Then the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and made him king in his father's stead in Jerusalem.
Took Jehoahaz - It seems that after Necho had discomfited Josiah, he proceeded immediately against Charchemish, and in the interim, Josiah dying of his wounds, the people made his son king.
Jehoahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem.
And the king of Egypt put him down at Jerusalem, and condemned the land in an hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold.
The king of Egypt put him down - He now considered Judah to be conquered, and tributary to him and because the people had set up Jehoahaz without his consent, he dethroned him, and put his brother in his place, perhaps for no other reason but to show his supremacy. For other particulars, see the notes on 2 Kings 23:31-35 (note).
And the king of Egypt made Eliakim his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem, and turned his name to Jehoiakim. And Necho took Jehoahaz his brother, and carried him to Egypt.
Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old 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.
Came up Nebuchadnezzar - See the notes on 2 Kings 24:1.
Archbishop Usher believes that Jehoiakim remained three years after this tributary to the Chaldeans, and that it is from this period that the seventy years' captivity, predicted by Jeremiah, is to be reckoned.
Nebuchadnezzar also carried of the vessels of the house of the LORD to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon.
Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, 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 Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.
Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.
Jehoiachin was eight - See on 2 Kings 24:6-15 (note).
And when the year was expired, king Nebuchadnezzar sent, and brought him to Babylon, with the goodly vessels of the house of the LORD, and made Zedekiah his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem.
Made Zedekiah - king - His name was at first Mattaniah, but the king of Babylon changed it to Zedekiah. See 2 Kings 24:17 (note), and the notes there.
Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned eleven years in Jerusalem.
And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the LORD.
Did that which was evil - Was there ever such a set of weak, infatuated men as the Jewish kings in general? They had the fullest evidence that they were only deputies to God Almighty, and that they could not expect to retain the throne any longer than they were faithful to their Lord; and yet with all this conviction they lived wickedly, and endeavored to establish idolatry in the place of the worship of their Maker! After bearing with them long, the Divine mercy gave them up, as their case was utterly hopeless. They sinned till there was no remedy.
And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the LORD God of Israel.
Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem.
And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place:
But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.
Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand.
And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon.
And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof.
They burnt the house of God - Here was an end to the temple; the most superb and costly edifice ever erected by man.
Brake down the wall of Jerusalem - So it ceased to be a fortified city.
Burnt all the palaces - So it was no longer a dwelling-place for kings or great men.
Destroyed all the goodly vessels - Beat up all the silver and gold into masses, keeping only a few of the finest in their own shape. See 2 Chronicles 36:18.
And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia:
To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.
To fulfill the word of the Lord - See Jeremiah 25:9, Jeremiah 25:12; Jeremiah 26:6, Jeremiah 26:7; Jeremiah 29:12. For the miserable death of Zedekiah, see 2 Kings 25:4, etc.
Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,
Now in the first year of Cyrus - This and the following verse are supposed to have been written by mistake from the book of Ezra, which begins in the same way. The book of the Chronicles, properly speaking, does close with the twenty-first verse, as then the Babylonish captivity commences, and these two verses speak of the transactions of a period seventy years after. This was in the first year of the reign of Cyrus over the empire of the East which is reckoned to be A.M. 3468. But he was king of Persia from the year 3444 or 3445. See Calmet and Usher.
Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.
The Lord his God be with him - "Let the Word of the Lord be his helper, and let him go up." - Targum. See the notes on the beginning of Ezra.
Thus ends the history of a people the most fickle, the most ungrateful, and perhaps on the whole the most sinful, that ever existed on the face of the earth. But what a display does all this give of the power, justice, mercy, and long-suffering of the Lord! There was no people like this people, and no God like their God.