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2 Chronicles 36:2-3 . Jehoahaz the king of Egypt put him down at Jerusalem. Necho summoned him to Riblah, put him in irons, and made his elder brother Eliakim king in his room, and changed his name to Jehoiakim, which signifies appointed of God. In the third year of this calamitous reign, Nebuchadnezzar having just ascended the throne, and completely driven Pharaoh-necho into Egypt, came to Jerusalem, and put Necho’s viceroy into irons to carry him to Babylon; but on his good professions of obedience, he restored him again to the throne. From this time are to be reckoned the seventy years of captivity; for the king of Babylon carried whatever he would, both of persons and treasures to his capital. Among the persons were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
2 Chronicles 36:8 . Jehoiakim, and his abominations. He burnt Jeremiah’s prophecies, and imprisoned him. This was a profane deed, and showed that he was infatuated to his own destruction. He rebelled against the king of Babylon, who coming with an army against him, not only put him to death, but threw his body over the wall of the city, that he might have, as Jeremiah had said, an ass’s funeral: Jeremiah 22:18-19; Jeremiah 36:30. The Seventy say, he was buried with his father in Ganoza, or Ganozan; probably, after awhile, his remains were interred with Uzziah.
2 Chronicles 36:9 . Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign. In 2 Kings 24:8, it is said that he was eighteen. The variation is reconciled by his beginning to reign in the eighth year of the captivity. This young prince, not pleasing his master, was dethroned when Nebuchadnezzar made his spring campaigns; and Zedekiah, who is said in the Septuagint to be his father’s brother, and consequently more likely to sway the sceptre, was put in his place. Ezekiel and Mordecai were now carried into captivity. Ezekiel 1:2; Ezekiel 40:1.
2 Chronicles 36:16 . Misused his prophets; stoned them, as they did Zechariah and his brothers. They were “sawn asunder,” and put in prison, as were Micaiah, Jeremiah, and others.
2 Chronicles 36:21 . Until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths. From the time of Jeroboam to the captivity was four hundred and ninety years, which included seventy sabbatical years, in which the Jews were forbidden to sow; yet the idolaters disregarded this law. See Ezekiel 20:0.
2 Chronicles 36:23 . Charged me to build him a house. Daniel the prophet had now lived to be a hundred years of age, and was spared to show Cyrus the forty fourth and forty fifth chapters of his prophecies, in which both his name, and the particulars of the siege of Babylon were foretold two hundred years before. Parchments so ancient could not be forgeries.
Zedekiah, being now on the throne, and tributary to Babylon, went on with the princes and rulers of Judah in every kind of wickedness; and the priests were not better than the princes. In those calamitous times the good prophets, though unable to avert the impending destruction, sought to make it less. While Jeremiah was preaching, wrestling, and suffering in Jerusalem, Ezekiel was fulfilling his ministry in Babylon, or in the scattered districts where the people were placed. We must carefully read his prophecies to have an adequate idea of his diligence, and of the wickedness of the Jews. What a sight to behold an idol at the gate of the temple, as in Ezekiel 8:5; and the whole council immersed in gross idolatry. What a sight to see the whole twenty four courses of the priests turning their faces to the east to worship the sun. What a sight to see Jeremiah recognized as a prophet, and yet imprisoned a second time! Lord, it is time to strike! It is time to send on this guilty people a spirit of strong delusion, that they may suffer for their sins. And so the Lord did. It appears from Ezekiel 17:11, that although Zedekiah had sworn by JEHOVAH to serve Nebuchadnezzar; yet he relied on Egypt for help, and rebelled against his benefactor. This completed Judah’s ruin. This so exasperated the Babylonians, that on forcing the city and sanctuary, they slaughtered most of the people without respect either to age or sex. Neither the sucking child, nor the maiden, nor he that stoopeth for age, found mercy. They burnt the temple, and made the land desolate, that it might enjoy its sabbatical years. Zedekiah, with others, made his escape towards Jericho, Jeremiah 39:5, but was overtaken and brought with seventy two principal men to the king of Babylon in Riblah. Here Zedekiah saw the sad end of Israel’s apostasy. He saw his own sons, and seventy of his officers of state, slain before his eyes; he saw Jeremiah, and his patron Ebed-melech caressed; then his eyes were put out, and a languishing captivity was allowed him in Babylon, we would hope for repentance. Now we are come to the sad issue of a faithless and an apostate nation, whom God has eminently raised up in his counsel, and set for the instruction of future ages. In this nation we see providence unfolded on a broad scale; and have a finished portrait of the way of heaven with offending man. It was the richest display of grace which chose Abraham from an idolatrous world, and made him so great a nation. Hence idolatry in his posterity must have been the greatest of crimes, and justly merited the punishment it received.
The special interference of heaven to deliver the Hebrews from Egypt, to give them the land of Canaan, and to deliver them so often by miraculous victories, shows the peculiar and promised care of God over this ungrateful and backsliding nation.
We are here expressly called to notice the paternal efforts which God made to reclaim this nation, by prophets in every age, from idolatry and vice. Look at Gideon, Samson, Jephthah, Barak, Samuel, David, Elijah, and all the prophets, and say, what could God have done for his vineyard that he had not done. Observe in the next place, when the depravity of the people, and the borrowed manners of the gentiles, proved too strong for the prophets, how slow the Lord still was to strike. What reprieves did he not grant, and on reformations which were but superficial or temporary. Surely we may here say of JEHOVAH, as is his majesty so is his mercy. Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.
When God could not be glorified in his mercy, and when the most arduous conflicts of his prophets failed of effect, he was glorified in his justice. He brought upon Israel all the curses of the covenant, and all the threatenings of his prophets, as all Israel were obliged to acknowledge in the day of their captivity. Daniel 9:6.
Lastly, in the preservation of Daniel and his colleagues; of Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Ebed-melech, and others, we see that it shall be well with the righteous at the worst of times. Now all this was done, not only for the correction of the Jews, but also for the instruction of the christian church, as is often illustrated in the new testament. Learn then, oh my soul, to look on and profit. Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest, the sacred history of grace over a people punished for apostasy; for on the same principle, God still governs both the world and the church. Let Rome, Christian Rome, especially learn, that by worshipping saints and martyrs, she repeats the sins of the ancient Israelites; she ascribes omnipresence to mere creatures, and provokes the Lord to anger; and because the blood of his saints is found in her skirts, she must expect to drink of the wine of the wrath of God. Shun then, shun christian people, shun that house where angels are addressed, and where a crucifix is adored. That crucifix is not the Lord of glory, but the bones of a dead horse, sawn and filed to the figure of a man. It degrades the Lord: it localises his divinity: it is an abomination to the omnipresent God of heaven. Let us shun, in like manner, every error and every vice, and especially contempt of the prophets or ministers of God, which brought judgment to the uttermost on a nation once the chosen of God. Lord help us so to do.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 36". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19