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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 36

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

Then the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and made him king in his father's stead in Jerusalem.

The people of the land took Jehoahaz. Immediately after Josiah's overthrow and death, the people raised to the throne Shallum (1 Chronicles 3:15), afterward called Jehoahaz, in preference to his older brother Eliakim, from whom they expected little good. Jehoahaz is said (2 Kings 23:30) to have received at Jerusalem the royal anointing-a ceremony not usually deemed necessary in circumstances of regular and undisputed succession. But in the case of Jehoahaz, it seems to have been resorted to in order to impart greater validity to the act of popular election, and, it may be, to render it less likely to be disturbed by Necho, who, like all Egyptians would associate the idea of sanctity with the regal anointing. He was the youngest son of Josiah, but the popular favourite-on account, probably, of his martial spirit (Ezekiel 19:3), and determined opposition to the aggressive views of Egypt. At his accession, the land was free from idolatry; but this prince, instead of following the footsteps of his excellent father, adopted the criminal policy of his apostatizing predecessors, and through his influence, directly or indirectly used, idolatry rapidly increased (see the note at 2 Kings 23:32).

Verse 2

Jehoahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem.

He reigned three months. His possession of sovereign power was of but very brief duration; because He reigned three months. His possession of sovereign power was of but very brief duration; because Necho determined to follow up the advantage that he gained in Judah, and, deeming it expedient to have a king of his own nomination on the throne of that country, he deposed the popularly elected monarch, and placed his brother Eliakim (whom God hath appointed), or Jehoiakim (whom Yahweh sets up), on the throne, whom he anticipated to be a more obsequious vassal. The course of events seems to have been this: on receiving intelligence after the battle of the accession of Jehoahaz to the throne, and perhaps also in consequence of the complaint which Eliakim brought before him in regard to this matter, Necho set out with a part of his forces to Jerusalem, while the remainder of his troops pursued their way at leisure toward Riblah, laid a tribute on the country, raised Eliakim (Jehoiakim) as his vassal to the throne, and, on his departure, brought Jehoahaz captive with him to Riblah. 'Riblah stood near "the entering in of Hamath," over the northern extremity of Anti-Lebanon' (Porter's 'Damascus,' 2:, p. 336). The old expositors mostly assumed that Necho, after the battle of Megiddo, marched directly against Carchemish, and then on his return came to Jerusalem. The improbability, indeed the impossibility, of his doing so appears from this: that Carchemish was from 400 to 500 miles from Megiddo, so that within "three months" an army could not possibly make its way there, conquer the fenced city Carchemish, and then march back a still greater distance to Jerusalem, and take that city (Keil).

Verse 3

And the king of Egypt put him down at Jerusalem, and condemned the land in an hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold.

An hundred talents of silver - 3,418 British pounds, 15 shillings.

And a talent of gold - 5,475 British pounds. Total amount of tribute: 8,893 British pounds, 15 shillings.

Verse 4

And the king of Egypt made Eliakim his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem, and turned his name to Jehoiakim. And Necho took Jehoahaz his brother, and carried him to Egypt.

Carried him (Jehoahaz) to Egypt - there he died (Jeremiah 22:10-12).

Verse 5

Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD his God. Jehoiakim ... did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord - i:e., he followed the course of his idolatrous predecessors; and the people to a great extent disinclined to the reforming policy of his father, eagerly availed themselves of the vicious licence which his lax administration restored. His character is portrayed with a masterly hand in the prophecy of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 22:13-19). As the deputy of the king of Egypt, he departed further than his predecessor from the principles of Josiah's government; and in trying to meet the insatiable cupidity of his master by grinding exactions from his subjects, he recklessly plunged into all evil.

Verse 6

Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon.

Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. This refers to the first expedition of Nebuchadnezzar against Palestine, in the lifetime of his father Nabopolassar, who, being old and infirm, adopted his son as joint-sovereign, and despatched him, with the command of his army, against the Egyptian invaders of his empire (Berosus, in 'Josephus contra Apion,' 1:, 19; also 'Antiquities,' b. 10:, ch. 2:, 1). Nebuchadnezzar defeated them at Carchemish, and drove them out of Asia, and reduced all the provinces west of the Euphrates to obedience-among the rest the kingdom of Jehoiakim, who became a vassal of the Assyrian empire (2 Kings 24:1).

Jehoiakim, at the end of three years, threw off the yoke, being influenced by the strong popular bias of his subjects toward Egypt, and at the same time being probably instigated to revolt by the solicitations of Pharaoh-Necho, who planned new expedition against Carchemish. But he was completely vanquished by the Babylonian king, who stripped him of all his possessions between the Euphrates and the Nile (2 Kings 24:7). Then marching against the Egyptians' ally in Judah, he took Jerusalem, carried away a portion of the sacred vessels of the temple, perhaps in lieu of the unpaid tribute, and deposited them in the temple of his god, Belus, at Babylon (Daniel 1:2; Daniel 5:2). Though Jehoiakim had been taken prisoner, and it was designed at first to transport him in chains to Babylon, he was allowed to remain in his tributary kingdom. But having given, not long after, some new offence, Jerusalem was besieged by a host of Assyrian dependents, in a sally against whom Jehoiakim was killed (see the notes at 2 Kings 24:2-7; also Jeremiah 22:18-19; Jeremiah 36:30).

Verses 7-8

Nebuchadnezzar also carried of the vessels of the house of the LORD to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 9

Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.

Jehoiachin was eight years old - called also Jeconiah or Coniah (Jeremiah 22:23). "Eight" should have been 'eighteen,' probably from a mistake in transcribing the numeral letters of the Hebrew text (Kennecott), as appears from 2 Kings 24:8, and also from the full development of his ungodly principles and habits (see Ezekiel 19:5-7). His reign being of so short duration cannot be considered at variance with the prophetic denunciation against his father (Jeremiah 36:30). But his appointment by the people gave umbrage to Nebuchadnezzar, who, "when the year was expired" (2 Chronicles 36:10) - i:e., in the spring, when campaigns usually began-came in person against Jerusalem, captured the city, and sent Jehoiachin in chains to Babylon, removing at the same time all the nobles and most skillful artisans, pillaging all the remaining treasures both of the temple and palace (see the notes at 2 Kings 24:8-17).

Verse 10

And when the year was expired, king Nebuchadnezzar sent, and brought him to Babylon, with the goodly vessels of the house of the LORD, and made Zedekiah his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 11

Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned eleven years in Jerusalem.

Zedekiah. Nebuchadnezzar appointed him. His name, originally Mattaniah, was, according to the custom of Oriental conquerors, changed into Zedekiah; and though the son of Josiah (1 Chronicles 3:15; Jeremiah 1:2-3; Jeremiah 37:1), he is called (2 Chronicles 36:10) the brother of Jehoiachin, i:e., according to the latitude of Hebrew style in words expressing affinity, his relative or kinsman (see the notes at 2 Kings 24:18; 26:1-21 : cf. 1 Chronicles 3:15; Jeremiah 37:1, where he is described as uncle; also Genesis 13:8; Genesis 14:16; Genesis 29:12-15).

Verse 12

And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the LORD.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 13

And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the LORD God of Israel.

Who had made him swear. Zedekiah received his crown on the express condition of taking a solemn oath of fealty to the king of Babylon (Ezekiel 17:13), so that his revolt, by joining in a league with Pharaoh-Hophra, king of Egypt, involved the crime of perjury (see the notes at 2 Kings 25:1-7; also an account of the war between Nebuchadnezzar and Pharaoh-Hophra (Aprics); an account of Zedekiah in Rawlinson's 'Herodotus,'

ii., p. 386). His own pride and obdurate impiety, the incurable idolatry of the nation, and their reckless disregard of prophetic warnings, brought down on his already sadly reduced kingdom the long-threatened judgment of God. Nebuchadnezzar, the executioner of the divine vengeance, commenced a third siege of Jerusalem, which, after holding out for a year and a half, was taken in the eleventh year of the reign of Zedekiah, resulting in the burning of the temple, with, most probably, the ark, and in the overthrow of the kingdom of Judah (see the notes at 2 Kings 22:1-20; Ezekiel 12:13; Ezekiel 17:16).

Verse 14

Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 15

And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place:

The Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers. So Haggai is called. So is the priest (Malachi 2:7), and the Baptist (Malachi 3:1; Luke 7:27). The word is used here as synonymous with "prophets."

Verses 16-19

But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 20

And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia:

Them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon. The humiliating and destructive aggression of the Chaldeans on the kingdom of Judah was followed by the removal of Jewish captives to Babylon, in accordance with the prophetic word of the Lord, announced first by Isaiah to Hezekiah privately (2 Kings 20:17-18; also Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45:1-19), and afterward by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 29:10) publicly with respect to the duration of the captivity.

Servants to him and his sons. The kings of Babylon, as of Persia, were ambitious of having a number of handsome, beautiful, well-formed, and accomplished youths in their royal retinue. Hence, they took the royal princes and aristocratic young men of Judah to the court of Babylon, (Daniel 1:1-21).

Until the reign of the kingdom of Persia - literally, until the king of the kingdom of the Persians.

Verse 21

To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.

Until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths. The return of every seventh was to be held as a sabbatic year, a season of rest to all classes, even to the land itself, which was to be fallow. This divine institution, however, was neglected-how soon and how long, appears from the prophecy of Moses (Leviticus 26:34), and of Jeremiah in this passage (see also margin ref.), which told that for divine retribution it was now to remain desolate seventy years. Since the Assyrian conquerors usually colonized their conquered provinces, so remarkable a deviation in Palestine from their customary policy must be ascribed to the overruling providence of God.

For as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfill threescore and ten years. Assuming that the Jewish people had neglected to allow their land the rest of the Sabbatic year, as the Mosaic law required, during the long period of 490 years, but tilled and cropped it without intermission during the whole time of the monarchy, the judgment of God was very striking in making their national punishment correspond to the continuous duration of their sin. Far in the course of those 490 years, seventy years ought to have been kept as sabbaths, and this period of rest, of which it had been sinfully deprived, was to be compensated to it by the allotted term of their captivity in Babylon. This exact correspondence between the sin and the punishment of the Jews will appear still more remarkable from the circumstance, which, there is reason to believe, is historically true, that both the northern and the southern kingdoms of Israel and Judah were overthrown in a sabbatical year.

Verse 22

Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,

The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus - (see the notes at Ezra 1:1-3.)

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 36". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/2-chronicles-36.html. 1871-8.
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