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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

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or MATTANIAH, was the last king of Judah before the captivity of Babylon. He was the son of Josiah, and uncle to Jehoiachin his predecessor, 2 Kings 24:17; 2 Kings 24:19 . When Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem, he carried Jehoiachin to Babylon, with his wives, children, officers, and the best artificers in Judea, and put in his place his uncle Mattaniah, whose name he changed into Zedekiah, and made him promise, with an oath, that he would continue in fidelity to him, A.M. 3405, 2 Chronicles 36:13; Ezekiel 17:12; Ezekiel 17:14; Ezekiel 17:18 . He was twenty-one years old when he began to reign at Jerusalem, and he reigned there eleven years. He did evil in the sight of the Lord, committing the same crimes as Jehoiakim, 2 Kings 24:18-20; 2 Chronicles 36:11-13; and regarded not the menaces of the Prophet Jeremiah, from the Lord; but hardened his heart. The princes of the people, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, imitated his impiety, and abandoned themselves to all the abominations of the Gentiles. In the first year of his reign, Zedekiah sent to Babylon Elasah, the son of Shaphan, and Gemariah, the son of Hilkiah, probably to carry his tribute to Nebuchadnezzar. By these messengers Jeremiah sent a letter to the captives at Babylon, Jeremiah 29:1-23 . Four years afterward, either Zedekiah went thither himself, or at least he sent thither; for the Hebrew text may admit either of these interpretations, Jeremiah 51:59; Bar_1:1; Jeremiah 32:12 . The chief design of this deputation was to entreat Nebuchadnezzar to return the sacred vessels of the temple, Bar_1:8 . In the ninth year of his reign, he revolted against Nebuchadnezzar, 2 Kings 25. It was a sabbatical year, in which the people should set their slaves at liberty, according to the law, Exodus 21:2; Deuteronomy 15:1-2; Deuteronomy 15:12; Jeremiah 34:8-10 .

Then King Nebuchadnezzar marched his army against Zedekiah, and took all the fortified places of his kingdom, except Lachish, Azekah, and Jerusalem. He sat down before the last-mentioned city on the tenth day of the tenth month of the holy year, which answers to our January. Some time afterward, Pharaoh Hophrah, king of Egypt, marched to assist Zedekiah, Jeremiah 37:3-5; Jeremiah 37:10 . Nebuchadnezzar left Jerusalem, and went to meet him, defeated him, and obliged him to return into Egypt; after which he resumed the siege of Jerusalem. In the mean while, the people of Jerusalem, as if freed from the fear of Nebuchadnezzar, retook the slaves whom they had set at liberty, which drew upon them great reproaches and threatenings from Jeremiah 34:11; Jeremiah 34:22 . During the siege Zedekiah often consulted Jeremiah, who advised him to surrender, and pronounced the greatest woes against him if he should persist in his rebellion, Jeremiah 37:3; Jeremiah 37:10; Jeremiah 21. But this unfortunate prince had neither patience to hear, nor resolution to follow, good counsels. In the eleventh year of Zedekiah, on the ninth day of the fourth month, (July,) Jerusalem was taken, 2 Kings 25:2-4; Jeremiah 39:2-3; Jeremiah 52:5-7 . Zedekiah and his people endeavoured to escape by favour of the night; but the Chaldean troops pursuing them, they were overtaken in the plains of Jericho. He was seized and carried to Nebuchadnezzar, then at Riblah, a city of Syria. The king of Chaldea, reproaching him with his perfidy, caused all his children to be slain before his face, and his eyes to be put out; then loading him with chains of brass, he ordered him to be sent to Babylon, 2 Kings 25:4-7; Jeremiah 32:4-7; Jeremiah 52:4-11 . Thus were accomplished two prophecies which seemed contradictory: one of Jeremiah, who said that Zedekiah should see and yet not see, Nebuchadnezzar with his eyes, Jeremiah 32:4-5; Jeremiah 34:3; and the other of Ezekiel 12:13 , which intimated that he should not see Babylon, though he should die there. The year of his death is not known. Jeremiah had assured him that he should die in peace; that his body should be burned, as those of the kings of Judah usually were; and that they should mourn for him, saying," Ah, lord!" Jeremiah 34:4-5 .

Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Zedekiah'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​wtd/​z/zedekiah.html. 1831-2.
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