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The ruin of Judah is nearly arrived. Jehoiakim rebelling against the king of Babylon, to whom he had been tributary three years, is ruined. Jerusalem is taken. Some account of the evil reign of Zedekiah.
2 Kings 24:1
If the Reader will be careful to connect the last of the history of the kings of Judah, with the first of the Babylonish captivity, he should begin the close of the one with the opening of the other at this chapter. For here we first meet with that character of whom Daniel speaks so much, Nebuchadnezzar. Alas! such a character would never have been noticed in the Church but for the Church's backsliding. Satan would have never made the figure he doth had not our nature sinned.
I pray the Reader to observe the hand of God in all this. Evil men are but instruments for the accomplishment of the divine will. Judah must be removed, as Israel had been before. It is, for the most part, by sorrow and chastisement the stout hearts of obstinate sinners are brought low.
This may be really considered the close of the kingdom of Israel and Judah. For though there was a nominal king after Jehoiachim, yet as the king of Babylon made him king, he might be considered more as the creature of the king of Babylon, than possessing any kingly power. Here therefore we have the conquest of Jerusalem and the captivity of the people. Besides the multitude which the conqueror carried away to Babylon, we find from other parts of scripture an account of several remarkable characters. Ezekiel was among the captives. Ezekiel 1:1-2 . Mordecai was also in the number. See Esther 2:6 .
Reader! is it not awful, when we see that neither kindness nor severity will operate upon some minds. Zedekiah had seen the ruin of his kingdom by reason of sin; and yet he sinned more. Oh! how certain is it, that nothing but grace can change the heart. Dearest Lord, (I would say for myself and Reader), take not, oh! take not thine Holy Spirit from us!
WHAT an awful representation is made in this chapter, and, indeed, in the whole history; (for all the world is but one and the same volume) of sinners! Could one suppose it possible, was it not ascertained by fact, that men should brave the divine power, and, as it were, defy the Lord by the most determined perseverance in sin. See, my soul, in the destruction of Jerusalem, the sure and inevitable consequence! The wages of sin is, and must be, death, Oh! Lord Jesus, cause me, in the view of it, to flee to thee for refuge, and let me hear thy voice saying, Oh! Israel! thou halt destroyed thyself, but in me is thy help found.
Reader, behold Jerusalem thus ruined! see the people carried away captives. See how the Lord permitted the very heathens of the earth to scourge his people! Who, after this, will take confidence while in sin. O Lord! be gracious to thy land. For Jesus sake be not wroth very sore, neither do thou remember our iniquities forever; but be jealous for thy land, and heal her backslidings, we beseech thee.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Kings 24". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Epiphany