Gedalia ben Aḥikam

Governor of Palestine, appointed to the position by Nebuchadnezzar after the fall of the Temple. His governorship was marked by tensions between the Jewish population and the Roman/Babylonian power struggle. In an attempt at regime change through assassination, Baalis, King of Ammon sent Ishmael, an unsavory character, to assassinate Nebuchadnezzar. Word of this plot reached Gedalia through a loyal agent, Johanan, who attempted to stop the plot by killing Ishmael himself. Gedalia forbade this killing, staying Johanan’s hand and, to keep Ishmael from his task, entertained Ishmael and ten of his companions at the governor’s palace. During the meal, Ishmael slew Gedalia. The commemoration of his death is still observed today in the Fast of Gedalia.

Read more in the Jewish Encyclopedia.

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