Today: [2 Kings Chapter Twenty-Four] The Sons of Josiah Reign – Sort of. In this chapter we see the sons of Josiah attempt to hold the kingdom together while refusing to live for God. The sins of Mannesseh have brought a pall over the southern kingdom while they suffer invasion after invasion from many warring nations. Eventually they become vassals of Nebuchadnezzar as the post exilic era begins to dawn and Judah goes totally into captivity.
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[2Ki 24:1-20 KJV] 1 In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years: then he turned and rebelled against him. 2 And the LORD sent against him bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servants the prophets. 3 Surely at the commandment of the LORD came [this] upon Judah, to remove [them] out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did; 4 And also for the innocent blood that he shed: for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the LORD would not pardon. 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? 6 So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.
In the last chapter we see the final reforms of Josiah and the report that he was felled by archers at Megiddo when battling against Neco of Egypt. Neco of Egypt brought Josiah back to Jerusalem and allowed him to be buried with his fathers. Neco establishes his rule over the city and the southern kingdom and sets up Josiah’s eldest son Johahaz as a puppet king under his despotic rule. Jehoahaz displeased the king of Egypt so he was taken to Egypt in chains and his younger brother Jehoiakim was appointed in his place.
While serving under the king of Egypt the city is taken by another despot – the king of Babylon and Jehoiakim becomes his vassal for three additional years. It would seem a good thing to come out from under the jackboot of the Egyptians and the Babylonians but remember that these captivities were all retribution by God for the sins of Mannasseh the grandfather of Jeoahaz (taken in chains to Egypt) and Jehoiakim his younger brother. The Lord sends the Chaldeans, the Syrians, the Moabites and the Ammonites against Jerusalem as the line of kings before the great captivity winds down to it’s terminus. Jehoiakim reigns for eleven years and dies apparently of natural causes under the strain of constant siege and territorial encroachment of the nation of Judah. Jehoiakim was indeed a patriot of Judah but he was not a godly man and did not enjoy divine protection as Josiah and Hezekiah did before him. Further reading 2 Chronicles and Jeremiah tells us that after Jehoiakim’s death his body was thrown unceremoniously outside the city treated as one would a dead livestock animal. Having said this there is also speculation that he died in Babylon and some suggest in Egypt but regardless his end was not an honorable one.
7 And the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land: for the king of Babylon had taken from the river of Egypt unto the river Euphrates all that pertained to the king of Egypt. 8 Jehoiachin [was] eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother’s name [was] Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem. 9 And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father had done. 10 At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. 11 And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it. 12 And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign.
Jehoiakim’s son Jehoiachin reigns in his fathers place and the vassalage to Egypt comes to its complete end and the king of Babylon establishes territory by conquest that swallows the southern kingdom. Even under this heavy hand of judgment Jehoiachin continues to do evel in the sight of the Lord following in the example of Ahaz and Mannasseh before him. Nebuchadnezzar sends his army to besiege Jerusalem and the young king goes out to meet Nebuchadnezzar and surrenders totally. The house of Lord is pillaged and the royal family is taken to Babylon in chains.
13 And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had said. 14 And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, [even] ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land. 15 And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king’s mother, and the king’s wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land, [those] carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. 16 And all the men of might, [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.
Nebuchadnezzar now completely dismantles the remaining sacred artifacts in the temple. The ark of the Covenant has long been lost to history. Some think that Solomon secreted the ark with the Queen of Sheba and that it rests in the kingdom of Ethiopea to this day. Thousands of craftsmen, smiths and military men are taken with their families to Babylon. Only the poorest of the poor were left behind to tend the vestigial remnants of the once magnificent kingdom of David and Solomon the great.
17 And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father’s brother king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah. 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. 19 And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. 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. During this time the prophet Jeremiah was Zedekiah’s counselor and wrote the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations. Yet for all of this Zedekiah does evil in the sight of the Lord.
Zedekiah is the last king in Judah before the kingdom’s total destruction by the king of Babylon. Zedekiah is not his given name. It was imposed upon him by the king of Babylon and means “God is righteous” suggesting that the destruction of Jerusalem and capivity to Babylon were seen even by this pagan king as God’s judgment. Zedekiah is Jeconiah’s uncle therefore still in the line of David – yes was installed again as a mere puppet to serve the king of Babylon and his wishes. These events take place 600 years before Christ. The number is telling being the number of man and the number of fulness, seeing that man’s influence and sinfulness has now manifested it’s full and final character in the complete destruction of the temple, the city and the dismantling of the southern kingdom. From this point forward you will see Zedekiah again rebel, be put down and a Chaldean governor named Gedaliah installed as regeant over the fallen kingdom.
One important note here is to begin to think about David’s bloodline seperate from the governance of Judea. Zedeciah is Jeconiah’s uncle but Jeconiah is a direct descendant of David. Zedeciah was set up by Nebuchadnezzar but the deposed Jeconiah has a son Shealtiel who is the father of Zerubabbel who leads a restoration of the city and the temple at a later date. This bloodline of David is the heritage of the Lord Jesus Christ and it even in exile remains intact until the birth of Jesus. It is believed after the death of Jesus that his line died out in the years of upheaval and civil unrest that following being hunted down and destroyed by the many enemies of the new found Christian faith.
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