2 Kings 24:20
For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, until he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
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(20) For through . . . in Jerusalem.—Literally, for upon the anger of Jehovah it befel Jerusalem. That which fell upon Jerusalem and Judah like a ruinous disaster was the evil doing of Zedekiah, mentioned in 2Kings 24:19. That such a prince as Zedekiah was raised to the throne was itself a token of Divine displeasure, for his character was such as to hasten the final catastrophe.

Until he had cast them out.—See Note on 2Kings 17:23.

That Zedekiah rebelled.—Rather, and Zedelciah rebelled. There should be a full stop after “presence.” Zedekiah expected help from Pharaoh Hophra (Apries), king of Egypt, to whom he sent ambassadors (Ezekiel 17:15; comp. Jeremiah 37:5; Jeremiah 44:30.) Moreover the neighbouring peoples of Edom, Ammon, and Moab, as well as Tyre and Zidon, were eager to throw off the Babylonian yoke, and had proposed a general rising to Zedekiah (Jeremiah 27:3 seq.) The high hopes which were inspired by the negotiations may be inferred from the prophecy of Hananiah (Jeremiah 28). Jeremiah opposed the project of revolt to the utmost of his power; and the event proved that he was right. In the early part of his reign Zedekiah had tried to procure the return of the exiles carried away in the last reign (Jeremiah 29:3); and in his fourth year he visited Babylon himself, perhaps with the same object, and to satisfy Nebuchadnezzar of his fidelity (Jeremiah 51:59). The date of his open revolt cannot be fixed.

2 Kings 24:20. For through the anger of the Lord, &c. — God was so highly displeased with this wicked people, that he permitted Zedekiah to break his faith with Nebuchadnezzar, and to rebel against him, forgetting for what cause he changed his name. Unto this revolt, it is probable, he was persuaded by the ambassadors which the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Zidon, sent unto him, to solicit him to throw off the yoke of the king of Babylon, Jeremiah 27:2-4, &c.; which was the greater crime, because he had taken a solemn oath that he would be true to him, 2 Chronicles 36:13. The king of Egypt also, it is likely, promised him help, Ezekiel 17:15; and Hananiah, a false prophet, assured him God would, in two years time, break the yoke of the king of Babylon, and bring back all the vessels of the house of God, with Jehoiachin and all the captives: see Jeremiah 28:1-4. Jeremiah indeed proved that he made them trust in a lie, by predicting his death that very year, which accordingly came to pass, 2 Kings 24:15-17. But they still persisted in their vain hopes, there being other deceivers that prophesied falsely in God’s name, Jeremiah 29:8-9 : and they most of all deceived themselves with proud conceits that they were the true seed of Abraham, who had a right to that land, Ezekiel 33:24. The people’s sins, therefore, as Poole has justly observed, were the true cause why God gave them wicked kings, whom he suffered to act wickedly, that they might bring the long-deserved and threatened punishments upon themselves and their people.

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.It came to pass - Some prefer "came this to pass:" in the sense. "Through the anger of the Lord was it that another had king ruled in Jerusalem and in Judah:" concluding the chapter with the word "presence;" and beginning the next chapter with the words, "And Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon."

Rebelled - The Book of Jeremiah explains the causes of rebellion. In Zedekiah's early years there was an impression, both at Jerusalem Jeremiah 28:1-11 and at Babylon Jeremiah 29:5-28, that Nebuchadnezzar was inclined to relent. By embassy to Babylon Jeremiah 29:3, and a personal visit Jeremiah 51:59, Zedekiah strove hard to obtain the restoration of the captives and the holy vessels. But he found Nebuchadnezzar obdurate. Zedekiah returned to his own country greatly angered against his suzerain, and immediately proceeded to plot a rebellion. He sought the alliance of the kings of Tyre, Sidon, Moab, Ammon, and Edom Jeremiah 27:3, and made overtures to Hophra, in Egypt, which were favorable received Ezekiel 17:15, whereupon he openly revolted, apparently in his ninth year, 588 B.C. Tyre, it must be remembered, was all this time defying the power of Nebuchadnezzar, and thus setting an example of successful revolt very encouraging to the neighboring states. Nebuchadnezzar, while constantly maintaining an army in Syria, and continuing year after year his attempts to reduce Tyre (compare Ezekiel 29:18) was, it would seem, too much occupied with other matters, such, probably, as the reduction of Susiana Jeremiah 49:34-38, to devote more than a small share of his attention to his extreme western frontier. In that same year, however (588 B.C.), the new attitude taken by Egypt induced him to direct to that quarter the main force of the Empire, and to take the field in person.

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.

Thus the people’s sins were the true cause why God gave them wicked kings, whom he suffered to do wickedly, that they might bring the long deserved and threatened punishments upon themselves and their people.

Zedekiah was twenty years old when he began to reign,.... So that he was but between nine and ten years of age when his father Josiah died; for Jehoahaz reigned three months, Jehoiakim eleven years, and his son three months and ten days:

and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem: and his mother's name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah; by which it appears that he was the brother of Jehoahaz by father and mother's side, 2 Kings 23:31. This and the two following verses are expressed in the same words as in Jeremiah 52:1, (see Gill on Jeremiah 52:1, Jeremiah 52:2, Jeremiah 52:3), in 2 Chronicles 36:10, besides what is here said, is written, that he humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet of the Lord, that spoke in his name, but opposed him; and rebelling against the king of Babylon, broke his oath, and hardened his neck and heart against the Lord, and was obstinate, stubborn, and self-willed.

For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, until he had cast them out from his {f} presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.

(f) Out of Jerusalem and Judah into Babylon.

20. For through the anger of the Lord it came [did it come] to pass] Still the same language as in 2 Kings 23:27 and in 2 Kings 21:12-14, and all pointing to the evil practices of Manasseh and his times. The picture in 2 Chronicles 36:14-16, sets before us the way in which the evil doings had corrupted all classes. ‘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. 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’. God was deemed to be specially present in the temple at Jerusalem, hence the captivity was a removal from His sight.

that [R.V. and] Zedekiah rebelled] It is better to translate the conjunction as the mere copulative, putting a strong stop after ‘presence’. There were several stages in Zedekiah’s progress to complete revolt. The Chronicler (2 Chronicles 36:12) says that Nebuchadnezzar had made the new king swear unto him by God, perhaps thinking such an oath would be more binding than if he sware by any other oath. We know (Jeremiah 29:3) that Zedekiah sent an embassy to the king of Babylon, apparently with the desire of getting back the captives who had been taken away with Jeconiah. If this were really his wish it did not succeed, and thus the wish to revolt may have arisen. A little later Zedekiah went himself in the company of Seraiah (Jeremiah 51:59) to Babylon. This was in the fourth year of his reign. Amid all these communications with the conqueror, we learn (Jeremiah 27:3) that messengers came to Jerusalem from the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre and Sidon, who all seemed anxious to form a league against Babylon. Zedekiah listened to false prophets like Hananiah (Jeremiah 28:1-4), who told him that the yoke of the king of Babylon was to be broken and the captives all to be brought back, and along with them the vessels of the house of the Lord. Disappointed of his petitions, and encouraged by the kings round about him, and by the smooth things he heard at home, Zedekiah revolted, probably refusing to pay the yearly tribute and sending (Ezekiel 17:15) down to Egypt to obtain help in horses and chariots. Presently afterwards the Babylonian armies came once more against Jerusalem.

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.

2 Kings 24:20"For because of the wrath of the Lord it happened concerning Judah and Jerusalem." The subject to היתה is to be taken from what precedes, viz., Zedekiah's doing evil, or that such a God-resisting man as Zedekiah became king. "Not that it was of God that Zedekiah was wicked, but that Zedekiah, a man (if we believe Brentius, in loc.) simple, dependent upon counsellors, yet at the same time despising the word of God and impenitent (2 Chronicles 36:12-13), became king, so as to be the cause of Jerusalem's destruction" (Seb. Schm.). On וגו השׁליכו עד cf. 2 Kings 24:3, and 2 Kings 17:18, 2 Kings 17:23. "And Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babel," who, according to 2 Chronicles 36:13, had made him swear by God, to whom he was bound by oath to render fealty. This breach of covenant and frivolous violation of his oath Ezekiel also condemns in sharp words (Ezekiel 17:13.), as a grievous sin against the Lord. Zedekiah also appears from the very first to have had no intention of keeping the oath of fealty which he took to the king of Babel with very great uprightness. For only a short time after he was installed as king he despatched an embassy to Babel (Jeremiah 29:3), which, judging from the contents of the letter to the exiles that Jeremiah gave to the ambassadors to take with them, can hardly have been sent with any other object that to obtain from the king of Babel the return of those who had been carried away. Then in the fourth year of his reign he himself made a journey to Babel (Jeremiah 51:59), evidently to investigate the circumstances upon the spot, and to ensure the king of Babel of his fidelity. And in the fifth month of the same year, probably after his return from Babel, ambassadors of the Moabites, Ammonites, Tyrians, and Sidonians came to Jerusalem to make an alliance with him for throwing off the Chaldaean yoke (Jeremiah 27:3). Zedekiah also had recourse to Egypt, where the enterprising Pharaoh Hophra (Apries) had ascended the throne; and then, in spite of the warnings of Jeremiah, trusting to the help of Egypt, revolted from the king of Babel, probably at a time when Nebuchadnezzar (according to the combinations of M. v. Nieb., which are open to question however) was engaged in a war with Media.
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