The End is the Beginning (2 Kings 24-25, 2 Chronicles 36)

Scripture reading – 2 Kings 24-25, 2 Chronicles 36

We complete two historical books in today’s Scripture reading: 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles.

2 Kings began with Elijah prophesying in Israel (2 Kings 1:4-16) when he was suddenly taken into heaven by a whirlwind by what appeared to be a “chariot of fire, and horses of fire” (2:1-11). 2 Kings concludes with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, and the people of Judah being led away to Babylon.

2 Chronicles 36 gives us a brief historical record of the succession of four evil kings: Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah (2 Kings 23-25; 2 Chronicles 36). Not only had the kings failed Judah, but also her religious leaders were guilty of leading the nation into wickedness and idolatry.

2 Chronicles 36:14 – “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.”

God sent prophets who faithfully heralded a warning of God’s judgment, but the people of Judah refused “till there was no remedy” (2 Chronicles 36:16).

2 Kings 24 – Judah Becomes a Vassal State to Babylon

There was “no remedy,” no hope for Jerusalem or Judah. Jerusalem was overwhelmed by the armies of Babylon that no doubt numbered in the hundreds of thousands, and included mercenary soldiers from other nations (24:2). In the year that Nebuchadnezzar became king (605 BC), he defeated Egypt, Assyria, and Judah submitted to serve as a vassal state of Babylon (24:7).

2 Kings 25 – The Final Siege of Jerusalem

After being under siege for nearly two years (25:1-2), there was no bread in the city and the people began to resort to cannibalism (Jeremiah 38:2-9; 52:6; Lamentations 4:3-10; Ezekiel 5:10).

Enrico Giacomelli, IV Kings 25:7, Volume 1, 1869-1870 edition.

Realizing all was lost, King Zedekiah fled the city with his guards; however, he made it only as far as Jericho before he was captured (25:4-6). Zedekiah was brought before Nebuchadnezzar to be judged. Being found guilty of rebellion, Zedekiah was forced to watch the slaying of his sons before their executioners put out his eyes and carried him away in chains to Babylon (25:7).

Fulfilling God’s prophecies of judgment against Jerusalem, the Babylonians “burnt the house of the LORD, and the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem” (25:9), and broke down the walls of the city (25:10).

Babylon removed all the vessels of the Temple (25:13-17), and either took captive or slew the leaders of Judah who might have threatened an uprising (25:11, 18-21), leaving behind only the poorest of the people (25:12).

After being imprisoned 37 years (25:27), King Jehoiachin, came into the favor of Evil-Merodach, the son and successor of Nebuchadnezzar (25:28-30) and was made comfortable at the king’s table until his death.

2 Chronicles 36 concludes with a message of hope for God’s people.

Jeremiah prophesied when 70 years of captivity were fulfilled, God’s people would return to their land (36:21). Seventy years after Jerusalem was defeated and the Temple was destroyed, we read:

2 Chronicles 36:22-23 – “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.”

God’s Word is true and His promises are sure!

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith