INTRODUCTION TO 2 Kings 24
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 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, and his uncle was made king in his room, 2 Kings 24:17.
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 (n) 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.
(n) Apud Clement. Alex. Stromat. 1. p. 329.
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 (o), 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.
(o) Apud Euseb. Evangel. Praepar. l. 9. c. 39. p. 454.
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.
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.
and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead; called sometimes Jeconiah, and by contempt Coniah, Jeremiah 22:24.
(p) Ut supra. (Apud Euseb. Evangel. Praepar. l. 9. c. 39. p. 454.)
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.
2 Kings 24:7,and thine hands upon thine head; plucking and dishevelling the hair, as women in distress; so Tamar, when abused by her brother, laid her hand on her head, and went out crying, 2 Samuel 13:19,
for the Lord hath rejected thy confidences; those in whom they trusted, as the Egyptians; so that they should be of no service to them; or them, because of their trust and confidence in men, when it ought to have been placed above in himself:
shalt not prosper in them; or because of them, as Kimchi; but shalt go into captivity.
(u) "ab hoc, sub. loco", Gataker; "ab ista", Munster, Grotius; "sub. terra, etiam hinc exibis", Cocceius.
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.
(q) So in Seder Olam Rabba, c. 25. (r) Works, vol. 1. p. 122.
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.
and his servants did besiege it; very closely.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 (s), were six hundred and eighty miles distant from each other.
(s) Travels, &c. p. 198.
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 (t), 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.
(t) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 25.
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.
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, (see Gill on Jeremiah 52:1, Jeremiah 52:2, Jeremiah 52:3), in 2 Chronicles 36:10, 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.