And said unto him, dost thou certainly know
Not that they thought he did know, or that the thing was so flagrant that he must know it; but that he might be assured of the truth of it, from the information they were now about to give him: or, "dost thou [not] in knowing know?" F24 it is most certainly true; and thou mayest depend upon it that it is real matter of fact: that Baalis the king of the Ammonites hath sent Ishmael the son of
Nethaniah to slay thee?
very probably Ishmael, with the forces under him, fled to the king of the Ammonites upon the taking of Jerusalem; who, out of ill will to the Jews, always bore them by the Ammonites, envying their reestablishment under Gedaliah, and hoping to make a prey of them if their governor was removed, moved it to this young prince to dispatch him; and who might be forward enough to undertake it, being displeased that Gedaliah should be governor, which he might think was an office he had a better right to, being of the seed royal; and therefore readily agreed to be sent on this bloody errand, to take away the governor's life: or, "to smite [him] in the soul"; or "to smite his soul" F25; that is, to give him a mortal blow, his death's wound, to separate soul and body: but Gedaliah the son of Ahikam believed them not;
being a good man, and knowing he had done nothing to disoblige him, could not believe a person of such birth and dignity would ever be guilty of such an action: very likely Ishmael had behaved in a very princely complaisant manner, and had expressed a great affection for the governor, and had been very familiar with him; and being of the seed royal, it is highly probable Gedaliah had shown a distinguished regard to him, which he might think was the reason of this charge being brought against him, out of envy to him; however, since it came from such a body of men, though he was not over credulous, yet he ought to have inquired into it, and provided for his own safety, and the public good, against the worst that might happen.