29: The Sins & Judgments of the Southern Kingdom
3: Manasseh to Zedekiah
The Last Kings
The Big Picture
Jeremiah's Seventy Years
the previous two chapters we have been considering the activities
of the kings of the southern kingdom comprising Judah and Benjamin.
We said we would consider them under the following headings
and we looked at all the kings through to Hezekiah
The Early Kings 2 Chron
10-16 (930-872 = 58 yrs – 3 kings)
Jehoshaphat 2 Chron 17-20
(872-853 = 25 yrs)
The Middle Kings 2 Chron
21-28 (853-715 = 138 yrs – 8 kings)
Hezekiah 2 Chron 29-32
(715-697 = 29 yrs)
The Last Kings 2 Chron
33-36 (697-586 = 111 yrs – 7 kings)
leaves us to look at the final group that we have referred to
as ‘the Last Kings', Manasseh through to Zedekiah.
is a period where there is some good (see Josiah) but mostly
there is a downhill slide until the nation is eventually taken
into Exile and Jerusalem and the Temple completely destroyed.
the lengths of their reigns)
The Last Kings 2 Chron 33-36
(697-586 = 111 yrs – 7 kings)
evil and was carried to Babylon (2 Chron 33:1-11)
& was restored (2 Chron 33:12-20)
Chron 33:2-7,9 He
did evil in the eyes of the LORD, following the detestable practices
of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites. He rebuilt
the high places his father Hezekiah had demolished; he also erected
altars to the Baals and made Asherah poles. He bowed down to all the
starry hosts and worshiped them. He built altars in the temple of
the LORD, of which the LORD had said, "My Name will remain in
Jerusalem forever." In both courts of the temple of the LORD,
he built altars to all the starry hosts. He sacrificed his sons in
the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom , practiced sorcery, divination
and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much
evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger. He took the
carved image he had made and put it in God's temple…. Manasseh led
Judah and the people of Jerusalem astray, so that they did more evil
than the nations the LORD had destroyed before the Israelites.
the ways of the Canaanites (v.2)
high places, erected altars to Baal, made Asherah poles (v.3)
wrong altars in the temple (v.4,5)
his sons and practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft (v.6)
a carved image in the temple (v.7)
more evil than the Canaanites had done (v.9)
Discipline & Manasseh's repentance
Chron 33:10-13 The
LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention.
So the LORD brought against them the army commanders of the king of
Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound
him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon . In his distress
he sought the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly
before the God of his fathers. And when he prayed to him, the LORD
was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought
him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that
the LORD is God.
Lord called Manasseh but he refused to listen (v.10)
Lord disciplined through the king of Assyria who took him to Babylon
he truly repented (v.12)
Lord took him back to Jerusalem (v.13)
rid of the foreign gods and removed the image from the temple of the
LORD, as well as all the altars he had built on the temple hill and
in Jerusalem; and he threw them out of the city. (v.15)
he restored the altar of the LORD and sacrificed fellowship offerings
B and thank offerings on it, and told Judah to serve the LORD, the
God of Israel.( v.16)
people, however, continued to sacrifice at the high places, but only
to the LORD their God . (v.17)
Lord's word after his sinning
Kings 21:10-15 The
LORD said through his servants the prophets: "Manasseh king of
Judah has committed these detestable sins. He has done more evil than
the Amorites who preceded him and has led Judah into sin with his
idols. Therefore this is what the LORD, the God of Israel , says:
I am going to bring such disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that the
ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. I will stretch out over
Jerusalem the measuring line used against Samaria and the plumb line
used against the house of Ahab. I will wipe out Jerusalem as one wipes
a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. I will forsake the remnant
of my inheritance and hand them over to their enemies. They will be
looted and plundered by all their foes, because they have done evil
in my eyes and have provoked me to anger from the day their forefathers
came out of Egypt until this day."
Lord's word: (v.10)
sin is worse than the Canaanites before him (v.11)
disaster will come on Jerusalem and Judah (v.12)
will be wiped out (v.13)
will we handed over to their enemies (v.14)
this is all because of what they have continued to do (v.15)
evil & was assassinated (2 Chron 33:21-25)
Chron 33:22,23 He
did evil in the eyes of the LORD, as his father Manasseh had done.
Amon worshiped and offered sacrifices to all the idols Manasseh had
made. But unlike his father Manasseh, he did not humble himself before
the LORD; Amon increased his guilt.
the same sins as Manasseh had previously done (v.22)
never repented (v.23)
assassinated by his officials (v.24)
the Lord (2 Chron 34:1-3)
the land (34:4-7)
the temple (34:8-13)
the Covenant (34:14-33)
the Passover (35:12-19)
after a battle (35:20-27)
His early years cleaning up the land
rightly before God (v.2)
the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to
seek the God of his father David. In his twelfth year he began to
purge Judah and Jerusalem of high places, Asherah poles, carved idols
and cast images. (v.3)
his direction the altars of the Baals were torn down; he cut to pieces
the incense altars that were above them, and smashed the Asherah poles,
the idols and the images. These he broke to pieces and scattered over
the graves of those who had sacrificed to them.
burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and so he purged
Judah and Jerusalem. (v.5)
the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim and Simeon, as far as Naphtali, and
in the ruins around them, he tore down the altars and the Asherah
poles and crushed the idols to powder and cut to pieces all the incense
altars throughout Israel . Then he went back to Jerusalem. (v.6,7)
the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign, to purify the land and the
temple, he sent Shaphan son of Azaliah and Maaseiah the ruler of the
city, with Joah son of Joahaz, the recorder, to repair the temple
of the LORD his God. (v.8)
God's word has effect
the priest found the Book of the Law of the LORD
Shaphan took the book to the king and …. read from it in the presence
of the king. (v,.16,18)
the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his robes.
gave these orders (v.20)
and inquire of the LORD for me and for the remnant in Israel and Judah
about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the
LORD's anger that is poured out on us because our fathers have not
kept the word of the LORD; they have not acted in accordance with
all that is written in this book." (v.21)
sought & God's word
the king had sent … went to speak to the prophetess Huldah, (v.22)
said to them… (v.23)
is what the LORD says: I am going to bring disaster on this place
and its people--all the curses written in the book that has been read
in the presence of the king of Judah .
they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and provoked
me to anger by all that their hands have made, my anger will be poured
out on this place and will not be quenched.' (v.25
the king of Judah … (v.26)
your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God when
you heard what he spoke against this place and its people, and because
you humbled yourself before me and tore your robes and wept in my
presence, I have heard you, declares the LORD.( v.27
I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be buried in peace.
Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this
place and on those who live here.' " So they took her answer
back to the king. (v.28)
the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem .
went up to the temple of the LORD with the men of Judah, the people
of Jerusalem, the priests and the Levites-- all the people
from the least to the greatest .
(v.30a Everyone goes)
read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which
had been found in the temple of the LORD.
(v.30b God's word read to them)
king stood by his pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence
of the LORD--to follow the LORD and keep his commands, regulations
and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, and to obey the words
of the covenant written in this book.
(v.31 Josiah pledges to keep the Law)
he had everyone in Jerusalem and Benjamin pledge themselves to it;
the people of Jerusalem did this in accordance with the covenant of
God, the God of their fathers. (v.32
the people similarly pledge)
removed all the detestable idols from all the territory belonging
to the Israelites, and he had all who were present in Israel serve
the LORD their God. As long as he lived, they did not fail to follow
the LORD, the God of their fathers (v.33
this he holds a mighty Passover (2 Chron 35:1-19)
this he then went out to join in a battle that was not his and was
mortally wounded and died (v.20-24)
Concluding Summary from 2 Kings
ongoing activity v.24
Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods,
the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem
. This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the
book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the LORD.
general summary of him v.25
before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the
LORD as he did--with all his heart and with all his soul and with
all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.
God's previous declaration still stands v.26
, the LORD
did not turn away from the heat of his fierce anger, which burned
against Judah because of all that Manasseh had done to provoke him
long-term judgment remains v.27
the LORD said, "I will remove Judah also from my presence as
I removed Israel , and I will reject Jerusalem
, the city I chose, and this temple, about which I said, `There shall
my Name be.'"
by Egypt (2 Chron 36:1-5)
was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in
Jerusalem three months. (v.2 a very
short period before Egypt came against them)
king of Egypt dethroned him in Jerusalem and imposed on Judah a levy
of a hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. (v.3
– a presumed judgment of God)
king of Egypt made Eliakim, a brother of Jehoahaz, king over Judah
and Jerusalem and changed Eliakim's name to Jehoiakim. But Neco took
Eliakim's brother Jehoahaz and carried him off to Egypt. (v.4
– Jehoahaz ends up in Egypt and Jehoiakim left to reign)
to Babylon (2 Chron 36:5-8)
Chron 36:5,6 Jehoiakim
was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem
eleven years. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD his God. Nebuchadnezzar
king of Babylon attacked him and bound him with bronze shackles to
take him to Babylon .
clearly was God's judgment
clearly God's disciplinary judgment (v.1)
Jehoiakim's reign, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon
invaded the land, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years.
But then he changed his mind and rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar.
the raiders (v.2)
LORD sent Babylonian, Aramean, Moabite and Ammonite raiders against
him. He sent them to destroy Judah , in accordance with the word of
the LORD proclaimed by his servants the prophets.
these things happened to Judah according to the LORD's command, in
order to remove them from his presence because of the sins of Manasseh
and all he had done, including the shedding of innocent blood. For
he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the LORD was not
willing to forgive.
term bad king, taken to Babylon (2 Chron 36:9,10)
Chron 36:9,10 Jehoiachin
was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem
three months and ten days. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD. In
the spring, King Nebuchadnezzar sent for him and brought him to Babylon
, together with articles of value from the temple of the LORD, and
he made Jehoiachin's uncle, Zedekiah, king over Judah and Jerusalem
short term king who did evil in his short time (v.9)
Nebuchadnezzar took him to Babylon (v.10a)
uncle replaced him (v.10b)
took Jehoiachin captive to Babylon .
we will comment on the reasoning of all that took place here in the
subsequent summary chapter
the Lord (2 Chron 36:11-14)
Judah , taken into exile in Babylon (36:15-21)
instructed about the Temple (36:22-24)
was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem
eleven years. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD his God and did
not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke the word
of the LORD .
(v.11,12 – failure to repent when rebuked by Jeremiah)
also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him take an
oath in God's name. He became stiff-necked and hardened his heart
and would not turn to the LORD, the God of Israel. ( v.13
hardened himself against God and rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar)
all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more
unfaithful, following all the detestable practices of the nations
and defiling the temple of the LORD, which he had consecrated in Jerusalem
. (v.14 It wasn't just him, it was
also the whole religious establishment)
warned again and again (v.15,16)
LORD, the God of their fathers, sent word to them through his messengers
again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling
place. But they mocked God's messengers, despised his words and scoffed
at his prophets until the wrath of the LORD was aroused against his
people and there was no remedy.
(v.15,16 Although God constantly warned them they refused to heed
final remedy – 4 aspects
brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their
young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and spared neither young
man nor young woman, old man or aged. God handed all of them over
to Nebuchadnezzar. (v.17 (i) Many
carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God , both
large and small, and the treasures of the LORD's temple and the treasures
of the king and his officials. (v.18
(ii) Everything from the temple was taken)
set fire to God's temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem ; they
burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there.
(v.19 (iii) The temple and Jerusalem destroyed)
carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword,
and they became servants to him and his sons until the kingdom of
Persia came to power. (v.20 (iv)
Everyone else taken into exile)
Long-term goal – Restoration
The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation
it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of
the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah.
In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the
word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus
king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to
put it in writing:
"This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: "`The LORD, the
God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has
appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah . Anyone
of his people among you--may the LORD his God be with him, and let
him go up.'
The Big Picture
will consider the prophetic dimensions of all that took place in the
next chapter but it feel incomplete to finish this chapter without
seeing the prophetic context given by Jeremiah.
The word came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the
fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah , which was the
first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon .
So Jeremiah the prophet said to all the people of Judah and to all
those living in Jerusalem :
establishes his own credibility
For twenty-three years--from the thirteenth year of Josiah son of
Amon king of Judah until this very day--the word of the LORD has come
to me and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened.
have failed to listen and respond to the prophets
And though the LORD has sent all his servants the prophets to you
again and again, you have not listened or paid any attention. 5 They
said, "Turn now, each of you, from your evil ways and your evil
practices, and you can stay in the land the LORD gave to you and your
fathers for ever and ever. 6 Do not follow other gods to serve and
worship them; do not provoke me to anger with what your hands have
made. Then I will not harm you." 7 "But you did not listen
to me," declares the LORD, "and you have provoked me with
what your hands have made, and you have brought harm to yourselves."
coming Consequences of their refusal to hear
Therefore the LORD Almighty says this: "Because you have not
listened to my words, 9 I will summon all the peoples of the north
and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon," declares the
LORD, "and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants
and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy
them and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting
ruin. 10 I will banish from them the sounds of joy and gladness, the
voices of bride and bridegroom, the sound of millstones and the light
of the lamp.
This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations
will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
God had warned again and again and again of what will come
They had every opportunity to repent but never did.
The consequences were clearly laid out – destruction and deportation
The length of the exile was specified as seventy years.
Jeremiah's Seventy Years
are some interesting dates involved in connection with what happened
following the Exile.
Fall of Jerusalem and start of Exile occurred in 587BC
the first people started returning to Jerusalem under Cyrus and the
Rebuilding of Temple begins in 537, which is just a fifty year gap,
the first thing to be rebuilt in Jerusalem was the Temple and this
was completed in 517.
517 from 587 and you have exactly seventy years.
why should the seventy years be in reality the period between the
destruction of the Temple to the completion of the Temple ?
would suggest that the existence of the Temple indicated the presence
of God in the midst of the nation and the nation, in heavenly terms,
only existed when God was with it.
had been with them from the time they left Egypt through the Exodus
during which He had only indicated His presence in a pillar of cloud
the inauguration of the nation on Mount Sinai, and after Sinai He
had ‘inhabited' the Tabernacle and then later the Temple .
all-important issue for them as a nation was His presence and while
the Temple didn't exist for the period of the Exile, God thus did
not consider they existed as His nation in the Promised Land. When
He thus spoke of seventy years through Jeremiah, He was referring
to the period of His absence with His people in the midst of Jerusalem
the same way as the previous chapter, let's summarise in table form
the kings we have considered in this chapter
repented in Babylon , & was allowed to return and restore
evil in every way possible and was disciplined by being carried
evil & was assassinated
excellent king and no discipline necessary
after battle he did not need to fight
the Lord, taken into exile in Babylon
with the northern kingdom we might say that the rot set in from the
outset with Jeroboam who instigated idol worship which was never removed,
with the southern kingdom, although the signs were often there and
the Lord had spoken about their end previously, the rot really seems
to have set in with Manasseh whose activities were
so terrible that they incurred the Lord's wrath in both exiling him
to Babylon but also declaring His final judgement on the nation prophetically.
son Amon seems to have learned nothing from his
father and reverts to evil.
is remarkable is the reign of Josiah which is the
outstanding reign of both kingdoms throughout their existence. Nevertheless
during his reign the Lord reiterates His intention to ultimately destroy
the nation, although not in his reign. Josiah just goes to show that
in the midst of bad examples a person can stand out for God and while
he is there, God will bless.
remaining four kings Jehoahaz , Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin and
Zedekiah demonstrate they have learned nothing from those
before them and it is a steady downward spiral of folly, each one
ending up being taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. Our description
of Sin as ‘self-centred godlessness' is clearly demonstrated in all
but one of these final seven kings, and even he died because of his
pride. It is a sad testimony to the human race.
summarise the Lord's activity in these two kingdoms in the next chapter.
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