Johanan's story proved to be true, and by the basest treachery Ishmael, with a handful of men, murdered Gedaliah and a number of others, and carried away the rest captive, intending to take them to the king of the children of Ammon. However, Johanan, who evidently had been watching and waiting, gathered a band of men and went after Ishmael. Ishmael escaped, but Johanan delivered the people from the threat. Afraid of the Chaldeans, they dwelt near Bethlehem, and purposed going into Egypt.
Again we are impressed with the terrible plight of the people. Although the purpose of Ishmael to carry them away to the children of Ammon had been frustrated, yet the man who had been the instrument of the deliverance, Johanan, was now proposing, in contravention of the divine purpose and arrangement, to take them into Egypt. Those in authority, or who were assuming authority, were violating the fundamental principle of faith, and acting merely according to what seemed to be the wisest policy. It is a terrible revelation of the degradation of the chosen people.
the Second Week after Epiphany