Jews Worldwide Mourning Death of a Jewish King Thousands of Years Ago

by Brucha Weisberger


This story happened many years ago (about 2,400, actually), but the plot could be set right now, as human nature has not changed. Good, upright, “nice” people have a very hard time imagining that anyone would want to hurt them, and they often don’t listen to warnings or take precautions.

Remember, those who don’t learn from history are bound to repeat it.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, is a fast day called “The Fast of Gedalya”, to have us remember and learn the lessons of a terrible tragedy in my people’s history, which involved not just the death of Gedalya, who wouldn’t listen to a loyal friend who warned him that someone planned to assassinate him, but also the resulting death of an additional untold huge number of people.

Here is the story explained by Nissan Mindel, helpfully quoted on


By Nissan Mindel
Published and copyrighted by Kehot Publication Society

Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylonia, had accomplished his purpose. He had completely subdued the Kingdom of Judah and destroyed its capital of Jerusalem and its most sacred shrine, the Holy Temple. He had slain or captured most of the royal family and the nobility of the land. The upper classes of the Jewish people, including the leaders of the priesthood and the chief civil and military officers, were led captives en masse to Babylon. Many of them were mercilessly put to death at Riblah. Judah was crushed and bereaved of its best sons.

However, Nebuchadnezzar did not wish to turn the land of Judah into a complete desert. He permitted the poorer classes to remain in Judah to till the soil and to tend their vineyards. Over them Nebuchadnezzar had appointed Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, as governor.

The prophet Jeremiah had been allowed to choose between remaining in Judah and going to Babylon as an honored guest of the Babylonian royal house. He chose to remain with his brethren on the holy soil. Jeremiah went to Mizpah, a short way north of Jerusalem, where Gedaliah had established the seat of his governorship, and offered him his fullest support. Gedaliah gratefully accepted, and Mizpah now became also the spiritual center of the people.

Gedaliah was a wise man, gentle and modest. He zealously began to encourage the people to cultivate the fields and vineyards, and thus lay the foundation of security. Under the wise administration of Gedaliah, the Jewish community began to prosper. Its fame began to spread abroad. Many Jews who had fled to places of safety in neighboring lands during the war of destruction were attracted by the news of the revival of the Jewish community in Judah. They came to Gedaliah in Mizpah and were warmly welcomed by him.

The Jewish governor exhorted his brethren to remain loyal to the king of Babylonia, and promised them peace and security. His advice was well taken. The Babylonian garrison stationed in the land did not molest them—on the contrary, it offered them protection against unfriendly neighbors. The young Jewish commonwealth was well on its way to recovery when it was suddenly struck by a cowardly deed of treachery and bloodshed.

Among the refugees who had joined Gedaliah in Mizpah was Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah, a descendant of the royal house of Zedekiah, the last king of Judah. Ishmael was an ambitious man who would stop at nothing to attain his goal. The honor and success that Gedaliah had won filled him with cruel jealousy. Ishmael began to plot against Gedaliah. He found an ally in the king of Ammon, who had been following with apprehension the growth of the new Jewish colony.

The conspiracy became known to Johanan, the son of Kareah, a devoted officer of Gedaliah. Johanan warned the governor of the danger threatening his person. Gedaliah, however, being of a true and generous nature, shrank from believing such treachery. When Johanan offered to slay Ishmael secretly before the latter could carry out his evil plans, Gedaliah indignantly rejected the proposal.

In the meantime, Ishmael bided his time. Before long the opportunity which he was waiting for presented itself. He was invited by the governor to a feast at Mizpah on Rosh Hashanah. Ishmael arrived at the banquet in the company of ten followers. During the feast, the ruthless band attacked and slew the governor. Having assassinated their host, they commenced a terrible massacre. Ishmael murdered many prominent followers of Gedaliah, and put to the sword the small Chaldean garrison stationed at Mizpah. His murderous deed accomplished, Ishmael left Mizpah with many captives, heading for Ammon.

Johanan and a few of his brave men had escaped the massacre, for they were not in Mizpah at that time. When Johanan learned of the terrible tragedy, be rallied additional help and pursued the assassin. Overtaking Ishmael near Gibeon in Benjamin, Johanan succeeded in freeing the captives, but Ishmael, with a few followers, managed to escape to the land of Ammon.

The plight of the Jews was now sad indeed. The assassination of Gedaliah and of the Babylonian garrison would draw the wrath of Nebuchadnezzar upon the remnants of the people in Judah. They were sorely afraid of his punishment. Yet whither could they turn? The only haven of refuge seemed to be Egypt, where the hand of Nebuchadnezzar had not reached yet. But that country was hateful to them. Although some nine hundred years had passed since their ancestors had been liberated from Egypt after centuries of slavery, Egypt was still regarded with aversion. Their despair and fright was so great, however, that the poor people did decide to seek escape in Egypt, and set out on their way southward.

The hard-pressed Jews halted in Beit Lechem and turned to Jeremiah for advice. The faithful prophet, who had shared in all their trials and misfortunes and had clung to them with unwavering affection, was still among them. To him they now turned their anxious eyes, promising to abide by whatever counsel he might give them.

For ten days Jeremiah prayed to G‑d, and finally he received a divine message which he immediately told to the assembled people:

“Thus says the G‑d of Israel . . . If you will still dwell in this land, I will build you, and not destroy you, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up . . . Fear not the king of Babylonia, of whom you are afraid . . . for I am with you to save you . . . But if you say, ‘We will not dwell in this land,’ disobeying the voice of your G‑d, saying, ‘No, but we will go into the land of Egypt’ . . . then it shall come to pass that the sword which you feared shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine whereof you were afraid shall follow close after you in Egypt; and there you shall die . . . G‑d hath spoken to you, O remnant of Judah, go not to Egypt; know you with certainty, for I have warned you this day!”

But Jeremiah’s words fell on deaf ears. The people had already formed their resolution, and had hoped only that the prophet would confirm it. In spite of their solemn pledge to Jeremiah that they would follow his advice, they accused the prophet of plotting together with his disciple Baruch, the son of Neriah, to deliver them into the hands of the Chaldeans. Then they all proceeded on their way to Egypt, forcing Jeremiah and Baruch to accompany them.

When the refugees reached the border of Egypt, they halted. Here Jeremiah once again warned his brethren that the safety they sought in Egypt would be short-lived. He predicted that before long Egypt would be conquered by Nebuchadnezzar and destroyed. The prophet further warned them of the dangers besetting them in mixing with the idolatrous Egyptians. If they should return to idolatry, which had been the cause of all their misfortunes in the past, they would seal their fate beyond hope.

Unfortunately, the prophet’s warnings and entreaties were in vain. The Jewish refugees settled in Egypt, and before long, abandoned their faith in G‑d. They sank to the level of the heathen practices of the Egyptians.

A few years later there was a political upheaval in Egypt when Pharaoh Hophra was assassinated. Nebuchadnezzar took advantage of the situation. He invaded and destroyed the land, and most of the Jewish refugees perished in this invasion and war. Thus Jeremiah’s dreadful prophecy came true again.

Where and when the aged prophet died is not known with certainty. It is believed that he and his faithful disciple Baruch spent their last years with their exiled brethren in Babylon.

In memory of the assassination of Gedaliah and the tragedy that it brought upon our brethren in those days, so soon after the destruction of the Holy Temple, we fast on the third day of Tishrei, the Fast of Gedaliah.

Imagine if Gedalya had gone past his natural comfort zone of believing good about people, and fulfilled his obligation to consider that the report of danger may be true and take precautions for the sake of his life and the lives of the people who relied on him. How many lives could he have saved, and how different history could have been.

Let Gedalya’s death not be in vain.

If you know someone who thinks that the news of the WHO, WEF, and the rest of the elites plotting very serious evil against us are just “conspiracy theories”, maybe show them this. Gedalya thought that way, too, until it was too late for him and his people – and we have to fast a whole day every year just to remember this story. Let’s take it to heart.

Here are some current developments – the news of which is like Gedalya’s friend trying to wake him up to the danger he faced.

•September 25 – second largest food distribution center in the world on fire. Just the latest in a long string of “mysterious” fires in food processing plants. Oh, and farmers being told to plow their crops under, others being told to kill their herds. Plus much more, in a string of manipulations to create a food shortage.

•September 26 (Rosh Hashana) – apparent sabotage – explosions at Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 – the undersea gas pipelines from Russia to Europe. The pipelines are ruined for now. This is major.

I’m not trying to get you to feel despair or be consumed with fear. I just want you to be in reality, and try to help those around you be in reality as well – so that everyone will realize that we need G-d’s help, seriously.

Please tell your friends, and ask them to tell others. We need to arouse humanity. Not just to know that there’s danger. After knowing, the next step is action. One of the most important actions is turning to the One Owner of the whole world, the Master Warrior, and saying “we need Your help.”

There is no question that G-d will destroy the wicked ones, as He destroyed the builders of the Tower of Bavel, and anyone who rebels against Him and seeks to destroy His world.

We don’t know exactly when He will do so, though. There are a lot of people who need to wake up and find out that the world has a Master. Based on numerous events in the history of humanity, it is a very safe bet that if there was a mass world movement of return to One G-d and the way He wants us to live, if everyone woke up and repented, G-d would very, very quickly cause the evil to crumble.

Let each of us do our part, as G-d requires of us.

What is our part? Prayer, repentance, and charity, and strengthening in our faith in G-d and awareness of Him. And standing up for Him publicly for against those who are His enemies. He is giving us the chance to show whose side we’re on.

As Jeremiah the Prophet (Yirmiyohu HaNovi, in Hebrew) said to my people, as they were going into exile in tears; “If you had cried ONCE, before the destruction, you wouldn’t have had to cry all these many tears now.”

Please join the fight for the future of the world.

Originally published on

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