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Bible Commentaries

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

2 Kings 25

 

 

Verse 10

A CITY WITHOUT WALLS

‘All the army of the Chaldees … brake down the walls of Jerusalem.’

2 Kings 25:10

I. Judah’s fall teaches this: God will not be mocked; what one sows he will have to reap.—It becomes a question of singular interest to ask and answer whether the Lord God our Maker really does mean what He says, when He threatens to punish sin. He has Himself left no doubt upon that point, so far as emphatic declarations are concerned, so far as it is possible for language to make His ultimate meaning clear. He has, however, a way of apparently taking back a measure of what He has said. He repents Himself of the evil He threatened He would do, and He does it not; and this is for the sake of bringing the sinner to repent.

Such forbearance men are apt to presume upon and pervert. There is a sort of coarse logic which they press. So they draw false inferences, and go on sinning. One abrupt, half-indignant challenge has been placed on record by the Apostle Paul (Romans 2:3-4). And once, when Simon Peter attained the height of his argument, in his expostulation with delaying sinners, and seemed to consider he had already said all that was needed, he still paused to adduce three of the grandest events in eternal history to illustrate and clinch his appeal (2 Peter 2:4-6). God did finally cast those wicked angels down to hell, He did at last bring in the Flood in Noah’s time upon the ungodly, He did unmistakably turn Sodom and Gomorrah into desolate ashes, as He said He would.

II. Let us learn a second lesson: The Almighty God often makes even the spite of wicked men serve Him in the fulfilment of prophecies.—We must turn here from the history to a prediction delivered by one of the prophets. God spoke by the tongue of Ezekiel one of the most mysterious and most curious predictions in the entire Bible. He declared that King Zedekiah should be led into Babylon a captive, should there live and there die, and yet he should never see the city. So singular is this record that we must read the verses just as he wrote them out (Ezekiel 12:10-13). Now, put with this a parallel passage. Jeremiah was thrown Into prison by this monarch. While there under bonds, he in like manner predicted the downfall of Jerusalem; and he said that Zedekiah should speak with Nebuchadnezzar mouth to mouth, and see his eyes. See the exact words (Jeremiah 32:3-5).

Mark, now, how the Providence of the Almighty stoops, as it were, to work out the details of this almost contradictory prediction. Two verses in the chapter before us here meet the whole difficulty. Nebuchadnezzar was at Riblah, not yet returned to his capital; and the unhappy King of Judah was brought to him, and condemned to have both of his eyes put out. When this was done, the suffering man was ‘led’ into Babylon. There Zedekiah wore his life away, sad and sightless. So he saw the king, but did not see the city; and thus it was that an Assyrian heathen had unwittingly fulfilled a prophecy of God’s Word.

III. Notice yet another suggestion: Sins often mass themselves up, while the sinner is unconscious of their commission.—The effect of an easy and continued abiding in any course of disobedience to God is invariably to blind and hush conscience to sleep. Small transgressions, little peccadilloes, as men and women call them, keep dropping like the flakes of a winter storm, softly, gently, chilling unsuspectedly while they cover up the tracks, growing cold as well as heavy, and benumbing sensibility, while they fill up the road with drifts. Souls frequently awake after all hope is past, and are surprised to find themselves the centre of a vast aggregate of sin that is crushing them with its unendurable weight. We must remember that God never forgets anything.

Illustrations

(1) ‘It is a terrible story. We can hardly credit that it is the history of the land of David and Solomon, and of the chosen people. But the Word of God must stand. To the froward He will show Himself froward. He is always love; but as the same sun which melts wax will harden clay, so God’s love, which is to the believing and loving soul a great peace and joy, is to those that refuse it the savour of death unto death.’

(2) ‘Great and small share in the evils of a public disaster. War, pestilence, fire, and flood make no account of the wealth or the poverty, of the prominence or the insignificance, of their victims. Neither riches nor station can lift one above the reach of personal and social troubles, or above the sweep of God’s judgments. Only he whose interests are one with God is free from peril in the sway of God’s Providences, or in the hate of God’s enemies.’

(3) ‘The historical student will recall the case of Basil II, emperor of the East, and one of the greatest military commanders of a thousand years ago, who ordered the eyes of fifteen thousand Bulgarian captives to be gouged out, in order to awe the conquered nation. The expedient was quite successful. A striking instance of barbaric clemency is that recorded of an Ashantee war, when all the prisoners were slain except one. He was spared, but his head was shaved, his ears and nose were cut off, and he was obliged to carry the conqueror’s drum.’

 


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Bibliography Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 2 Kings 25:4". Church Pulpit Commentary. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/2-kings-25.html10. 1876.


Lectionary Calendar
Friday, August 18th, 2017
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19
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