3278.) 2 Kings 24

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, were built by King Nebuchadnezzar in about 600 BC to please his foreign wife, who longed for the plants of her homeland. The gardens were destroyed by earthquakes after the 2nd century BC.

2 Kings 24   (NIV)

1 During Jehoiakim’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon invaded the land, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years.

Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Babylonian Empire, was concerned with Judah because of its strategic position in relation to the empires of Egypt and Assyria. Therefore it was important to him to conquer Judah and make it a subject kingdom, “his vassal,” securely loyal to Babylon.

  • Nebuchadnezzar came against Jerusalem because the Pharaoh of Egypt invaded Babylon. In response the young prince Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Egyptians at Charchemish, and then he pursued their fleeing army all the way down to the Sinai. Along the way (or on the way back), he subdued Jerusalem, who had been loyal to the Pharaoh of Egypt.
  • This happened in 605 B.C. and it was the first (but not the last) encounter between Nebuchadnezzar and Jehoiakim. There would be two later invasions (597 and 587 B.C.).
  • This specific attack is documented by the Babylonian Chronicles (a piece of it pictured above), a collection of tablets discovered as early as 1887, held in the British Museum. In them, Nebuchadnezzar’s 605 B.C. presence in Judah is documented and clarified. When the Babylonian chronicles were finally published in 1956, they gave us first-rate, detailed political and military information about the first 10 years of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. L.W. King had prepared these tablets in 1919; he then died, and they were neglected for four decades.
  • Excavations also document the victory of Nebuchadnezzar over the Egyptians at Carchemish in May or June of 605 B.C. Archaeologists found evidences of battle, vast quantities of arrowheads, layers of ash, and a shield of a Greek mercenary fighting for the Egyptians.
  • This campaign of Nebuchadnezzar was interrupted suddenly when he heard of his father’s death and raced back to Babylon to secure his succession to the throne. He traveled about 500 miles in two weeks – remarkable speed for travel in that day. Nebuchadnezzar only had the time to take a few choice captives (such as Daniel), a few treasures and a promise of submission from Jehoiakim.

–David Guzik

But then he turned against Nebuchadnezzar and rebelled. 2 The LORD sent Babylonian, Aramean, Moabite and Ammonite raiders against him to destroy Judah, in accordance with the word of the LORD proclaimed by his servants the prophets. 3 Surely these things happened to Judah according to the LORD’s command, in order to remove them from his presence because of the sins of Manasseh and all he had done, 4 including the shedding of innocent blood. For he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the LORD was not willing to forgive.

_________________________

Music:

The shedding of innocent blood.  HERE  is the old hymn, “Jesus, your blood and righteousness,” written by Count Nicolaus von Zinzendorf in the 1700’s, with a new tune by the vocalist, Lori Sealy.

Jesus, Your blood and righteousness
my beauty are, my glorious dress;
‘midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,
with joy I lift up my head!
Bold shall I stand in Your great day;
for who a charge to me shall lay?
Fully absolved through these I am
from sin, fear and guilt and shame.

Through Your blood and righteousness
I am so richly blessed.
By grace I’m justified,
redeemed by the LORD Jesus Christ.

Jesus, be endless praise to You,
whose boundless mercy did pursue –
and for me full atonement made,
Your blood my ransom paid!

Through Your blood and righteousness
I am so richly blessed.
By grace I’m justified,
redeemed by the LORD Jesus Christ!

When from the dust of death I rise
to claim my mansion in the skies,
then this shall still be all my plea,
He lived and died for me!

O let the dead now hear Your voice,
now bid the banished ones rejoice,
their beauty this their glorious dress,
Your blood and righteousness.

Through Your blood and righteousness
I am so richly blessed.
By grace I’m justified,
redeemed by the LORD Jesus Christ.

_________________________

5 As for the other events of Jehoiakim’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? 6 Jehoiakim rested with his ancestors. And Jehoiachin his son succeeded him as king.

7 The king of Egypt did not march out from his own country again, because the king of Babylon had taken all his territory, from the Wadi of Egypt to the Euphrates River.

Egypt had been soundly defeated by Nebuchadnezzar.  Now Babylonia is the “super power” of the Fertile Crescent.

Jehoiachin King of Judah

The teenage king. Nothing in his three-month reign would give Jerusalem confidence.

8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother’s name was Nehushta daughter of Elnathan; she was from Jerusalem. 9 He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father had done.

10 At that time the officers of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon advanced on Jerusalem and laid siege to it, 11 and Nebuchadnezzar himself came up to the city while his officers were besieging it. 12 Jehoiachin king of Judah, his mother, his attendants, his nobles and his officials all surrendered to him.

In the eighth year of the reign of the king of Babylon, he took Jehoiachin prisoner. 13 As the LORD had declared, Nebuchadnezzar removed the treasures from the temple of the LORD and from the royal palace, and cut up the gold articles that Solomon king of Israel had made for the temple of the LORD. 14 He carried all Jerusalem into exile: all the officers and fighting men, and all the skilled workers and artisans—a total of ten thousand. Only the poorest people of the land were left.

And certainly they — the poorest of the land — would not cause Nebachadnezzar any problems.

15 Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin captive to Babylon.

He also took from Jerusalem to Babylon the king’s mother, his wives, his officials and the prominent people of the land. 16 The king of Babylon also deported to Babylon the entire force of seven thousand fighting men, strong and fit for war, and a thousand skilled workers and artisans. 17 He made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in his place and changed his name to Zedekiah.

Remarkably, Jehoiachin spent 37 years in prison, a humiliated and forgotten man. He had lots of time to consider his life, and perhaps brought to mind stories he had heard about his grandfather, Josiah, and memories of the dishonorable death of his father. Perhaps he even prayed, and humbly sought mercy from the Lord.

With a change of Babylon’s kings came a change in Jehoiachin’s fate. Evil Merodach became the king of Babylon, and in the year he began to reign, he released Jehoiachin from prison. The new king was kind to him, and gave him a prominent position in his administration, better than all the other exiled kings who were with him in Babylon. Jehoiachin dined at the king’s table regularly, and his needs were met by the king of Babylon for the remainder of his life. His children included Shealtiel, in the genealogy of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1:12. (2 Kings 24:8-16; 2 Chronicles 36:9, 10)

–Pete Miller of ShareFaith.com

Zedekiah King of Judah

Puppet king of Nebuchadnezzar. Last king of Judah.

18 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah; she was from Libnah. 19 He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, just as Jehoiakim had done. 20 It was because of the LORD’s anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence.

The Fall of Jerusalem

Many Jews of the time believed that God would never allow the city of Jerusalem to fall. They did not realize that God was more concerned with their hearts (in terms of justice, truth, worship, forgiveness, kindness, etc.) than he was with their nation as such. Their sins had to be dealt with before their flag could fly with honor.

Now Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.

_________________________

New International Version, ©2010 (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
hanging gardens of Babylon.    https://www.realmofhistory.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/animation-hanging-gardens-of-babylon_2.jpg
Babylonian Chronicle.   http://cojs.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/Babylonian_Chronicle-2.jpg
captive Jehoiachin.   https://40daysofstudy.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/jehoiakim.jpg

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