Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 24

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

F. Jehoiakim’s Evil Reign 23:36-24:7

Jehoiakim, formerly named Eliakim, reigned as a puppet king for 11 years (609-598 B.C.). He was a weak ruler who did not stand up for Judah’s interests against her hostile enemies.

In 605 B.C. Prince Nebuchadnezzar led the Babylonian army of his father Nabopolassar against the allied forces of Assyria and Egypt and defeated them at Carchemish. This victory, as previously explained, gave Babylon supremacy in the ancient Near East. With Babylon’s victory Egypt’s vassals, including Judah, came under Babylon’s control. Shortly after that event, in the same year that Nabopolassar died, Nebuchadnezzar succeeded him. Nebuchadnezzar then moved south and invaded Judah (605 B.C.). He took some captives to Babylon including Daniel (Daniel 1:1-3). This was the first of Judah’s three deportations in which the Babylonians took groups of Judahites to Babylon.

Jehoiakim submitted to Nebuchadnezzar for three years but then rebelled. He appealed to Egypt for help unsuccessfully (2 Kings 24:1; 2 Kings 24:7). Foreign raiders who sought to take advantage of her weakened condition besieged Judah (2 Kings 24:2). The Babylonians then took Jehoiakim to Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:6). Later they allowed him to return to Jerusalem where he died (Jeremiah 22:19).

Jehoiakim did little to postpone God’s judgment on Judah for her previous sins. The prophet Jeremiah despised him for his wickedness (Jeremiah 22:18-19; Jeremiah 26:20-23; Jeremiah 36).

Verses 8-17

G. Jehoiachin’s Evil Reign 24:8-17

Jehoiakim’s son Jehoiachin, whose other names were Jeconiah and Coniah, succeeded him on the throne but only reigned for three months (598-597 B.C.). When Nebuchadnezzar’s troops were besieging Jerusalem, the Babylonian king personally visited Judah’s capital, and Jehoiachin surrendered to him (2 Kings 24:12). The invasion fulfilled the Lord’s warning to Solomon about apostasy in 1 Kings 9:6-9. A large deportation of Judah’s population followed in 597 B.C. None of Jehoiachin’s sons ruled Judah, as Jeremiah had prophesied (Jeremiah 22:30). Rather, Nebuchadnezzar set up Jehoiakim’s younger brother, Mattaniah, on the throne as his puppet, and exercised his sovereign prerogative by changing his name to Zedekiah (2 Kings 24:17). The Jewish people, however, seem to have continued to regard Jehoiachin as the rightful heir to David’s throne until his death. [Note: William Albright, "Seal of Eliakim," Journal of Biblical Literature 51 (1932):91-92. Cf. 25:27-30.]

H. Zedekiah’s Evil Reign 24:18-25:7

Zedekiah (Mattaniah) was Josiah’s third son to rule over Judah. He rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24:20) by making a treaty with Pharaoh Hophra (589-570 B.C.), being pressured by nationalists in Judah (cf. Jeremiah 37-38).

"Clearly, he lacks the moral fiber to be more than what he is, a man who gauges each situation by how long its results can keep him in power." [Note: House, p. 395.]

Jerusalem was under siege for about eighteen months (588-586 B.C.; 2 Kings 25:1-2). The resulting famine that the residents experienced (2 Kings 24:3) was only one of many that the Israelites underwent for their rebellion against God. Yahweh again withheld fertility as a punishment for apostasy. Jerusalem finally fell in 586 B.C. Some scholars believe it fell in 587 B.C. [Note: E.g., Rodger C. Young, "When Did Jerusalem Fall?" Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 47:1 (March 2004):21-38.] The Babylonians captured King Zedekiah while he was trying to escape and took him to Riblah (cf. 2 Kings 23:33) where Nebuchadnezzar passed judgment on him. Nebuchadnezzar killed Zedekiah’s heirs to the throne thus ending his fertility, blinded him (cf. Revelation 3:17), and bound him with bronze shackles (2 Kings 24:7). All of these measures also represented the fate of the nation the king led. The Israelites were now without royal leadership, spiritually blind, and physically bound. The blinding of prisoners was a common practice in the ancient East (cf. Judges 16:21). [Note: Andre Parrot, Babylon and the Old Testament, p. 97.]

"The lesson of Samaria’s fall and exile should have been learned." [Note: Wiseman, p. 312.]

". . . the deuteronomistic history, which extends from Joshua through 2 Kings 25, begins victoriously on the plains of Jericho (Joshua 1-7) and ends in tragic defeat on the plains of Jericho (2 Kings 25:5)." [Note: J. Daniel Hays, "An Evangelical Approach to Old Testament Narrative Criticism," Bibliotheca Sacra 166:661 (January-March 2009):8.]

These bracketing references to the plains of Jericho are an indication of the narrative unity of this section of Scripture.

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Kings 24". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". 2012.