Second Kings 24 Commentary
The chapter starts with Jehoiakim on the throne. Like Zedekiah later, his name had been changed from Eliakim. He is a puppet king under Pharaoh. Later he becomes a puppet king under Nebuchadnezzar. In between these two powers were Aramean, Moabite, and Ammonite raids on Judah – all these happenings within Jehoiakim’s short eleven years! And he was still a youth!
Jehoiakim is succeeded by his son Jehoiachin, aged only 8. His reign lasts three months. He is deported to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar replaces him with his uncle, Zedekiah.
The chapter closes with Zedekiah on the throne. He is the third son of Josiah to sit on Israel’s throne. In truth, Josiah never even had a son by that name. Mattaniah? Yes. Not Zedekiah. Zedekiah is a name that was bestowed on Mattaniah by a foreign ruling power. Israel would not be the same. Even its identity was a matter for others to decide.
Israel is scattered to Babylon. Ten thousand individuals, the cream of the land, are deported to Babylon. Probably among the deportees is the young priest Ezekiel, later the prophet Ezekiel. He prophesied from the land of captivity.
Let there be no mistake; Israel’s sinfulness, especially the sins of Manasseh are responsible for Israel’s troubles at this stage. Zedekiah is not entirely innocent. From the Book of Jeremiah, we shall read about the efforts the LORD was making in trying to bring Israel back to repentance. Jeremiah’s ministry spanned a period from Josiah’s reign to the reigns of provincial administrators. Judah had become a province of Babylon by this time. Jeremiah is actually a strong suspect behind the volume of work we are currently working on.
Nebuchadnezzar looted the temple – the once-revered dwelling of the Almighty. Idolatry devalues everything. The temple was an empty shell by this time. The LORD doesn’t stay in dirty places. The saint is warned. It is possible to still stand like there is value within, even when the reality is that the LORD is no longer present. A life like that will be looted. It has become worthless.
The history of the nation of Israel is a life-long lecture on not how to relate with the Creator God. It should help the saint to value the presence of the LORD more and more. We are worthless without it. And the things we love? Well, Israel’s end, and the looting at the temple, is an example of what happens to all worthless things.
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