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Bible Commentaries

Ironside's Notes on Selected Books
2 Kings 24

 

 

Verses 1-6

Jehoiakim

(Whom Jehovah will raise)

(2 Kings 23:34-37; 2Ki_24:1-6; 2 Chronicles 36:5-8)

Contemporary Prophets: Jeremiah; Zephaniah; Ezekiel.

“His confidence shall be rooted out of his tabernacle, and it shall bring him to the king of terrors.”-Job 18:14

“Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old I when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord his God. Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar also carried [some] of the vessels of the house of the Lord to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon.”

Jehoiakim was of most unlovely character-treacherous, revengeful, and bloodthirsty. He was several years Jehoahaz’ senior, and was not born of the same mother. “And his mother’s name was Zebudah (gainfulness), the daughter of Pedaiah of Ramah.” The mother’s name boded no good for her son; and so it came to be. He taxed the land to give the money according to the commandment of Pharaoh: “he exacted the silver and the gold of the people of the land, of every one according to his taxation, to give unto Pharaoh-Necho.” Having been slighted by the peo- ple in their choice of his younger half-brother, he would make no effort to ease the people’s burdens, but rather increase them. He was in no way under obligations to them; and having behind him the power of Egypt, he had little to fear from them. (See 2 Kings 23:34, 35.) His wickedness is depicted figuratively in Ezekiel 19:5-7. He too, like his deposed predecessor, “became a young lion, and learned to catch the prey, and devoured men. And he knew their desolate palaces, and he laid waste their cities; and the land was desolate, and the fulness thereof, by the noise of his roaring.” His violence and rapacity are graphically represented here.

In the fifth year of his reign a fast was proclaimed among his subjects (the king seems to have had no part in it), and Baruch, Jeremiah’s assistant, read in the ears of all the people the message of God to them from a book. Ready tools informed the king of what was being done, and he ordered the book brought and read before him. “Now the king sat in the winter house in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him. And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife [Heb., scribe’s knife], and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words.” It was an act of daring impiety, especially for a Jew, who was taught to look upon all sacred writing with greatest reverence. But Jehoiakim was fast hardening himself past all feeling, and no qualms of conscience are perceptible over his sacrilegious act. Jeremiah sent him a personal and verbal message, than which king never heard more awful. “And thou shalt say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus saith the Lord, Thou hast burned this roll, saying, Why hast thou written therein, saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from thence man and beast? Therefore thus saith the Lord of Jehoiakim king of Judah, 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. And I will punish him and his seed and his servants for their iniquity.” See Jer. 36.

He also attempted to put Urijah the prophet to death because he prophesied against Jerusalem and the land. The prophet fled to Egypt, whence Jehoiakim sent and fetched him, and “slew him with the sword, and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people”-his bitter hatred of God and His truth venting itself even on the body of His slaughtered servant, denying it the right of burial among the sepulchres of the prophets. See Jeremiah 26:20-24. In just retribution God repaid him in kind for his murder and insult. “Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah: They shall not lament for him, saying, Ah my brother! or, Ah my sister!” (as in family mourning): “they shall not lament for him, saying, Ah lord! or, Ah his glory!” (public mourning.) “He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem” (Jeremiah 22:18, 19). And so it happened unto him: Nebuchadnezzar defeated and drove out of Asia Jehoiakim’s master, Necho. (See 2 Kings 24:7.) “In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years: then he turned and rebelled against him.” And though Nebuchadnezzar could not immediately punish him, his punishment came from another quarter. “The Lord sent against him bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Amnion, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the Lord which He spake by His servants the prophets.” Now as to his end: Scripture (historically) is silent. 2 Chronicles 36:6 states that Nebuchadnezzar “bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon.” It does not say he was taken there. He may have been released after promising subjection to his conqueror. But even if it could be proven that he was actually carried to Babylon, it would in no wise contradict what is recorded in 2 Kings 24:6 (“So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers”); for he might easily have returned to Jerusalem, as other Jewish captives at a later date did. And though there is no historical record in Scripture concerning his death, this is nothing to show that the prophecies of Jeremiah concerning his end were not fulfilled to the letter. We do not really need the history of it, for prophecy in Scripture is only pre-written history-its advance sheets, we might say. It is enough to know what God had foretold concerning it; the fulfilment is certain. Josephus states that Nebuchadnezzar finally came and slew Jehoiakim, “whom he commanded to be thrown before the walls, without any burial” (Ant. x. 6, §4). “So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers” simply expresses his death; it is a distinct expression in Scripture from “ buried with his fathers,” as a comparison of 2 Kings 15:38 and 16:20 will readily show. So the king who denied the prophet’s body honorable burial was himself “buried with the burial of an ass.” He mutilated and burnt God’s book; and his body was in turn “drawn” (torn) and burnt unburied in the scorching sun.

His wicked life was a sad contrast to that of his righteous father. “Did not thy father eat and drink” (lived plainly), “and do justice and judgment, and then it was well with him?” asked Jeremiah; “He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well with him: was not this to know Me? saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 22:15, 16). Necho changed his name, but could not change his nature.

“Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim12 and his abominations which he did, and that which was found in him, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah: and Jehoiakin his son reigned in his stead.”

His name, like that of his brother, is omitted from the royal genealogy of Matt. 1. “His uncleanness and iniquity are mentioned in the Apocrypha (1 Esdras 1:42). During his reign (when Nebuchadnezzar took the kingdom) “the times of the Gentiles” began. And until they be “fulfilled,” Jerusalem “shall be trodden under foot,” even as it is this day.

12 Heb. saw-khob', translated “tear” in Jeremiah 15:3.

 

 

 


Verses 8-17

Jehoiachin

(Jehovah will establish)

(2 Kings 24:8-17)

Contemporary Prophets: Jeremiah; Zephaniah; Ezekiel.

“He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their loins with a girdle.”-Job 12:18

“Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he I began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother’s name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father had done” (2 Kings 24:8, 9). 2 Chronicles 36:9 makes him eight years old at the beginning of his reign, instead of eighteen, as here: so in LXX and Vulg. But some Hebrew MSS., Syriac, and Arabic, read “eighteen “in Chronicles; so “eight” must be an error of transcription. All the internal evidence is in favor of eighteen. See Jeremiah 22:28-30; Ezekiel 19:7.

His character was no different from that of his two predecessors. It is the same sad, unvarying record:” He did that which was evil.” How the godly must have longed .for that “King” mentioned by Isaiah, who should “reign in righteousness”! They little knew, or even suspected, perhaps, all that their nation would have to suffer, and the long, weary centuries-aye, millenniums-that would have to wear themselves away before that day of “righteousness and peace” should come. But there was something about even this wicked king that could give them hope-his name, Jehovah will establish. They might not know the time; the fact they were assured of. And so they could “with patience wait for it.”

Nehushta, his mother’s name, means copper. It refers to anything of copper, whether a copper coin, or a copper mirror or fetters: and both she and her son, with all his family and retinue, were carried captive to Babylon. “And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it. And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his [Nebuchadnezzar’s] reign. And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king’s house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the Lord, as the Lord had said. And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valor, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land. And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king’s mother, and the king’s wives” (wives, confirming the reading eighteen against eight}, “and his officers, and the mighty of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon.” This was all “as the Lord said” through His prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:5). Heaven and earth will pass away and perish, but not one word of God.

The temple was despoiled of its remaining treasures. A few years before the king of Babylon had carried away the solid and smaller vessels (2 Chronicles 36:7). On this occasion he (lit.) “ cut the gold off” the larger plated vessels-the ark, the altar of incense, the show-bread table, etc. There is no contradiction here, or any where in Scripture, for “the Scripture cannot be broken.” The king’s mother would be the queen mother mentioned in Jeremiah 13:18.

The Babylonian captivity dates from Jehoiachin’s reign. He never returned from his captivity. There he spent thirty-six years in prison until the death of Nebuchadnezzar in his eighty-third, or eighty-fourth year, after a reign of forty-three years. His son Evil-merodach succeeded him on the throne. This son had once been himself shut up in prison by his father, where he probably made the acquaintance of the royal Hebrew captive. He was not like the ungrateful butler who, when out of prison, “forgat Joseph”; he remembered his old prison companion. “And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth day of the month, that Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison, and spake kindly unto him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon; and changed his prison garments: and he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life. And for his diet there was a continual diet given him of the king of Babylon, every day a portion until the day of his death, all the days of his life” (Jeremiah 52:31-34).

He was not the first king of David’s house to be held a prisoner there. Some time before, his father’s great-grandfather, Manasseh, was brought a prisoner, and there, in his affliction he sought and found the Lord. Whether Jehoiachin ever did so, we cannot say. His name (as “Jechonias”) is the last of the kings of Judah, mentioned in the list of Matthew, chap. 1. The next is “Jesus who is called Christ,” anointed King, not of Israel or the Jews only, but of the nations also (Revelation 15:3, marg.)

Jeremiah said of Jehoiakim, (Jehoiachin’s father) “He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David” (Jeremiah 36:30). The word “sit” here means to “ firmly sit,”or “dwell”; and Jehoiachin’s short three months’ reign was not that surely. And Zedekiah, Jehoiachin’s successor, was Jehoiakim’s brother, not his son.

Though, like his father, “he did evil in the sight of the Lord” Jehoiachin appears to have been a favorite with the populace. “Is this man Coniah13 a despised broken idol?” (or, “vase”) ironically inquired the prophet. But he immediately adds, “Is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure?”-which is really what he was in God’s eyes. “Wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they knew not? O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord: Thus saith the Lord, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah”(Jeremiah 22:28-30). “Childless” here does not mean without descendants (for the prophecy itself mentions “his seed”) but “no direct lineal heir to the throne” (Fausset). Matthew 1:12 shows conclusively that he had descendants (“Jechonias begat Salathiel”), as does also 1 Chronicles 3:17 (“The sons of Jeconiah; Assir,” etc.). The prophecy probably refers to his uncle’s succeeding him to the throne instead of his son Assir-his first-born, probably; or it may have been a prophecy of Assir’s premature death; and this may be why Assir is not mentioned in the genealogy in Matthew. Anyway, God made no mistake. He speaks, and it is done; He commands, and it stands fast. “And the word of our God shall stand forever.”

13 In 1 Clnon. 3:17 Jehoiachin is given as Jeconiah, of which “Coniah” is an abbreviation.

 

 

 

 


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Bibliography Information
Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 24:4". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/isn/2-kings-24.html. 1914.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, October 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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