Today: [2 Kings Chapter Twenty-Five] Judah Goes into Captivity. In this chapter the puppet king of Judah by the name of Zedekiah attempts to revolt against his master the king of Babylon. Nebuchaddnezzar successfully besieges the city. The walls are destroyed. All the principal houses are burned. The temple is destroyed and the king’s palaces are destroyed. The remaining gold and brass in the temple are taken to Babylon as spoil. The king’s sons are slain before his eyes and his eyes are put out as was prophesied to Josiah and to Hezekiah before him. What was the one great sin of the people that brought the southern kingdom to ruin? The sin of idolatry and the shedding of innocent blood.
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[2Ki 25:1-30 KJV] 1 And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth [day] of the month, [that] Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he, and all his host, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it; and they built forts against it round about. 2 And the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah. 3 And on the ninth [day] of the [fourth] month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land. 4 And the city was broken up, and all the men of war [fled] by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which [is] by the king’s garden: (now the Chaldees [were] against the city round about:) and [the king] went the way toward the plain. 5 And the army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army were scattered from him. 6 So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment upon him. 7 And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon. 8 And in the fifth month, on the seventh [day] of the month, which [is] the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem: 9 And he burnt the house of the LORD, and the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great [man’s] house burnt he with fire.
In this chapter we see that the sons of Josiah have been deposed and the king of Babylon set Josiah’s brother Mattaniah over the city of Jerusalem. He was not the God ordained king because he was not a direct descendant of David. The direct descendant of David was Josiah’s youngest son Jehoachin who was carried away to Babylon by the king previously. Why did Nebuchadnezzar install Josiah’s brother as king in place of Jehoachin? Because he was well acquainted with the tremendous and prophesied destiny of the line of David and he wanted to quench any nationalistic zeal of the people by putting Mattaniah as king. He then changed Mattaniah’s name to Zedekiah which means “God is Righteous”. In other words Nebucahdnezzar was claiming that the God of the Hebrews had given him the city and the southern kingdom as a punishment against the people and that they should submit therefore to his rule.
However after the king of Babylon returned home there were false prophets who began to encouraged Zedekiah to rebell against Nebuchadnezzar. He was warned strongly by his father-in-law Jeremiah against this. The king had married the prophet Jeremiah’s daughter and therefore the prophet Jeremiah became the king’s counselor.
He refused to take Jeremiah’s counsel and revolted against Nebuchaddnezzar. The king of Babylon returned and successfully besieges the city with the vassal army of the Chaldeans. This is prophetic justice because remember that Abraham originated from Chaldea and now because of the disobedience of the people God is turning the heritage of Abraham over to the Chaldeans from whence Abraham originally came. The city is lost and the army flees. Zedekiah and his family are captured by the Chaldeans and true to the prophecy of Huldah to Josia the king’s sons and kills before his eyes, his eyes are put out and he is taken to Babylon as a captive.
10 And all the army of the Chaldees, that [were with] the captain of the guard, brake down the walls of Jerusalem round about. 11 Now the rest of the people [that were] left in the city, and the fugitives that fell away to the king of Babylon, with the remnant of the multitude, did Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carry away. 12 But the captain of the guard left of the poor of the land [to be] vinedressers and husbandmen. 13 And 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, did the Chaldees break in pieces, and carried the brass of them to Babylon. 14 And the pots, and the shovels, and the snuffers, and the spoons, and all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered, took they away. 15 And the firepans, and the bowls, [and] such things as [were] of gold, [in] gold, and of silver, [in] silver, the captain of the guard took away. 16 The two pillars, one sea, and the bases which Solomon had made for the house of the LORD; the brass of all these vessels was without weight. 17 The height of the one pillar [was] eighteen cubits, and the chapiter upon it [was] brass: and the height of the chapiter three cubits; and the wreathen work, and pomegranates upon the chapiter round about, all of brass: and like unto these had the second pillar with wreathen work. 18 And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door: 19 And out of the city he took an officer that was set over the men of war, and five men of them that were in the king’s presence, which were found in the city, and the principal scribe of the host, which mustered the people of the land, and threescore men of the people of the land [that were] found in the city: 20 And Nebuzaradan captain of the guard took these, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah: 21 And the king of Babylon smote them, and slew them at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was carried away out of their land.
The high priest is captured as well and taken to Nebuchadnezar and he personally takes the high priest’s life. Why did he do this? Because he knew that Zedekiah was a pretender to the throne whose only power was given to him by Babylon. The high priest on the other hand was the highest ranking legitimate ruler of the southern kingdom. The house of the Lord is burned to ashes. The king’s house it burned to ashes. The city walls were destroyed and razed by the Chaldeans. All according to the prophesy of Huldah who spoke to Josiah that the city would only be spared in his lifetime. Why did all this happen? The seeds of this judgment were planted in the syncretism practiced by Solomon himself when he allowed his foreign wives to worship Chemosh and Molech on the Mount of Olives. The bitter harvest was reaped because of the sins of Ahaz and Mannasseh who perverted and corrupted the worship of the one true God into a blend of pagan and idolatrous worship that included the worship of Ashtoreth, goddess of fertility in the Holy Place itself.
22 And [as for] the people that remained in the land of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had left, even over them he made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, ruler. 23 And when all the captains of the armies, they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah governor, there came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, even Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Johanan the son of Careah, and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah the son of a Maachathite, they and their men. 24 And Gedaliah sware to them, and to their men, and said unto them, Fear not to be the servants of the Chaldees: dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon; and it shall be well with you. 25 But it came to pass in the seventh month, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the seed royal, came, and ten men with him, and smote Gedaliah, that he died, and the Jews and the Chaldees that were with him at Mizpah. 26 And all the people, both small and great, and the captains of the armies, arose, and came to Egypt: for they were afraid of the Chaldees. 27 And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the seven and twentieth [day] of the month, [that] Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the year that he began to reign did lift up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison; 28 And he spake kindly to him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that [were] with him in Babylon; 29 And changed his prison garments: and he did eat bread continually before him all the days of his life. 30 And his allowance [was] a continual allowance given him of the king, a daily rate for every day, all the days of his life.
Nebuchadnezzar appoints a Chaldean by the name of Gedaliah over the southern kingdom as a puppet ruler but he is quickly assassinated by remaining members of the royal line of David. The remaining gold in the temple is taken to Babylon. The brazen altar, and all the brass artifacts from Solomon’s day are dismantled and taken to Babylon. Brass represents judgment and gold represents wisdom. Spiritually speaking this is when the wisdom and discernment of God’s people is overthrown by the principles of the world because leaders don’t wish to offend but rather to court and pander to our secular culture. In time the true heir who has been in Babylon in chains is lifted up by a new king in Babylon by the name of Evilmerodach who releases him from prison and speaks kindly to him. A powerless church is no threat to the king of Babylon. The people of God now experience a respite from bloodshed for a time as a captive people with a captive king in Babylon whose rulers name is the epitome of Evil itself.
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