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2. Jehoiachin and Zedekiah: The Beginning of Judah’s Captivity
1. Jehoiakim, Servant of Nebuchadnezzar, and His Death (2 Kings 24:1-5 ; 2 Chronicles 36:6-7 )
2. Jehoiachin (2 Kings 24:6-10 ; 2 Chronicles 36:8-9 )
3. The first deportation to Babylon (2 Kings 24:11-16 )
4. Zedekiah, the last king, and his rebellion (2 Kings 24:17-20 )
The foe of Judah, the chosen instrument of the Lord to execute His wrath upon the people and the city, now comes to the front. Jeremiah had predicted the coming judgment; Isaiah and the other prophets did the same. Then Jehoiakim proclaimed a fast (Jeremiah 36:9 ). It was nothing but hypocrisy. Immediately after, he cut the scroll to pieces and cast it into the fire. Jeremiah and his secretary Baruch hardly escaped with their lives. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, bound Jehoiakim in fetters to carry him to Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:6 ). This was not done because Nebuchadnezzar was suddenly called to Babylon. The book of Daniel introduces us more fully to this great monarch, the head of the times of the Gentiles; we give in the annotations on that book more information about his character and history.
Nabopalassar, founded the new Babylonian empire, which began the period of the Chaldees--as they are chiefly known to us in Scripture. Here we may at once indicate that he was succeeded by his son, Nebuchadrezzar (or Nebuchadnezzar), and he in turn by his son, Evil-merodach, who, after two years’ reign, was dethroned by his brother-in-law, Neriglissar. After four years (559-556 B.C.) Neriglissar was succeeded by his youthful son, Laborosoarchod. After his murder, Nabonidos (Nabunit, Nabuna’id) acceded to the government, but after seventeen years’ reign (555-539 B.C.) was dethroned by Cyrus. The eldest son of Nabonidos, and heir to the throne, was Belshazzar whom we know from the book of Daniel, where, in a not unusual manner, he is designated as the son, that is, the descendant of Nebuchadrezzar (Daniel 5:2 ; Daniel 5:11 ; Daniel 5:18 ). We infer that, while his father, Nabonidos, went to meet Cyrus, to whom he surrendered, thereby preserving his life, Belshazzar had been left as “king” in Babylon at the taking of which he perished in the night of his feast, described in Holy Scripture. (See The Prophet Daniel, by A.C. Gaebelein.)
Jehoiakim became a vassal of Nebuchadnezzar. Three years later he rebelled. Punishment followed swiftly. It was “at the commandment of the LORD.”
After the death of Jehoiakim, buried with the burial of an ass (Jeremiah 22:1-19 ), his son Jehoiachin reigned in his stead. He was eighteen years old when he ascended the throne and reigned only three months and ten days (2 Chronicles 36:9 ). (2 Chronicles 36:9 gives his age as eight years, evidently the error of a scribe.) He is also known by the names of Joiachin (Ezekiel 1:2 ) and Coniah (Jeremiah 22:24 ; Jeremiah 22:28 ; Jeremiah 37:1 ). Then Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem. The city surrendered and the long predicted punishment was executed. At the first invasion under the reign of Jehoiakim, when Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, a part of the vessels of the house of God were transported to Babylon, as well as the noble children, among whom were Daniel and his companions (Daniel 1:1-6 ). With the second siege and conquest of Jerusalem all was taken and the people were taken away captives, among them was the prophet Ezekiel (Jeremiah 52:28 ; Ezekiel 1:1-2 ; Jeremiah 29:1 ).
A remnant, however, was left behind; Jehoiachin was carried into captivity. The last chapter of this book gives his fate. He never returned. Important is to note the curse which was pronounced upon him. Jeremiah pronounced it upon Coniah Jehoiachin). “Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days; for no man of his seed shall prosper sitting upon the throne of David and ruling any more in Judah” (Jeremiah 22:28-30 ). He had children; no offspring of the line of Solomon was ever to occupy the throne of David. But there were the descendants of David through another line, that is, Nathan’s; no curse rested upon that line. The virgin Mary, the mother of our Lord, was of David through Nathan (Luke 3:31 ). Joseph, to whom Mary the virgin was espoused was a son of David through Solomon’s line.
Nebuchadnezzar made Mattaniah, the youngest son of Josiah, King over Judah (compare verse 18 with chapter 23:31). His name means “the gift of Jehovah” and he changed it into Zedekiah, “the righteousness of Jehovah.” Here is no doubt a prophetic hint. When Judah and Jerusalem went down in judgment, in unspeakable ruin and shame, God indicated in thievery names of the last king that there would yet come from David’s line He, who is His own precious gift and in whom righteousness will be given and established. Zedekiah filled full the measure of wickedness and finally rebelled against the king of Babylon.
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Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on 2 Kings 24". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Epiphany