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31. Judah’s Last Four Kings

October 14, 2010

Text:  II Chronicles 36:1-23

Harmony Text: II Kings 23:31-25:30

Outline:            I.     Jehoahaz                                                  II Chronicles 36:1-4

II.   Jehoiakim                                                 II Chronicles 36:5-8

III. Jehoiachin                                                II Chronicles 36:9-10

IV. Zedekiah                                                    II Chronicles 36:11-23

Context/Discussion/Comments:

These four kings ruled Judah from 609-586 BC or for Judah’s last 25 years.  Jeremiah was God’s major Prophet warning Judah to turn from her idolatrous and wicked ways.  Daniel and Ezekiel were exiled to Babylon during the first exile in 605 BC, during the reign of Jehoiakim.  The final exile along with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple occurred in 586 BC.  Jeremiah and the exiled Ezekiel give vivid descriptions of the conditions in Jerusalem during this time.  The II Kings account is more detailed than II Chronicles account but one needs to read all these accounts for the complete picture.  God’s wrath being poured out on Judah is not a pretty sight but is a vivid example of what is to come if we refuse to repent of our sin and turn to the Lord.

Jehoahaz, Josiah’s son, becomes king at age 23 and reigned only 3 months before Neco dethroned him and carried him back to Egypt where he died.  Neco had fought and killed his father Josiah and was now asking Judah to pay him a heavy tax.  Most likely Jehoahaz, who is evil in God’s eyes, refused to pay and that is why Neco dethroned him.

Neco chose Jehoiakim, his older brother, to replace him.  He was also evil in God’s eyes.  He reigned 11 years and during his reign, Babylon replaced Assyria and Egypt as the most powerful kingdom.  Nebuchadnezzar [Babylon] invaded Judah in 605 BC making Jehoiakim subject to him.  After three years, Jehoiakim rebelled, was dethroned, and exiled to Babylon in 597 BC.  This was Judah’s second exile.  Nebuchadnezzar also robbed the Lord’s Temple and carried off significant treasure to Babylon at this time.

Jehoiachin, Jehoiakim’s son, was made king when he was 18 years old.  He ruled only 100 days before Nebuchadnezzar exiled him to Babylon with the remaining articles and treasure from the Temple.  He too was considered evil in God’s eyes.

Nebuchadnezzar chooses Zedekiah as the next and last king of Judah.  He was the uncle of Jehoiachin and began his reign at age 21, ruling for 11 years.  He also was evil and refused to turn to the Lord or even listen to the Lord who was speaking through Jeremiah.  It seems even Nebuchadnezzar had more respect for Israel’s God than did Judah [see II Chronicles 36:13].  Even Judah’s priests were unfaithful and idolatrous.  Zedekiah ended up rebelling against Nebuchadnezzar which led to Jerusalem’s 2 year siege, its’ fall, the final exile in 586 BC, the plundering of the large Temple treasures, and the burning of the city and the Temple.  Only the poor and lame were left behind.  Most of Judah’s ruling class were killed at Riblah and the rest were taken to Babylon.  II Kings has more detail and Jeremiah wrote as an eye-witness.

Judah’s fate was no different than Israel’s’, all because they refused to worship the Lord God and chose to worship idols.

Lessons/Applications:

There is not much new to say that hasn’t been said in the previous Lessons so perhaps it is best to summarize some of the main points.

  1. God is faithful and keeps His Promises. He blesses those who obey His Word and he curses those who disobey His Word.
  2. God is patient with us but His patience does run out.  He disciplines us to get our attention before bringing His wrath upon us.
  3. God willingly and readily forgives us of our sin when we seek Him and humble ourselves before Him.  His mercy and grace are boundless.
  4. God’s destructive wrath comes when our hearts become so hard that we refuse to listen and act according to His Word.
  5. God promises to punish our sinHe also gives us a choice, to believe Him or to reject Him. We can depend on Him or depend on ourselves.  We can worship Him or reject Him as being worthy of our worship.  The choice is ours but God is sovereign and keeps His promises.  Let us choose the Lord, turn to Him in repentance of our sin, and glorify His Name above all Names.

AMEN!

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