This is Episode #119 and today we’ll read 2 Kings chapters 23-25 together. Once Josiah died, it was all downhill for Israel. Judah was exiled to Babylon and Jerusalem was destroyed.
Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #119 and today we’ll read 2 Kings chapters 23-25 together. Once Josiah died, it was all downhill for Israel. Judah was exiled to Babylon and Jerusalem was destroyed.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me – from the beginning – simply reading God’s word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
2 Kings Chapter 23
So the king sent messengers, and they gathered all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem to him. Then the king went to the Lord’s temple with all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, as well as the priests and the prophets — all the people from the youngest to the oldest. He read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the Lord’s temple. Next, the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant in the Lord’s presence to follow the Lord and to keep his commands, his decrees, and his statutes with all his heart and with all his soul in order to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book; all the people agreed to the covenant.
Then the king commanded the high priest Hilkiah and the priests of the second rank and the doorkeepers to bring out of the Lord’s sanctuary all the articles made for Baal, Asherah, and all the stars in the sky. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron and carried their ashes to Bethel.
Then he did away with the idolatrous priests the kings of Judah had appointed to burn incense at the high places in the cities of Judah and in the areas surrounding Jerusalem. They had burned incense to Baal, and to the sun, moon, constellations, and all the stars in the sky. He brought out the Asherah pole from the Lord’s temple to the Kidron Valley outside Jerusalem. He burned it at the Kidron Valley, beat it to dust, and threw its dust on the graves of the common people. He also tore down the houses of the male cult prostitutes that were in the Lord’s temple, in which the women were weaving tapestries for Asherah.
Then Josiah brought all the priests from the cities of Judah, and he defiled the high places from Geba to Beer-sheba, where the priests had burned incense. He tore down the high places of the city gates at the entrance of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city (on the left at the city gate). The priests of the high places, however, did not come up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem; instead, they ate unleavened bread with their fellow priests.
Altars Torn Down
He defiled Topheth, which is in Ben Hinnom Valley, so that no one could sacrifice his son or daughter in the fire to Molech. He did away with the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. They had been at the entrance of the Lord’s temple in the precincts by the chamber of Nathan-melech, the eunuch. He also burned the chariots of the sun.
The king tore down the altars that the kings of Judah had made on the roof of Ahaz’s upper chamber. He also tore down the altars that Manasseh had made in the two courtyards of the Lord’s temple. Then he smashed them there and threw their dust into the Kidron Valley. The king also defiled the high places that were across from Jerusalem, to the south of the Mount of Destruction, which King Solomon of Israel had built for Ashtoreth, the abhorrent idol of the Sidonians; for Chemosh, the abhorrent idol of Moab; and for Milcom, the detestable idol of the Ammonites. He broke the sacred pillars into pieces, cut down the Asherah poles, then filled their places with human bones.
He even tore down the altar at Bethel and the high place that had been made by Jeroboam son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin. He burned the high place, crushed it to dust, and burned the Asherah. As Josiah turned, he saw the tombs there on the mountain. He sent someone to take the bones out of the tombs, and he burned them on the altar. He defiled it according to the word of the Lord proclaimed by the man of God who proclaimed these things.
He Returned to Jerusalem
Then he said, “What is this monument I see?”
The men of the city told him, “It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and proclaimed these things that you have done to the altar at Bethel.”
So he said, “Let him rest. Don’t let anyone disturb his bones.” So they left his bones undisturbed with the bones of the prophet who came from Samaria.
Josiah also removed all the shrines of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to anger the Lord. Josiah did the same things to them that he had done at Bethel. He slaughtered on the altars all the priests of those high places, and he burned human bones on the altars. Then he returned to Jerusalem.
The king commanded all the people, “Observe the Passover of the Lord your God as written in the book of the covenant.” No such Passover had ever been observed from the time of the judges who judged Israel through the entire time of the kings of Israel and Judah. But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, the Lord’s Passover was observed in Jerusalem.
Further Zeal for the Lord
In addition, Josiah eradicated the mediums, the spiritists, household idols, images, and all the abhorrent things that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem. He did this in order to carry out the words of the law that were written in the book that the priest Hilkiah found in the Lord’s temple. Before him there was no king like him who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength according to all the law of Moses, and no one like him arose after him.
In spite of all that, the Lord did not turn from the fury of his intense burning anger, which burned against Judah because of all the affronts with which Manasseh had angered him. For the Lord had said, “I will also remove Judah from my presence just as I have removed Israel. I will reject this city Jerusalem, that I have chosen, and the temple about which I said, ‘My name will be there.’”
The rest of the events of Josiah’s reign, along with all his accomplishments, are written in the Historical Record of Judah’s Kings. During his reign, Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt marched up to help the king of Assyria at the Euphrates River. King Josiah went to confront him, and at Megiddo when Neco saw him he killed him. From Megiddo his servants carried his dead body in a chariot, brought him into Jerusalem, and buried him in his own tomb. Then the common people took Jehoahaz son of Josiah, anointed him, and made him king in place of his father.
Judah’s King Jehoahaz
Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah; she was from Libnah. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight just as his ancestors had done. Pharaoh Neco imprisoned him at Riblah in the land of Hamath to keep him from reigning in Jerusalem, and he imposed on the land a fine of seventy-five hundred pounds of silver and seventy-five pounds of gold.
Judah’s King Jehoiakim
Then Pharaoh Neco made Eliakim son of Josiah king in place of his father Josiah and changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. But Neco took Jehoahaz and went to Egypt, and he died there. So Jehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Pharaoh, but at Pharaoh’s command he taxed the land to give it. He exacted the silver and the gold from the common people, each according to his assessment, to give it to Pharaoh Neco.
Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zebidah daughter of Pedaiah; she was from Rumah. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight just as his ancestors had done.
2 Kings Chapter 24
Jehoiakim’s Rebellion and Death
During Jehoiakim’s reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked. Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years, and then he turned and rebelled against him. The Lord sent Chaldean, Aramean, Moabite, and Ammonite raiders against Jehoiakim. He sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the Lord he had spoken through his servants the prophets. Indeed, this happened to Judah at the Lord’s command to remove them from his presence. It was because of the sins of Manasseh, according to all he had done, and also because of all the innocent blood he had shed.
He had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the Lord was not willing to forgive.
The rest of the events of Jehoiakim’s reign, along with all his accomplishments, are written in the Historical Record of Judah’s Kings. Jehoiakim rested with his ancestors, and his son Jehoiachin became king in his place.
Now the king of Egypt did not march out of his land again, for the king of Babylon took everything that had belonged to the king of Egypt, from the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates River.
Judah’s King Jehoiachin
Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Nehushta daughter of Elnathan; she was from Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight just as his father had done.
Deportations to Babylon
At that time the servants of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon marched up to Jerusalem, and the city came under siege. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to the city while his servants were besieging it. King Jehoiachin of Judah, along with his mother, his servants, his commanders, and his officials, surrendered to the king of Babylon.
So the king of Babylon took him captive in the eighth year of his reign. He also carried off from there all the treasures of the Lord’s temple and the treasures of the king’s palace, and he cut into pieces all the gold articles that King Solomon of Israel had made for the Lord’s sanctuary, just as the Lord had predicted. He deported all Jerusalem and all the commanders and all the best soldiers — ten thousand captives including all the craftsmen and metalsmiths. Except for the poorest people of the land, no one remained.
Nebuchadnezzar deported Jehoiachin to Babylon. He took the king’s mother, the king’s wives, his officials, and the leading men of the land into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. The king of Babylon brought captive into Babylon all seven thousand of the best soldiers and one thousand craftsmen and metalsmiths — all strong and fit for war.
And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in his place and changed his name to Zedekiah.
Judah’s King Zedekiah
Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah; she was from Libnah. Zedekiah did what was evil in the Lord’s sight just as Jehoiakim had done. Because of the Lord’s anger, it came to the point in Jerusalem and Judah that he finally banished them from his presence. Then Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
2 Kings Chapter 25
Nebuchadnezzar’s Siege of Jerusalem
In the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon advanced against Jerusalem with his entire army. They laid siege to the city and built a siege wall against it all around. The city was under siege until King Zedekiah’s eleventh year.
By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine was so severe in the city that the common people had no food. Then the city was broken into, and all the warriors fled at night by way of the city gate between the two walls near the king’s garden, even though the Chaldeans surrounded the city. As the king made his way along the route to the Arabah, the Chaldean army pursued him and overtook him in the plains of Jericho. Zedekiah’s entire army left him and scattered. The Chaldeans seized the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah, and they passed sentence on him. They slaughtered Zedekiah’s sons before his eyes. Finally, the king of Babylon blinded Zedekiah, bound him in bronze chains, and took him to Babylon.
On the seventh day of the fifth month — which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon — Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guards, a servant of the king of Babylon, entered Jerusalem. He burned the Lord’s temple, the king’s palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem; he burned down all the great houses. The whole Chaldean army with the captain of the guards tore down the walls surrounding Jerusalem. Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guards, deported the rest of the people who remained in the city, the deserters who had defected to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the population. But the captain of the guards left some of the poorest of the land to be vinedressers and farmers.
Now the Chaldeans broke into pieces the bronze pillars of the Lord’s temple, the water carts, and the bronze basin, which were in the Lord’s temple, and carried the bronze to Babylon. They also took the pots, shovels, wick trimmers, dishes, and all the bronze articles used in the priests’ service. The captain of the guards took away the firepans and sprinkling basins — whatever was gold or silver.
As for the two pillars, the one basin, and the water carts that Solomon had made for the Lord’s temple, the weight of the bronze of all these articles was beyond measure. One pillar was twenty-seven feet tall and had a bronze capital on top of it. The capital, encircled by a grating and pomegranates of bronze, stood five feet high. The second pillar was the same, with its own grating.
Officials Put to Death
The captain of the guards also took away Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest of the second rank, and the three doorkeepers. From the city he took a court official who had been appointed over the warriors; five trusted royal aides found in the city; the secretary of the commander of the army, who enlisted the people of the land for military duty; and sixty men from the common people who were found within the city. Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guards, took them and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. The king of Babylon put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah went into exile from its land.
Gedaliah Made Governor
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, over the rest of the people he left in the land of Judah. When all the commanders of the armies — they and their men — heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah, they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. The commanders included Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah son of the Maacathite — they and their men. Gedaliah swore an oath to them and their men, assuring them, “Don’t be afraid of the servants of the Chaldeans. Live in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well for you.”
In the seventh month, however, Ishmael son of Nethaniah, son of Elishama, of the royal family, came with ten men and struck down Gedaliah, and he died. Also, they killed the Judeans and the Chaldeans who were with him at Mizpah. Then all the people, from the youngest to the oldest, and the commanders of the army, left and went to Egypt, for they were afraid of the Chaldeans.
On the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month of the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Judah’s King Jehoiachin, in the year Evil-merodach became king of Babylon, he pardoned King Jehoiachin of Judah and released him from prison. He spoke kindly to him and set his throne over the thrones of the kings who were with him in Babylon. So Jehoiachin changed his prison clothes, and he dined regularly in the presence of the king of Babylon for the rest of his life. As for his allowance, a regular allowance was given to him by the king, a portion for each day, for the rest of his life.
Well, good for Josiah! He went thru the land like a lawn mower and cleaned it up. And to hold Passover for the first time since the time of the judges? The single most important festival, marking how God brought the Israelites out of Egypt to form a nation and they hadn’t held it since the judges ruled. We’re talking 700 years! God asked them to do one thing and they couldn’t even pull that off. And as we learned yesterday, humility speaks directly to God’s heart – I have learned that the more I am critical of Israel, the more I need to be looking inward. In this case, the small things God asks me to do that I don’t. Sharing Christ with a stranger, offering to pray for someone who is troubled, inconveniencing myself for a neighbor. Simple things that speak Christ’s love to others.
Unfortunately, it went downhill for Judah after Josiah. Enter Nebuchadnezzar from Babylon. And that brings us to the end of the era of the Kings. We’ll pick it back up with 1 Chronicles right here tomorrow. If you missed a few beats, don’t worry. We’ll start with a genealogy that begins with Adam. For now though, share your impressions of Israel’s descent into captivity from its somewhat illustrious past. You can find me at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
See You Tomorrow!
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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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