Scripture reading – 2 Kings 24; 2 Kings 25

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Today’s Scripture reading concludes our study of the Book of 2 Kings and will be paralleled in tomorrow’s devotional study from 2 Chronicles 36. As a reminder, 2 Kings was penned as a contemporary history of Israel and Judah, while 2 Chronicles is believed to have been written after the Babylonian captivity.

Our study picks up the narrative of events that were the background of God’s judgment against Jerusalem. Jehoiakim, the third to the last king of Judah, cut up and burned Jeremiah’s scroll, which warned that the destruction of Jerusalem was imminent. (Jeremiah 36:20-24) Though he was warned that his evil deeds would bring God’s judgment upon the nation (Jeremiah 36:29-31), King Jehoiakim continued in his sins and “did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done” (2 Kings 23:37).

2 Kings 24

King Jehoiakim’s Reign and Final Days (2 Kings 24:1-7)

King Jehoiakim’s appeal to Pharaoh for help against Babylon failed (2 Kings 23:35). Young and as foolish as he was evil, Jehoiakim set his heart against the king of Babylon and “rebelled against him” (2 Kings 24:1). Provoked by Jehoiakim’s impetuous rebellion, Nebuchadnezzar sent mercenary raiders against Judah, to destroy the nation as the LORD “spake by His servants the prophets” (2 Kings 24:2). The prophet Daniel recorded the same events in his book where we read, “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it” (Daniel 1:1).

The LORD had not forgotten the sins of Manasseh and his lineage and how Judah had shed “innocent blood,” sacrificing their sons and daughters (2 Kings 24:3-4). (The slaughter of the innocent ones and the fact “the LORD would not pardon” that sin should give 21st-century nations and states pause. Indeed, abortion of the unborn in our day is no less egregious in the eyes of God and as demanding of His judgment.)

King Jehoiakim’s Reign and Final Days

King Jehoiachin’s Brief Reign and Disgrace (2 Kings 24:5-16)

King Jehoiakim died (2 Kings 24:5), and his son Jehoiachin succeeded him. Like his father, Jehoiachin “did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD” (2 Kings 24:9). Then, Nebuchadnezzar “came up against Jerusalem” (2 Kings 24:10), and the king of Judah surrendered and was taken to Babylon after reigning for three months (2 Kings 24:8-12). Fulfilling all the LORD foretold through His prophets, Nebuchadnezzar “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” (2 Kings 24:13).

Nebuchadnezzar determined to remove any threat of another uprising, and “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” (2 Kings 24:14; Jeremiah 40:10). Numbered among the captives was the royal household (2 Kings 24:15), the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:1), and “Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah” (Daniel 1:6).


King Zedekiah, the Final King of Judah (2 Kings 24:17-20) 

Nebuchadnezzar appointed “Mattaniah” to succeed Jehoiakim as king (he was the king’s uncle), and he changed his name to Zedekiah (2 Kings 24:17). He was a mere 21 years old when he became king, and “he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem” (2 Kings 24:18).

Zedekiah was left to rule an impoverished nation that lacked leaders skilled in governing and war. He was the end of a long line of foolish, wicked kings. Like the kings before him, he did “evil in the sight of the LORD” (2 Kings 24:19) and “rebelled against the king of Babylon” (2 Kings 24:20). As we will see in 2 Kings 25, to rebel against Nebuchadnezzar was the height of folly.

Reflecting on Judah’s history, I am convinced that the LORD gives a nation the leaders it deserves. Surely, that is as true today as it was in Judah’s day.

King Zedekiah, the Final King of Judah

2 Kings 25


The book of 2 Kings began with Elijah prophesying and calling Israel to repent or face God’s judgment (2 Kings 1:4-16).  Our study of this historical book concludes with the prophet Jeremiah mourning the destruction of the Temple and the people being led away to Babylon.

The Final Siege of Jerusalem (2 Kings 25:1-12)

The siege of Jerusalem lasted nearly two years (2 Kings 25:1-2), until there was no bread in the city and the people resorted to cannibalism (Jeremiah 38:2-9; 52:6; Lamentations 4:3-10; Ezekiel 5:10).

King Zedekiah, when he realized that all was lost, fled Jerusalem with his guards; however, he made it only as far as Jericho before he was captured (2 Kings 25:4-6). He was then brought before Nebuchadnezzar to be judged. Found guilty of rebellion, Zedekiah witnessed the execution of his sons, after which he suffered having his eyes put out. Nebuchadnezzar then commanded Zedekiah to be bound in chains and carried to Babylon (2 Kings 25:7).

The prophecies of God’s judgment against Jerusalem were fulfilled when Nebuzaradan, the captain of Nebuchadnezzar’s guard, “burnt the house of the LORD, and the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem” (2 Kings 25:9), and broke down the walls of the city (2 Kings 25:10). All the vessels of the Temple were taken as spoils of war (2 Kings 25:13-17). The leaders of Judah who might have threatened an uprising were either slain or taken as captives to Babylon (2 Kings 25:11, 18-21). Left behind were the poorest people who served Babylon as “vinedressers and husbandmen” of the land (2 Kings 25:12).


The Remnant Left Behind (2 Kings 25:22-26)


In the aftermath of Jerusalem’s overthrow and the exile of Judah’s leaders, Nebuchadnezzar chose a man named Gedaliah to govern Judah as his proxy (2 Kings 25:22). As we noted in our study of Jeremiah 40-41, a man named Ishmael (a distant relative of king David), led an uprising against Gedaliah and he was slain (2 Kings 25:23-25). Fearing the wrath of the Chaldees (i.e., Babylon, 2 Kings 25:26), the people fled Judah “and came to Egypt” (2 Kings 25:26).

The Final Siege of Jerusalem

King Jehoiachin Restored to Favor by Nebuchadnezzar’s Successor (2 Kings 25:27-30)

Though all seemed lost, a glimmer of hope emerged in the final verses of 2 Kings 25, for Jehoiachin, the exiled and imprisoned king of Judah, found favor with Evilmerodach, king of Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar’s successor).  The king of Babylon elevated the former king of Judah “above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon” (2 Kings 25:28). The king of Babylon gave Jehoiachin a change of clothes, fed him, and provided him an allowance, “a daily rate for every day, all the days of his life” (2 Kings 25:29-30).


Closing thoughts –

In the darkest hour of Israel and Judah’s history, a king of David’s lineage found favor with the heathen king of Babylon. Why?

Perhaps it was the influence of men like the prophet Daniel and others who brought copies of the Scriptures with them. Indeed, the wise men of Babylon took a great interest in Israel and Judah’s history and in the prophecies of the Scriptures. I believe the “wise men from the east” who came to Jerusalem seeking “he that is born King of the Jews” were influenced and educated by the dispersion of the Jews in this time (Matthew 2:1-2).

The last memories of the Jewish captives were the flames consuming Jerusalem and the Temple. Yet, as the LORD promised, God’s people were restored to their homeland when seventy years of captivity were fulfilled (Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10; Daniel 9:2).

Take comfort, my friend; God is sovereign, and His people are never alone!

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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