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Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Gedaliah

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1. Son of Ahikam, who saved Jeremiah from death (Jeremiah 26:24); grandson of Shaphan, Josiah's secretary, whom the king sent to inquire concerning the book of Jehovah' s law recently found (2 Kings 22:12; 2 Kings 22:14). Gedaliah thus inherited from father and grandfather a legacy of the fear of God. Left by Nebuchadnezzar, after the destruction of the temple (588 B.C.), to govern the cities of Judah and the farmers and vinedressers, who were allowed to remain in the land (Jeremiah 39:10; Jeremiah 39:14; Jeremiah 40:5-6; Jeremiah 40:11; Jeremiah 52:16). He was stationed at the stronghold Mizpah, six miles N. of Jerusalem, with a Chaldean guard (Jeremiah 41).

Jeremiah, when given his choice by Nebuzaradan where he should dwell, attached himself to Gedaliah, who was joined also by a promiscuous multitude of "men, women, and children, and of the poor of the land"; also by Ishmael of the blood royal, Johanan and Jonathan, Seraiah, the sons of Ephai, Jezaniah, and their men; also by the Jews who had been driven to Moab, Ammon, and Edom, but who now with reassured confidence began to gather, as formerly, "wine and summer fruits." This indicates his deserved popularity, while his words imply his loyalty to the supreme monarch to whom God by express prophecy had assigned the world kingdoms, and at the same time his gentleness as a ruler. "Fear not to be servants of the Chaldees; dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you."

Even reverence for the temple, though in ruins, revived under him; and men from Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria came with their offerings and badges of mourning for the destruction of the Lord's house and the holy city (Jeremiah 41:5). Johanan warned Gedaliah that Baalis (called from the idol Baal) king of Ammon had sent Ishmael to assassinate him and his retinue. With unsuspecting generosity Gedaliah refused to credit it. So Ishmael, in violation of the sacred rights of hospitality and taking advantage of the opportunity, while eating Gedaliah's "bread" at Mizpah, smote him two months after his appointment (compare Psalms 41:9). Jealousy of Gedaliah's presidency was Ishmael's motive; his royal descent leading him to regard himself as the rightful ruler. Ammon, Israel's ancient foe, gladly used such a tool.

A mystery of providence that God should permit the righteous, in spite of warning, to rush in unsuspecting honesty of purpose into the trap laid for them; Isaiah 57:1 suggests a solution. An enemy's presence appears in such anomalies. Faith, in spite of them, believes God is ordering all things for the ultimate good of His people, and at the judgment will vindicate His ways and clear up all that is now dark. All suffering nature and disorganized society as well as believers yearn for the advent of Him who shall reign in righteousness (Isaiah 11; Ezekiel 21:27). His death is commemorated in the Jewish calendar as a national calamity; and many Jews under Johanan, fearing Babylon's vengeance, fled to Egypt, forcing Jeremiah with them (Jeremiah 41:18).

2. 1 Chronicles 25:3; 1 Chronicles 25:9.

3. Ezra 10:18.

4. Zephaniah 1:1.

5. Son of Pashur; one of the princes who caused Jeremiah's imprisonment (Jeremiah 38:1, etc.).

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Gedaliah'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fbd/g/gedaliah.html. 1949.

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