Today: [Jeremiah 52] The Throne of David is Extinguished. In this chapter of Jeremiah, we read of the detailed destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the leveling of the temple. The people are carried away in chains. The king of Judah begs scraps like a dog from the table of the king of Babylon the remainder of his life. As 70 years of captivity begin we consider for ourselves what lessons we might learn lest we fall after the example of this final generation of Judean’s before the captivity to Babylon.
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[Jer 52:1-34 KJV] 1 Zedekiah [was] one and twenty 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. 2 And he did [that which was] evil in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. 3 For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, till he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. 4 And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth [day] of the month, [that] Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it, and built forts against it round about. 5 So the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah. 6 And in the fourth month, in the ninth [day] of the month, the famine was sore in the city, so that there was no bread for the people of the land. 7 Then the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled, and went forth out of the city by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, which [was] by the king’s garden; (now the Chaldeans [were] by the city round about:) and they went by the way of the plain. 8 But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after the king, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and all his army was scattered from him. 9 Then they took the king, and carried him up unto the king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath; where he gave judgment upon him. 10 And the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes: he slew also all the princes of Judah in Riblah. 11 Then he put out the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in chains, and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death.
Now we come to the last chapter of Jeremiah when he recounts the reign of Zedekiah and the invasion of the Babylonians. We learn the name of Zedekiah’s mother and maternal grandfather, coincidentally also by the name of Jeremiah, but not the Jeremiah that writes the book and prophesies to the kingdom. Zedekiah is described as a king who did evil in the sight of the Lord as his brother Jehoiakim had done before him, even though they were sons of Josiah, a good and godly king of the line of David. This shows us as has many times been pointed out that godliness while it can be generational, is not genetic. In fact almost all the kings of the line of David for evil or good were usually a stark contrast from their fathers before them.
Zedekiah’s reign lasted 11 years and in the 9th year of his reign the siege by the Babylonians had begun. In the fourth month of the eleventh year the city fell and the men or war fled for their lives through a secret passage way near the king’s garden. They are pursued by the Chaldean armies and after seeing his sons slain before him, Zedekiah’s eyes are put out and he is led to Babylon in chains to die eventually in Nebuchadnezzar’s prison house. All of this of course was according to the prophecy of Jeremiah over this final king of the line of David, before Jesus Himself.
It is important to point out that none of this was necessary. For 100 years from Isaiah to Jeremiah the Spirit of God speaking through the prophets reasoned with the king and the people to abandon idolatry and return to the living God. For 100 years they resisted and rebelled and in spite of all that God did, showing mercy upon mercy, even when they brutally martyred both Isaiah and eventually Jeremiah himself, the nation falls, the city of Jerusalem is destroyed, and the temple is leveled. The throne of David and the house of David is in ruins.
12 Now in the fifth month, in the tenth [day] of the month, which [was] the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, [which] served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem, 13 And burned the house of the LORD, and the king’s house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great [men], burned he with fire: 14 And all the army of the Chaldeans, that [were] with the captain of the guard, brake down all the walls of Jerusalem round about. 15 Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive [certain] of the poor of the people, and the residue of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the multitude. 16 But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left [certain] of the poor of the land for vinedressers and for husbandmen. 17 Also the pillars of brass that [were] in the house of the LORD, and the bases, and the brasen sea that [was] in the house of the LORD, the Chaldeans brake, and carried all the brass of them to Babylon. 18 The caldrons also, and the shovels, and the snuffers, and the bowls, and the spoons, and all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered, took they away. 19 And the basons, and the firepans, and the bowls, and the caldrons, and the candlesticks, and the spoons, and the cups; [that] which [was] of gold [in] gold, and [that] which [was] of silver [in] silver, took the captain of the guard away. 20 The two pillars, one sea, and twelve brasen bulls that [were] under the bases, which king Solomon had made in the house of the LORD: the brass of all these vessels was without weight.
Nebuchadrezzar comes personally to oversee the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The army meticulously pulls down the walls of the city to assure that it will continue without inhabitant. It will not be until 70 years later that under Nehemiah the walls are rebuilt and temple restored afterward by Ezra after being given leave to do so by Cyrus according to the word of the Lord as well by Jeremiah. Verse 15 tells us that the captain of the guard by the name of Nebuzaradan then removes the majority of the people remaining in the land back to Babylon, but leaves just a residue of impoverished people to serve as vinedressers and agricultural workers.
After dispatching the remnant of the people of the land into chains and captivity, Nebuzaradan proceeds to take inventory of all the vessels of the house of the Lord for removal to Babylon’s treasure houses. These are the very vessels that Nebuchadrezzar’s son Belshazzar is using in a drunken party when the hand of God comes forth and writes “Mene, Mene, Tekel Upharasin” on the wall of the banquet hall – meaning “thou art weighed in the balances and found wanting….” Notice that these vessels were the trophies of conquest as far as the Babylonians are concerned. This again shows us the Spirit of Babylon at work to carry away believers that are the vessels of God spoken of in 2 Tim. 2:20. The king of Babylon today greatly desires to drink and be drunken from the vessels of God’s house. We need only look at men and women, such as Katy Perry, Elvis Presley, Whitney Houston, Amy Grant and many others who started out started out for the Lord and serving God with all their hearts, but were carried away captive to Babylon that the king of Babylon could drink from them and use them for his purposes. It is a little-known fact that even John Lennon made a complete and total conversion to Christ yet after much pressure by his wife Yoko, an avowed occultists, he repented and died in a hail of bullets shortly after. In the early days of his acting career Tom Cruise spent his days on set reading his bible between scenes, professing a love for Christ as the guide stone of his life. The enemy greatly covets the vessels of the temple which these were and you are, so be circumspect knowing that the devouring of the enemy as a roaring line is focusing his appetites on you in the aftermath of every success of your life.
21 And [concerning] the pillars, the height of one pillar [was] eighteen cubits; and a fillet of twelve cubits did compass it; and the thickness thereof [was] four fingers: [it was] hollow. 22 And a chapiter of brass [was] upon it; and the height of one chapiter [was] five cubits, with network and pomegranates upon the chapiters round about, all [of] brass. The second pillar also and the pomegranates [were] like unto these. 23 And there were ninety and six pomegranates on a side; [and] all the pomegranates upon the network [were] an hundred round about. 24 And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door: 25 He took also out of the city an eunuch, which had the charge of the men of war; and seven men of them that were near the king’s person, which were found in the city; and the principal scribe of the host, who mustered the people of the land; and threescore men of the people of the land, that were found in the midst of the city. 26 So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took them, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah. 27 And the king of Babylon smote them, and put them to death in Riblah in the land of Hamath. Thus Judah was carried away captive out of his own land. 28 This [is] the people whom Nebuchadrezzar carried away captive: in the seventh year three thousand Jews and three and twenty: 29 In the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar he carried away captive from Jerusalem eight hundred thirty and two persons: 30 In the three and twentieth year of Nebuchadrezzar Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred forty and five persons: all the persons [were] four thousand and six hundred. 31 And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth [day] of the month, [that] Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the [first] year of his reign lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison, 32 And spake kindly unto him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that [were] with him in Babylon, 33 And changed his prison garments: and he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life. 34 And [for] his diet, there was a continual diet given him of the king of Babylon, every day a portion until the day of his death, all the days of his life.
In verse 24 we find a caution to those that allow themselves to be associated with compromised leaders. Nebuzaradan takes a unnamed eunuch, and several highly placed advisors to king Zedekiah and delivers them 100’s of miles away at the feet of the king of Babylon who personally beats them and brutally puts them to death. Zedekiah was a king like Saul, who despised the prophets and went his own way. There were many faithful servants of God who knew the ungodliness of the king but purposed to serve him any way for their own reasons. Ultimately, they suffered his fate, sharing in the shame of which they personally had not participated in, but had colluded with nonetheless by choosing to remain under Zedekiah’s leadership. What can we learn from this? Don’t turn a blind eye when leaders choose a path that despises the prophetic, and turns away from what God has for them. There is great danger there even for good and godly people who choose to take the path of least resistance rather than to stand up for the right.
Finally, in verse 31 we see that the kindnesses of the ungodly are cruel as the grave. During the years and more that Jehoiakim and Zedekiah reigned and brought ruin to the house of Judah, the 3rd from the last king, also a son of Josiah suffered in chains in Babylon. After many years of suffering the king of Babylon shows mercy to him and changes his garment and allows him to eat at the king’s table to the very last day of his life. The nation is fallen, Jerusalem is in ruins, the temple is leveled, the vessels of the holy place are in the treasure house of Babylon. The king himself begs for scraps like a dog from the table of the king of Babylon. Thus begins a time of 70 years of captivity while the land reclaims its Sabbaths that had been denied them by a disobedient and gainsaying people who from Moses to Zedekiah had never full obeyed the voice of their God.
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