Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Crucial intel ignored

[From 11/9/10]

"Now Johanan, son of Kareh, and all the leaders of the forces in the open country came to Gedaliah at Mizpah and said to him, 'Are you at all aware that Baalis king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael, son of Nethaniah, to take your life?' But Gedaliah, son of Ahikam, would not believe them."
(Jeremiah 40:13-14)

If the Exodus out of Egypt is the most significant event in the Hebrews' lives during the Old Testament period, then the 2nd most significant event would have to be the Babylonian Exile.  Jerusalem was captured and most of the inhabitants were carried away to live in captivity in Babylon.  A small remnant of poor were left in the city.  The king of Babylon set Gedaliah up as the governor of the area.  Gedaliah was a Hebrew.  That should have ensured peace & security... but it didn't last.

There were some key people who fled or managed to escape the wrath of the Babylonian army.  One such leader, Johanan, gathered intel that an assassination plot was underweigh against Gedaliah.  But when he presented that insight to the acting governor, it was ignored (actually scoffed at... see v.16!).  That proved to be a fateful decision, as Ishmael indeed led a successful assassination plot (41:2)... and carried out more murder & terror in the aftermath (41:4-10).

All this could have been avoided, had Gedaliah heeded the intel from Johanan (note: Johanan actually wanted permission to strike down Ishmael before he had the chance to kill the governor - but was prevented).  Which got me thinking... why didn't Gedaliah trust Johanan's word?  Granted, he wasn't "officially" on the gov's staff... but he was a recognized leader of the people.  Did Gedaliah simply want to believe the best about people ("Ishmael would never do such a thing!")?  Did he trust his own security personnel more than the perceived threat?  Or was he just foolish?  I don't know the answer to that... but it has caused me to think about the insight & wisdom given to me by others.  How will I respond to that info?  (Hopefully better than Gedaliah did!)

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