Now it came to pass in the seventh month
The month Tisri, which answers to part of our September, and part of October; according to the Jewish F2 chronicle, it was on the third day of this month, fifty two days after the destruction of the temple, that Gedaliah was slain; on which day a fast was kept by the Jews, after their return from captivity, on this occasion, called the fast of the seventh month, ( Zechariah 7:5 ) ( 8:19 ) ; though, according to Kimchi and Ben Melech, this event happened on the first day of the month, the beginning of the new year; but the fast was kept the day following, because the first day was a festival. Josephus F3 says it was thirty days after Johanan had departed from Gedaliah, having given him information of the conspiracy against him: [that] Ishmael the son of Nethaniah the son of Elishama, of the seed
not the son of King Zedekiah, but one of the remoter branches of the family; whether Elishama his father was the same with Elishama the scribe is not certain, ( Jeremiah 36:12 Jeremiah 36:20 ) ; the Jews have a tradition that he descended from Jerahmeel, whose wife, Atarah, was the daughter of a Heathen king, and was a proselyte, which Kimchi on the place relates; see ( 1 Chronicles 2:26 1 Chronicles 2:41 ) ; this circumstance, of his being akin to the royal family, is mentioned, to show that he envied the governor, and bore him a grudge for the honour he had, thinking that he had a better title to it, as being of the seed royal: and the princes of the king, even ten men with him;
some of the nobles of Zedekiah, who fled with him from Jerusalem, and deserted him when he was pursued and taken, and ever since had remained in the land; even ten of these joined with Ishmael in the conspiracy against Gedaliah, whom they bore an ill will to, for going over to the Chaldeans, and envying the power he was now possessed of. Some think these were ten ruffians, besides the princes of the king, since it may be rendered, "and the princes of the king, and ten men with him"; whom Ishmael and the princes took with them, as fit persons to assassinate the governor; and, besides, it is thought that eleven men were not sufficient to slay the Jews and the Chaldeans, as afterwards related; though it may be observed, that Ishmael, and these ten princes, did not come alone, as it can hardly be imagined they should, but with a number of servants and soldiers with them: these came unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam to Mizpah:
they had been with him before, to whom he had swore, and given them assurance of security; and they departed from him to their respective cities, seemingly satisfied; and now return, to pay him a friendly visit, as they pretended: and there they did eat bread together at Mizpah;
had a feast, and kept holiday together, it being a new moon, the first day of the month, and the beginning of the new year too; so that it was a high festival: and perhaps this season was fixed upon the rather, to cover their design, and to perpetrate it; pretending they came to keep the festival with him, and who, no doubt, liberally provided for them; for bread here is put for all provisions and accommodations.
F2 Seder Olam Rabba, c. 26. p. 76.
F3 Antiqu. l. 10. c. 9. sect. 4.