In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years: then he turned and rebelled against him.2 Kings 24:1. In his days — That is, in Jehoiakim’s reign; and, according to Daniel 1:1, compared with Jeremiah 25:1, in the end of the third, or the beginning of the fourth year of it; came up Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon — Son of Nebopolassar, who, having subdued Assyria, soon made himself absolute monarch of all that part of the world. He probably left Babylon in the third year of Jehoiakim, and reduced him in his fourth year. According to Jeremiah 46:2, he smote the army of Pharaoh- nechoh near the river Euphrates. He then attacked Jehoiakim, as the friend and ally of Pharaoh, and having taken him prisoner, “put him in chains to carry him to Babylon.” But as Jehoiakim submitted, and agreed to become tributary to him, Nebuchadnezzar released him. He carried away, however, some of the gold and silver vessels of the temple, and some of the most considerable persons of the kingdom, among whom were Daniel and his companions, Daniel 1:1-7. And Jehoiakim became his servant three years — That is, was subject to him, and paid him tribute. Then he turned and rebelled against him — Being instigated so to do by the king of Egypt, who promised him his utmost assistance if he would shake off the yoke of the king of Babylon, and threatened he would declare him an enemy, and make war upon him, if he would not.
And the LORD sent against him bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servants the prophets.2 Kings 24:2. The Lord sent against him bands of the Chaldees — Including, probably, Syrians, Moabites, and Ammonites, who were all now subject to the king of Babylon, and many of them engaged as soldiers in his service. Doubtless they were ordered by Nebuchadnezzar to attack and chastise Jehoiakim and the revolted Jews; yet no mention is here made of their commission from the king of Babylon, but only of that from the King of kings: the Lord sent them. And again, (2 Kings 24:3,) Surely upon the commandment of the Lord came this upon Judah; otherwise the order of Nebuchadnezzar could not have brought it. Many are serving God’s purposes, who are not aware of it.
Surely at the commandment of the LORD came this upon Judah, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did;2 Kings 24:3-4. To remove them out of his sight for the sins of Manasseh — Properly and directly for their own sins, and remotely for the sins of Manasseh; who had so corrupted the whole body of the people, that they were become incurable, and Josiah’s reformation had no lasting influence to recover them: for, immediately upon his death, they relapsed into their old idolatry, and other vices. Manasseh’s personal sins, although, as he was their chief ruler, they were to be considered as national sins, and merited national punishment, yet would never have been charged on the nation, unless they had made them their own by their impenitency for them, and repetition of them. And for the innocent blood which he shed — Namely, of those prophets and saints, who either reproved, or would not comply with his idolatrous worship. Which the Lord would not pardon — That is, would not remit the temporal punishment of the land, though he did pardon it so as not to inflict eternal punishment upon his own person, for from that God undoubtedly exempted him upon his repentance. God is the righteous governor of the world, and the guardian of civil society, and in it order could not be preserved, if he did not interpose in his providence, and, on proper occasions, cause signal and national judgments to follow public and national crimes.
And also for the innocent blood that he shed: for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the LORD would not pardon.
Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.2 Kings 24:6. So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers — But it is not said he was buried with them. No doubt the prophecy of Jeremiah was fulfilled, that he should not be lamented as his father was, but buried with the burial of an ass. Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead — Called also Jechoniah, 1 Chronicles 3:16, and in a way of contempt Coniah, Jeremiah 22:24.
And the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land: for the king of Babylon had taken from the river of Egypt unto the river Euphrates all that pertained to the king of Egypt.2 Kings 24:7. The king of Egypt came not again out of his own land — In this king’s days. He could not now come to protect the king of Judah, being scarce able to defend his own kingdom.
Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother's name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.2 Kings 24:8. Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign — In 2 Chronicles 36:9, it is said that he was eight years old when he began to reign. But as both the Syriac and Arabic versions in that place read eighteen, it seems most reasonable to believe that the transcriber of the book of Chronicles made a mistake, and wrote eight for eighteen. Poole, however, and many other commentators, suppose that both places are correct, and that in his eighth year he began to reign with his father, who made him king with him, as divers other kings of Israel and Judah had acted in times of trouble; and that in his eighteenth year he reigned alone. Jehoiachin’s succeeding his father in the throne of Judah may seem to disagree with the threat which the prophet denounces against his father, Jeremiah 36:30, He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David; but as Jehoiachin’s reign lasted little more than three months, during which time he was absolutely subject to the Chaldeans, a reign of so short continuance, and of so small authority, may well be looked upon as nothing: see Ezekiel 19:6, &c.
And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father had done.
At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged.2 Kings 24:10. The servants of Nebuchadnezzar came up against Jerusalem — Either, 1st, Because the people had made Jehoiachin king without his consent: or, 2d, Because he had some notice, or at least a suspicion, of his intentions to rebel and join with Egypt against him, as Zedekiah his successor did. But whatever was the second and immediate cause of it, the chief cause was God’s commandment, or the direction of his providence, as was said 2 Kings 24:3.
And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it.
And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign.2 Kings 24:12. Jehoiachin went out to the king of Babylon — Yielded up himself and the city into his hands; and this by the counsel of Jeremiah, and to his own good. In the eighth year of his reign — Of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, as appears by comparing this with 2 Kings 25:8; and because Jehoiachin reigned not half a year. Had he made his peace with God, and taken the method that Hezekiah did in the like case, he needed not to have feared the king of Babylon, but might have held out with courage, honour, and success. But, wanting the faith and piety of an Israelite, he had not the resolution of a man.
And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had said.2 Kings 24:13. He carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the Lord — Nebuchadnezzar carried away the treasures and rich furniture of the temple at three different times: First, In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, when he first took Jerusalem, he carried a part of the vessels of the house of God into the land of Shinar, and put them in the house of his god, Daniel 1:2. These were the vessels which his son Belshazzar profaned, (Daniel 5:2,) and which Cyrus restored to the Jews, (Ezra 1:7,) to be set up in the temple again, when rebuilt: Secondly, In the reign of this Jehoiachin he took the city again, and cut in pieces a great part of the vessels of gold which Solomon had made, and which, through some means, had escaped his former plunder, and the plunder of the kings of Egypt and Israel, who had rifled the city and temple more than once; perhaps being preserved from them by the care of the priests, who hid them, or by the special providence of God, disposing their hearts to leave them. Or if these vessels had been taken away by any of these kings, they might afterward be recovered at the cost of the pious kings of Judah: Thirdly, In the eleventh year of Zedekiah he pillaged the temple once more, when he broke in pieces the pillars of brass, &c., and took away all the vessels of silver and gold that he could find, and carried them to Babylon, 2 Kings 25:13. It is something strange, that among all this inventory, no mention is made of the ark of the covenant, which, of all other things, was held most sacred. But it is very probable that it was burned, together with the temple, in the last desolation; for what some say of its being hidden by the Prophet Jeremiah in a certain cave in mount Nebo, is a mere fable. See Calmet’s Comment. and Dissert. on the Ark.
And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land.2 Kings 24:14. He carried away all Jerusalem — That is, the inhabitants of Jerusalem; not simply all, but the best and most considerable part, as the following words explain and restrain it. Even ten thousand captives — Which are more particularly reckoned up 2 Kings 24:16, where there are seven thousand mighty men, and a thousand smiths; and those mentioned 2 Kings 24:15 make up the other two thousand. Craftsmen and smiths — Who might furnish them with new arms, and thereby give him fresh trouble.
And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king's mother, and the king's wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon.
And all the men of might, even seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths a thousand, all that were strong and apt for war, even them the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon.
And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father's brother king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah.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.
Zedekiah was twenty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.2 Kings 24:18-19. He reigned eleven years — In the end of which he was carried captive, Jeremiah 1:3. He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord — Not regarding the reproofs, exhortations, or predictions of Jeremiah, but shutting him up in prison, Jeremiah 33:1-2; 2 Chronicles 36:12. And his servants, and the people of the land, were as wicked and incorrigible as himself, Jeremiah 37:1-2.
And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.
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.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.