II Kings 24

Time will not wear out the guilt of sin.
Threatenings will be fulfilled as certainly as promises if the sinner’s repentance prevent not.

1 In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years: then he turned and rebelled against him.

2 And the LORD sent against him bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, 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, which he spake by his servants the prophets.

3 Surely at the commandment of the LORD 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?

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 unto the river Euphrates all that pertained to the king of Egypt.

8 ¶ Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother’s name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan 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 the servants 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 it.

12 And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his 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.

14 And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land.

15 And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king’s mother, and the king’s wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon.

16 And all the men of might, even seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths a thousand, all that were strong and apt for war, 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.

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, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.

2 Kings 24:1-9 – The Price of Innocent Blood

   Note the entail of Manasseh’s sin. He had lived, had been forgiven, and had died years before, but Judah was irretrievably implicated in his sins. The poison had eaten into the national heart, and for the innocent blood which had been shed like water there had been no amends. Notice the emphatic statement that Nebuchadnezzar and the  other enemies who came against the land were deliberately carrying out the divine chastenings. They were, as Isaiah puts it, the rod of God’s anger and the staff of his indignation (10:5). How often does God still use evil men as his instruments to chasten us! The best way of escaping them is to commit ourselves to God.
   Jehoiakim was blatant in his blasphemy (Jeremiah 36:23). He was a very contemptible prince, and was carried in chains to Babylon (Daniel 1:1-4). Apparently he was temporarily restored to his throne, but in the end he perished ignominiously (Jeremiah 36:30).
   What sorrows befell the Holy City! Though God would have gathered her under the wings of his protecting care, she would not, and therefore the times of the Gentiles began, which would now seem to be hastening to their end (Luke 21:24).

2 Kings 24:10-20 – ​The Captivity Begins.

   Jehoiachin followed the evil path of his predecessors. Again Jerusalem was besieged and Deuteronomy 28:48 began to be fulfilled. The ill-advised revolt of the young king ended in bitter disappointment, as Jeremiah had foretold (22:24-25); and the final tragedy came on apace, in spite of the insistence of the false prophets that the sacred vessels of the Temple should be returned from Babylon (Jeremiah 27:16). Finally, a sad procession issued from the gate of the doomed city, and the king, his nobles and officials, presented themselves before the enemy, sitting on the ground, clothed in black, their faces covered in their mantles (Jeremiah 13:18). They were at once deported to Babylon with thousands more. The treasures in the Temple and the palace were rifled; and a cry of agony and astonishment arose from Jeremiah and the whole land (Jeremiah 22:24, 28; some add Psalms 42-43).
   Zedekiah, Josiah’s youngest son, enticed into a league with neighboring nations against the conqueror, brought upon himself and his people a yet more disastrous over-throw. How foolish man’s wisdom becomes when he departs from the living God! “A wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed” (James 1:6).

2 Kings 24:13—He carried out thence all the treasures of the House of the LORD.

   Amongst these departed treasures must have been much of the sacred furniture of the Temple, and the holy vessels; because, in the days of Belshazzar, we find them brought out to grace the royal banquet. Belshazzar drank wine from them with his lords, wives, and concubines, whilst they praised the gods of Babylon, who had given them victory over their foes. Amongst the rest was the golden candlestick, whose flame afterward illuminated the inscription of doom, written by God’s hand upon the palace wall. By the command of Cyrus these precious vessels were finally restored (Ezra 5:14), and carried back to Jerusalem, by a faithful band of priests (Ezra 8:33).
   The whole story of the captivity is full of solemn lessons.— The Church of God must make her choice between one of two courses: either she must keep from all entangling alliances, and from vying for temporal power; or she must face the liability of being brought under the power with which she would fain assimilate. Israel wanted to be as the other nations around her, imitating their organization, and allying herself now with one, and then with another; in consequence she was swept into captivity to the very nation whose fashions she most affected (Isaiah 38).
   Have we never tasted the bitters of captivity?— Borne away from our happy early homes to live among strangers, set to repugnant tasks, removed from all that made life worth living, we have known the exile’s lot. Alas! if it be so; yet, even in our captivity, where the Lord’s song is silenced, and our harps hang from the willows, if we repent, and put away our sins, and turn again to the Lord, He will not only have mercy, but abundantly pardon, and bring us again that we may be as we were in times past.