The People's Bible by Joseph Parker
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 [605 b.c.] Nebuchadnezzar king [at this time Crown Prince] of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years: then he turned and rebelled against him. [Nebuchadnezzar, son of Nabopolassar, and second monarch of the Babylonian Empire, ascended the throne 604 b.c., and reigned forty-three years, dying 561 b.c. He is acknowledged to be the most celebrated of all the Babylonian sovereigns. No other heathen king occupies so much space in Scripture. It would be an interesting exercise for the young to bring together into one view all the passages in which the name of Nebuchadnezzar occurs.]
2. And the Lord sent against him bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians [Jeremiah 35:11], 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 [the expression "according to the word of the Lord" should be compared with Leviticus 26:17-25; Deuteronomy 28:25; Jeremiah 4:20-29; Jeremiah 5:15-18; Habakkuk 1:6-10], which he spake by his servants the prophets.
3. Surely at the commandment of the Lord [no human power could have done this] came this upon Judah, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did;
4. And also for the innocent blood that he shed: for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the Lord would not pardon.
5. ¶ 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? [The most eminent critics concur in regarding the latter part of Jehoiakim's reign as a period of considerable obscurity. In 2 Chronicles we read: "Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon" (2Chronicles 36:6). Jeremiah says: "He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem" (Jeremiah 22:19). In the text before us we are simply told that "Jehoiakim slept with his fathers." The most circumstantial account of Jehoiakim's later years is given in the book of Ezekiel: "Then the nations set against him on every side from the provinces, and spread their net over him: he was taken in their pit; And they put him in ward in chains, and brought him to the king of Babylon: they brought him into holds, that his voice should no more be heard upon the mountains of Israel" (Ezekiel 19:8-9). In attempting to reconcile these various statements The Speaker's Commentary says: "Nebuchadnezzar must in the fifth or sixth year of Jehoiakim's revolt have determined to go in person to Syria, where matters were progressing ill, the revolt of Judaea in 602 b.c. having been followed by that of Tyre in 598 b.c. On his arrival he proceeded, probably from his headquarters at Riblah, to direct operations first against Tyre and then against Jerusalem. The troops which he employed against Jerusalem took Jehoiakim prisoner, and brought him in chains to Nebuchadnezzar's presence, who at first designed to convey him to Babylon, but afterwards had him taken to Jerusalem, where he was executed, and his body ignominiously treated (Jeremiah 22:19, and Jeremiah 36:30). Afterwards, when the Babylonians had withdrawn, the remains were collected and interred in the burying-place of Manasseh, so that the king ultimately "slept with his fathers."]
6. So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.
7. 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 [not the Nile, but the Wady-el-Arish] unto the river Euphrates all that pertained to the king of Egypt.
8. ¶ Jehoiachin [Jehovah will establish] was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months [by favour of Nebuchadnezzar]. And his mother's name was Nehushta [brass], the daughter of El-nathan of Jerusalem.
9. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father had done.
10. ¶ At that time [in the spring of the year] the servants [generals] of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged.
11. And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege [were besieging] it.
12. And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out [surrendered at discretion] to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother [this mother is almost always mentioned with her son—a sign of her rank and dignity], and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him [as a prisoner] in the eighth year of his [Nebuchadnezzar's] reign.
13. 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 [to Hezekiah, ch. 2Kings 20:17].
14. And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes [grandees of the court, and heads of the clans], and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths [literally "those who shut," corresponding to what we call locksmiths]: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land. ["He carried away all Jerusalem" is a phrase which must be limited by what follows. It has been estimated that the entire number of the captives did not exceed 11,000, and they consisted of the princes, the mighty men of valour, and the craftsmen or artisans, who numbered about a thousand. The population of modern Jerusalem, which seems to be nearly of the same size as the ancient city, is estimated by the most judicious of modern observers at from 10,000 to 17,000. The population of the ancient city has been calculated from its area at 15,000. It is supposed that when Jeremiah, in chap. Jeremiah 52:28, says that the number of captives carried off at this time was 3,023, his text has been corrupted.]
15. And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king's mother [note, she is placed before the king's wives], and the king's wives, and his officers, and the mighty [men of civil rank and dignity] of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon.
16. And all the men of might [men of valour], even seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths a thousand, all that were strong [rather, all of them strong] and apt for war [warriors and doers of battle], even them the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon.
17. ¶ And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father's brother king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah. [It has been pointed out that the tributary kings to whom their suzerain gave a new name were probably allowed to suggest the name that they would prefer to take. Mattaniah in fixing upon his seems to have aimed at securing the blessings promised by Jeremiah to the reign of a king whose name should be Jehovah-Tsidkenu—Jehovah our righteousness, Jeremiah 23:5-8.]
18. 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.
19. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.
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 [there should be a full-stop after "presence"], that [And] Zedekiah rebelled [the date of the open revolt cannot be fixed] against the king of Babylon.