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Thursday, May 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 36

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-23

Chapter 36

Now at his death, Jehoahaz began to reign.

He was twenty-three years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for only three months in Jerusalem. And the king of Egypt came up, conquered him, and took him back as a captive to Egypt and made Eliakim his brother the king over Judah and Jerusalem, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, he reigned eleven years: he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD his God. And against him came Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon ( 2 Chronicles 36:2-6 ).

And Nebuchadnezzar set upon the throne a vassal king, Jehoiachin, who was only eight years old and he reigned only for three months and ten days and did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord. Now that's, for an eight-year old kid who only reigned for three months that's pretty good. Pretty bad.

And when the year was expired, king Nebuchadnezzar sent, and brought him to Babylon, with the goodly vessels of the house of the LORD, and he made Zedekiah his brother the king over Judah and Jerusalem. Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he began to reign, he reigned for eleven years. He did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the Lord ( 2 Chronicles 36:10-12 ).

In fact, Zedekiah had Jeremiah thrown in the dungeon.

And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and he hardened his heart from turning unto the LORD God of Israel. Moreover all of the chief priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: but they mocked the messengers of God, they despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy. Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon the young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand. And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon. And they burnt the house of God, broke down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed the beautiful vessels. And all of them that had escaped from the sword were carried away captive to Babylon; where they were the servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years ( 2 Chronicles 36:13-21 ).

Israel had existed for 490 years in the land which God had given unto them. Now, they were commanded in the law of Moses to let the land rest every seven years. They were to plant the land. They were to cycle their crops. Six years they were to plant. The seventh year they weren't to plant. Just that which grew up by itself. They were to eat it. But they weren't to plant any. Just let the land rest in the seventh year.

Now they failed to do that. They didn't obey the commandment of God, the law of God. So when God brought them into captivity He said, "And because they have not obeyed for the 490 years the Sabbath law but have planted the land year after year, I will allow the land to lie desolate for seventy years because there are seventy Sabbaths that were missed by the land." And so God said, "I'll just let the land lie for seventy years in order that the land might have its Sabbaths that it missed while the people were living there because they disobeyed the law of the Lord."

Here we find the captivity, the end of the nation and the beginning of what the scriptures call the time of the Gentiles from a biblical kind of a standpoint. The time of the Gentile reign beginning with Babylon and the Babylonian kingdom which will move to the Medo-Persian kingdom, which will move to the Grecian kingdom, which will move to the Roman empire, which finally will move into a ten-nation federation in the last days. Ten-nation European federation which we see taking place today.

But it is interesting that God in declaring, first of all, His love and because He loved them He sent His prophets, but they wouldn't listen. They mocked the prophets. They despised the word of God. They misused the prophets of God. Therefore, the judgment was sealed by themselves. God withdrew His hand of protection. God withdrew His hand of blessing and judgment came.

What lessons there are for us to learn. "If you forsake the Lord," the prophet said, "you will be forsaken by the Lord." They forsook God. They were forsaken by God and are now carried away captive. Whenever they worshipped God, whenever they served the Lord, they were strong. God made them strong. God gave them victory over their enemies. They dwelt safely in the land. The land prospered. Whenever they turned their backs on God, their enemies were victorious against them. They were oppressed by their enemies and it was a time of national weakness and decline. Lessons that we need to pay close attention to in this day in which we live as we, too, have enjoyed the benefits and a nation, living in a nation where God was placed by the founding fathers at the heart of the national life. But even as they forsook God, so have we forsaken God. And we cannot long exist without God's help.

We dare not to think of ourselves ever as independent from God. And our nation is in serious trouble tonight. Our leaders are beginning to tell us more and more about how serious that danger is. May God help us if it is not already too late to turn to God with all of our hearts.

Now the last two verses of this chapter are the same as the first two verses of the book of Ezra. So there is a definite tie between II Chronicles and Ezra. Ezra begins when they, after the seventy years of captivity, as they come back into the land. The book of Ezra and Nehemiah cover this period of the rebuilding of the temple after the seventy years of Babylonian captivity.

So next week we move into Ezra. We jump now the seventy years of Babylonian captivity. If you would like to really do some diligent Bible study, you should read this week along with the book of Ezra the books of Daniel and Ezekiel, because it is during this seventy years that they are in captivity that the books of Daniel and Ezekiel were written. So to get some, really, background and color, you should read Daniel and Ezekiel along with Ezra this week. I'd like to challenge you to do that.

It may mean that you won't be able to watch Soap or Dallas. But I'll tell you what, you'll be a lot better off at the end of the week if you don't pollute your mind with that stuff anyhow. I'd like to just challenge you to do it. I hope you'll take up that challenge. I'll do it, and I challenge you to do it. You're not going to have much time to study anyhow. Soon be over, you might as well find out what it's going to be like. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 36". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/2-chronicles-36.html. 2014.
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