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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

2 Kings 25

 

 

Verse 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.

Nebuchadnezzar ... came ... against Jerusalem, and pitched against it. Incensed by the revolt of Zedekiah, the Assyrian despot determined to put an end to the perfidious and inconstant monarchy of Judah. This chapter narrates his third and last invasion, which he conducted in person at the head of an immense army, levied out of all the tributary nations under his sway. Having overrun the northern parts of the country, and taken almost all the fenced cities (Jeremiah 34:7), he marched direct to Jerusalem to invest it. The date of the beginning as well as of the end of the siege is here carefully marked (cf. Ezekiel 26:1; Jeremiah 39:1; Jeremiah 52:4-6); from which it appears that, with a brief interruption caused by Nebuchadnezzar's marching to oppose the Egyptians who were coming to its relief, but who retreated without fighting (see an account of the war of Nebuchadnezzar against him in revenge for his seducing Zedekiah from his allegiance to, Babylon, Wilkinson in Rawlinson's Herodotus, 2:, p. 386), the siege lasted a year and a half. So long a resistance was owing, not to the superior skill and valour of the Jewish soldiers, but to the strength of the city fortifications, on which the king too confidently relied, (cf. Jeremiah 21:1-14; Jeremiah 37:1-21; Jeremiah 38:1-28.)

Pitched against it; and ... built forts - rather, perhaps, drew lines of circumvallation, with a ditch to prevent any going out of the city. On this rampart was erected his military engines for throwing missiles into the city.


Verse 2

And the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 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.

On the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed. In consequence of the close and protracted blockade, the inhabitants were reduced to dreadful extremities; and, under the maddening influence of hunger, the most inhuman atrocities were perpetrated (Lamentations 2:20; Lamentations 2:22; Lamentations 4:9-10; Ezekiel 5:10). This was a fulfillment of the prophetic denunciations threatened on the apostasy of the chosen people (Leviticus 26:29; Deuteronomy 28:53-57; Jeremiah 15:2; Jeremiah 27:13; Ezekiel 4:16).


Verse 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.

The city was broken up - i:e., a breach was effected, as we are elsewhere informed, in a part of the wall belonging to the lower city (2 Chronicles 32:5; 2 Chronicles 33:14).

The gate between two walls, which is by the king's garden. The king's garden was (Nehemiah 3:15) at the Pool of Siloam-i e., at the mouth of the Tyropoeon, and extended thence to the defile in which En-rogel is situated. A trace of the outermost of these two walls appears to be still extant in the rude pathway which crosses the mouth of the Tyropoeon, on a mound hard by the old mulberry, tree which marks the traditional spot of Isaiah's martyrdom (Robinson's 'Biblical Researches,' p. 388; Barclay's 'City of the Great King,' p. 92; Porter's 'Handbook,' pp. 94, 95; Stewart's 'Tent and Khan,' p. 271). It is probable that the besiegers had overlooked this pass.

The king went ... toward the plain - i:e., the Ghor, or valley of Jordan, estimated at 5 hours' distance from Jerusalem. The plain near Jericho is about 11 or 12 miles wide.


Verse 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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 6

So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment upon him.

They took the king, and brought him ... to Riblah. Nebuchadnezzar, having gone from the siege to oppose the auxiliary forces of Pharaoh-hophra, left his generals to carry on the blockade, he himself not returning to the scene of action, but taking up his station at Riblah in the land of Hamath, near the 'entering in of Hamath,' under, the northern, extremity of Anti-Lebanon (Porter's Damascus, 2:, p. 336) (2 Kings 23:33).

Gave judgment upon him - they, i:e., the council (Jeremiah 39:3; Jeremiah 39:13; Daniel 6:7-8; Daniel 6:12), regarding him as a seditious and rebellious vassal, condemned him for violating his oath, and neglecting the announcement of the divine will as made known to him by Jeremiah (cf. Jeremiah 32:5; Jeremiah 34:2; Jeremiah 38:1-7). His sons and the nobles who had joined in his flight were slain before his eyes (Jeremiah 39:6; Jeremiah 52:10). In conformity with Eastern notions, which consider a blind man incapable of ruling, his eyes were put out, an operation frequently performed on young princes whom it is wished to deprive of all pretensions to the throne, and which is done in Persia by a red-hot iron held close to the eyes, so as to dry up the humours, but in Assyria and Babylon by the point of a spear, wielded by the king, on the captive monarch stooping on his knees before his conqueror to be blinded ('Nineveh and its Remains,' 2:, p. 376). It would be in this latter way that Zedekiah's eyes were put out; and afterward being put in chains (cf. Judges 16:21; Psalms 149:8), he was carried to perpetual imprisonment in Babylon (Jeremiah 52:11), which, though he came to it, as Ezekiel had foretold, he did not see (Jeremiah 32:5; Ezekiel 12:13; Ezekiel 17:16).


Verse 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. No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 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:

On the seventh day of the month ... came Nebuzar-adan - (cf. Jeremiah 52:12.) In attempting to, reconcile these two passages, it must be supposed, either that, though he had set out on the seventh day, he did not arrive in Jerusalem until the tenth day, or that he did not put his orders in execution until that day.


Verse 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.

He burnt the house of the Lord. The substructures of Solomon's temple have been discovered. The stones are of large size such as are special to Judea (and Assyria), and have the Jewish style of cut. The masonry is believed to belong to the time of Solomon (Robinson's 'Biblical Researches,' 1:, p. 426; 'Jewish Intelligence,' December, 1857, pp. 373, 374).

And the king's house. On the site afterward occupied by King Herod the Great's palace stood the royal residence of the kings of Judah, which was destroyed when the Jews were driven into captivity. His office as captain of the guard (Genesis 37:36; Genesis 39:1) called him to execute the awards of justice on criminals; and hence, although not engaged in the siege of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 39:13) Nebuzaradan was despatched to raze the city, to plunder the temple, to lay both in ruins, demolish the fortifications, and transport the inhabitants to Babylon.


Verses 10-12

And all the army of the Chaldees, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down the walls of Jerusalem round about.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 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.

The pillars of brass that were in the house of the Lord - (cf. Jeremiah 52:19-20.) The large bronze altar is not mentioned. Whether the gold used in overlaying the house, and in making up the furniture of the temple, was all removed previous to this, is not certain; but from what is stated, it would appear that much gold remained. The removing of such a vast quantity of metal to Babylon must have been a formidable undertaking, and it is exceedingly interesting thus to trace great and precious relies. The sacred vessels of gold and silver were preserved from destruction, and carried by the Assyrians to Babylon, who placed them in the temple of their idols. But in a very few years after the removal of the gold, silver, and brass from the temple in Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold in the plain of Dura (Daniel 3:1). This took place in so short a time after the fall of Jerusalem as to suggest that the image was likely to have been made from the metal removed from the city. The siege had been a formidable undertaking, and of sufficient importance to warrant a memorial being erected. And this image set up in Dura was in all probability in commemoration of the fall of Jerusalem-the defeat of the Jews (Napier's 'Ancient Workers in Metal,' p. 120).

We have no information given us respecting the fate of the tabernacle or of the ark. Supposing the latter to have been captured and transported to Babylon along with the other appurtenances of the sacred place, some surprise may be felt that, while detained in a pagan country, its stay was not marked by Babylonian emerods or by, some, Chaldean stricken for laying hands on it, or by the undirected march of milch-kine conveying it back to the holy land. The circumstances were different then from what they were at the time of the captivity. In the early period, the national covenant was in force, and Yahweh honoured the symbols of His presence placed among His people. In the latter, the national covenant had been completely broken by the apostasy of successive kings and the vast majority of their subjects in Judah, and the Lord was no longer bound to preserve or to honour the symbolic pledge of it. But the truth is, there is reason to believe that the ark was not among the spoils of the temple carried to Babylon; because undoubtedly the removal or destruction of an object so profoundly venerated would have been duly chronicled in the annals of the sacred historians. Perhaps it may have been hid by some pious priests, in anticipation of a disastrous outrage on the temple, as was done with other sacred treasures of that edifice. For Jewish tradition reports, with much probability, that Jeremiah, who had long before predicted that catastrophe, who was always distinguished for his attachment to the law, and who, as a priest and a prophet, lay under double responsibility to watch over its safety, had taken the precaution of removing the standard copy of the sacred books belonging to the temple beyond the reach of the flame which consumed holy house.


Verses 14-17

And the pots, and the shovels, and the snuffers, and the spoons, and all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered, took they away. No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 18

And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door:

The captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest. The most eminent inhabitants were taken to the king at Riblah (2 Kings 25:21), and executed, as instigators and abettors of the rebellion, or otherwise obnoxious to the Assyrian government. In their number were Seraiah, the high priest, grandfather of Ezra (Ezra 7:1), his sagan or deputy a priest of the second order (Jeremiah 21:2; Jeremiah 29:25; Jeremiah 29:29; Jeremiah 37:3).

The three keepers of the door - not mere porters, but officers of high trust among the Levites (2 Kings 22:4; 1 Chronicles 9:26).


Verse 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:

Five men of them that were in the king's presence - i:e., who belonged to the royal retinue: it is probable that there were five at first, and that other two were found afterward (Jeremiah 52:25).

And the principal scribe of the host. There were two army registrars, whose figures are seen in almost every bas-relief, writing down the various objects brought to them by the victorious warriors-the heads of the slain, the prisoners, cattle, sheep. furniture, and vessels of metal ('Nineveh and Babylon,' p. 633).


Verse 20

And Nebuzaradan captain of the guard took these, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah: No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 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.

So Judah was carried away out of their land. 'In the history of the Jewish state, this great truth is clearly and powerfully impressed, that as "righteousness exalteth a nation, so sin is the reproach of any people" (Proverbs 14:34) - a lesson which, but for the immediate and extraordinary providence displayed in this awful dispensation, could never have been so forcibly inculcated, or so clearly understood' (Graves, 'Lectures on the Four Last Books of the Pentateuch,' 2:, p. 230).


Verse 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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 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.

Nebuchadnezzar ... made Gedaliah ... ruler. The people permitted to remain were, besides the king's daughters, a few court attendants and others (Jeremiah 40:7), too insignificant to be removed-only the peasantry who could till the land and dress the vineyards. Gedaliah was Jeremiah's friend (Jeremiah 26:24), and having, by the prophet's counsel, probably fled from the city as abandoned of God, he surrendered himself to the conqueror (Jeremiah 38:2; Jeremiah 38:17), and being promoted to the government of Judea, fixed bit provincial court at Mizpah. He was well qualified to surmount the difficulties of ruling at each a crisis. Many of the fugitive Jews, as well as the soldiers of Zedekiah who had accompanied the king in his flight to the plains of Jericho, left their retreats (Jeremiah 40:11-12), and flocked around the governor, who, having counseled them to submit, promised them, on complying with this condition, security on oath, that they would retain their possessions and enjoy the produce of their land (Jeremiah 40:9).


Verse 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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 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.

Ishmael ... of the seed royal, came. He had found refuge with Baalis, king of the Ammonites, and he returned with a bad design, being either instigated by envy of a governor not descended from the house of David, or bribed by Baalis to murder (Gedaliah. The generous governor, though apprised of his intentions, refused to credit the report, much less to sanction the proposal made by an attached friend to cut off Ishmael. The cousequence was, that he was murdered by this same Ishmael when entertaining him in his own house (Jeremiah 41:1).


Verse 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.

Came to Egypt - in spite of Jeremiah's dissuasions (Jeremiah 43:7-8), and settled in various cities of that country (Jeremiah 44:1).


Verse 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;

Seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin - corresponding with the year of Nebuchadnezzar's death, and his son Evil-merodach's ascension to the throne.

Evil-merodach ... did lift up the head of Jehoiachin.


Verse 28

And he spake kindly to him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon;

And he spake kindly - gave him liberty upon parole. Jehoiachin had continued a state-prisoner for 37 years during the whole reign of Nebuchadnezzar, and among the many causes of grief and of mortification to the feelings of the captive Jews, perhaps there was no circumstance more humiliating than the fact, conscious to all of them, that one native sovereign was a miserable tenant, in prison garments, in one of the dungeons of Babylon, and that there, too, their last sovereign was immured so long as he lived-the eyeless Zedekiah in chains (cf. Jeremiah 39:7). The kindly feeling which subsisted between the young king of Babylon and Jehoiachin is said to have originated in a familiar acquaintance formed in prison in which Evil-merodach had lain until his father's death, on account of some malversation while acting as regent during Nebuchadnezzar's seven years' illness (Daniel 4:32-33); But doubtless the improvement in Jehoiachin's condition is to be traced to the overruling providence and grace of Him who still cherished purposes of love to the house of David (2 Samuel 7:14-15).


Verse 29

And changed his prison garments: and he did eat bread continually before him all the days of his life.

He did eat bread continually before him - i:e., according to an ancient usage in Eastern courts, had a seat at the royal table on great days, and had a stated provision granted him for the maintenance of his exiled court.

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 25:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-kings-25.html14. 1871-8.


Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, June 27th, 2017
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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