Those who have by sin provoked God to leave them may expect ultimately to be encompassed about with innumerable evils.
II Kings 1
1 And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he, and all his host, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it; and they built forts against it round about.
2 And the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.
3 And on the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land.
4 ¶ And the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which is by the king’s garden: (now the Chaldees were against the city round about:) and the king went the way toward the plain.
5 And the army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army were scattered from him.
6 So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment upon him.
7 And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon.
8 ¶ And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzar-adan, captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem:
9 And he burnt the house of the LORD, and the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man’s house burnt he with fire.
10 And all the army of the Chaldees, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down the walls of Jerusalem round about.
11 Now the rest of the people that were left in the city, and the fugitives that fell away to the king of Babylon, with the remnant of the multitude, did Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard carry away.
12 But the captain of the guard left of the poor of the land to be vinedressers and husbandmen.
13 And the pillars of brass that were in the house of the LORD, and the bases, and the brasen sea that was in the house of the LORD, did the Chaldees break in pieces, and carried the brass of them to Babylon.
14 And the pots, and the shovels, and the snuffers, and the spoons, and all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered, took they away.
15 And the firepans, and the bowls, and such things as were of gold, in gold, and of silver, in silver, the captain of the guard took away.
16 The two pillars, one sea, and the bases which Solomon had made for the house of the LORD; the brass of all these vessels was without weight.
17 The height of the one pillar was eighteen cubits, and the chapiter upon it was brass: and the height of the chapiter three cubits; and the wreathen work, and pomegranates upon the chapiter round about, all of brass: and like unto these had the second pillar with wreathen work.
18 ¶ And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door:
19 And out of the city he took an officer that was set over the men of war, and five men of them that were in the king’s presence, which were found in the city, and the principal scribe of the host, which mustered the people of the land, and threescore men of the people of the land that were found in the city:
20 And Nebuzar-adan captain of the guard took these, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah:
21 And the king of Babylon smote them, and slew them at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was carried away out of their land.
22 ¶ And as for the people that remained in the land of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had left, even over them he made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, ruler.
23 And when all the captains of the armies, they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah governor, there came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, even Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Johanan the son of Careah, and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah the son of a Maachathite, they and their men.
24 And Gedaliah sware to them, and to their men, and said unto them, Fear not to be the servants of the Chaldees: dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon; and it shall be well with you.
25 But it came to pass in the seventh month, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the seed royal, came, and ten men with him, and smote Gedaliah, that he died, and the Jews and the Chaldees that were with him at Mizpah.
26 And all the people, both small and great, and the captains of the armies, arose, and came to Egypt: for they were afraid of the Chaldees.
27 ¶ And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, that Evil-merodach king of Babylon in the year that he began to reign did lift up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison;
28 And he spake kindly to him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon;
29 And changed his prison garments: and he did eat bread continually before him all the days of his life.
30 And his allowance was a continual allowance given him of the king, a daily rate for every day, all the days of his life.
II Kings 1 – J. Vernon McGee
2 Kings 25:1-12 – The Captivity Made Complete
As the final catastrophe approaches, the historian becomes more minute in his dates, marking the month and the day. From Ezekiel 24:1 we gather that on the very day when the foe made his appearance before Jerusalem, the fact was revealed to Ezekiel in Babylon, and the fate of the city made clear. Jeremiah besought Zedekiah to submit, but to no purpose (Jeremiah 38:17). The siege lasted 18 months, and its calamities may be gathered from Lamentations 2:20-21; 4:3-20. Finally famine triumphed (Lamentations 4:8, 10; Ezekiel 5:10). A third of the population perished of hunger and plague (Ezekiel 5:12).
Such is the divine judgment upon sin. God pleads long with man, but if man will not turn, then God whets His sword, and becomes terrible in His retribution. Amid all this catastrophe, however, we recall the tears of the book of Lamentations, like those of Jesus afterward. There is that in God which sorrows as He chastises, and causes Him to say, “How shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim?” (Hosea 11:8; Deuteronomy 29:23). Notice how, in putting out the eyes of Zedekiah, two prophecies which appeared to be contradictory were reconciled and fulfilled (Jeremiah 32:5; 34:3; Ezekiel 12:13).
2 Kings 25:13-21 – The Temple Despoiled
The Temple, after 420 years of varying fortune, was burned to the ground, and the remainder of its treasures carried off. A few years after, Nebuchadnezzar set up an image of gold on the plains of Dura (Daniel 3:1). It has been suggested that this image was probably made from the metal removed from the Holy City; and this may have been an additional reason for the refusal of the Jews to worship as the king demanded.
We have no information respecting the disposition of the Ark. It may have been hidden by Jeremiah or by some other pious priest, who took the precaution of conveying it and the sacred documents it contained to a place of safety. How wonderful it would be if, in the restoration of the Jews to their ancient city—an event that may be near at hand—remains of the Ark of the Covenant should yet be discovered in connection with the vast subterranean vaults beneath the Temple site!
These tragic events are a powerful commentary upon the ancient text that sin is a reproach to any people (Proverbs 14:34). Let modern cities and civilizations beware; for if God spared not the natural branches, neither will He spare those which have been grafted in among them (Romans 11:18-25).
2 Kings 25:22-30 – The Remnant Flee to Egypt
Thus at last the city, which had been full of people, sat solitary, bewailed by Jeremiah in exquisite elegies. The poorest only were left, under Gedaliah, the constant friend to Jeremiah (Jeremiah 40:6). His brief rule brought a gleam of light, a transient relief from the long monotony of disaster and despair. But the dastardly murder of this noble man by Ishmael, who was jealous of him, added the last bitter ingredient to the already bitter cup of the harried remnant (Jeremiah 40-41). Notwithstanding Jeremiah’s earnest protestations, they finally deserted their own land, and settled in Egypt (Jeremiah 44:1).
Thus ended the kingdom of Judah, and thereafter the Jews became a scattered people. Though the return under Ezra seemed likely to renew their kingdom, this also was a transient dream which ended in their final overthrow in a.d. 70. Note how pathetically, in his last paragraph, the chronicler snatches at the one small crumb of comfort left, in the pity providentially shown to Jehoiachin by the Babylonian king. God had not forgotten the sure mercies of David!
2 Kings 25:30—A daily rate for every day, all the days of his life.
Is it to be supposed that the king of Babylon took more care of Jehoiachin than God will take of us! Jehoiachin had resisted his suzerain, and cost him a great expenditure of men and treasure; but nothing which had transpired in the past hindered this provision of a daily supply. Will God do less for you, His child? Would it not come as a relief if you were to be told that, from this moment till you die, you could always have a sufficient provision of all the necessaries of life? But if you are a child of God, that promise has already been made! Do not be anxious, but believe that God’s word is at least as sure and as efficient as man’s.
The allowance was continual.— It did not begin with plenty, and gradually dwindle to scraps. The supply was maintained year after year. Will God drop off your supplies, think you, because He forgets, or because His power is exhausted? You know that each supposition is alike untenable. What He has done, He will do. The storehouses of nature open to His key. His are the cattle on a thousand hills.
Every day a portion.— Jehoiachin had not the provisions of a year or a month put down at his door; but as each day broke he was sure of the day’s portion. It may be that God is dealing thus with you. Only manna for the day: daily strength for daily need.
All the days of His life.— Jesus is with us “all the days”; and He is the bread of God, in whom is every property necessary for life. All the days are included in God’s care for us, of birth and death, of sunshine and shadow. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life, and you shall dwell in the House of the Lord forever.
The acts of breathing which I performed yesterday will not keep me alive today: I must continue to breathe afresh every moment, or animal life ceases. In like manner, yesterday’s grace and spiritual strength must be renewed, and the Holy Spirit must continue to breathe on my soul from moment to moment, in order to my enjoying the consolations, and to my working the works, of God. (Toplady)