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the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 24

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-7

Second Kings - Chapter 24 AND Second Chronicles - Chapter 36 (Cont’d.)

Jehoiakim and Nubuchadnezzer –Commentary on 2 Kings 24:1-7 AND 2 Chronicles 36:6-8

The Chronicles verses make short account of the reign of Jehoiakim, showing that he was bound and fettered by Nebuchadnezzar to carry him away to Babylon. The Kings account shows that this was

the sequel to an earlier event. The order of events seems to be that Jehoiakim paid the tribute to Egypt for a time. But as Nebuchadnezzar extends his empire he comes into conflict with Egypt, who is eventually compelled to withdraw into her own bounds. At that time Jehoiakim was forced to change his allegiance to the Babylonian king and to pay the tribute to him.

Jehoiakim sent the tribute to Nebuchadnezzar for three years, after which he rebelled. The prophecy of Jeremiah reveals much about this petty king. He appears to be a worthy descendant of wicked Ahaz, for his conduct very much resembles that earlier, infamous king of Judah. Judah was very much weakened by his sinful conduct, so that her undefended boundaries were open to marauding groups from most of the surrounding nations, Chaldees, Syrians, Moabites, and Ammonites. The land suffered greatly. Jehoiakim, chafing under the tribute, sought relief again through Egypt (read Jeremiah, chapters 36, and Jeremiah 2:14-19).

Though Nebuchadnezzar bound Jehoiakim to carry him to Babylon he did not survive the journey. His manner of death is mysterious, the only reference being Jeremiah 22:18-19, where it is foretold that he will die unlamented, outside Jerusalem, and receive the burial of a donkey. Nebuchadnezzar at this time also stripped the temple of its holy vessels and carried them to Babylon, where he placed them in his idol temple. It is these from which Belshazzar’s party wined on the night Babylon fell (Daniel 5:1-4). Then he carried away the young princes, as foretold by Isaiah to Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:16-19). These included Daniel and the three Hebrew children (Daniel 1:1-7).

Therefore all these things were but fulfillment of the word the Lord had sent by the prophets to warn Judah for her disobedience to Him. The basis of the judgment lay in the excesses of Manasseh, as already seen. Mention is again made of the innocent blood that wicked man shed (before his conversion), wherein he slaughtered the worshippers of the Lord. After only eleven years Jehoiakim was killed, and his hope for Egyptian succour perished, for Egypt dared not venture outside her own territory. Nebuchadnezzar controlled all the territory from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates, over which Pharaoh had formerly claimed sovereignty.

Verses 8-18

Jehoiachin and Zedekiah – Commentary on 2 Kings 24:8-18 AND 2 Chronicles 36:9-11

With the death of Jehoiakim the people of Jerusalem made their own selection of his successor. They chose Jehoiakim’s young son, Jehoiachin, who is also called Jeconiah and simply Coniah in other places. He was the latest generation from David to occupy Judah’s throne, until Jesus Christ. There is a discrepancy between Kings and Chronicles concerning Jehoiachin’s age. The scribes either added a point in their writing erroneously or left it out so that it cannot now be certainly known whether he was eight or eighteen years of age. In either case he does not seem to have had children yet, for none are mentioned. The fact that wives are mentioned could merely refer to the king’s harem, to which each successor to the throne had right. The prominence of his mother is not decisive either, for she might have been his companion at either age.

Jehoiachin reigned only about three months, evidently while Jerusalem was still under siege to Nebuchadnezzar following the capture of his father. At the capitulation of the. city Jehoiachin and his mother surrendered themselves to the Babylonians, along with his officers and other members of his court. This occurred in the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign over Babylon.

There followed a second deportation to Babylon, along with more of the treasures of the city and temple. The golden vessels of the temple were cut up, and destroyed before they were carried away. Nebuchadnezzar sought out the princes, mighty men, and ten thousand of the talented men of craft and carried them away captive to Babylon. The land was left bereft of its craftsmen and smiths, leaving only the poorest sort of the people in the land. To these captives he also added seven thousand more who were able bodied and likely to form a body of fighting men, along with another thousand craftsmen he rounded up. Nebuchadnezzer’s intent was to render Judah incapable of again rebelling against him. For Judah’s last king he chose twenty-one year old Mattaniah, who was the full brother of Jehoahaz, the first of Josiah’s sons to be elevated to the throne by the people, after their father’s death at Megiddo. This young man had been only ten years old at that time. Nebuchadnezzar changed Mattaniah’s name to Zedekiah. He was to rule eleven years and bring the kingdom to its utter ruin and judgment.

Verse 19

Zedekiah Rebels – Commentary on 2 Kings 24:19 AND 2 Chronicles 36:12-16

Zedekiah was no better than his brother. In fact the Scriptures credit the two with responsibility for the ultimate judgment of the nation. Though the Lord raised up Jeremiah to preach to that generation, and particularly to the kings, they refused to receive his word as coming from the mouth of the Lord. When Nebuchadnezzar put Zedekiah on the throne of Judah he made him swear in the name of God to be loyal to the king of Babylon. Jeremiah constantly urged him to be faithful to that oath to serve Nebuchadnezzar, stating that in so doing alone could Judah be preserved in the land. Yet the king was stiffnecked and hardhearted and refused to listen to Jeremiah (read Jeremiah, chapter 37 as an example). Zedekiah at times seemed to want to follow the Lord as directed by Jeremiah, but was afraid of the Egypt party who controlled his council.

Just about all the prominent persons in Zedekiah’s kingdom were rebels against Nebuchadnezzar, but first they were rebels against the Lord who had decreed this judgment for their sins. This included the chief priests down to the people, all of whom transgressed by indulging in heathen abominations. The priests even polluted the temple by bringing pagan rituals into the worship. Jeremiah was not the only prophet sent to them. Habakkuk and Zephaniah also belonged to this period, and doubtless others now unknown. They were mocked and ridiculed for their preaching and misused physically. Jeremiah was placed in the stocks and at one time put into a pit to die, but was rescued by Ebed-melech, a black man (Jeremiah 20:1-6; Jeremiah 38:1-13). Thus was the wrath of God provoked "till there was no remedy."

These lessons should be learned: 1) Wicked rulers persist in sin, knowing what has happened to others like them; 2) Judgment for sin may come gradually on a nation, giving them opportunity to repent and turn to God; 3) God unfailingly and clearly warns everyone before He lets His judgment fall upon them; 4) When God has warned, and man has stubbornly refused, there remains nothing by judgment for dis­obedience.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 2 Kings 24". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/2-kings-24.html. 1985.
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