2 Kings 24
The Collapse Of A Nation
The Lord had determined that he would remove Judah and following the death of King Josiah, sinful patterns returned, and destruction followed close behind. Judah became a vassal to Egypt while the political landscape was changing as Babylon moved into power. Jehoiakim did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and when Nebuchadnezzar came against Judah, he capitulated to Babylon. He was subject to Babylon for three years. Jehoiakim rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar who sent Chaldeans, Syrians, Moabites, and Ammonites to destroy Judah. These things happened because God was going to remove Judah for its sins, in particular, the shedding of innocent blood under the rule of Manasseh. Jehoiakim died, and his son Jehoiachin ascended to the throne. Jehoiachin was only eighteen years old when he began his reign which only lasted ninety days. Jehoiachin was no different than his father, and he too did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.
Babylonian forces came and besieged the city of Jerusalem. King Nebuchadnezzar himself came to Jerusalem during the siege. Jerusalem would have been able to withstand many months under siege, but Jehoiachin thought it best to surrender and avoid additional hardship. The King of Babylon took him as a prisoner, carried away national treasures, and took ten thousand captives. Those exiled included skilled craftsmen, men of valor, and the leading citizens. King Nebuchadnezzar took Mattaniah, Jehoiachin's uncle, and made him King of Jerusalem. He changed his name to Zedekiah. He was twenty-one when he became the king. He made no attempt to reform the nation or seek the Lord in repentance. Instead, he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. The anger of the Lord was kindled, and he cast the people out from his presence. This King would prove to be like those before him, and he rebelled against the king of Babylon.
Things To Consider:
- What do we learn about God's character?
- How is God working through Nebuchadnezzar?
- Why did the people reject the words of the prophets?
- How should sinful patterns be addressed?
- Why do you think Jehoiachin surrendered?
- What do you think it was like for the people to see the enemy victorious in Jerusalem?
- How do you think the people felt when the vessels from the temple were taken away?
- What does this passage teach us about refugees?
- How does sin alienate us from God?