James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
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 24:1-25:30
THE BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY
THE LAST OF THE KINGS (2 Kings 24)
In the previous lesson we left Judah tributary to Egypt, which had been victorious at Megiddo. This lasted five years, when Babylon, now master of her old-time enemy Assyria, and eager to cross swords with Egypt for world-supremacy, came up against her, and compelled allegiance.
After three years Jehoiakim revolted (2 Kings 24:1), and for the remainder of his reign was harassed by bands of enemies (2 Kings 24:2) perhaps incited by the king of Babylon, himself too occupied in other directions to attack Judah in person.
After he has defeated Egypt, however (2 Kings 24:7), he turns his attention to Judah. Jehoiakim is dead, and his son, Jehoiachin, is on the throne (2 Kings 24:8). The latter is taken captive, and with him many of the best people of the land (2 Kings 24:12-16), among them Ezekiel, as we learn from the book bearing
his name. (The prophet Daniel, with others, had been carried away by the same king on an earlier advance against Jehoiakim.) Nebuchadnezzar shows the same consideration as the king of Egypt in placing another of the royal family instead of a stranger on the throne (2 Kings 24:17), but his confidence is misplaced and the end comes. The whole situation is of God, and the execution of His judgment upon the unholy people (2 Kings 24:20).
THE DEATH AGONY (2 Kings 25:1-21)
For a comment on this chapter, read Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Jeremiah 21, 27, 32, 34, 37, 40, 41 cover this period pretty thoroughly and also the first twenty-four chapters of Ezekiel.
THE REMNANT LEFT IN THE LAND (2 Kings 25:22-26)
Gedaliah, whom the king of Babylon made governor over the few people remaining, was, like his father, a friend of Jeremiah and joined with him in advising Zedekiah to surrender. Had this counsel prevailed, Judah would not have been plucked up out of her land. All this will be seen when Jeremiah is reached. This was known to Nebuchadnezzar, however, and explains his choice of Gedaliah, as well as the treachery of the people towards him, notwithstanding his oath (2 Kings 25:24-25). Read Jeremiah 40-44.
THE FAVORED CAPTIVE (2 Kings 25:27-30)
This closing incident carries its explanation on its face. The Babylonian king was the son and successor of Nebuchadnezzar. The grace bestowed on Jehoiachin is difficult to account for, except on some personal ground, especially as he is preferred before the other captive kings, who were retained at the court to enhance its triumph and glory.
In conclusion let it again be emphasized that the fall of Judah was God’s judgment upon her faithlessness as a witness to Him. All the prophets testify to this. But, let it also be noted that it was His purpose that Judah should be restored after a period (seventy years, Jeremiah 25:12). Her land was not populated by other peoples, a striking fulfillment of prophecy in itself. She must needs give birth to the Messiah there as the prophets had foretold, and so, when her captivity brought her in her senses she repented, and returned to Jehovah with a sincerity she had not before.
1. In whose reign was Judah tributary, first to Egypt and then to Babylon?
2. What two later kings of Judah reigned but three months each?
3. In whose reigns were Ezekiel and Daniel taken captive?
4. What additional light on the period have you gathered from Jeremiah?
5. In what respect does Judah’s captivity differ from that of Israel?