God gives sinners both time and inducement to repent and waits to be gracious to them, but if they will profane God’s institutions by their sins, it is just with God to suffer them to be profaned by their enemies.
II Chronicles 36
1 Then the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and made him king in his father’s stead in Jerusalem.
2 Jehoahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem.
3 And the king of Egypt put him down at Jerusalem, and condemned the land in an hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold.
4 And the king of Egypt made Eliakim his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem, and turned his name to Jehoiakim. And Necho took Jehoahaz his brother, and carried him to Egypt.
5 ¶ Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD his God.
6 Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon.
7 Nebuchadnezzar also carried of the vessels of the house of the LORD to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon.
8 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and his abominations which he did, and that which was found in him, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.
9 ¶ Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.
10 And when the year was expired, king Nebuchadnezzar sent, and brought him to Babylon, with the goodly vessels of the house of the LORD, and made Zedekiah his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem.
11 ¶ Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned eleven years in Jerusalem.
12 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the LORD.
13 And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the LORD God of Israel.
14 ¶ Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem.
15 And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place:
16 But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.
17 Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand.
18 And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon.
19 And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof.
20 And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia:
21 To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.
22 ¶ Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,
23 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.
II Chronicles 36 – J. Vernon McGee
2 Chronicles 36:1-10 – At the Mercy of the Foe
The narrative here runs parallel with II Kings, but the events are described with a certain gravity of warning which enforces the lesson of history. Here was the final Catastrophe. Long predicted, at last it fell. The Jewish kings named here were mere puppets, and instead of turning to Jehovah, followed each other in persistent idolatry. Jehoahaz was deposed by Necho, who hoped for a more obsequious tool in his brother Jehoiakim; and the latter in his turn was deposed by Nebuchadnezzar, because he was Necho’s nominee. Jehoiachin was carried into captivity because he was the choice of the people, and Zedekiah because he rebelled. These are the superficial reasons for the changes that followed each other with such terrible rapidity. But the pages of Jeremiah and Ezekiel reveal other and deeper reasons, alluded to subsequently in this chapter.
It was a long process of pruning through which Israel had to pass, before this stock could bear that one pure flower, the mother of our Lord, who was to give the human side of His holy nature to the world. —Through the Bible Day by Day
2 Chronicles 36:11-23 – Defeat and Exile
It is expressly stated in Ezekiel 17:13 that Nebuchadnezzar administered to Zedekiah an oath of fealty in the presence of Jehovah. Hence by his rebellion, he not only broke his promise to the king of Babylon, but profaned the name of God. It is in reference to this profanation of his oath that Zedekiah is addressed in Ezekiel 21:25, as “thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come.”
It also appears from Ezekiel 8:1 that toward the close of this reign idolatrous rites of various kinds intruded upon the sacred precincts of the Temple. Hebrew women bewailed Tammuz; elders burned incense to the forms of beasts portrayed on the walls; and men, turning their backs on the sanctuary, worshiped the sun. There was no remedy but exile.
It had been distinctly predicted that if the Hebrew people disobeyed, their land should become a desolation, and their cities a waste, until the soil had enjoyed the rest which they had failed to give it. Compare Leviticus 25:4 with Leviticus 26:34-35. There was a point beyond which the divine judgment would not go. God loved the people whom he chastened; and since He hates putting away, the recreant nation, at the instigation of Cyrus, had one further opportunity of fulfilling their great mission to mankind. —Through the Bible Day by Day
II Chronicles 36:15—Rising up betimes.
What a touching and graphic phrase! How did God yearn over that sinful and rebellious city! Sending His messengers, “rising up quickly, and sending”—like a man who has had a sleepless night of anxiety for his friend or child, and rises with the dawn to send a servant on a mission of inquiry, or a message of love. How eager God is for men’s salvation!
From God’s eagerness, may we not learn a lesson of anxiety for the souls of men? We do not long after them enough, or rise betimes to urge them to repent. Did we realize what heaven is, or hell, what men are missing or incurring, what our duty is, as saved ourselves, we should rise up betimes to seek their eternal interests.
But if God rises quickly to seek men, should they not do the same to seek Him? Think you not, that when Adam heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden at morning prime, he would be up and away to meet Him on the up land lawns of Paradise? Can we wonder that our Master would rise up a great while before day, to meet His Father on some unfrequented height? Let us not cling to beds of sloth when God is awaiting us; let us heed His loving remonstrances, that we may be saved in the overthrow of the world; and let us, like Lot, pass on the word to others enwrapt in fatal slumber around us, bidding them to escape to the mountains, before the sun rise on the earth, lest they be consumed.
It was the practice of Sir Henry Havelock, during his campaigns in India, always to have two hours for prayer and Bible study before the march. If the camp was struck at 6:00 A.M., he would rise at 4:00. —Our Daily Homily