Study Notes

2Kings 24:1-25:30


When we left our study of 2Kings two weeks ago, we saw that there had been a short revival in the nation of Judah under the reign of King Josiah. The temple was restored, the Passover celebrated, the high places torn down. Unfortunately, when Josiah died, things went back to their terrible normalcy of sinful rebellion against God.

Two of Josiah's sons sat on the throne - first Yeh-ho-aw-KHAWZ, then Yeh-ho-yaw-KEEM. They both did evil in the sight of the Lord, just as so many of their ancestral kings had done before them.

As we pick up in chapter 24, we see that Egypt's Pharaoh Neco has oppressed the kingdom of Judah, demanding a huge fine of gold and silver. But as we are about to see, this is only the beginning of oppression for this immoral people. You may recall that in chapter 20, Hezekiah had given the grand tour of the kingdom to the messengers that had brought "get well cards" from the king of Babylon. This was a mistake, as Isaiah had quickly pointed out, prophesying,

2Kgs. 20:17 ‘Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and all that your fathers have laid up in store to this day shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left,' says the LORD.

In these two final chapters of 2Kings, we are going to see that prophecy be fulfilled.

24:1-4 God's judgment Against Judah

Josiah's son Yeh-ho-yaw-KEEM is still king over Judah. He had been oppressed by Pharaoh Neco of Egypt, and now by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. Maybe there's only so much a guy can take, because after three years, Yeh-ho-yaw-KEEM rebelled.

But when the Lord has a lesson for you to learn, or discipline to bring, there's no fighting against it.

When God called Jonah to Nineveh, he tried to run in the opposite direction (Jon 1:3). But between a big storm and a big fish, God's will was done.

When King Herod knew that the king of the Jews had been born, he was determined to alter God's plan. He commanded that all children in Bethlehem and its surrounding regions be killed (Matt 2:16). But this didn't solve his problem, for God protected the baby Jesus.

And even though Yeh-ho-yaw-KEEM was determined to throw off the yoke of oppression of Babylon, there was no resisting God. He sent the Chaldeans, the Arameans, the Moabites, and the Ammonites to fill in the gap. The destruction of Judah was to be certain, for the Lord had certainly spoken it.

24:5-9 Jehoiachin Becomes King

When Yeh-ho-yaw-KEEM died, his son Yeh-ho-yaw-KEEN became king (his mother was Nekh-oosh-TAW, daughter of El-naw-THAWN).

The author tells us that Egypt was no longer a factor in the problems of Judah, for Babylon had conquered much of their territory.

24:10-12 Jerusalem Under Siege

Having taken Egypt's northern territories, Nebuchadnezzar now directs his attention to Jerusalem, sending his troops to bring it under siege. As you may recall, putting a city under siege meant to surround it with your armies, cutting off all supply lines, and slowly starving it out. Depending on the cities provisions, this could take months or even years, but eventually your forces would have the victory without suffering casualties.

When Nebuchadnezzar arrived on the scene personally, Ye-ho-yaw-KEEN and his household surrendered to him.

24:13-16 Jerusalem Into Exile

Now that the city of Jerusalem was his, Nebuchadnezzar took all the treasures of the temple of God. Many of these treasures were destroyed so that the gold could be reused for other things. The citizens of the city were taken into exile - all but the poorest people were taken away to Babylon.

24:17-20 From Mattaniah To Zedekiah

The new king of this injured nation of Judah was Mat-tan-YAW, the uncle of Ye-ho-yaw-KEEN (his mother was Kham-oo-TAL).

His name was changed to Tsid-kee-YAW. You may have noticed that there has been a lot of name-changing going on. If you tune in to the practice, you will see it all through the Scriptures. In Genesis 41, Pharaoh renamed Joseph; in Daniel 1, the Babylonian commander renamed Daniel and his three friends; and in 2Kings 23, Pharaoh Neco renamed El-yaw-KEEM.

The Lord often renamed people as well. Jacob became Israel (Gen 32:28), Abram became Abraham (Gen 17:5), and Simon became Peter (Matt 16:17-18). What is going on with all of this name-changing? Don't they know how much confusion it brings?

Here's the scoop: when someone changes your name, it is a statement of being in subjection and submission to their authority. This practice is carried on today. When a man and woman are married, he changes her name to his, symbolizing that he has become the head of the woman, and that she is in submission to him. As the Scripture says,

Eph. 5:22-24 Wives, {be subject} to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself {being} the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives {ought to be} to their husbands in everything.

It is no coincidence that in the early 70's, when women's liberation movement gained so much steam, that women began refusing to take their husbands' names. They refused to be in submission to their husbands, as God had ordained from the beginning.

25:1-3 Two Years Of Siege

When Tsid-kee-YAW rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar's heavy hand of oppression, it brought about another siege of Jerusalem.

It is very interesting to me that the exact dates of the siege are given here. Nowhere else previously in the book of Kings have we been given exact dates. Why are these so important? Because the prophet Jeremiah had said that the exile to Babylon would last 70 years).

Jer. 25:11-12 ‘And this whole land shall be a desolation and a horror, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Then it will be when seventy years are completed I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation,' declares the LORD, ‘for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans; and I will make it an everlasting desolation.

By giving us the exact dates, the Lord enabled us to see His faithfulness to His Word. Daniel was one who knew this as well. He wrote,

Dan. 9:2-3 in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was {revealed as} the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, {namely,} seventy years. So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek {Him by} prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.

Because the exact dates were known, Daniel was able by faith to know when the captivity would end. It would be seventy years to the day.

Now, you may ask, "Why was it seventy years? What made God choose that number? Was it arbitrary?" No. You see, the Jews were guilty of not following the book of the Law given to Moses. In that book we see the Lord say,

Lev. 25:2-4 "Speak to the sons of Israel, and say to them, ‘When you come into the land which I shall give you, then the land shall have a sabbath to the LORD. Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its crop, but during the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD; you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard.

Every seven years, there was supposed to be a year of rest for the land. But for the 490 years that they had been in the promised land, the Jews had never given the land its sabbaths. They owed the land 70 years of rest. Thus, in the last chapter of the book of Chronicles we read,

2Chr. 36:20-21 And those who had escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and to his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept sabbath until seventy years were complete.

God takes His Word very seriously. Now, this helps us to understand a New Testament principle as well. Do you recall Simon Peter approaching the Lord Jesus Christ with a question intended to make himself look very spiritual?

Matt. 18:21-22 Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven."

Was Jesus' answer intended to be poetic? Not at all, for He was explaining to us the exact nature of God. God had been merciful for so long, but there was a limit to His mercy. Every seventh year when the land wasn't given its sabbath, God was patient. But when that mercy approached seventy times seven, it was time to administer justice.

And so God is using the Babylonians to give the land its rest. They have besieged Jerusalem, and the end is near.

25:4-7 The Capture Of Jerusalem

When Jerusalem was starved out, the Babylonians broke into the city. The army of Judah was wiped out, the king blinded, and the king's sons killed.

25:8-17 Jerusalem Ransacked

Neb-oo-zar-ad-AWN, the captain of the Babylonian guard, trashed Jerusalem. The temple and all the houses in the city were burned, and the walls were broken down. Everyone but the poorest of the poor was taken away into exile, and everything that was of value was carted off.

25:18-21 Prominent People Killed

Those who were of prominent position in the city of Jerusalem were taken to Babylon and killed. This included Ser-aw-YAW, the high priest. Zephaniah, the next priest in line, temple officers, the overseer of the army, and others.

25:22-26 Gedaliah's Governorship

Nebuchadnezzar appointed Ghed-al-YAW, the son of Akh-ee-KAWM, the son of Shaw-FAWN as the governor over the remaining people. But when he tried to encourage them to just be good and be in subjection to the Babylonian occupation, they arose and killed him.

25:27-30 Jehoiachin Released

Ending the book on a strange lighter note, the writer of Kings tells us that after 36 years of imprisonment in Babylon, Jeh-ho-yaw-KEEN was released from prison by the new king of Babylon (Ev-EEL Mer-o-DAK) and treated well.

Next week, we will begin to take a look at some of the prophets that lived during the time of the Kings, and see what their perspective on all of these events was. For your homework this week, read through the book of the prophet Hosea.

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