2 Kings 24 Ė 25 part 15

 

In our final lesson on 2 Kings we will see Godís wrath on Judah take place as He uses the Babylonians to destroy their kingdom and take them into captivity just as the Assyrians did to the Northern kingdom.

 

2 Kings 24:1 In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years. Then he turned and rebelled against him.2 And the LORD sent against him raiding bands of Chaldeans, bands of Syrians, bands of Moabites, and bands of the people of Ammon; He sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the LORD which He had spoken by His servants the prophets.3 Surely at the commandment of the LORD this came upon Judah, to remove them from His sight because of the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he had done,4 and also because of the innocent blood that he had shed; for he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, which the LORD would not pardon.5 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?6 So Jehoiakim rested with his fathers. Then Jehoiachin his son reigned in his place.7 And the king of Egypt did not come out of his land anymore, for the king of Babylon had taken all that belonged to the king of Egypt from the Brook of Egypt to the River Euphrates.

 

Before this time the Assyrians had been the reckoning force over Palestine, but the Babylonians grew stronger and the defeated the Assyrians and now they were in control of Palestine. They also ran the Egyptians out of Palestine and took over what they used to control including Judah. As we read after 3 years Jehoiakim rebelled against the Babylonians, which didnít do him any good because Judah fate was sealed. The only reason this came about was because it was Godís will that it would happen. The limit of Godís mercy had been reached and because of the multitude of sins that Judah had committed and because of the evil things that Manasseh did during his reign. It was time for Judah to face the consequence of their sins and there would be no more pardons. As Jeremiah said even if Moses or Samuel were alive to plead for Judah it was to late (Jer. 15). 2 Chr. account adds this:

 

2 Chronicles 36:15 And the LORD God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place.16 But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, till there was no remedy.17 Therefore He brought against them the king of the Chaldeans.

 

Since there was no remedy for them they would face the wrath of God. This marks the first deportation of the Jews of Judah and begins their 70 years of captivity, which happened around 605 Ė 606 B.C. During this first raid, young men like Daniel and royals†† were taken.

 

 

Daniel 1:1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god.3 Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king's descendants and some of the nobles,

 

According to 2 Chr. account King Nebuchadnezzar put Jehoiakim in bronze fetters and was going to take him into captivity. However, it is believed that Jehoiakim died or was killed before he was taken anywhere and his body was cast to the side on the ground like a donkey outside of Jerusalem. This is believed because of what Jeremiah said about him:

 

Jeremiah 22:18 Therefore thus says the LORD concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah: "They shall not lament for him, Saying, 'Alas, my brother!' or 'Alas, my sister!' They shall not lament for him, Saying, 'Alas, master!' or 'Alas, his glory!'19 He shall be buried with the burial of a donkey, Dragged and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem.

 

Next we find out that his son Jehoiachin reins in his place.

 

2 Kings 24:8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother's name was Nehushta the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.9 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father had done.

 

2 Chr. account says he was 8 years old in some versions, but this another one of those instances of a textual variance with numbers. However, the textual evidence and external evidence from historical witness show that he was 18 years old when he began his reign. He is also called by the names Jeconiah and Coniah by Jeremiah and Matthew (Jer. 22:24; Mat. 1:12)Even though he only reigned for 3 months he was know for being evil.

 

2 Kings 24:10 At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged.11 And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, as his servants were besieging it.12 Then Jehoiachin king of Judah, his mother, his servants, his princes, and his officers went out to the king of Babylon; and the king of Babylon, in the eighth year of his reign, took him prisoner.13 And he carried out from there all the treasures of the house of the LORD and the treasures of the king's house, and he cut in pieces all the articles of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had said.14 Also he carried into captivity all Jerusalem: all the captains and all the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths. None remained except the poorest people of the land.15 And he carried Jehoiachin captive to Babylon. The king's mother, the king's wives, his officers, and the mighty of the land he carried into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon.16 All the valiant men, seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths, one thousand, all who were strong and fit for war, these the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon.17 Then the king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin's uncle, king in his place, and changed his name to Zedekiah.

 

From the best I can tell, shortly after King Nebuchadnezzar had came and shackled Jehoiakim, he comes again with his army and defeats Judah again. This siege happens around 597 B.C. and this time we have a major deportation of the Jews in which he takes thousands of captives. He basically takes everyone that could put up a fight including Jehoiachin and his family. This time the King takes all the treasure from the temple and the Kings house and cuts up the article of gold that Solomon had made. Now, that Judah has been humble once again, King Nebuchadnezzar made one of Josiahís sons king. His name was Mattaniah but Nebuchadnezzar renamed him to Zedekiah.

 

2 Kings 25:1 Now it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and encamped against it; and they built a siege wall against it all around.2 So the city was besieged until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.3 By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine had become so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land.4 Then the city wall was broken through, and all the men of war fled at night by way of the gate between two walls, which was by the king's garden, even though the Chaldeans were still encamped all around against the city. And the king went by way of the plain.5 But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king, and they overtook him in the plains of Jericho. All his army was scattered from him.6 So they took the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah, and they pronounced judgment on him.7 Then they killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, put out the eyes of Zedekiah, bound him with bronze fetters, and took him to Babylon.

†††††††††††

Apparently for 9 years Zedekiah served Nebuchadnezzar, but then he rebelled according 2 Chron account. He also would not listen to Jeremiah or Ezekiel. Both of these prophets tells us what will happen to Judah and to Zedekiah. Jeremiah tells us that Judah and all the nations will serve Babylon for 70 years (Jer. 25:11). One thing that might have confused Zedekiah is when Jeremiah said,

 

Jeremiah 34:3 your eyes shall see the eyes of the king of Babylon, he shall speak with you face to face, and you shall go to Babylon.' " '

 

Ezekiel 12:13 "I will also spread My net over him, and he shall be caught in My snare. I will bring him to Babylon, to the land of the Chaldeans; yet he shall not see it, though he shall die there.

 

See Jeremiah is saying that he would see the king and be taken to Babylon, but Ezekiel is saying he will be taken to Babylon and he will not see it, but he will die there. While this may have been confusing to Zedekiah, we have the privilege to see these prophecies fulfilled because after the 2 year siege on Jerusalem and the attempted escape of Zedekiah, he was brought before Nebuchadnezzar for judgment in Riblah fulfilling Jeremiahís prophecy. Then the King killed Zedekiahís sons in front of him and to make sure this would be last thing that he would see he put out both his eyes and then took him to Babylon where he would die, which fulfills Ezekielís prophecy.

 

Now both of these prophets also predicted in these same chapters that Nebuchadnezzar would burn and destroy Jerusalem and we see that come to pass in our next verses.

 

2 Kings 25:8 And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month (which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem.9 He burned the house of the LORD and the king's house; all the houses of Jerusalem, that is, all the houses of the great, he burned with fire.10 And all the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down the walls of Jerusalem all around.11 Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive the rest of the people who remained in the city and the defectors who had deserted to the king of Babylon, with the rest of the multitude.12 But the captain of the guard left some of the poor of the land as vinedressers and farmers.

 

All this destruction and mayhem happened around 586 B.C. and it marks the 3rd deportation of the Jews and the last King of Judah. They burned down the kings house the temple and tore down the walls that used to protect Jerusalem. They took more people into captivity, but they still left some of the Jews behind.

 

2 Kings 25:13 The bronze pillars that were in the house of the LORD, and the carts and the bronze Sea that were in the house of the LORD, the Chaldeans broke in pieces, and carried their bronze to Babylon.14 They also took away the pots, the shovels, the trimmers, the spoons, and all the bronze utensils with which the priests ministered.15 The firepans and the basins, the things of solid gold and solid silver, the captain of the guard took away.16 The two pillars, one Sea, and the carts, which Solomon had made for the house of the LORD, the bronze of all these articles was beyond measure.17 The height of one pillar was eighteen cubits, and the capital on it was of bronze. The height of the capital was three cubits, and the network and pomegranates all around the capital were all of bronze. The second pillar was the same, with a network.

This is just giving us more details of the destruction of Jerusalem and how they took away everything of value. Their destruction was so through that no one has been able to find exactly where Solomonís temple was.

 

2 Kings 25:18 And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the second priest, and the three doorkeepers.19 He also took out of the city an officer who had charge of the men of war, five men of the king's close associates who were found in the city, the chief recruiting officer of the army, who mustered the people of the land, and sixty men of the people of the land who were found in the city.20 So Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, took these and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah.21 Then the king of Babylon struck them and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. Thus Judah was carried away captive from its own land.

 

These people mentioned here had been gathered up were taken to Riblah and executed. Not all the people that were taken there were killed because Jer. 40 lets us know that Jeremiah was taken there as well, but he was freed by Nebuzaradan and told he could go where he pleased. He suggested that he might go back to Judah and live there.

 

2 Kings 25:22 Then he made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, governor over the people who remained in the land of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had left.23 Now when all the captains of the armies, they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah governor, they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah -- Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, Johanan the son of Careah, Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah the son of a Maachathite, they and their men.24 And Gedaliah took an oath before them and their men, and said to them, "Do not be afraid of the servants of the Chaldeans. Dwell in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you."25 But it happened in the seventh month that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the royal family, came with ten men and struck and killed Gedaliah, the Jews, as well as the Chaldeans who were with him at Mizpah.26 And all the people, small and great, and the captains of the armies, arose and went to Egypt; for they were afraid of the Chaldeans.

 

Gedaliahís father and grandfather had supported the reforms that King Josiah started under his reign and Gedaliah was made governor over Judah. Ishmael had beef with him and he kills him and some others that were associated with him. You can read more about these events in Jer. 40 Ė 45. After he kills Gedaliah, many of the Jews flee to Egypt for their lives even though Jeremiah tells them not to go there. When they go, they drag Jeremiah along with them (Jer. 43).

 

Jeremiah 52:30 also records for us a 4th minor deportation of the Jews around 582 B.C. that is not recorded in 2 Kings

 

2 Kings 25:27 Now it came to pass in the thirty-seventh year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, that Evil-Merodach king of Babylon, in the year that he began to reign, released Jehoiachin king of Judah from prison.28 He spoke kindly to him, and gave him a more prominent seat than those of the kings who were with him in Babylon.29 So Jehoiachin changed from his prison garments, and he ate bread regularly before the king all the days of his life.30 And as for his provisions, there was a regular ration given him by the king, a portion for each day, all the days of his life.

 

For 37 years Jehoiachin survived as a prisoner and for whatever reason when Evil-Merodach started reigning over Babylon he decides to let him go and treat him well. He also allowed the other kings that had been captured go and gave them seats of importance, but he put Jehoiachin in higher seat of honor and was fed well. Historians tell us this lasted for about 2 years until Evil-Merodachís brother conspired against him and killed Him and it believed the Jehoiachin was put to death at this time as well.

 

This brings us to a close of 2 Kings and the information it provides for us. However, 2 Chronicles account goes beyond the Babylonian captivity.

 

2 Chronicles 36:20 And those who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia,21 to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.22 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying,23 Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up!

 

This briefly shows us that the Jews were in captivity for 70 years just as Jeremiah prophesied and the children of Israel would be allowed to return to Jerusalem when King Cyrus defeated the Babylonians. Isaiah even names this king in Isaiah 45 almost 100 years before this happens, which once again shows how Godís prophecies that were made through his prophets always came to pass. Of course you can read more about the proclamation of King Cyrus to send the Jews back home in Ezra 1.

 

This brings us to the end of the Kings and hope you have enjoyed these lessons as much as I have. These lessons have taught us a lot about the nature of God and how He is in control. They have also shown us how much God loves us and how merciful He is. They have also shown us that Godís mercy has a limit and those who test His mercy will face His wrath. Knowing this should motivate us to live holy lives before God so that we will be prepared to stand before God on the Day of Judgment.