According to the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

, Gedaliah (icon or ɡ; Hebrew: גְּדַלְיָּה G'dalyyâh or גְּדַלְיָהוּ G'dalyyâhû, meaning God is great) was appointed by Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 as governor of Yehud province
Yehud (Babylonian province)
Yehud had been a province of the Neo-Babylonian Empire since suppression of Judean rebellion in 585/6 BCE. It first existed as a majorly Jewish administrative division of the Neo-Babylonian Empire under Gedaliah, though had quickly become depopulated after his murder and another unsuccessful revolt...

, which was formed after the defeat of the Kingdom of Judah
Kingdom of Judah
The Kingdom of Judah was a Jewish state established in the Southern Levant during the Iron Age. It is often referred to as the "Southern Kingdom" to distinguish it from the northern Kingdom of Israel....

 and the destruction of Jerusalem, in a part of the territory that previously formed the kingdom. He was supported by a Chaldea
Chaldea or Chaldaea , from Greek , Chaldaia; Akkadian ; Hebrew כשדים, Kaśdim; Aramaic: ܟܐܠܕܘ, Kaldo) was a marshy land located in modern-day southern Iraq which came to briefly rule Babylon...

n guard stationed at Mizpah
Mizpah in Benjamin
Mizpah was a city of Benjamin.Tell en-Nasbeh is one of two sites often identified with Biblical Mizpah of Benjamin, and is located about 8 miles north of Jerusalem. The other suggested location is Neby Samwil, which is some 4 miles north-west of Jerusalem, and situated on the loftiest hill in the...

. On hearing of the appointment, the Jews that had taken refuge in surrounding countries returned to Judah.

Gedaliah was the son of Ahikam
Ahikam, in Hebrew "My brother has risen". One of the five whom Josiah sent to consult the prophetess Huldah in connection with the discoveryof the book of the law...

 (who saved the life of the prophet Jeremiah
Jeremiah Hebrew:יִרְמְיָה , Modern Hebrew:Yirməyāhū, IPA: jirməˈjaːhu, Tiberian:Yirmĭyahu, Greek:Ἰερεμίας), meaning "Yahweh exalts", or called the "Weeping prophet" was one of the main prophets of the Hebrew Bible...

) and the grandson of Shaphan
Shaphan is a scribe or court secretary mentioned several times in the Old Testament .-Biblical account:...

 (who is mentioned in relation to the discovery of the scroll of Teaching that scholars identify as the core of the book of Deuteronomy).

He zealously began to encourage the people to cultivate the fields and vineyards, and thus lay the foundation of security. Many who had fled to neighboring lands during the war of destruction were attracted by the news of the revival of the community. They came to Gedaliah in Mizpah and were warmly welcomed by him.


Among the refugees who had joined Gedaliah in Mizpah was Yishmael, the son of Nataniah, a descendant of the royal house of Zedekiah
Zedekiah or Tzidkiyahu was the last king of Judah before the destruction of the kingdom by Babylon. He was installed as king of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon, after a siege of Jerusalem to succeed his nephew, Jeconiah, who was overthrown as king after a reign of only three months and...

, the last king of Judah. Baalis
Baalis is the name given in the Book of Jeremiah for the king of Ammon. He instigated the murder of Gedaliah, the Babylonian-appointed Jewish governor of Jerusalem.- Seal of Ba’alis :...

 the king of Ammon
Ammon , also referred to as the Ammonites and children of Ammon, was an ancient nation located east of the Jordan River, Gilead, and the Dead Sea, in present-day Jordan. The chief city of the country was Rabbah or Rabbath Ammon, site of the modern city of Amman, Jordan's capital...

, who had been following with apprehension the regrowth of Judah under its new governor Gedaliah, encouraged and sent Yishmael to assassinate him. In the seventh month (Tishrei
Tishrei or Tishri , Tiberian: ; from Akkadian "Beginning", from "To begin") is the first month of the civil year and the seventh month of the ecclesiastical year in the Hebrew calendar. The name of the month is Babylonian. It is an autumn month of 30 days...

, Yishmael came to Gedaliah in Mizpah and was received cordially. Gedaliah had been warned of his guest's murderous intent but refused to believe his informants, believing that their report was mere slander.

Yishmael, and the ten men who were with him, murdered Gedaliah, together with most of the Jews who had joined him and many Babylonians whom Nebuchadnezzar had left with Gedaliah . The remaining Jews feared the vengeance of Nebuchadnezzar (in view of the fact that his chosen ruler, Gedaliah, had been killed by a Jew) and fled to Egypt. Although the dates are not clear from the Bible, this probably happened about 582/1 BCE, some four to five years and three months after the destruction of Jerusalem and the First Temple
Solomon's Temple
Solomon's Temple, also known as the First Temple, was the main temple in ancient Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount , before its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BCE....

 in 586 BCE.

Fast of Gedaliah

To lament the assassination of Gedaliah, which left Judah devoid of any Jews and Jewish rule and completed the destruction of the First Temple, the Jewish Sages established the third day of Tishrei
Tishrei or Tishri , Tiberian: ; from Akkadian "Beginning", from "To begin") is the first month of the civil year and the seventh month of the ecclesiastical year in the Hebrew calendar. The name of the month is Babylonian. It is an autumn month of 30 days...

 as the Fast of Gedalia
Fast of Gedalia
The Fast of Gedalia , also spelled Gedaliah, is a Jewish fast day from dawn until dusk to lament the assassination of the righteous governor of Judah of that name, which ended Jewish rule following the destruction of the First Temple.-Origins:...

h. Although Gedaliah's assassination apparently occurred on the first day of Tishrei, the fast is observed on the third day so as not to coincide with Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah , , is the Jewish New Year. It is the first of the High Holy Days or Yamim Nora'im which occur in the autumn...

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