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This chapter brings us to the conclusion of the Chronicles. Here is contained the history of Jehoahaz, and his being deposed by Pharaoh. Jerusalem taken. Jehoiachin made king. Zedekiah's short reign. The proclamation by Cyrus.
The very short reign of Jehoahaz furnished but little subject of observation. The time was now hastening when Judah, like Israel, should cease to be a kingdom. Here is the Egyptian king triumphing over Judah, putting down one king and setting up another, and changing his name at his pleasure. Is this God's Judah? alas! what hath sin wrought! Here Jeremiah's account appears to have been marked with truth when he said, The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron. Jeremiah 17:1 .
Though this king reigned longer than his brother, even to eleven years, yet it should seem it was more at the pleasure of the king of Babylon than from any real power or authority he himself possessed. His taking him away to Babylon is a proof of it. Poor Judah, to what a miserable state art thou now reduced!
Here is a three month's reign, like his uncle; but a period of evil it should seem also. Misery and trouble had no effect upon his mind. And indeed, awful as it is to think, yet the fact is undeniable; if affliction be not sanctified to soften the heart, it will be sure to harden it. Those vessels which Nebuchadnezzar dared to carry away out of the temple of the Lord, became a dreadful scourge in after times to Belshazzar his son. See Daniel 5:0 .
Here we arrive to the sad page of Judah's history. To enter into a full detail of this history of the church we must connect with it the writings of the prophet Jeremiah. The character of Zedekiah, and his court, and servants, is there more fully exhibited in the preaching of the mournful prophet, and the sad treatment he met with from all parties. To this therefore I refer. And it will be highly profitable for the Reader, in order to have a clear apprehension of the ministry of the several prophets, to remember, according to the prefaces of their writings, with which, for the most part, they open their commission, at what period of the several kings they ministered. But as I have already marked this in a distinct page in the very commencement of this Commentary, where the names of all the books of the Old Testament are set down according to the order in which they are supposed to have been written, I think it unnecessary to make any further observations upon them in this place. The history of Judah as a kingdom is now closed, and the Babylonish captivity begins.
We have made a long stride in history from the close of the last verse to the beginning of this: no less than 70 years are at once leaped over. To fill up this chasm the Reader must look into the writings of Ezekiel and Daniel. Those men were carried away captives at the general captivity and taken to Babylon. And the Lord commissioned those servants of his to carry on the history as far as the spirit of prophecy, wherewith their writings abound, would permit, or in fact was necessary. From this proclamation Ezra begins in the book that bears his name the history of the church after the return of the people from Babylon. Sweet it is to see, and highly consolatory and refreshing, that amidst all the desolations of Jerusalem and the bondage of his people, the Lord had his eye upon them for good. Though they were cast down, yet not totally cast off. Jacob shall still again revive, and Israel be remembered. They are still beloved for Jesus sake, how unworthy soever in themselves. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Jeremiah 29:11 . And Reader! what a wonder-working God is Israel's God! Abraham, the father of the faithful, is called from Ur of the Chaldees, made a great nation, and brought into Canaan. And now again his seed are carried back again into Chaldea for their faithlessness and unbelieving. Oh! the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out, Romans 11:33 .
PAUSE, Reader! and before you close the book of the Chronicles, which contains a faithful register of events both of men and things, think what desolation sin hath introduced into the circumstances of mankind; nay, even into the church of God! Who but must tremble in the relation of what is here recorded! and though here and there, in the character of some few gracious souls, we discover that the Lord hath not left himself without witness, which act as the salt of the earth to preserve the whole from universal putrefaction; yet how (as the prophet speaks) is the gold become dim, and the most fine gold changed!
And Reader! when you have duly contemplated this faithful portrait of man by nature, turn your eyes and behold what that same nature is when recovered by almighty grace in the person, purchase, blood-cleansing, soul-justifying, and soul-adorning righteousness of God our Saviour. Yes, blessed Jesus! I would behold thy church, not as it is in itself, but as it is united to thee, and made all glorious within; and also comely without, from thy comeliness which thou hast put upon it. Didst thou not at infinite expense, from infinite love, and by infinite power, purchase her to thyself? And dost thou not now watch her, water her every moment, and keep her night and day, lest any hurt her. Hast thou not for her unfaithfulness and departures from thee suffered, in different ages, the wild boar out of the wood to root her up? But in the midst of all thou hast brought her again in, and planted her in thine holy mountain. There may be, and there will be, the desolations of threescore years and ten; shaking dispensations, trying afflictions, and much tribulation; but though thou wilt sift thine Israel as corn is sifted, yet (thou hast said,) a grain shall not fall to the ground. Oh! thou the hope of Israel, and the Saviour thereof! be thou the Refuge of all thy people in the day of their adversity. And when the wealthiest empires of the earth have had their day, which thou last appointed; when thy church scattered as it now is, amidst the various monarchies of the world shall be gathered together, and the time of her dispersion is over: Then oh! blessed, mighty, glorious Lord Jesus, then let that auspicious promise be fulfilled and realized over the wide universe of God, in which it is said the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever. The peaceable kingdom of righteousness in Jesus, shall extend over all the habitable earth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 36". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19