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This chapter relates the rebellion of Jehoiakim against the king of Babylon, which prepared the way for the ruin of the kingdom of Judah, according to the decree of God, and also the death of Jehoiakim, and the conquest the king of Babylon made of part of the land of the king of Egypt, ( 2 Kings 24:1-7) and the short and wicked reign of Jehoiachin his son, when he and the royal family, with great numbers of the inhabitants of the land, were carried captive to Babylon, ( 2 Kings 24:8-16), and his uncle was made king in his room, ( 2 Kings 24:17-20).
Ver. 1 . In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up , etc.] Against Jerusalem; this was in the latter end of the third, or the beginning of the fourth of Jehoiakim’s reign, and the first of Nebuchadnezzar, ( Jeremiah 25:1 46:2), when Jehoiakim was taken, but restored upon promise of subjection and obedience, and hostages given, at which time Daniel and his companions were carried captive, with some of the vessels of the temple; (see Gill on “ Daniel 1:1”) (see Gill on “ Daniel 1:2”) and Jehoiakim became his servant three years : which were the fifth, sixth, and seventh years of his reign: then he turned and rebelled against him ; being encouraged by the king of Egypt, who promised to assist him against the king of Babylon; Nebuchadnezzar is the Nabocolasser in Ptolemy’s canon; and Berosus f305 testifies, that seventy years before the Persian monarchy he made war against the Phoenicians and Jews, and it is from this time the seventy years’ captivity is to be dated.
Ver. 2 . And the Lord sent against him , etc.] By Nebuchadnezzar, against whom he rebelled: bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon ; who were all subject to the king of Babylon, or were voluntary troops in his service, and bore an hatred to the Jews: according to Eupolemus f306 , this army consisted of Medes and Babylonians, and, besides 10,000 chariots, there were in it 180,000 foot, and 120,000 horse: and sent them against Judah to destroy it ; this was not until the eleventh of Jehoiakim, Nebuchadnezzar being diverted by the siege of Tyre, or other important business, from chastising the king of Judah until this time: according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by his servants the prophets ; Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zephaniah, and Huldah the prophetess.
Ver. 3 . Surely at the commandment of the Lord came this upon Judah, to remove them out of his sight , etc.] It was the sure and certain decree of God they should be carried captive, and therefore he stirred up the spirit of Nebuchadnezzar, and gave him orders to go against it: for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did ; which were still continued among the Jews, and committed by them, though repented of by Manasseh, and he returned from them.
Ver. 4 . And also for the innocent blood that he shed, for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood , etc.] (see 2 Kings 21:16) which cruel usage of the prophets, and servants of the Lord, was still continued; (see Jeremiah 26:21-24), which the Lord would not pardon ; he pardoned the sins of Manasseh, who repented, but not the sins of those persons who imitated him, but repented not; or though he personally pardoned the sins of Manasseh, so that he was saved everlastingly, yet the temporal punishment of the nation for those sins, in which they were involved with him, was not averted.
Ver. 5 . Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim , etc.] In ( 2 Chronicles 36:8), it is added, “his abominations, and that which was found in him”: which besides his rebellion against the king of Babylon, and his shedding innocent blood, is interpreted of marks made in his body for superstitious and idolatrous purposes; so Lyra.
Ver. 6 . So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers , etc.] He died as they did, but was not buried with them, and indeed had no burial at all, according to the prophecy of Jeremiah, ( Jeremiah 22:18,19) for, falling into the hands of the king of Babylon, he was bound in chains, in order to be carried to Babylon, but died as soon as he came out of Jerusalem, at the gates of which he was cast, and had no burial, ( 2 Chronicles 36:6). At this time also some of the vessels of the temple were carried away, and put in the idol’s temple at Babylon, ( 2 Chronicles 36:7 Jeremiah 27:16), and Eupolemus says, that whatever gold, silver, and brass, were in the temple, were carried away: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead ; called sometimes Jeconiah, and by contempt Coniah, ( Jeremiah 22:24,28).
Ver. 7 . And the king of Egypt came not any more out of his land , etc.] To receive the tribute he imposed on the land of Judah, or to help the kings there of, Jehoiakim and Jehoiachin; not till the times of Zedekiah, and then was obliged to retire, without giving any assistance, ( Jeremiah 37:7) the reason follows, for the king of Babylon had taken from the river of Egypt unto the river Euphrates, all that pertained to the king of Egypt ; all that lay between the river Nile, or the Rhinocolura, and the river Euphrates so that he could not stir out of his dominions, which lay beyond.
Ver. 8 . Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign , etc.] In ( 2 Chronicles 36:9) he is said to be but eight years old; which may be reconciled by observing, that he might be made and declared king by his father, in the first year of his reign, who reigned eleven years, so that he was eight years old when he began to reign with him, and eighteen when he began to reign alone f308 . Dr. Lightfoot gives another solution of this difficulty, that properly speaking he was eighteen years old when he began to reign, but, in an improper sense, the son of eight years, or the eighth year, as the Hebrew phrase is; that is, he fell in the lot of the eighth year of the captivity of Judah, which was in the latter end of the third, or the beginning of the fourth of his father’s reign, and the first of Nebuchadnezzar’s, and it was now in the eighth of Nebuchadnezzar that he was king, (see 2 Kings 24:12), but very probably in ( 2 Chronicles 36:9) there is a mistake in the copyist of eight for eighteen, since in the Arabic and Syriac versions it is there eighteen, as here: he reigned in Jerusalem three months ; the ten days besides are here omitted for shortness, ( 2 Chronicles 36:9) and his mother’s name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem ; a person no doubt well known in those times.
Ver. 9 . And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father had done .] Being partner with him in his throne, he was in his sins, and continued therein, (see 2 Kings 23:37).
Ver. 10 . At that time , etc.] When Jehoiachin reigned: when the year was expired ; so it is in ( 2 Chronicles 36:10) or at the revolution of the year; which some take to be autumn, the beginning of the civil year with the Jews; but rather it was the spring, the time when kings went out to battle, ( 2 Samuel 11:1) the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem ; that is, his army, under proper generals and officers, and by his orders: and the city was besieged ; in form by the Chaldean army.
Ver. 11 . And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city , etc.] He came in person, following his army: and his servants did besiege it ; very closely.
Ver. 12 . And Jehoiachin king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon , etc.] Not to fight with him, but to submit to him, and to surrender the city to him, and be at his mercy: he and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers ; the royal family, courtiers, and nobles: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign ; Of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, and which was the eighth of the first captivity, and from whence the seventy years’ captivity were reckoned.
Ver. 13 . And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king’s house , etc.] The gates of the city being thrown open t the royal palace, and took from thence all the riches there 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; ( 2 Kings 20:17) and so the prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled. No more is said of these vessels in ( 2 Chronicles 36:10) than that they were brought to Babylon; and so Piscator renders the word here, “took”, or “carried them away”; and certain it is that they were carried whole to Babylon, ( Daniel 5:2,3) but as Hezekiah is said to cut off the doors of the temple, that is, strip or scrape off the gold of them, ( 2 Kings 18:16) so Nebuchadnezzar cut off from the temple, or stripped it of the golden vessels in it; of great part of them, the greater part thereof; for that there were some left is plain from ( Jeremiah 27:18-22).
Ver. 14 . And he carried away all Jerusalem , etc.] The inhabitants of it; not every individual of them, but the chief of them, the more honourable, rich, and useful; for the poorer sort were left, as afterwards expressed: and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives ; which was the number of them in the whole; the particulars are after delivered: and all the craftsmen and smiths ; besides the nobles and the soldiers, he took all the artificers that exercised any handicraft trade or business; carpenters and blacksmiths, as some interpret these two words; so that there were none left to make arms for them; the last word may be rendered “enclosers”, and are by some interpreted of enclosers of jewels in metals, as gold and silver: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land ; who were left to till it, and to dress the vines; (see 2 Kings 25:12).
Ver. 15 . And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon , etc.] Where he continued at least thirty seven years, ( 2 Kings 25:27) and the king’s mother ; whose name was Nehushta, ( 2 Kings 24:8) and the king’s wives ; for though he was so young, it seems he had many wives, as was the custom of those times; or his “women”, who were either his concubines, or servants in his family: and his officers ; in his court: and the mighty of the land; the princes and nobles thereof; or “the fools of the land”, as the word is written; so the people generally were: those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon ; which, according to Bunting f310 , were six hundred and eighty miles distant from each other.
Ver. 16 . And all the men of might, even seven thousand , etc.] The particulars of the 10,000 carried captive are here given; 7000 of which were the principal men of the land: and craftsmen and smiths one thousand ; which made 8000: all that were strong, and apt for war ; of these consisted the other 2000; so Abarbinel reckons them; but, according to the Jewish chronologer f311 , which Jarchi and other Jewish commentators follow, the 7000 were out of the tribe of Benjamin and the rest of the tribes, and the 3000 out of the tribe of Judah, which are supposed to be those Jeremiah speaks of, ( Jeremiah 52:28), even them the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon ; among these were Ezekiel the prophet, and Mordecai, the uncle of Esther.
Ver. 17 . And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father’s brother king in his stead , etc.] The third son of Josiah, ( 1 Chronicles 3:15) and changed his name to Zedekiah ; for the same reason the king of Egypt changed the name of Eliakim, ( 2 Kings 23:34) to signify his subjection to him; though some think it was to put him in mind of the justice of God, as the name signifies, that would overtake him, should he be treacherous to him, and rebel against him; so the Jewish Midrash.
Ver. 18-20. Zedekiah was twenty years old when he began to reign , etc.] So that he was but between nine and ten years of age when his father Josiah died; for Jehoahaz reigned three months, Jehoiakim eleven years, and his son three months and ten days: and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem: and his mother’s name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah ; by which it appears that he was the brother of Jehoahaz by father and mother’s side, ( 2 Kings 23:31). This and the two following verses are expressed in the same words as in ( Jeremiah 52:1-3), (see Gill on “ Jeremiah 52:1”), (see Gill on “ Jeremiah 52:2”), (see Gill on “ Jeremiah 52:3”), in ( 2 Chronicles 36:10,13), besides what is here said, is written, that he humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet of the Lord, that spoke in his name, but opposed him; and rebelling against the king of Babylon, broke his oath, and hardened his neck and heart against the Lord, and was obstinate, stubborn, and self-willed.