|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
24:8-20 Jehoiachin reigned but three months, yet long enough to show that he justly smarted for his fathers' sins, for he trod in their steps. His uncle was intrusted with the government. This Zedekiah was the last of the kings of Judah. Though the judgments of God upon the three kings before him might have warned him, he did that which was evil, like them. When those intrusted with the counsels of a nation act unwisely, and against their true interest, we ought to notice the displeasure of God in it. It is for the sins of a people that God hides from them the things that belong to the public peace. And in fulfilling the secret purposes of his justice, the Lord needs only leave men to the blindness of their own minds, or to the lusts of their own hearts. The gradual approach of Divine judgments affords sinners space for repentance, and believers leisure to prepare for meeting the calamity, while it shows the obstinacy of those who will not forsake their sins.
Verse 20. - For through the anger of the Lord it came to pus in Jerusalem and Judah. It was "through the anger of the Lord" at the persistent impenitence of the people, that that came to pass which actually came to pass - the rejection of the nation by God and the casting of it out of his presence. In his anger he suffered the appointment of another perverse and faithless monarch, who made no attempt at a reformation of religion, and allowed him to run his evil course unchecked, and to embroil himself with his suzerain, and to bring destruction upon his nation. God's anger, long provoked (2 Kings 21:10-15; 2 Kings 23:26, 27; 2 Kings 24:3, 4), lay at the root of the whole series of events, not causing men's sins, but allowing them to go on until the cup of their iniquities was full, and the time had arrived for vengeance. Until he had east them out from his presence (comp. 2 Kings 17:18, 20; 2 Kings 23:27; 2 Kings 24:3). To be "cast out of God's presence" is to lose his protecting care, to be separated off from him, to be left defenseless against our enemies. When Israel was once finally cast off, its fate was sealed; there was no further hope for it; the end was come. That Zedekiah rebelled against the King of Babylon; rather, And Zedekiah rebelled, etc. The sentence is a detached one, and would, perhaps, better commence 2 Kings 25. than terminate, as it does, 2 Kings 24. Zedekiah, when he received his investiture at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar (ver. 17), took a solemn oath of allegiance and fidelity (2 Chronicles 36:13; Ezekiel 17:13) to him and to his successors; but almost immediately afterwards he began to intrigue with Egypt, sent a contingent of troops to help Psamatik II. in his wars (Wiediemann, 'Geschichte AEgyptens,' p. 159), and thus sought to pave the way for an Egyptian alliance, on the strength of which he might venture upon a revolt. It was probably owing to the suspicions which these acts aroused that, in the fourth year of his reign, B.C. 594, he had to visit Babylon (Jeremiah 51:59), where, no doubt, he renewed his engagements and assured the Babylonian monarch of his fidelity. But these proceedings were nothing but a blind. On the accession of Hophra (Apries) to the throne of Egypt in B.C. 591, Zedekiah renewed his application to the Egyptian court, openly sending ambassadors (Ezekiel 17:15), with a request for infantry and cavalry. Thus was his rebellion complete, his "oath despised," and his "covenant broken" (Ezekiel 17:15, 16). The war with Babylon, and the siege of Jerusalem, were the natural consequences.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20. through the anger of the Lord … he cast them out from his presence—that is, in the course of God's righteous providence, his policy as king would prove ruinous to his country.
Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon—instigated by ambassadors from the neighboring states who came to congratulate him on his ascension to the throne (compare Jer 17:3, with Jer 28:1), and at the same time get him to join them in a common league to throw off the Assyrian yoke. Though warned by Jeremiah against this step, the infatuated and perjured (Eze 17:13) Zedekiah persisted in his revolt.
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