2 Kings 24:17
And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father's brother king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah.
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(17) Mattaniah his father’s brother.—He was the third son of Josiah (comp. Jeremiah 1:3; Jeremiah 37:1), and full brother of Jehoahaz-Shallum (2Kings 23:31). Jehoiachin was childless at the time (comp. 2Kings 24:12; 2Kings 24:15 with 2Kings 25:7 and Jeremiah 22:30). In the exile he had offspring (1Chronicles 3:17-18). (The LXX. reads, his son, υἱὸν, a corruption of θεῖον, uncle).

And changed his name to Zedekiah.—His former name meant “gift of Jah;” his new one, “Jah is righteousness” (or “myrighteousness”). The prophecy of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 23:1-9), denouncing “the shepherds that destroy and scatter the flock” and promising a future king, whose name shall be “Jehovah is our righteousness” (lahweh çidgēnu), evidently refers to the delusive expectations connected with Zedekiah’s elevation. Nebuchadnezzar’s act of clemency in putting another native prince on the throne may have been the execution of a promise made at the surrender of the city.

2 Kings 24:17. And changed his name to Zedekiah — That he might admonish him of (what his name signifies) the justice of God, which had so severely punished Jehoiakim for his rebellion; and would no less certainly overtake him, if he should be guilty of the same perfidiousness.

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.Mattaniah, son of Josiah and brother of Jehoahaz, but thirteen years his junior, adopted a name significant of the blessings promised by Jeremiah to the reign of a king whose name should be "Yahweh, our righteousness" Jeremiah 23:5-8. 2Ki 24:17-20. Zedekiah's Evil Reign.

17-19. the king of Babylon made Mattaniah, his father's brother, king in his stead—Adhering to his former policy of maintaining a show of monarchy, Nebuchadnezzar appointed the third and youngest son of Josiah (1Ch 3:15), full brother of Jehoahaz, and uncle of the captive Jehoiachin. But, according to the custom of conquerors, who changed the names of the great men they took captives in war, in token of their supremacy, he gave him the new name of

Zedekiah—that is, "The righteous of God." This being a purely Hebrew name, it seems that he allowed the puppet king to choose his own name, which was confirmed. His heart towards God was the same as that of Jehoiakim, impenitent and heedless of God's word.

That he might admonish him of (what this name signifies)

the justice of God, which had so severely punished Jehoiakim for his rebellion; and would no less certainly overtake him, if he should be guilty of the same rebellion and perfidiousness of which his predecessor was guilty.

And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father's brother king in his stead,.... The third son of Josiah, 1 Chronicles 3:15.

and changed his name to Zedekiah; for the same reason the king of Egypt changed the name of Eliakim, 2 Kings 23:34 to signify his subjection to him; though some think it was to put him in mind of the justice of God, as the name signifies, that would overtake him, should he be treacherous to him, and rebel against him; so the Jewish Midrash.

And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father's brother king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah.
17. Mattaniah] He was the brother of Jehoiakim, and as we gather from 1 Chronicles 3:15, he was Josiah’s third son. He is wrongly called ‘the brother’ of Jehoiachin, 2 Chronicles 36:10, unless we accept the word translated ‘brother’ for some general term of relationship and render it ‘kinsman’. Thus Lot is called Abraham’s brother, Genesis 14:16 and Bethuel also in Genesis 24:48. So also in 2 Kings 10:13 ‘the brethren of Ahaziah were not all that king’s brothers’. On the changing of names of persons taken captive or placed in some position of subjection see note on 2 Kings 23:34.

Zedekiah] Both this name and Mattaniah have Jah = Jehovah for their termination. We may therefore suppose that the choice of his new name was left to the Jewish king. Mattan-jah = gift of Jehovah; Zedek-jah, righteousness of Jehovah.

Verses 17-20. - EARLIER PORTION OF ZEDEKIAH'S REIGN. Nebuchadnezzar found a son of Josiah, named Mattaniah, still surviving at Jerusalem. At his father's death he must have been a boy of ten, but he was now, eleven years later, of the age of twenty-one. This youth, only three years older than his nephew Jehoiachin, he appointed king, at the same time requiring him to change his name, which he did from "Mattaniah" to "Zedekiah" (ver. 17). Zedekiah pursued nearly the same course of action as the other recent kings. He showed no religious zeal, instituted no reform, but allowed the idolatrous practices, to which the people were so addicted, to continue (ver. 19). Though less irreligious and less inclined to persecute than Jehoiakim, he could not bring himself to turn to God. He was weak and vacillating, inclined to follow the counsels of Jeremiah, but afraid of the "princes," and ultimately took their advice, which was to ally himself with Egypt, and openly rebel against Nebuchadnezzar. This course of conduct brought about the destruction of the nation (ver. 29). Verse 17. - And the King of Babylon made Mattaniah his father's brother king in his stead. Josiah had four sons (1 Chronicles 3:15) - Johanan, the eldest, who probably died before his father; Jehoiakim, or Eliakim, the second, who was twenty-five years old at his father's death (2 Kings 23:36); Jehoahaz, the third, otherwise called Shallum (1 Chronicles, l.s.c.; Jeremiah 22:11), who, when his father died, was aged twenty-three (2 Kings 32:31); and Mattaniah, the youngest, who must have been then aged ten or nine. It was this fourth son, now grown to manhood, whom Nebuchadnezzar appointed king in Jehoiachin's room. And changed his name to Zedekiah. (On the practice of changing a king's name on his accession, see the comment upon 2 Kings 23:31, 34.) Mat-lab means "Gift of Jehovah;" Zedekiah, "Righteousness of Jehovah." Josiah had called his son the first of these names in humble acknowledgment of God's mercy in granting him a fourth son. So other pious Jews called their sons "Nathaniel," and Greeks "Theodotus" or "Theodorus," and Romans "Deodatua." Mattaniah, in taking the second of the names, may have had in his mind the prophecy of Jeremiah 23:5-8, where blessings are promised to the reign of a king whose name should be "Jehovah-Tsidkenu," i.e. "The Lord our Righteousness." Or he may simply have intended to declare that "the righteousness of Jehovah" was what he aimed at establishing. In this case it can only be said that it would have been happy for his country, had his professions been corroborated by his acts. 2 Kings 24:17Over the lower classes of the people who had been left behind Nebuchadnezzar placed the paternal uncle of the king, who had been led away, viz., Mattaniah, and made him king under the name of Zedekiah. He was the youngest son of Josiah (Jeremiah 1:3; Jeremiah 37:1); was only ten years old when his father died, and twenty-one years old when he ascended the throne; and as the uncle of Jehoiachin, who being only a youth of eighteen could not have a son capable of reigning, had the first claim to the throne. Instead of דּדו, his uncle, we have in 2 Chronicles 36:10 אהיו, his brother, i.e., his nearest relation. On the change in the name see at 2 Kings 23:34. The name צדקיּהוּ, i.e., he who has Jehovah's righteousness, was probably chosen by Mattaniah in the hope that through him or in his reign the Lord would create the righteousness promised to His people.
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