2 Kings 24
-In the days of Jehoiakim, the world scene had a power shifting taking place, which took the Egyptians, who practically ruled Judah, out and Babylon, under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar, became the dominant force in the region. In 605 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar had defeated the Egyptians and assumed power at Carchemish. Thus, Babylon took control of all Egypt’s vassals (including Judah), which lead to Nebuchadnezzar invading the land of Jerusalem in order to establish his rule by force. Jehoiakim became his servant for three years, and then he rebelled against the foreign oppressor (2 Kings 24:1). But, because he was evil (2 Kings 23:37), the LORD sent against him and Judah all sorts of local bands of raiders according to the word of the LORD which He had spoken through His servants the prophets (2 Kings 24:2). “Surely at the command of the LORD it came upon Judah, to remove them from His sight because of the sins of Manasseh, according to all he had done, and also for the innocent blood which he shed, for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; and the LORD would not forgive (2 Kings 24:3-4).” Jehoiakim passed into eternity and was replaced briefly by his son Jehoiachin, who also did evil in the sight of the LORD, before Babylon laid siege on the city. Jehoiachin eventually came out to Nebuchadnezzar with his mother and servants and captains and officials. At this point he, along with his family, was taken captive by the king of Babylon only three months into his reign of Judah. Babylon ransacked Jerusalem at this time taking from there all the treasures of the house of the LORD (The Temple) and the treasures of the king’s house (2 Kings 24:5-13). So, all the captains, the mighty men of valor, craftsmen, smiths, and everyone of any value were deported to Babylon for exile. None remained except for the very poorest of the land (2 Kings 24:14-16). This was the time of Daniel, Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Mehach), and Azariah’s (Abed-nego) deportation (Daniel 1:1-7).
-Then, the king of Babylon made Jehoiachin’s uncle, Mattaniah (whose name was changed to Zedekiah, he was another son of Josiah), the new puppet ruler of the Judean region. He was allowed to reign for eleven years as the last king of the somewhat autonomous Judah as a son of David’s line. But, he also did evil in the sight of the LORD, and he incurred more of the anger of the LORD. Zedekiah eventually rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon with the remnant that was left in the land (2 Kings 24:17-20).
-*Application* God hates the shedding of innocent blood. He has control of all world powers by His sovereign, over-arching will. God will bless those who bless Him and keep His commands. He is against those individuals, and nations, that continually transgress His ways, disregard Him, and do things their own selfish, false way. We personally, and as a nation, must conform to the almighty standards of God if we want His blessings. There are conditions for favor. At the heart of all this is love and faith. If we love and trust our Creator with all our heart, He will rescue. If we shun Him, He will eventually give up on us just as He did with Judah. However, remember this: He always keeps His promises and did bring His people back to the land according to all that He had decreed in the end. He is faithful even when we are not. What an awesome God of grace, mercy, and compassion!
Verses to Memorize: 2 Kings 24:3-4