 2 12 miles S. S. E. of Jerusalem.

A Maachathite - Maachah lay in the stony country east of the upper Jordan, bordering upon Bashan Deuteronomy 3:14.

22-26. Nebuchadnezzar … made Gedaliah … ruler—The people permitted to remain were, besides the king's daughters, a few court attendants and others (Jer 40:7) too insignificant to be removed, only the peasantry who could till the land and dress the vineyards. Gedaliah was Jeremiah's friend (Jer 26:24), and having, by the prophet's counsel, probably fled from the city as abandoned of God, he surrendered himself to the conqueror (Jer 38:2, 17), and being promoted to the government of Judea, fixed his provincial court at Mizpeh. He was well qualified to surmount the difficulties of ruling at such a crisis. Many of the fugitive Jews, as well as the soldiers of Zedekiah who had accompanied the king in his flight to the plains of Jericho, left their retreats (Jer 40:11, 12) and flocked around the governor; who having counselled them to submit, promised them on complying with this condition, security on oath that they would retain their possessions and enjoy the produce of their land (Jer 40:9). The captains of the armies, which escaped away when Zedekiah was taken. See Poole "2 Kings 25:4", See Poole "2 Kings 25:5". And as for the people that remained,.... That were left in the land to be vinedressers and husbandmen; over these the king of Babylon made Gedaliah governor, to whom the captains, with their scattered troops, came, and submitted for a time; of whom; see Gill on Jeremiah 40:7; see Gill on Jeremiah 40:8; see Gill on Jeremiah 40:9. And when all the captains of the armies, they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah governor, there came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, even Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Johanan the son of Careah, and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah the son of a Maachathite, they and their men.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
23. And [R.V. Now] when all the captains … heard] The governorship of Gedaliah appears to have found much favour. We are told (Jeremiah 41) that when Jeremiah was set at liberty by Nebuzar-adan at Ramah he at once made his way to Gedaliah; beside that the captains of the forces gathered to him, and so did the Jews that had escaped into the countries round about, Moab, Ammon and Edom; and it is said ‘they gathered wine and summer fruits very much’. Meantime Gedaliah was warned that Baalis the king of the Ammonites had sent Ishmael to slay him, but he refused to credit the report, and when one of his friends voluntered to slay Ishmael, Gedaliah would not permit it.

captains of the armies] R.V. forces. Thus translated in Jeremiah 40:7.

to Mizpah] See on 1 Kings 15:22. Jerusalem was now in ruins. Mizpah was a strong place about six miles north of the Holy City.

Ishmael the son of Nethaniah] Jeremiah 41:1 (see also below verse 25) adds that Nethaniah was the son of Elishama of the seed royal. How he was connected with the royal blood we cannot discover. He had been in the country of the Ammonites during the destruction of Jerusalem, and when Gedaliah was set up as governor in Mizpah he came into Judah, apparently at the instigation of Baalis, king of Ammon, with the purpose of slaying Gedaliah and occupying his place. At first he acted as if friendly to Gedaliah, but after a short time, at a banquet where he and ten friends were entertained by Gedaliah, the murder of the governor was perpetrated, and at the same time all the Jews in the house with Gedaliah were likewise slain. All this was done with such precaution and secrecy that for two days nobody outside the governor’s palace knew what had been done. After that time Ishmael, observing a party of fourscore pilgrims coming towards Mizpah, went to meet them, and bringing them into the courtyard of the house as if to see Gedaliah, had all but ten of them killed and cast into the well in the court. He now resolved on flight and taking away with him the daughters of Zedekiah, who had been put under Gedaliah’s charge, he turned his steps to the land of Ammon. But Johanan and the other captains, who had by this time discovered the atrocious murders, pursued Ishmael, yet though they came up with him and his party ‘by the great waters that were in Gibeon’, and though Ishmael’s followers were at once ready to desert him, the villain, and eight more with him, escaped into the country of the Ammonites.

Johanan the son of Careah] R.V. Kareah. This is the spelling of A.V. in Jeremiah 40:8; Jeremiah 41:11, &c. It was Johanan who warned Gedaliah of the plot against him. He is mentioned (Jeremiah 43:2-4) as one of those who were prominent in the proceedings when Jeremiah was carried off into Egypt. He is there classed among ‘all the proud men’. A brother of his, Jonathan, is mentioned in Jeremiah 40:8.

Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth] He is called here the Netophathite, but in the enumeration of Jeremiah that description is omitted, and some other persons are described as ‘the sons of Ephai, the Netophathite’.

Jaazaniah the son of a [R.V. the] Maachathite] The name is spelt Jezaniah in Jeremiah’s narrative.Verse 23. - And when all the captains of the armies; rather, the captains of the forces (Revised Version); i.e. the officers in command of the troops which had defended Jerusalem, and, having escaped from the city, were dispersed and scattered in various directions, partly in Judaea, partly in foreign countries. They and their men - apparently, each of them had kept with him a certain number of the men under his command - heard that the King of Babylon had made Gedaliah governor. The news was gratifying to them. It was something to have a Jewish ruler set over them, and not a Babylonian; it was, perhaps, even more to have a man noted for his justice and moderation (Josephus, 'Ant. Jud.,' 10:9. § 12), who had no selfish aims, but desired simply the prosperity and good government of the country. There same to Gedaliah to Mispah, even Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Jo-hanan the son of Careah - Jeremiah 40:8 has "Johanan and Jonathan, the sons of Kareah" - and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite. In Jeremiah 40:8 we read, "And Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth, and the sons of Ephai the Netephathite," by which it would seem that some words have fallen out here. By "Netophathite" is to be understood "native of Netophah," now Antubah, near Bethlehem (see Ezra 2:22; Nehemiah 7:26). And Jaazaniah the son of a Maschathite. Called Jezaniak by Jeremiah, and said by him (Jeremiah 42:1) to have been the son of a certain Heshaiah. Hoshaiah was a native of the Syrian kingdom, or district, known as Maschah, or Maachathi (Deuteronomy 3:14; 1 Chronicles 19:6, 7), which adjoined Bashan towards the north. They and their men. The persons mentioned, that is, with the soldiers under them, came to Gedaliah at Mizpah, and placed themselves under him as his subjects. The brazen vessels of the temple were broken in pieces, and the brass, and smaller vessels of brass, silver, and gold, were carried away. Compare Jeremiah 52:17-23, where several other points are mentioned that have been passed over in the account before us. The pillars of brass (see 1 Kings 7:15.), the stands (see 1 Kings 7:27.), and the brazen sea (1 Kings 7:23.), were broken in pieces, because it would have been difficult to carry these colossal things away without breaking them up. On the smaller vessels used in the worship (2 Kings 25:14) see 1 Kings 7:40. In Jeremiah 52:18 המּזרקת are also mentioned. 2 Kings 25:15 is abridged still more in contrast with Jeremiah 52:19, and only המּחתּות and המּזרקות are mentioned, whereas in Jeremiah six different things are enumerated beside the candlesticks. כּסף...זהב אשׁר, "what was of gold, gold, what was of silver, silver, the captain of the guard took away," is a comprehensive description of the objects carried away. To this there is appended a remark in 2 Kings 25:16 concerning the quantity of the brass of the large vessels, which was so great that it could not be weighed; and in 2 Kings 25:17 a supplementary notice respecting the artistic work of the two pillars of brass. וגו העמּוּדים is placed at the head absolutely: as for the pillars, etc., the brass of all these vessels was not to be weighed. In Jeremiah 52:20, along with the brazen sea, the twelve brazen oxen under it are mentioned; and in the description of the pillars of brass (Jeremiah 52:21.) there are several points alluded to which are omitted in our books, not only here, but also in 1 Kings 7:16. For the fact itself see the explanation given there. The omission of the twelve oxen in so condensed an account as that contained in our text does not warrant the inference that these words in Jeremiah are a spurious addition made by a later copyist, since the assumption that Ahaz sent the brazen oxen to king Tiglath-pileser cannot be proved from 2 Kings 16:17. Instead of אמּה שׁלשׁ we must read אמּת המשׁ, five cubits, according to Jeremiah 52:22 and 1 Kings 7:16. The על־השּׂבכה at the end of the verse is very striking, since it stands quite alone, and when connected with וגו וכאלּה does not appear to yield any appropriate sense, as the second pillar was like the first not merely with regard to the trellis-work, but in its form and size throughout. At the same time, it is possible that the historian intended to give especial prominence to the similarity of the two pillars with reference to this one point alone.
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