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1. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon For more than half a century after Merodach-baladan, who was contemporary with Hezekiah, and whom Sennacherib defeated and deposed, (see note on 2 Kings 20:12,) Babylonia continued to be an Assyrian fief. But some time during the reign of Josiah, Nabopolassar, the viceroy, revolted from Assyria, and formed an alliance with Cyaxares, the great Median monarch, whom he also assisted in the capture and destruction of Nineveh. By mutual agreement between the two confederates the whole valley of the Euphrates, together with Syria and Palestine, fell to Nabopolassar. He was succeeded by his son Nebuchadnezzar, (written also Nebuchadrezzar,) whom Rawlinson represents as “the great monarch of the Babylonian empire, which, lasting only eighty-eight years, was for nearly half that time under his sway. Its military glory is due chiefly to him; while the constructive energy, which constitutes its especial characteristic, belongs to it still more markedly through his character and genius. It is scarcely too much to say that, but for Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonians would have had no place in history. At any rate, their actual place is owing almost entirely to this prince, who to the military talents of an able general added a grandeur of artistic conception, and a skill in construction, which place him on a par with the greatest builders of antiquity.”
There is a difficulty in the date of Nebuchadnezzar’s first invasion of Palestine. According to Daniel 1:1, it occurred in the third year of Jehoiakim; but, according to Jeremiah 25:1, the first year of Nebuchadnezzar synchronized with the fourth of Jehoiakim, and according to Jeremiah 46:2, the defeat of Pharaoh-necho at Carchemish occurred in the same year. We learn, also, from a fragment of Berosus, (in Josephus 2 Kings 10:11 ; 2 Kings 10:1,) that Nabopolassar, being himself too infirm to go to war, put his son Nebuchadnezzar in command of his army, and that the latter reduced the western provinces, which had been for some years subject to Egypt, and made them subject to Babylon before the death of his father. All this is, perhaps, best explained as follows: The Jewish writers, who knew nothing personally of Nabopolassar, would naturally consider and call Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and date his reign from the time he took command of the Babylonian army. Nebuchadnezzar probably started on his western campaign in the latter part of the third year of Jehoiakim, (Daniel 1:1,) and so his first year would synchronize with the greater part of the fourth of Jehoiakim. Jeremiah 25:1. It is possible, as some suppose, that he besieged Jerusalem, and received Jehoiakim’s submission, before the battle of Carchemish, (Jeremiah 46:2;) but this is hardly probable, since the Egyptian garrison at Carchemish would naturally have stood in his way, and would have first engaged his attention. Therefore it would seem that the date mentioned in Daniel 1:1 is either an error, or else to be understood as the time that Nebuchadnezzar began his expedition against Jerusalem.
Jehoiakim became his servant According to 2 Chronicles 36:6, Nebuchadnezzar “bound him in fetters to carry him to Babylon.” But it is not said that he carried him to Babylon. Probably that was his intention when he bound him; but upon his submission and pledges of fidelity to his conqueror, the latter contented himself with taking off the vessels of the temple, and a number of captives, among whom were Daniel and his three distinguished companions, (Daniel 1:1-7,) while Jehoiakim was left on the throne at Jerusalem as a vassal king. At the end of three years he revolted, but the king of Babylon was at that time too busy in the eastern part of his empire to attend in person to this rebellion, and did not proceed against Jerusalem until after the death of Jehoiakim.
2. The Lord sent In this verse and the next, the writer emphasizes the thought that the afflictions of Judah were a direct judgment of Jehovah for the sins of the nation, especially those of Manasseh.
Bands Predatory troops; not an organized army.
Chaldees Natives of Babylonia, or Chaldea, whom, perhaps, Nebuchadnezzar had left to garrison certain frontier towns. They may have warred against Judah by command of Nebuchadnezzar, who, at the time, was unable to attend to the rebellious nation.
Syrians… Moabites… children of Ammon Neighbouring tribes on the north and west of Judah, who were all, doubtless, subject to Nebuchadnezzar, and, as Thenius suggests, were pleased with an opportunity of gratifying their ancient hatred against the Jewish people.
To destroy it They aimed to ruin Judah but it seems they were not able to take the city.
By… the prophets Chief among whom were Isaiah, Micah, Habakkuk, Huldah, and Jeremiah. Compare the marginal references.
3. For the sins of Manasseh The judgment came not merely for the actual sins of that one idolatrous king, but, as the whole course of the history shows, because the nation persisted in a class of sins of which those of Manasseh were most conspicuous representatives.
6. Jehoiakim slept with his fathers This expression does not necessarily imply that he had a peaceful death; and there is here no mention of his burial, as of other kings. Compare 2 Kings 23:30; 2 Kings 22:18; 2 Chronicles 32:33. Jeremiah prophesied of this king, “He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem.” And again: “He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David, and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost.” Jeremiah 22:19; Jeremiah 36:30. The historian does not record the literal fulfilment of these prophecies, but he says nothing inconsistent with such a fulfilment. As the statement that Judas “went and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:5) is consistent also with the fact that “falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out,” (Acts 1:18, note,) so also is Jehoiakim’s sleeping with his fathers consistent with the dishonouring of his body after death. Some think he was first buried, but that after the capture of Jerusalem his bones were disinterred and exposed to insult before the gate of the city; others, that he was slain in battle with the marauding bands mentioned in 2 Kings 24:2, or was seduced beyond the walls of the city, and there treacherously slain and denied the rites of burial. These are all conjectures, but either of them serves to show that there is no contradiction between the different passages which refer to Jehoiakim’s death.
7. The king of Egypt came not again But a subsequent king named Hophra sent an army to raise the siege of Jerusalem. Jeremiah 37:5-11. “This remark is here inserted to show under what circumstances Jehoiakim succeeded his father, (2 Kings 24:6,) and how it came that he reigned for so short a time. 2 Kings 24:8. Necho had finally retired from Asia after such losses that he could not venture again to meet his victorious enemy, and, therefore, Judah could expect no more support from him. Much less could it attempt alone to resist the conqueror from whom it had revolted.” Bahr.
King of Babylon had taken Compare Jeremiah 46:2.
River of Egypt The Wady el-Arish which formed the south-western boundary of the land of Promise. See on 1 Kings 8:65, and Joshua 13:3.
JEHOIACHIN’S REIGN, AND THE FIRST GREAT DEPORTATION OF EXILES TO BABYLON, 2 Kings 24:8-17.
8. Three months The same length of time that his uncle Jehoahaz had reigned. 2 Kings 23:21. Such an insignificant rule, and so associated as it was with Judah’s direst woe, made the prophet Jeremiah ignore it as any thing worthy to be called a sitting on the throne of David. Jeremiah 36:30. Jehoiachin was noted more for his being thirty-seven years in a Babylonian prison. 2 Kings 25:27. But though his reign at Jerusalem was so short and unfortunate, he was looked upon by the exiles as the last lawful successor to the throne of David; and notwithstanding the appointment of Zedekiah, Jehoiachin remained the representative king of Judah, and in the preservation of his life through thirty-seven years of imprisonment, and his elevation to kingly honours in the court of Babylon, (2 Kings 25:27,) the theocratic historian discerned the purpose of Jehovah to perpetuate the throne of David.
10. Servants of Nebuchadnezzar His generals, with forces sufficient to besiege the city. As the bands mentioned in 2 Kings 24:2 had failed to take Jerusalem, he now sends more imposing forces.
11. Nebuchadnezzar… came After his generals had laid siege to the city, the king himself came to superintend the war in person.
12. Jehoiachin… went out To make a voluntary and complete surrender, probably hoping that such ready submission would secure for himself the favour of the Babylonian monarch, and the privilege granted by the same monarch to his father seven years before, (2 Kings 24:1,) of continuing at Jerusalem as a vassal king. His mother… servants… princes…
officers It was a complete and unconditional surrender, involving all the chief persons of the kingdom of Judah in the fate of the king. The word rendered officers is סריסי , eunuchs, showing that the kings of Jerusalem had at this time introduced this class of servants and officials into the Jewish court. They doubtless borrowed the custom from the eastern monarchs.
Took him As a captive.
Eighth year of his reign That is, of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. The first year of Nebuchadnezzar was the fourth of Jehoiakim, (Jeremiah 25:1,) and in that year he smote Carchemish (Jeremiah 46:2) and received Jehoiakim’s submission. 2 Kings 24:1, note. Jehoiakim reigned seven years after that event, (chap. xxiii, 36,) so that the surrender of Jehoiachin, who had ruled three months, must have fallen in the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar.
13. Carried out thence From Jerusalem, which he had triumphantly entered after Jehoiachin’s surrender.
Cut in pieces יקצצ , he cut off, or cut loose. The same word is used of Ahaz’s removal of the borders of the bases, (2 Kings 16:17,) and Hezekiah’s taking off the plating of the temple doors. 2 Kings 18:16.
Vessels of gold All that remained after the previous deportation, for in the time of Jehoiakim Nebuchadnezzar had taken a portion of the sacred vessels and deposited them in his temple at Babylon. 2 Chronicles 36:7; Daniel 1:2. These were probably the smaller vessels, such as bowls and basins, and were used by Belshazzar in his impious feast, (Daniel 5:3,) and restored by Cyrus when the Jews returned from exile; (Ezra 1:7-11;) but the vessels taken on this occasion seem to have been the heavier and more costly ones, since the word rendered cut in pieces implies that they were violently removed. The less costly and valuable vessels, together with the brazen ornaments of the temple, were not at this time disturbed, (Jeremiah 27:19.) but were seized and carried off eleven years afterwards, when the temple was destroyed. 2 Kings 25:13-17.
As the Lord had said By Jeremiah. Jeremiah 20:5.
14. Ten thousand captives According to Jeremiah 52:28, they numbered three thousand and twenty-three. See note on 2 Kings 25:21. Numerically this must have been only a small part of the entire Jewish population, which in David’s time numbered five hundred thousand warriors, so that the poorest sort of the people, from whom rebellion and trouble were not expected, were more than the captives; but these latter were the might and flower of the nation, and might, therefore, well be called all Jerusalem. The mass of those left were people of the land, country people, dwelling outside of Jerusalem; and no doubt by reason of the numerous wars this part of the population had become greatly diminished since the time of David. The craftsmen and smiths would be especially serviceable to Nebuchadnezzar on the great works which he contemplated at his capital.
15. Carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon Where he remained in prison for thirty-seven years, and then was liberated and honoured by Evil-merodach. 2 Kings 25:27-30.
17. His father’s brother He was half-brother to Jehoiakim, but own brother to Jehoahaz. Compare 2 Kings 24:18 with 2 Kings 23:31; 2 Kings 23:36.
Changed his name See note on 2 Kings 23:34.
ZEDEKIAH’S REIGN, 2 Kings 24:18 to 2 Kings 25:7.
In the fifty-second chapter of Jeremiah we have a duplicate history so nearly identical with the close of this book of Kings from this verse, as to show that both narratives proceeded from one original source. Compare also Jeremiah 39:1-10. Of the authorship precisely the same thing is to be said as of the history of Hezekiah which is given in 2 Kings 18:13 to 2 Kings 20:21, and Isaiah 36-39. See note introductory to 2 Kings 18:13.
20. Zedekiah rebelled In what year is not said, but probably in the eighth year of his reign. Chronicles says, that the king of Babylon “had made him swear by God” that is, had bound him by the most solemn oath (compare Ezekiel 17:13,) to keep the peace by fidelity to the conqueror who had set him on the throne; and in Jeremiah 29:3; Jeremiah 51:59, mention is made of two embassies of Zedekiah to Babylon, with one of which Zedekiah went in person. In Jeremiah 27:3, we find messengers from the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Zidon, consulting with Zedekiah, perhaps concerting a plan to throw off the Babylonian yoke; and in Ezekiel 17:15, Zedekiah is represented as “sending his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people.” Thus he seems to have laid broad plans for his rebellion, and in all this he was encouraged by the false prophets of his time. Jeremiah 28:0.
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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 24". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17