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2Ki 24:1 In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years, then rebelled against him-
2 Chron. 36:6 adds: "Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon". It may not have been Nebuchadnezzar in person. "To carry him to Babylon" means that was the intention, but it may not have happened. Jer. 22:18,19 says he was to be thrown out onto the garbage tip outside Jerusalem like a dead donkey. 2 Kings says that bands of the Babylonians attacked him at this time, and he may have been slain at this time. 

2Ki 24:2 Yahweh sent against him bands of the Chaldeans, the Syrians, Moabites and of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of Yahweh, which He spoke by His servants the prophets-
Dt. 11:17 had said that God's people would "perish [s.w. "destroy"] quickly from off the good land". But by grace, that didn't happen "quickly" at all. They were finally destroyed from off it (2 Kings 24:2 and often), but God did not bring that about quickly but after much patient pleading through the prophets. This is one of so many examples of where God simply did not punish His people to the extent He said He would; simply because of His grace and love toward them.

2Ki 24:3 Surely at the commandment of Yahweh came this on Judah, to remove them out of His sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did-
We can't be brethren in Christ who have no effect on the rest of the body. We all have an influence on others. Our behaviour, however passive, has a powerful effect on our brethren. We are all members of one body. Job pointed out that the words of another can assuage grief in a way that ones’ own self-talk simply cannot (Job 16:5,6). On the contrary, a whole community can be cursed for the sake of one man’s sin, even if he later repents (2 Kings 24:3,4). The fact we can be guilty of causing others to stumble means that we can limit God's gracious plan for them. However, it is also true that God would not punish innocent people on the basis of guilt by association with a sinner. So we conclude that the "sins of Manasseh" were practiced from the heart by the people, and that was the basis of their condemnation.

2Ki 24:4 and also for the innocent blood that he shed; for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, which Yahweh would not pardon-
Would not pardon" quotes from Dt. 29:20, about the false teacher who is a root that bears gall, influencing others to idolatry: "Whose heart turns away this day from Yahweh our God, to go to serve the gods of those nations; lest there should be among you a root that bears gall and wormwood, who, when he hears the words of this curse blesses himself in his heart saying I shall have peace, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart, to destroy the moist with the dry.
Yahweh will not pardon him, but then the anger of Yahweh and His jealousy will smoke against that man, and all the curse that is written in this book shall lie on him, and Yahweh will blot out his name from under the sky" (Dt. 29:18-20). To  presumptuously think that promised judgment will not come, to have a stubborn heart, is what God will not pardon. And this was the case with Jehoiakim.  

2Ki 24:5 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and all that he did, aren’t they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?-
Not necessarily the same as the books of Chronicles we have in our Bibles.

2Ki 24:6 So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers; and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his place-
The description of death as sleeping with fathers is clear evidence that death is seen as a sleep, unconsciousness, and not as the start of an immortal soul going to heaven or 'hell'. Good and bad, David and Solomon, are gathered together in death. The division between them will only therefore come at the resurrection of the dead, and the granting of immortality at the judgment seat of the Lord Jesus.

2Ki 24:7 The king of Egypt didn’t come again out of his land any more; for the king of Babylon had taken, from the brook of Egypt to the river Euphrates, all that pertained to the king of Egypt-
This is mentioned to demonstrate the utter folly of later trusting in Egypt and breaking oaths to Babylon through alliances with Egypt. Egypt was weak, the world is weak, the arm of flesh is weak- and yet God's people always are tempted to trust in it.

2Ki 24:8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign; and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother’s name was Nehushta the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem-
Three months and ten days (2 Chron. 36:9) becomes "three months" (2 Kings 24:8). Sometimes the Biblical record is vague, other times exact. This reflects how God is not seeking to cover His back against critics. He is of an altogether higher nature than that. There are times when the Spirit uses very approximate numbers rather than exact ("about the space of four hundred and fifty years", Acts 13:20 cp. 1 Kings 6:1). The reference to "seventy" in Judges 9:56 also doesn't seem exact. Seven and a half years (2 Sam. 2:11) becomes "seven years" (1 Kings 2:11). And 1 Kings 7:23 gives the circumference of the laver as “thirty cubits”, although it was ten cubits broad. Taking ‘pi’ to be 3.14, it is apparent that the circumference would have been 31.4 cubits; but the Spirit says, summing up, “thirty”.

"Nehushta" is a form of Nehushtan, 'the copper thing', a hint that his mother was an idolater.

We note that he was judged as a sinner at eighteen years old, for what he did over a 70 day period. We sometimes tend to excuse ourselves on the basis of only being products of our background. But eighteen year old Jehoiachin reigned a mere three months and ten days: and God's comment was that "he did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh". We could, of course, make the excuse that his surroundings, his immediate family, his peers... were all idolatrous. But Yahweh evidently didn't see this as any real excuse: he, at sweet eight years old, "did that which was evil" and was punished accordingly. Not only does this give an unusual insight into God's view of responsibility; but it shows that God expects even a young person to break away from background influences when they are evil. Chronicles says he was eight when he became king, not 18. Kings also gives "three months" rather than "three months and ten days", and it has been suggested that the "ten" has been misplaced by a copyist, explaining why 18 has been miscopied as 8.  

2Ki 24:9 He did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, according to all that his father had done-
See on :8. Jehoiachin is Jeconiah of 1 Chron. 3:16 who is Coniah in Jer. 22:14, and Jehoiachin in 2 Chron. 36:8,9. A reminder that people carried multiple names, explaining some of the apparent contradictions in the genealogies. Ez. 19 says that he was effectively made king by his ambitious mother, whose hope was to be the glorious queen mother, teaching her sons to be ambitious, aggressive lions to that end. 

2Ki 24:10 At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up to Jerusalem, and the city was besieged-
These servants were his senior military officers with their armies, as opposed to the marauding bands of :2.

2Ki 24:11 Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to the city while his servants were besieging it-
This recalls how David came to Rabbah after it had been besieged for some time, so that he would have the honour of witnessing the surrender and taking the glory for the victory.

2Ki 24:12 and Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, his mother, his servants, his princes and his officers; and the king of Babylon took him prisoner-
His mother is mentioned because according to Ez. 19, she was the one driving him to independence from Babylon because she was so bent on having the glory of being queen mother for herself.

In the eighth year of his reign-
That is, of Nebuchadnezzar.

2Ki 24:13 He carried out from there all the treasures of the house of Yahweh 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 Yahweh’s temple-
Some had already been taken at the time of Jehoiakim (2 Chron. 36:7). The various stages of the exiles and taking away of the vessels were surely because God was desperately hoping that there would be repentance in response to each stage. But there was not.

As Yahweh had said-
Thus fulfilling 2 Kings 20:17; Jer. 15:13; 17:3.

2Ki 24:14 He carried away all Jerusalem, all the princes and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and the smiths; none remained, except the poorest sort of the people of the land-
It was to these captives that Jeremiah wrote his letter of Jer. 29:1-23. Jeremiah explained that actually these who went into captivity in Babylon could become "good figs" if they repented there (Jer. 24). 

2Ki 24:15 He carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon; and the king’s mother, the king’s wives, his officers and the chief men of the land, he carried into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon-
Ezekiel went into captivity at this time (Ez. 1:2,3), so it seems he was a priest of some standing, or from a senior family.

2Ki 24:16 All the men of might, even seven thousand, and the craftsmen and the smiths one thousand, all of them strong and apt for war, even them the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon-
Although it was the wealthier who were taken into captivity and those who "had nothing" and posed no threat who were left (Jer. 39:10), it seems from Jer. 24:1-10 that these were the "good figs", the spiritually stronger than the "bad figs" who remained. So we see that spirituality and poverty do not always go together, for poverty so easily distracts from spiritual focus. And although it is hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom, some do.

2Ki 24:17 The king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s father’s brother, king in his place, and changed his name to Zedekiah-
Nebuchadnezzar changed the name Mattaniah, 'gift of Yah', to "Zedekiah", 'Yah is right / just'. Perhaps even Nebuchadnezzar perceived that Yahweh was judging Judah justly. But "Zedekiah" is also "Yahweh our righteousness", but his birth name was Mattaniah (2 Kings 24:17). We wonder if this was a pre existing name given him by Josiah, and that Josiah named him this in keeping with his vision of reestablishing the Kingdom of God, based around a united Israel and Judah centered around worshipping Yahweh. For this is the term associated with king of the restored kingdom in Jer. 23:6; 33:16; 51:10. But he again was a case of wasted potential.

2Ki 24:18 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah-
Hamutal his mother is severely criticized in Ez. 19 as an ambitious, aggressive and scheming mother lion who set up her young lion sons for destruction by wanting them to be kings. Instead they needed to heed Jeremiah's message and humble themselves before Babylon, realizing they had sinned, rather than trying to break away from Babylon to achieve the independent kingship their mother was so obsessed with. 

2Ki 24:19 He did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, according to all that Jehoiakim had done-
2 Chron. 36:12 explains more: "He did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh his God; he didn’t humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking the words of Yahweh". The prophets "spoke from the mouth of Yahweh" Himself; and yet the people scoffed at them (2 Chron. 36:12,16 RV). The power of inspiration was and is so great; and to not heed God's word is therefore a personal affront to Him. And those words have been recorded. When we read His word, we hear His voice. 1 Kings 13:21 speaks of us hearing "the mouth of God". Jeremiah spoke "from the mouth of the Lord". His word brings Him that near to us, if we will perceive it for what it is. Jeremiah's appeals for Zedekiah to submit to Babylon were repeated so often (Jer. 21:1-7; 34:8-22; 37:1-10,17; 38:17-23).

And yet we wonder whether Zedekiah may have finally repented. For Ez. 21:14 speaks of Zedekiah as "the deadly wounded", likewise "You, deadly wounded wicked one, the prince of Israel, whose day has come" (Ez. 21:25). The intention was that Zedekiah would die by the sword, but in fact he didn't. He was blinded, but died peacefully in prison (Jer. 52:11). The wound that ought to have been unto death was in fact not unto death- because God wanted him to be moved by His grace to repent. And the change of judgment upon him would suggest to me that he did repent. See on 2 Kings 25:7.

The implication is that he was intended to have learnt from the fate of Jehoiakim his half brother, but instead he acted just the same. God also brings people into our lives so that we might learn from their life path and destiny. We never specifically read of Zedekiah worshipping idols, and he hardly comes over as the worst of Judah's kings, but his "evil" was in the weakness of character which he displayed when faced with God's demand for him to submit to Nebuchadnezzar.

2Ki 24:20 For through the anger of Yahweh, it happened in Jerusalem and Judah, until He had cast them out from His presence-
Zedekiah's rebellion was purely of his own device. But he is described here as rebelling "through the anger of Yahweh"; God intended to pour out His wrath, and so His hand was in the rebellion of Zedekiah, using that man's freewill decisions although through Jeremiah pleading with him not to go that way. We marvel at the perfect balance and intimate involvement in the psychology and decision making of people.

That Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon-
2 Chron. 36:13 adds that "He also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God; but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart against turning to Yahweh". Turning to Yahweh with a soft heart therefore involved his accepting that Judah had sinned, and therefore their servitude to Babylon was the appropriate punishment. But egged on by his mother (see on 2 Chron. 36:11), Zedekiah broke his oath to Nebuchadnezzar, which he had made in the name of Yahweh. He thus despised the Name. The parable of Ez. 17:12-20 clearly condemns him for doing this (also Ez. 21:25). Ez. 17:14 explains the intention of God in all this: "That the kingdom might be base, that it might not lift itself up, but that by keeping his covenant it might stand". The idea may be that it was God's plan that through keeping the covenant, the royal family and leadership would be humbled, and this would bring about God's favourite paradox- the brought down could then be exalted, "that... it might stand". See on Ez. 17:24. But they refused to repent, to be humbled, to be ashamed, and instead sought to wriggle out of the covenant by making agreements with Egypt to attack the Babylonian forces, liberate Jerusalem and perhaps later themselves from Babylon itself. Yet all these things had been explicitly promised to Judah; God would do all these things, if they repented. But instead of doing so, they sought by all manner of desperate means to bring about this liberation in the strength of Egypt. This is so typical of human behaviour. It is for us to learn the lesson.

Ez. 17:15 commented: "Shall he who does such things escape? Shall he break the covenant, and yet escape?". This is the language of Judah breaking covenant with God, just used in Ez. 16:59. God had designed the covenant between Zedekiah and the Babylonians, for the spiritual growth and repentance of the Jews. To break it was therefore to effectively break covenant with God. Or we could instead perceive that covenant breaking with God is reflected in covenant breaking with men. Our attitude to God becomes our attitude to men. Hence Ez. 17:19 specifically states: "Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh: As I live, surely My oath that he has despised, and My covenant that he has broken, I will even bring it on his own head". Judah were light hearted in their attitude to everything; they "gave the hand" in covenant (Ez. 17:18) in order just to get "bread" (Lam. 5:6). They were in need, and instead of turning to God in repentance, they madly made promises of total loyalty to various peoples and their gods. It is this light hearted, not serious attitude, seeking for the immediate for the total sacrifice of principle, which dominates our age today.