2 KINGS CHAPTER 24.
Nebuchadnezzar Oppresses Judah.
THE REIGN OF JEHOIAKIM. — V. 1. In his days, in the fifth or sixth year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came up, after he had inflicted a decisive defeat on the Egyptian forces at Carchemish, on the Euphrates, Jer. 46, 2, and Jehoiakim, after the surrender of Jerusalem, became his servant, his tributary vassal, three years. Then he turned and rebelled against him. V. 2. And the Lord sent against him, as a punishment for his sins, bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, not in an organized army at first, but in companies of raiders; for all these nations, while recognizing Nebuchadnezzar’s supremacy, took the opportunity of gratifying their own hate against Judah, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according the word of the Lord which He spake to His servants, the prophets, chap. 20, 17; 21, 12-14; 23, 27. V.3. Surely at the commandment of the Lord, because God so willed it, as is here once more stated for the sake of emphasis, came this upon Judah to remove them out of His sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did, his wickedness having polluted the entire nation, v. 4. and also for the innocent blood that he shed; for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, which the Lord would not pardon, chap. 21, 16. V. 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? V. 6. So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers, Jer. 22, 19; 36, 30; and Jehoiachin, his son, reigned in his stead. V.7. And the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land, after the decisive defeat on the Euphrates; for the king of Babylon had taken from the river of Egypt unto the river Euphrates all that pertained to the king of Egypt, all the countries which had become tributary to Egypt. The corruptions of these last days of the world are similar to those preceding the first destruction of Jerusalem, and so the Judgment must be near.
THE REIGN OF JEHOIACHIN. — V. 8. Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His name is also given as Jeconiah, 1 Chron. 3, 16; Jer. 24, 1, and as Coniah, Jer. 22, 24. 28. And his mother’s name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem, Elnathan having been one of the chief officers at court, Jer. 26, 22; 36, 12. 25. V. 9. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father had done. V. 10. At that time, in the spring of the year, when military operations were opened, the servants of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged, his officers being in general charge of the siege. V. 11. And Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came against the city, taking personal charge of the campaign as the fall of the city seemed imminent, and his servants did besiege it. V. 12. And Jehoiachin, the king of Judah, realizing the uselessness of further resistance, went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers, all the most influential men of the nation; and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign, he dethroned him, made him captive. V. 13. And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house, whatever money and gifts had been deposited there in about the last decade, and cut in pieces, rather, tore loose from their fastenings, all the vessels of gold which Solomon, king of Israel, had made in the Temple of the Lord, as the Lord had said, Jer. 20, 5. V. 14. And he carried away all Jerusalem, all the most representative citizens, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valor, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths, such as might provide the people of Judah with weapons; none remained save the poorest sort of the people of the land, such as would not be dangerous to his rule. V. 15. And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king’s mother, and the king’s wives, for he also had a harem according to Oriental style, and his officers, and the mighty of the land; those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon, their number being some two thousand. V. 16. And all the men of might, the able-bodied men, those fit for military duty, even seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths a thousand, all that were strong and apt for war, even them the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon, to the country in which his capital was situated, where they were colonized, Jer. 29. Any corruption of morals usually proceeds from the leaders of a nation, and therefore the Lord’s punishment strikes these first. God is righteous in all His judgments and rewards every one according to his deeds.
ZEDEKIAH BEGINS HIS RULE. — V. 17. And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah, his father’s brother, a third son of Josiah, king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah (“the righteousness of Jehovah,” he by whom Jehovah executes justice). V. 18. Zedekiah was twenty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. Cp. chap. 23, 31. V. 19. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that Jehoiakim had done, thus fulfilling Judah’s measure of iniquity. V. 20. For through the anger of the Lord it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, until He had cast them out from His presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. The final execution of the Lord’s judgment took place in his reign, the rebellion which took place in the seventh or eighth year of Zedekiah’s reign being merely the occasion which brought on the catastrophe. If all efforts to gain the hearts by admonition and reproof prove futile, the Lord at last delivers men into the judgment which their sin deserves.