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GEDALIAH (gĕd'a-lī'a, Heb. gedhalyâh)

GEDALIAH gĕd’ ə lī’ ə (גְּדַלְיָ֡הוּ, גְּדַלְיָ֣ה, Yah [i.e. Yahweh] is great). Name of several men.

1. Gedaliah, a Jeduthunite, a Temple musician under David (1 Chron 25:3, 9).

2. Grandfather of Zephaniah, the prophet (Zeph 1:1).

3. Gedaliah, son of Pashhur, one of Jeremiah’s opponents (Jer 38:1-3).

4. A priest in Ezra’s time who had married a foreign wife (Ezra 10:18).

5. Gedaliah, son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, governor of Judah after the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians (2 Kings 25:22-26; Jer 40:6-41:18). His family’s political moderation, shown by his father’s protection of Jeremiah, prob. made him acceptable to the Babylonians (Jer 26:24). Mizpah, his headquarters during his two month rule, served as a rallying point for various groups of Heb. soldiers and nobility. He avoided political intrigue in rejecting the scheme of Johanan, son of Kareah, to murder Ishmael, son of Nethaniah. He, many Jewish leaders, and the Babylonian garrison, were assassinated by Ishmael. Gedaliah’s partisans, fearing Babylonian reprisals, then fled to Egypt forcing Jeremiah the prophet to go with them. The events associated with his death made it impossible for a Jewish community to survive in Pal. under Babylonian control. The Jewish community, in effect, disappeared until the return of new leadership from Babylon. Jewish tradition recognizes the importance of his death in remembering its anniversary as a fast day. A contemporary seal inscribed “of Gedaliah who is over the house,” has been found at Lachish.


J. H. Greenstone, “Gedaliah,” Jew Enc (1901).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(gedhalyah; except in 1Ch 25:3,9 and Jer 38:1, where it is gedhalyahu, "Yah(u) is great"):

(1) Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam (the friend and protector of Jeremiah) and grandson of Shaphan (the scribe in the reign of Josiah) (2Ki 25:22-25; Jer 39:14; 40:5-16; 41:1-18).

1. His Appointment as Governor in Judah:

After the destruction of Jerusalem and the carrying away captive of the Jews to Babylon (586 BC), Gedaliah was appointed by Nebuchadnezzar governor over the poor Jews who had been left in the land to be vinedressers and husbandmen (2Ki 25:12,22). To his charge were committed also some royal princesses (Jer 43:6) and courtiers (Jer 41:16) who had been allowed to remain as unlikely to cause any trouble. Gedaliah fixed his residence at Mizpah, a few miles Northwest of Jerusalem. Here he was joined by Jeremiah (40:6).

2. His Conciliatory Spirit and Wise Rule:

The Jewish soldiers who had escaped capture, having heard that the Chaldeans had departed, and that Gedaliah, one of their own nation, had been appointed governor in Judah, came with Ishmael, Johanan and other officers at their head, to Gedaliah at Mizpah (2Ki 25:23,14; Jer 40:7-10). The governor assured them that they need have no fear of vengeance from their conquerors, and promised them on oath protection and security, if they would remain and cultivate the land and become the peaceful subjects of the king of Babylon. This assurance led to a general gathering around Gedaliah of refugees from all the neighboring countries (Jer 40:11,12). For two months (some think longer) Gedaliah’s beneficent and wise rule did much to consolidate affairs in Judah and to inspire the feeble remnant of his countrymen with heart and hope.

3. His Treacherous Assassination:

4. His Noble Character:

The narratives reveal Gedaliah in a very attractive light, as one who possessed the confidence alike of his own people and their conquerors; a man of rare wisdom and tact, and of upright, transparent character, whose kindly nature and generous disposition would not allow him to think evil of a brother; a man altogether worthy of the esteem in which he was held by succeeding generations of his fellow-countrymen.

(2) (gedhalyahu): Son of Jeduthun, and instrumental leader of the 2nd of the 24 choirs in the Levitical orchestra (1Ch 25:3,1).

(3) A priest of the "sons of Jeshua," in the time of Ezra, who had married a foreign woman (Ezr 10:18).

(4) (gedhalyahu): Son of Pashhur (who beat Jeremiah and put him in the stocks, Jer 20:1-6), and one of the chiefs of Jerusalem who, with the sanction of the king, Zedekiah, took Jeremiah and let him down with cords into a cistern where he sank in the mud (38:1,4-6).

(5) Grandfather of Zephaniah the prophet, and grandson of Hezekiah, probably the king (Ze 1:1).