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Bible Commentaries

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable
2 Kings 25

 

 

Verses 8-30

I. The Captivity of the Southern Kingdom25:8-30

Nebuzaradan, Nebuchadnezzar"s commander-in-chief, returned to destroy Jerusalem more thoroughly and to preclude any successful national uprising in Judah.

His burning of Yahweh"s house ( 2 Kings 25:9) was a statement that the Babylonians had overcome Yahweh as much as it was an effort to keep the remaining Judahites from worshipping Him. This act would have thoroughly demoralized even the godly in Judah, since in the ancient Near East the condition of the house (temple) of a god reflected on that god"s reputation. The breaking down of Jerusalem"s walls ( 2 Kings 25:10) prevented the inhabitants from defending themselves but also visualized the fact that Judah no longer had any defense. Yahweh had been her defense. The third deportation removed all but the poorest of the people from the land ( 2 Kings 25:11-12).

The writer"s emphasis on the desecration of Yahweh"s temple ( 2 Kings 25:13-17) illustrates God"s abandonment of His people (cf. 1 Kings 9:7-9). His special interest in the pillars ( 2 Kings 25:17) draws attention to the fact that Israel, which God had established (Jachin), had suffered destruction. Israel"s strength (Boaz) had also departed from her because of her apostasy (cf. Samson). Most scholars believe the Babylonians either destroyed the ark of the covenant or took it to Babylon from which it never returned to Jerusalem (but cf. 2 Chronicles 5:9). A few believe the Jews hid it under the temple esplanade.

The Babylonians also cut the priesthood back ( 2 Kings 25:18-21) so the people could not unite around it and rebel. Its temporary termination also meant that Israel was no longer able to worship God as He had prescribed because she had been unfaithful to Him. Access to God as the Mosaic Law specified was no longer possible. Both the temple furnishings and the priesthood that God had ordained for access to Himself were no longer available to the people. Israel could no longer function as a kingdom of priests as God had intended her to live ( Exodus 19:5-6).

Ezekiel and Daniel both ministered in Babylon during the Captivity: Ezekiel to the exiles in their settlement, and Daniel to the Babylonians and Medo-Persians in their capitals. The context of the Book of Esther is also the Babylonian captivity and the Persian capital.

"In the exile and beyond it, Judaism was born." [Note: Bright, p323.]

By this, Bright meant the present form of Israelite worship that operates around the world today without a temple and Levitical priesthood.

Gedaliah ( 2 Kings 25:22) was a descendant of Josiah"s secretary (of state? 2 Kings 22:3). He was a friend of Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 39:14) who followed that prophet"s advice to cooperate with the Babylonians. Ishmael ( 2 Kings 25:25) possessed royal blood and evidently wanted to rule over Judah (cf. Jeremiah 41:2). Mizpah, the Babylonian provincial capital, was just seven miles north of Jerusalem (cf. 1 Samuel 7:5-12).

"It is not altogether clear whether this [Gedaliah"s assassination] is in the same year that Jerusalem fell or not. The wall was breached in the fourth month (=early July; Jeremiah 39:2) and Nebuzaradan came and burned the palace, the temple, and many of the houses and tore down the wall in the fifth month (=early August; Jeremiah 52:12). That would have left time between the fifth month and the seventh month (October) to gather in the harvest of grapes, dates and figs, and olives ( Jeremiah 40:12). However, many commentators feel that too much activity takes place in too short a time for this to have been in the same year and posit that it happened the following year or even five years later when a further deportation took place, possibly in retaliation for the murder of Gedaliah and the Babylonian garrison at Mizpah ( Jeremiah 52:30). The assassination of Gedaliah had momentous consequences and was commemorated in one of the post exilic fast days lamenting the fall of Jerusalem ( Zechariah 8:19)." [Note: The NET Bible note on25:25.]

It is ironic that the Judahites who rebelled against the Babylonians and God"s will in an attempt to secure their independence ended up fleeing back to Egypt. Their forefathers had been slaves there, and God had liberated them from Egypt850 years earlier ( 2 Kings 25:26; cf. Deuteronomy 28:68).

In560 B.C, the Babylonian king Evilmerodach (562-560 B.C.) permitted Jehoiachin to enjoy a measure of freedom. Perhaps the writer of Kings chose to end his book on this positive note because in the Abrahamic Covenant, God had promised that He would never abandon His chosen people completely ( Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 12:7). In the Mosaic Covenant, He also assured them that if they repented, He would bring them back into their land ( Deuteronomy 30:1-5; cf. 1 Kings 8:46-53). God"s mercy to Jehoiachin also points to the continuation of the Davidic dynasty that God had promised would never end ( 2 Samuel 7:16). God"s mercy to His people is one of the persistently recurring motifs in Kings.

 


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Bibliography Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Kings 25:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/2-kings-25.html8. 2012.


Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 22nd, 2017
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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