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Jehoahaz made king on the death of his father Josiah, and reigns only three months, 2 Chronicles 36:1, 2 Chronicles 36:2. He is dethroned by the king of Egypt, and Jehoiakim his brother made king in his stead, who reigns wickedly eleven years, and is dethroned and led captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, 2 Chronicles 36:3-8. Jehoiachin is made king in his stead, and reigns wickedly three months and ten days, and is also led captive to Babylon, 2 Chronicles 36:9, 2 Chronicles 36:10. Zedekiah begins to reign, and reigns wickedly eleven years, 2 Chronicles 36:11, 2 Chronicles 36:12. He rebels against Nebuchadnezzar, and he and his people cast all the fear of God behind their backs; the wrath of God comes upon them to the uttermost; their temple us destroyed; and the whole nation is subjugated, and led into captivity, 2 Chronicles 36:13-21. Cyrus, king of Persia, makes a proclamation to rebuild the temple of the Lord, 2 Chronicles 36:22, 2 Chronicles 36:23.
Took Jehoahaz - It seems that after Necho had discomfited Josiah, he proceeded immediately against Charchemish, and in the interim, Josiah dying of his wounds, the people made his son king.
The king of Egypt put him down - He now considered Judah to be conquered, and tributary to him and because the people had set up Jehoahaz without his consent, he dethroned him, and put his brother in his place, perhaps for no other reason but to show his supremacy. For other particulars, see the notes on 2 Kings 23:31-35 (note).
Came up Nebuchadnezzar - See the notes on 2 Kings 24:1.
Archbishop Usher believes that Jehoiakim remained three years after this tributary to the Chaldeans, and that it is from this period that the seventy years‘ captivity, predicted by Jeremiah, is to be reckoned.
Jehoiachin was eight - See on 2 Kings 24:6-15 (note).
Made Zedekiah - king - His name was at first Mattaniah, but the king of Babylon changed it to Zedekiah. See 2 Kings 24:17 (note), and the notes there.
Did that which was evil - Was there ever such a set of weak, infatuated men as the Jewish kings in general? They had the fullest evidence that they were only deputies to God Almighty, and that they could not expect to retain the throne any longer than they were faithful to their Lord; and yet with all this conviction they lived wickedly, and endeavored to establish idolatry in the place of the worship of their Maker! After bearing with them long, the Divine mercy gave them up, as their case was utterly hopeless. They sinned till there was no remedy.
They burnt the house of God - Here was an end to the temple; the most superb and costly edifice ever erected by man.
Brake down the wall of Jerusalem - So it ceased to be a fortified city.
Burnt all the palaces - So it was no longer a dwelling-place for kings or great men.
Destroyed all the goodly vessels - Beat up all the silver and gold into masses, keeping only a few of the finest in their own shape. See 2 Chronicles 36:18.
To fulfill the word of the Lord - See Jeremiah 25:9, Jeremiah 25:12; Jeremiah 26:6, Jeremiah 26:7; Jeremiah 29:12. For the miserable death of Zedekiah, see 2 Kings 25:4, etc.
Now in the first year of Cyrus - This and the following verse are supposed to have been written by mistake from the book of Ezra, which begins in the same way. The book of the Chronicles, properly speaking, does close with the twenty-first verse, as then the Babylonish captivity commences, and these two verses speak of the transactions of a period seventy years after. This was in the first year of the reign of Cyrus over the empire of the East which is reckoned to be A.M. 3468. But he was king of Persia from the year 3444 or 3445. See Calmet and Usher.
The Lord his God be with him - “Let the Word of the Lord be his helper, and let him go up.” - Targum. See the notes on the beginning of Ezra.
Thus ends the history of a people the most fickle, the most ungrateful, and perhaps on the whole the most sinful, that ever existed on the face of the earth. But what a display does all this give of the power, justice, mercy, and long-suffering of the Lord! There was no people like this people, and no God like their God.