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3. The Siege of Jerusalem and Judah’s Complete Overthrow
1. The last siege and complete overthrow (2 Kings 25:1-21 ; 2 Chronicles 36:17-20 )
2. Gedaliah (2 Kings 25:22-26 )
3. Jehoiachin’s captivity and release (2 Kings 25:27-30 )
Zedekiah’s rebellion was a great offence. He had sworn in Jehovah’s name to be loyal to Nebuchadnezzar (2 Chronicles 36:13 ; Ezekiel 17:13 ). We find more light thrown upon this king and his rebellion in the book of Jeremiah. Ambassadors from Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre and Sidon came to Jerusalem to see Zedekiah (Jeremiah 27:0 ). A combined revolution was probably contemplated. Zedekiah sent at the same time a message to Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon (Jeremiah 29:3 ); the prophet Jeremiah used this opportunity to send a God-given communication to the exiles in Babylon (Jeremiah 29:1 , etc.). The news of Zedekiah’s schemes must have reached the captives, for they expected an early return. (The prophet Ezekiel was especially used to warn against these false hopes. See annotations on Ezekiel.) False prophets, Satan’s instruments, gave them their lying messages. Prominent among them was Hananiah who received his deserved punishment for his lying words (Jeremiah 28:0 ). Once more the city was besieged. A great famine prevailed. What happened in the doomed city and Jeremiah’s great ministry as well as suffering may be learned from his prophecies. Consult especially the following passages: Jeremiah 21:1-2 ; Jeremiah 37:3 ; Jeremiah 34:2-6 ; Jeremiah 38:0 . Jeremiah charged with treacherous designs had been cast into a dungeon, but was later delivered out of the miry pit and brought before the king, who declared himself willing to follow Jeremiah’s advice. What followed we give from Edersheim’s Bible History:
Meantime the siege was continuing, without hope of relief. Tyre suffered straits similar to those of Jerusalem, while Ammon, Moab, Edom and the Philistines had not only withdrawn from the alliance, but were waiting to share in the spoil of Judah (Ezekiel 25:0 ). At length a gleam of hope appeared. An Egyptian army, under their King Hophra, the grandson of Necho, advanced through Phoenicia, and obliged the Chaldeans to raise the siege of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 37:5-7 ). The exultation and reaction in Jerusalem may be imagined--and it was probably in consequence of it that Jeremiah, who still predicted calamity, was cast into prison (Jeremiah 37:4 ). But the relief of Jerusalem was brief. The Egyptian army had to retire, and the siege of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans was resumed, and that under even more disadvantageous circumstances to the besieged.
To the other calamities that of famine was now added (2 Kings 25:3 ). Of the horrors of that time Jeremiah has left a record in the Book of Lamentations (comp. 1:19, 2:11, 12, 20; 4:3-10). The last resistance was soon overcome. On the ninth day of the fourth month (Tammuz), in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, the enemy gained possession of the northern suburb (2 Kings 25:4 ; Jeremiah 39:2-3 ; Jeremiah 52:6-7 ). Before the middle gate the Babylonian captains held a council of war (Jeremiah 39:2-3 ). Then the king and all the regular army sought safety in flight during the darkness of the night (Jeremiah 39:4 ). As the Chaldeans held the northern part of the city, they fled southwards. Between the two walls, through the Tyropoeon, then out of the “fountain-gate,” and through the king’s garden, they made haste to gain the Jordan.
But their flight could not remain unobserved. They were pursued and overtaken in the plains of Jericho. The soldiers dispersed in various directions. But the king himself and his household were taken captives, and carried to the headquarters at Riblah, where Nebuchadnezzar himself was at the time. Here Zedekiah was formally arraigned and sentence given against him. His daughters were set free, but his sons were slain before him. It was the last sight the king saw. His eyes were put out; he was bound hand and feet with double fetters of brass, and so carried to Babylon. There he died in ward (Jeremiah 52:11 ).
The remainder of this mournful tale is soon told. After the flight and capture of the king, the city could not long hold out. A month later, and on the seventh day of the fifth month (Ab) Nebuzar-adan (‘Nebo gave posterity’) penetrated into the city. The temple was set on fire, as well as the king’s palace. The whole city was reduced to ruins and ashes, and the walls which had defended it were broken down (2 Kings 25:9-10 ). After three days the work of destruction was completed; and ever afterwards was the 10th (9th) of Ab mourned as the fatal day of Jerusalem’s fall (Jeremiah 52:12 ; Zechariah 7:3 ; Zechariah 7:5 ; Zechariah 8:19 ). The rest of the people left in the city, and those who had previously passed to the enemy, together with the remnant of the multitude, were carried away (2 Kings 25:11 ). We can scarcely be mistaken in regarding these captives as the chief part of the non-combatant population of Jerusalem and Judah.
Jeremiah’s history and how he was found in prison when Jerusalem fell we shall learn from his book.
The administration of the conquered country was then entrusted by Nebuchadnezzar to Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam (2 Kings 22:12 ; Jeremiah 26:24 ). Gedaliah dwelt on Mizpah. He held his office only two months and was murdered by Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah (Jeremiah 40:8-16 ; Jeremiah 41:1-9 ).
Jehoiachin’s release needs no further comment. In the second book of Chronicles we shall follow again this mournful history. The seventy year captivity was on. The Word of the LORD through Jeremiah that “the land should enjoy her Sabbaths, for as long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill three score and ten years” (2 Chronicles 36:21 ).
We add the words of another:
Again is the land keeping Sabbath, And again is it “stillness unto God,” till His voice shall waken land and people, Whose are land and people, dominion and peace: till He shall come who is alike the goal and the fulfillment of all past history and prophecy--”a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.”
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Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on 2 Kings 25". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent