Test the spirits

Moreover, Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were [scattered] in the open country came to Gedaliah at Mizpah  and said to him, “Do you know that Baalis the king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to take your life?” But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam did not believe them.  Then Johanan the son of Kareah spoke secretly to Gedaliah in Mizpah, saying, “Let me go and kill Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and not a man will know [who is responsible]. Why should he kill you and cause all the Jews who are gathered near you to be scattered and the remnant of Judah to perish?”  But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said to Johanan the son of Kareah, “Do not do this thing, for you are lying about Ishmael.”

Now in the [a]seventh month Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the royal family [of David] and one of the princes of the king, came [at the instigation of the Ammonites] with ten men to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam in Mizpah. As they were eating a meal together there in Mizpah,  Ishmael the son of Nethaniah and the ten men who were with him got up and struck down Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, with the sword and killed the one whom the king of Babylon had appointed [governor] over the land.  Ishmael also killed all the Jews who were [at the banquet] with Gedaliah at Mizpah, in addition to the Chaldean soldiers who were there. – Jeremiah 40:13 – 41:3

Here we find a man who is naive, who has an undiscerning trust, and he will not believe this threat against his life. This so often happens. Yet the man who tries to warn him also has a flaw in his character. His way of correcting this situation is to take a secret vengeance upon Ishmael. If Gedaliah had been aware of the meaning of names, he would have been tipped off by the name Ishmael. Ishmael was the name of the brother of Isaac. The New Testament calls him a picture of the man of the flesh, the man who cannot be trusted. All the men in Scripture who bear this name are always of this character. This Ishmael has been bribed by the king of the Ammonites to take the life of Gedaliah. But Gedaliah is trusting, and never tests the spirits, as God tells us to do, to see which is of God and which is not. And so he refuses to believe this of Ishmael, and it costs him his life. – Ray Steadman

test the spirits

1 John 4:1

Testing The Spirits

9 Scriptural Tests for Spiritual Experiences



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