2 Chronicles 36
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Then the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and made him king in his father's stead in Jerusalem.
Ch. 2 Chronicles 36:1-4 (= 1Es 1:34-38; 2 Kings 23:31-34). The Reign of Jehoahaz

1. the people of the land took] Cp. 2 Chronicles 26:1; 2 Chronicles 33:25.

Jehoahaz] Called “Shallum” in 1 Chronicles 3:15; Jeremiah 22:11. He was younger than Jehoiakim; 2 Chronicles 36:5.

Jehoahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem.
2. in Jerusalem] His mother’s name is here omitted; cp. 2 Chronicles 33:1; 2 Chronicles 33:21; 2 Chronicles 34:1. According to 2 Kings 23:32 (cp. Ezekiel 19:3-4) Jehoahaz “did evil.”

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.
3. put him down at Jerusalem] R.V. deposed him at Jerusalem. The clause answers to 2 Kings 23:33, “put him in bands at Riblah in the land of Hamath, that he might not reign in Jerusalem.” Perhaps we should read the same words in Chron. The Heb. words for “deposed” and “put in bands” are liable to be easily confused.

condemned] R.V. amerced. For “amerce” in the sense of “fine,” cp. Deuteronomy 22:19; and for “condemn” in the same sense see Amos 2:8 (A.V., “fined” R.V.).

an hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold] The land was poorer than in the days in which Sennacherib had imposed a fine on Hezekiah of “three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold” (2 Kings 18:14).

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.
4. turned his name to Jehoiakim] This name is compounded with the divine name Jehovah. Probably Neco made the new king swear fealty by Jehovah, and then declared his official name to be Jehoiakim, in order that he and his people might have something to remind them of the oath he had taken.

to Egypt] He died in Egypt; 2 Kings 23:34; Jeremiah 22:12.

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.
5–8 (= 1Es 1:39-42; 2 Kings 23:35 to 2 Kings 24:7). The Reign of Jehoiakim

5. in Jerusalem] The Chronicler omits his mother’s name (cp. 2 Chronicles 36:2, note) and also the statement that he raised the indemnity imposed by Neco by means of a poll-tax (2 Kings 23:35).

he did that which was evil] Cp. 2 Kings 23:37; Jeremiah 22:13-18; Jeremiah 26:20-23; Jeremiah 36:1-32.

Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon.
6. Nebuchadnezzar] A more accurate form of his name is “Nebuchadrezzar” (so generally in Jeremiah and Ezekiel); in the Inscriptions “Na-bi-um-ku-du-ur-ri-u-ṣu-ur,” also “Nabû-ku-dur-ri-u-ṣu-ur,” the meaning being, “O Nebo (one of the gods of Babylon; cp. Isaiah 46:1), protect the crown (or the boundary)!” He reigned from 604–561 b.c., and was succeeded by Evil-Merodach (Amil-Marduk). The only purely historical inscription relating to his reign deals with a campaign in Egypt in 568 b.c.; cp. Jeremiah 43:11.

Nebuchadnezzar] It seems probable that Nebuchadnezzar did not in person come up against Jerusalem at the end of Jehoiakim’s reign, nor in person carry off any of the sacred vessels; it is likely moreover that Jehoiakim was not carried to Babylon. The result of Jehoiakim’s rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar was according to 2 Kin. simply that “bands” of Chaldeans and their allies invaded Judah. Probably Jehoiakim’s life and reign came to an end (how we do not know; cp. Jeremiah 22:18-19) during this petty warfare, and then three months later, the main Chaldean army under Nebuchadnezzar having arrived, Jerusalem was taken, and Jehoiakim’s son and successor Jehoiachin was carried off with the golden vessels of the house of the Lord to Babylon. The Chronicler seems to foreshorten the history at this point.

Nebuchadnezzar also carried of the vessels of the house of the LORD to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon.
7. of the vessels] There is no mention in 2 Kin. of the removal of sacred vessels during Jehoiakim’s reign. Some were carried off under Jehoiachin, the rest under Zedekiah; 2 Kings 24:13; 2 Kings 25:13-17. Cp. last note.

in his temple] So LXX.; 1Es 1:39 [41]; Daniel 1:2. R.V. mg., “in his palace.” The Heb. word (heykâl) is a loan-word; the original (ikallu) is the ordinary word in Assyrio-Babylonian for “palace.”

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.
8. that which was found in him] i.e. his sin (in this context); cp. 1 Kings 14:13.

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.
9. Jehoiachin] Called “Jeconiah,” 1 Chronicles 3:16, where see note.

eight years] So LXX. (B) of Chron. and of Esd., but the number is probably corrupt for eighteen (so LXX. (A) of Chron. and of Esd. and Heb. and LXX. of 2 Kings 24:8). It is possible that the clause “and ten days” below is a misplaced fragment of an original reading ben shĕmôneh esreh shanah, i.e. “eighteen years old.”

in Jerusalem] The Chronicler here omits the king’s mother’s name (cp. 2 Chronicles 36:2, note), though she was a person of some influence; cp. 2 Kings 24:12; Jeremiah 22:24-26; and perhaps ibid. Jeremiah 13:18 (R.V.).

he did that which was evil] Cp. Jeremiah 22:14; Ezekiel 19:5-9.

9, 10 (= 1Es 1:43-45; cp. 2 Kings 24:8-17). The Reign of Jehoiachin

The account given in 2 Kin. contains much that is not given in Chron. and, in particular, many details of the first captivity of Judah.

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.
10. when the year was expired] R.V. at the return of the year; cp. 2 Samuel 11:1 = 1 Chronicles 20:1, “at the return of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle,” R.V. This would be in the spring.

brought him to Babylon] It was not the king only, but also all the best of the people, “the princes, … men of valour, the craftsmen and the smiths” who went into captivity; 2 Kings 24:14; Jeremiah 24:1; Jeremiah 24:5; Ezekiel 17:12-14.

Zedekiah] A covenant-name like “Jehoiakim” (2 Chronicles 36:4, note); it seems to mean “Righteousness of Jehovah”; cp. the significant title in Jeremiah 23:6, “The Lord is our Righteousness.” Zedekiah’s original name was “Mattaniah”; 2 Kings 24:17.

his brother] In 2 Kin. (more accurately) “his father’s brother”; cp. 1 Chronicles 3:15-16, notes.

Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned eleven years in Jerusalem.
11–19 (= 1Es 1:46-56; cp. 2 Kings 24:18 to 2 Kings 25:21; Jeremiah 37:1 to Jeremiah 39:8; Jeremiah 52:1-27). Reign of Zedekiah. Destruction of Jerusalem

11. in Jerusalem] The Chronicler omits, as usual, his mother’s name. She was “Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah” (2 Kings 24:18), and was mother of Jehoahaz also (ibid. 2 Kings 23:31). Jehoiakim was by a different mother (ibid. 2 Kings 23:36).

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.
12. humbled not himself] Jeremiah consistently advised Zedekiah to submit to the Chaldeans; but the king partly through fear of his princes, partly through illusive hopes, could never bring himself to do this; cp. Jeremiah 21:1-7; Jeremiah 34:8-22; Jeremiah 37:1-10; Jeremiah 37:17; Jeremiah 38:17-23.

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.
13. who had made him swear by God] Cp. Ezekiel 17:11-19.

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.
14. the chief] R.V. the chiefs.

transgressed very much] R.V. trespassed very greatly.

polluted the house] Jeremiah 7:9-11; Jeremiah 23:11-14; Ezekiel 8:5-16.

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:
15. rising up betimes, and sending] R.V. rising up early and sending; cp. Jeremiah 26:5.

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.
16. mocked the messengers] Jeremiah was imprisoned, beaten, and threatened with death, Urijah (Jeremiah 26:20-23) was put to death. Of the fate of Habakkuk (who also lived during the Chaldean period, Habakkuk 1:6) nothing is known.

misused his prophets] R.V. scoffed at his prophets.

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.
17. Chaldees] R.V. Chaldeans. Their name in Hebrew is Casdim and in Assyrio-Babylonian Caldu (the change of “s” for “l” before a dental is not uncommon in the latter language). They were a people originally living south of Babylon on the sea, but Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar, conquered Babylon and established a Chaldæo-Babylonian empire.

in the house of their sanctuary] Cp. Ezekiel’s vision of the slaughter; Ezekiel 9:1-11.

him that stooped for age] R.V. ancient; cp. Isaiah 9:15.

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.
18. all the vessels] i.e. all the vessels which remained after the previous spoliation (2 Chronicles 36:10). They were perhaps chiefly of brass; cp. 2 Kings 25:13-15.

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.
19. brake down the wall] The Heb. verb here used (nittçç) implies probably a more thorough breaking down than the pâraç of 2 Chronicles 25:23 (see note); 2 Chronicles 26:6.

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:
20, 21 (= 1Es 1:57-58). The Captivity

20. to him and his sons] Cp. Jeremiah 27:7. There were three kings of Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar before Cyrus established Persian rule, viz. Evil-Merodach (Amil-Marduk) (2 Kings 25:27), Neriglissar (Nergalšar-uṣur), and Nabonidus (Nabu-na’id). The last two kings were usurpers. Neriglissar was (it seems) son-in-law to Nebuchadnezzar (Hommel, Babylonia in Hastings’ Bible Dict., i. 229a). Whether Nabonidus was connected with the royal house is not known.

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.
21. by the mouth of Jeremiah] Cp. Jeremiah 25:11; Jeremiah 29:10.

until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths] Cp. Leviticus 25:1-7; Leviticus 26:34-35.

threescore and ten years] i.e. two whole generations. It is very unlikely that the Chronicler intended to suggest that the Sabbatical years had been neglected throughout the period (about 490 = 70 × 7 years) during which the kingdom lasted, for he mentions several God-fearing kings (David, Solomon, Jehoshaphat) whose reigns would need to be subtracted from this total, so that the number of violated Sabbatical years would fall considerably below 70.

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,
22. stirred up the spirit] Cp. 1 Chronicles 5:26; Haggai 1:14.

made a proclamation] cp. 2 Chronicles 30:5. The phrase is characteristic of the Chronicler.

22, 23 (= Ezra 1:1-3 a; 1Es 2:1-5 a). Cyrus Decrees the Rebuilding of the Temple

On this section see the full notes of Professor Ryle on Ezra.

The historical character of this decree of Cyrus has been questioned (on purely subjective grounds) by Cheyne, Jewish Religious Life after the Exile, pp. 5–7.

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.
23. All the kingdoms of the earth] The king of Babylon bore the title of “king of the four quarters of the world.” Cyrus succeeded to this title on his conquest of Babylon.

God of heaven] R.V. the God of heaven.

Who is there among you of all his people? The Lord … etc.] R.V. Whosoever there is among you of all his people, the LORD … etc.

let him go up] i.e. to Jerusalem; cp. Ezra 1:3. Since Chronicles is the last book of the Old Testament (according to the Hebrew order), these words are to be reckoned the last words of the Old Testament.

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