Elisha, known for his miracles, suceeds Elijah. There is s series of kings in both kingdoms. The Kingdom of Israel is conquered by the Assyrians and deported into Assyria as slaves. Judah goes through eight kings before it is conquered by Babylonians. The upper class is exiled to Babylon.
ELIJAH’S FIRE TRICK — 1:1-18
The new king of Israel, Ahaziah, succeeded his father, Ahab. Once when he fell and hurt himself, he told his messengers to ask the Philistine God Baal-zebub if he will recover from his injury. Elijah intercepted the messengers and sent them back to Ahaziah. Now Ahaziah would not be stopped. So he sent fifty men to Baal-zebub. So Elijah had them consumed with fire from heaven. Again Ahaziah sent fifty more men and again Elijah had them consumed with fire from heaven. The king sent a third group but this time the captain pleaded for his life. So Elijah returned with the group to deliver his message of doom personally. Ahaziah lasted two years. He had no sons so his brother Joram (Jehoram) succeeded him.
Comment: The literal meaning of Baal-zebub is “lord of the flies. ” It was meant to be insulting. The proper word is probably Baal-zebul (“Baal is exalted”). Change a couple of vowels and you have Beelzebub, the New Testament name for Satan.
A modern believer might think that “fire” meant “lightning.” However lightning doesn’t consume you, it only electrocutes you. Fire from heaven is a Bibleworld event.
ELISHA TAKES OVER — 2:1-25
If Moses and Joshua can do it then can Elijah. When he rolled up his robe and struck the River Jordan, the waters parted. Fifty anonymous prophets saw him and Elisha walk across on dry ground. So were witnesses. As they continued walking together, “a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. ” (2:1-11) He didn’t die mind you. He ascended into heaven alive. Even Jesus couldn’t do that. The term “whirlwind” signifies a very heavy wind of hurricane or tornado force. There is no mention of what kind of fuel kept that fire alight.
Elisha was so awe struck that he tore off his clothes. But apparently Elijah left behind his magic robe. If Moses, Joshua and Elijah can do it then so can Elisha. So Elisha touched the River Jordan with the robe and the waters parted. There were the same fifty anonymous prophets who can testify to this event. They even spent three days trying to find Elijah but couldn’t find him. For his next magic trick Elisha made the water of Jericho drinkable by throwing a bowl of salt in it. Like a typical man of God, Elisha took himself seriously. Once some small boys made fun of his bald head. So he sent two she-bears after them. The bears mauled forty-two of the boys. (2:12-25)
THE MOABITE TAX REBELLION — 3:1-27
Joram, another son of Ahab succeeded Ahaziah as the new king if Israel. In the time of Ahab, King Mesha of Moab used to deliver 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams. It must have been a tax, because when Ahab died Mesha refused to deliver anymore lambs and ram skins. (There is some confusion here because Ahaziah succeeded Ahab but the rebellion occurred during the time of Joram. ) Determined to maintain the tax, Joram allied with King Jehoshaphat of Judah and the king of Edom to quash the rebellion. The decided to travel to Moab by way of the wilderness of Edom. The problem was there was no water in the area. For seven days the army and the animals went dry.
So Jehoshaphat summoned Elisha and Elisha made the dry riverbeds overflow with water without benefit from rain. Elisha was not as infallible as you might think he was. His prediction of victory against the Moabites did not work out. When the water passed through Moab it appeared saturated with blood. The Moabites thought that the three nations killed each other so they went to scavenge for spoils. When they approached they were immediately attacked and overwhelmed. We have seen a lot of bravado about the God of Israel being the most powerful God. Yet when King Mesha sacrificed is oldest son and offered him as a burnt offering, “great wrath came upon Israel, so they withdrew from him and returned to their own land” (3:27). In other words, the Moabite God Chemosh (Num 21:29) overpowered the God of Israel. No other reason is given for the failure of Elisha, Israel and Judah to subdue the Moabites. One apologist says that the armies of Israel withdrew out of fear. Fear of what?The great wrath of Chemosh?
ELISHA THE MAGIC MAN — 4:1-44
A wife of one of those anonymous prophets came to Elisha. What do you have in the house, asked Elisha? Only one jar of oil, she responded. So told her to collect all the empty vessels she could borrow. Then as instructed, she returned to her house and filled the empty vessels from the one jar of oil. When she ran out of vessels the oil stopped flowing from the jar. She had enough money to pay her debts. — 4:1-7
A wealthy woman in the town of Shunem was very hospitable to Elisha. She set aside a furnished room in her house where he sometimes stayed for food and rest. When Elisha learned she was childless and her husband was old. Old men do not become infertile, but that is beside the point. Anyway she soon became pregnant and had a son. Any boy who came into being by divine intervention you would think would lead a blessed life or become a great king. Instead when he was older, he became incapacitated by terrible headaches and died. So she brought her dead boy to Elisha. Elisha brought the boy back home, laid him in his bed and closed the door. Then he said a few prayers and gave him mouth to mouth resuscitation till the boy came to life. — 4:8-37
There was famine in the land when Elisha told his servants to make stew for him and his prophet friends. Unknowingly, one of the servants put some poisonous gourds in the stew. While they were eating, someone realized the mistake. So Elisha threw flour into the stew and neutralized the poison. — 4:38-41
A man brought to Elisha twenty loaves of barley and a sack full of grain. Feed the people instead, suggested Elisha. But there is not enough to feed a hundred people, said the servant. Feed the people and there will be food left over, predicted Elisha. The servant fed the people and there was some left over. — 4:42-44
Comment: Bible believers accept these miracles with only half logic. If faith is responsible for these cures then it is equally true that faith does not prevent calamities. Only in Bibleworld can something come from nothing and can the dead come back to life.
ELISHA THE LEPER MAN — 5:1-27
Naaman was a commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was an important man and a mighty warrior, but he had leprosy. Naaman’’s wife had a servant who was a captive from Israel. The servant told her mistress about the prophet in Samaria (capital of Israel) who could cure the leprosy. So the king of Aram sent a letter to the king of Israel requesting a cure for his servant Naaman. The king became indignant; thinking that the Arameans were picking a quarrel with him, but Elisha thought it a good idea to impress the Arameans.
So Elisha told Naaman to wash in the Jordan seven times. Naaman got insulted, preferring the rivers of Damascus. Eventually he relented and washed himself as instructed. His flesh was restored to the flesh of a young boy. Naaman was extremely grateful and offered Elisha a generous gift, but Elisha refused. Elisha had a servant Gehazi who could not let this chance to profit pass by. Naaman had only gone a short distance when Gehazi chased after him. Elisha sent him for two other prophets who could use a talent of silver and two changes of clothing, he said. Naaman was happy to oblige. When Gehazi returned, Elisha asked where he had been. Nowhere, replied Gehazi. Elisha knew where he had been; so he passed on the leprosy he took from Naaman and gave it to Gehazi and to the rest of his descendants forever. The leprosy turned Gehazi “as white as snow. ”
Comment: Lets also not forget how Elisha sicced two bears on some kids because they made fun of his bald head. This so-called man of God was as vicious as they come.
MORE MAGIC — 6:1-31
Elisha and his company of prophets decided to build a larger house because the old place was getting crowded. So they went to the Jordan to cut trees. When one of them was felling a log, his axe head fell into the water. Elisha threw a stick at the spot where the axe head fell, “and made the iron float” until it was retrieved. — 6:1-7
Aram was at war with Israel. On several occasions, whenever he king of Aram decided on a particular spot to camp, the Israelites knew to avoid the area. How do they know, asked the frustrated Aramean king? Elisha, replied one of his officers, knows your private thoughts. Go seize him, said the king!So the entire army of horses and chariots surrounded the city of Dothan where Elisha was staying. Elisha must have been an illusionist. When his servant warned him of the army surrounding the city, Elisha made it seem as if horses and chariots of fire encircled him. When the Arameans attacked, Elisha made them all blind. Then he convinced them they were in the wrong city and led them to Samaria. When they opened their eyes they saw where they were. Elisha had the Israelites prepare a great feast for the Arameans. For a while the two nations lived in peace. — 6:8-23
Peace never lasts long. Some time later King Ben-hadad of Aram marched his army against Samaria. The siege lasted long enough to cause famine in the city. It got so bad that a woman cried out to the king is Israel for help. “No! Let the lord help you. ” said the king. (Meanwhile everybody is starving. ) But then he got curious. “What is your complaint?” Says she: “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son; we will eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow. ’ (In other words, we’ll eat your son today and tomorrow we’ll eat my son. )“So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son and we will eat him. ’ But she has hidden her son. ” What would Solomon have done in this case?The king of Israel only tore off his clothes on top of the city wall; but it wasn’t full exposure; he had sackcloth undergarments. Then he ordered his men to have Elisha beheaded. The king’s logic went this way: God caused the famine. Elisha is a man of God. Therefore Elisha is responsible for not putting an end to the famine. Word got to Elisha before the king’s messenger of death arrived. 6:24-32
ELISHA’S DOUBTING THOMAS — 7:1-20
Elisha had his friends hold off the messenger while he talked to the king. Elisha promised him that food would be plentiful the next day. The king’s captain was a doubter so Elisha cursed him. The next day in the city, four lepers decided it was better go to the Arameans for food and risk being killed then to stay in Samaria and risk slow death by starvation. When they got to the Aramean camp it was deserted. They thought they heard the sounds of a massive army of Hittite and Egyptian mercenaries. They fled for their lives and left everything there. The lepers ate and carried off sizable quantities of gold, silver and clothing before they told the king. The king thought it was a trap so he sent two men with spare horses to investigate. They found no evidence of a trap so the people plundered the camp. The doubting captain was trampled to death a la Elisha.
MORE KINGS — 8:1-29
To the woman whose son he brought to life, Elisha told her to move out of the area because there will be seven years of famine. So she resettled in the land of the Philistines for seven years. When she came back to reclaim her land, the king who knew her relationship to Elisha complied. — 8:1-6
This time Israel is at peace with Aram. King Ben-hadad was ill, so Elisha went to visit him. Ben-hadad sent his officer Hazael to meet Elisha to inquire of his health. His answer: the king will recover but he will die anyway. You, Hazael, will be the new king. You will set Israel fortresses on fire and kill young men, babies and pregnant women. When Hazael returned to his king, he told him he would certainly recover. The next day he soaked the king’s bed-cover in water and then covered his face until he died. Hazael “earned” his right to become the new king of Aram. — 8:7-15
In the fifth year of the reign of Joram, king of Israel and son of the hated Ahab, Jehoram became the king of Judah. Jehoram was bad, according to the Bible, because he behaved similar to Ahab. He was king for eight years and was married to Ahab’s daughter Athaliah. He battled against the Edomite revolt, and on one occasion retreated in defeat. How he died is not mentioned. His son Ahaziah replaced him, but he was still related to Ahab through his mother, Athaliah. In a battle with the Arameans, he was wounded. — 8:16-29 (The Bible uses the names Joram and Jehoram interchangeably. Plus their reigns overlapped. To avoid confusion Joram is referred to as the king of Israel, son of Ahab, and Jehoram is king of Judah, son of Jehoshaphat. )
JEHU’S BLOODY SUCCESSION — 9:1-37
Elisha instructed one of his young prophet friends to anoint Jehu the next king of Israel. The instructions Jehu received were to destroy every family member related to Ahab, including his wife Jezebel. Jezebel was to be eaten by dogs so that she could not be buried. One of the unique things about this crowning ceremony was that an unnamed prophet whom no one knew anointed him in private. Yet, when Jehu told his soldiers, they immediately believed him. — 9:1-13
When Joram was recuperating from his wounds at Jezreel, Jehu paid the King of Israel a visit. Joram greeted him with “Is it peace, Jehu?” Jehu responded with “What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?” Sensing danger, Joram fled, but he took an arrow between his shoulders and through his heart. They ceremoniously planted his body in Naboth’s garden to symbolize Ahab’s murder of Naboth in 1Kings 21:1-29 — as if Joram killed him. King Ahaziah unfortunately was at the scene of the murder. When he fled in his chariot, he was shot and bled to death; Judah was without a king. — 9:14-29
Jezebel was next on Jehu’s hit list. At his command, two or three eunuchs threw her out the window. It must have been a high window. For “Some of her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses, which trampled on her. ” The sight of her blood must have made Jehu hungry. After he enjoyed a nice leisurely meal; he ordered “that cursed woman” to be buried. But it was too late. The dogs left only her “skull and the feet and the palms of her hands. ” — 9:30-37
THE FINAL BLOODY PURGE — 10:1-36
Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. So Jehu sent each of their guardians a letter to pick the best fighter amongst the seventy to fight him for the throne. They would not pick a challenger because they thought it was suicidal, but they promised they would cooperate with him. So he sent them a second letter asking for the seventy heads of Ahab’s sons. They didn’t argue with him. But Jehu didn’t stop there. He killed Ahab’s staff, “close friends, and priests until he left him no survivor. ”— 10:1-11
On the way to Samaria, Jehu met some relatives of Ahaziah. He “slaughtered them at the pit of Beth-eked, forty-two in all; he spared none of them. ” At Samaria “he killed all who were left to Ahab in Samaria, until he had wiped them out. ” — 10:12-17
Then he summoned “all the prophets of Baal, all his worshipers, and all his priests; let none be missing, for I have a great sacrifice to offer Baal; whoever is missing shall not live. ”Of course Jehu was lying. So all the worshippers of Baal came to the temple; it was filled from wall to wall; there was no one left who did not come. Jehu set eighty men outside the temple doors while they performed their sacrifices and burnt offerings. When they were done he sent his men inside with the orders to “come in and kill them; let no one escape. ”No number is given to how many were killed. The temple was destroyed and converted into a latrine. Nothing was left of Baal in Israel. — 10:18-28
Jehu was so good at killing in God’s name that God congratulated him on his thoroughness at cleaning out the house of Ahab and even promised to make his next four generations sit on the throne of Israel. But Jehu was only good at the killing part. He is accused of not strictly following God’s law. One of his so-called sins was not destroying the golden calves in Bethel and Dan — his murderous ways wasn’t good enough. The evidence given was the steady losses of Israel territory to the Syrians under King Hazael. In Bibleworld, you are successful to the degree you follow God’s laws. Jehu rule over Israel lasted 28 years; his son Jehoahaz succeeded him. — 10:29-36
THE LONE DESCENDANT OF JESUS — 11:1-21
We return to Judah. We were told in the last chapter that Jehu killed everyone related to Ahab. But he didn’t. Now we find that Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and wife of Jehoram, is very much alive. The assassination of her husband left her in charge as queen. For revenge she is said to set about to destroy anyone related to the “royal family,” meaning anyone related to the family of David. According to 11:2, Joash was the only survivor because his aunt, Jehosheba, hid him from Athaliah for six years. What this means to Jesus lovers is that the descendants of David were narrowed down to one survivor. His name is not listed in either of the two gospels, which purport to list Jesus’ genealogy. — 11:1-3
Joash came to rule in the seventh year of Athaliah’s rule with the help of the priest, Jehoiada. He proved to the palace guards that Joash was the rightful heir to the throne of David. At the city temple he ceremoniously crowned the young king. When she came to see what the commotion was about, he had her “put to death. ” And once again they tore down another house of Baal and its priest. — 11:4-20
THE REIGN OF JOASH — 12:1-21
Joash did whatever Jehoiada told him, so things went well a long time. But of course there were still those nagging “high places” that continued to exist. Then Joash told the priests to collect money — either by tax or by donation — to repair the temple. Some time went by but the priests made no repairs on the temple. The wording suggests they kept the money for themselves. So Joash had Jehoiada put a chest in the temple, to be used for donations. They used the money to make building repairs but no ornaments were purchased. When king Hazael of Aram threatened to attack Jerusalem, Joash used the entire temple treasury to buy him off. Two of his servants killed him for it. His son Amaziah succeeded him as the next king of Judah.
JEHOAHAZ, JOASH AND ELISHA —13:1-25
Back to Israel. Jehoahaz, son of Jehu reigned for seventeen years. Neither was he loyal to God. By the end of his term, the Arameans wiped out his entire army of about 10,000. The reign of Joash, son of Jehoahaz, was equally uneventful. He lasted sixteen years. — 13:1-13
On one occasion, Elisha told Joash to strike the ground with some arrows that symbolized victory. Joash struck the ground three times. Elisha scolded him for not striking the ground five times. Because that is how many victories he would know to utterly defeat the Arameans. How was he to know? As Bible superstitions would have it. Joash defeated the Arameans only three times and left them strong enough to fight again. — 13:14-19, 22-25
This was the time when Elisha died. It is said that when a dead man was thrown into Elisha’s grave, when his body touched Elisha’s, he came back to life. Jesus lovers take note. Jesus was alive when he brought Lazarus back to life. Elisha did it while he was dead. — 13:20:21
AMAZIAH AND JEROBOAM II — 14:1-29
In Judah, Amaziah, son of Joash, reigned for twenty-nine years. One of his first acts was to kill the two who murdered his father. But he did not kill their children as prescribed by Mosaic Law. Then there were those “high places” that he was accused of not being thorough in removing. He once killed 10,000 Edomites in one battle. Fresh from his victory, he instigated a fight with King Jehoash of Israel and lost. Jehoash broke down part of the walls of Jerusalem and took all the gold and silver in the temple, the treasuries in the king’s house, as well as hostages. Many years later, Amaziah met his maker in a conspiracy against him. His sixteen-year-old son Azariah took his place. — 14:1-22
Back at Israel, King Jeroboam II inherited the throne from his father Joash. Like all of his predecessors, he copied the sins of Jeroboam, the first ruler of the divided kingdom. — 14:23-29
A STRING OF BLOODY KINGS — 15:1-38
In Judah, King Azariah succeeded his father Amaziah. He reigned for 52 years but there was still those “high places” again. He died of leprosy. — 15:1-7
Next in Israel was Zechariah son of Jeroboam II. He was a typical sinner and lasted only six months when he was struck down and killed in public by Shallum, the next king. Thus the four-generation dynasty of Jehu ended. — 15:8-12
Shallum lasted on month before he was killed by his successor Menahem. In one raid in the territory of Tirzah, Menahem “ripped open all the pregnant women in it. ” He was another sinner; he lasted ten years. On one occasion he taxed all the wealthy and gave the money to King Pul of Assyria as a tribute to keep away. 15:13-22
Pekahiah succeeded Menahem. This sinner lasted two years. His captain Pekah had him killed and took his place. — 15:23-26
Pekah survived twenty years until Hoshea attacked and killed him. He caused Israel to sin. — 15:27-31
Back to Judah where King Jotham reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. He did right but he did not remove those high places. His son Ahaz succeeded him. — 15:32-38
KING AHAZ OF JUDAH — 16:1-20
Ahaz ruled for sixteen years. He torched his own son in a pagan sacrifice and made other offerings on the high places. When the Arameans and Israelites waged war against him, Ahaz was able to hold them off until he subjected his kingdom to the Assyrians — it cost him all the gold and silver in the temple. The Assyrians first action was to capture Damascus (Aram) and kill its king. He had the priest, Uriah, build a copy of the pagan altar in Damascus and used it for worship and offerings. The bronze altar used for worshiping God was moved to the background. He did this to please the king of Assyrian.
THE LAST KING OF ISRAEL — 17:1-41
Hoshea succeeded Ahaz; he reigned for nine years. He was another so-called evil king. He paid tribute to the Assyrians and became their vassal. When he once tried to renege on his tribute, the king of Assryia had him imprisoned. Then for three years, he besieged Israel. He captured Samaria and brought the Israelites back to Assyria as slaves. Apostasy is given as the cause for Israel’s demise.
Comment: There is a lesson to be learned here. In Bibleworld, it is better to not be one of God’s chosen. When this God becomes obsessed with you, he wants total slave-like loyalty and obedience; you are his chattel; anything less deserves punishment. But if you are lucky enough to not have been born a Jew, he won’t bother you. And when he wants to punish the Jews, he’ll use you as the instrument. Even at the height of Israel’s power under Solomon, Israel was a tiny nation surrounded by larger and more powerful nations under different gods. We keep reading how the Israelites were attracted to other gods. Why? He was overly oppressive; his expectations were inhuman and his punishments were inhumane. It wasn’t a question of their refusal to believe in a God per se; it was a matter of their inability to put up with an unbearable god. They were akin to runaway slaves. If it were true that the God of Israel built the heavens and the earth, Israel wouldn’t be an extinct empire.
HEZEKIAH OF JUDAH — 18:1-20:21
Hezekiah reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. He did the right things such as removing the high places and cutting down the sacred pole. He rebelled against the Assyrians until his fourteenth year when Judah lost all of its fortified cities. Hezekiah paid tribute with all of the treasures in the temple; he even stripped the gold from its doors. But it did no appease the king of Assyria for long. He sent three diplomats accompanied by a large army to convince the people of Judah to surrender. They warned that God would not be powerful enough to stop them. — 18:1-37
When Hezekiah heard the news of the threats, he consulted the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah said not to worry. The king of Assryia would be distracted by a rumor and return to his own land where he would be killed. As it turned out, when the king of Assyria heard the Ethiopians (Egyptians) were going to fight him in support of Judah, he sent a second warning message to Jerusalem. Hezekiah prayed. Isaiah predicted that the Assyrians would not invade Jerusalem. That night an angel (probably the Egyptians) killed 185,000, the entire Assyrian army. The next day the king was killed by two of his sons. — 19:1-37
Hezekiah became sick near the point of death. Isaiah predicted he would die but Hezekiah prayed for recovery. Then God told Isaiah that he heard Hezekiah’s prayers; he would add fifteen more years to his life. When Hezekiah heard this news, he wanted a sign that this was to happen. The sign appeared as a shadow on the king’s sundial that reverse direction for a period of ten intervals. (In other words, earth briefly moved backward. )— 20:1-11
A delegation from Babylon paid Hezekiah when they heard he was sick. Hezekiah welcomed them and naively showed them his vast store of arms, goods and treasures. When Isaiah heard this, he scolded the king, warning that Babylon would someday take everything. But Hezekiah thought that there would be peace and security as long as he was king. There was. His son Manasseh succeeded him. — 20:12-21
MANASSEH AND AMON — 21:1-26
From the age of twelve, Manasseh reigned for fifty-five years, the longest in Judah’s history. He reversed the religious practices of his father by rebuilding high places, erecting altars for Baal, and making sacred poles (Asherah). He sacrificed his son in a burnt offering, practiced soothsaying, augury and dealt with mediums and wizards. He shed “innocent blood” from one end of Jerusalem to the other. There were no uneventful catastrophes during Manasseh’s reign. — 21:1-17
His son Amon succeeded him. He was twenty-two and lasted two years. He followed his father’s legacy until his servants killed him. The people of Judah executed those who killed their king. His son Josiah succeeded him. — 21:18-26
Josiah was king at eight and lasted thirty-one years. Josiah was on the right side of God. He had all the temple treasures used to rebuild the temple. During the reconstruction, the priest Hilkiah recovered the book of law (said to be the book of Deuteronomy). When the book was read aloud to the king, he feared God’s wrath for not obeying the law. So Hilkiah consulted the prophetess Huldah on the fate of Judah. (By what rationale should they be punished for what they did not know?) She predicted disaster for Judah but not during the time of Josiah. — 22:1-20
So Josiah cleaned house of all idolatrous practices and artifacts and he slaughtered all the priests of high places. The book of law became the law of the land. Even Passover was commemorated according to the law. So God did not turn his wrath on Judah during the time of Josiah. Instead Josiah was killed in battle against the Pharaoh Neco. His son Jehoahaz succeeded him.
JEHOAHAZ AND JEHOIAKIM — 23:31-24:6
Jehoahaz lasted only three months in Jerusalem before Pharoah Neco imprisoned him — he died later in Egypt.
Pharaoh installed another son of Josiah, Eliakim, and renamed him Jehoiakim. He was twenty-five then and reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. In those days, Babylon under King Nebuchadnezzar was the dominant empire in the area. He made Jehoiakim a vassal for three years until Jehoiakim attempted a rebellion. In response Chaldeans, Arameans, Moabites and Ammonites besieged him. When or how he died is not detailed. The Bible says that God sent these nations against him. But another way to look at it is that the Hebrews at one time or another abused all these nations. His son Jehoiachin succeeded him.
JEHOIACHIN AND THE FIRST EXILE — 24:7-16
Jehoiachin was on the throne for three months in Jerusalem before Nebuchadnezzar besieged the city and took him prisoner, along with his mother, his wives, his servants, officers, and his palace officials, all warriors, all artisans and smiths; ten thousand captives in all. And he looted the temple. No one remained except the poor.
ZEDEKIAH THE LAST KING AND THE SECOND EXILE — 24:17-25:30
The king of Babylon installed Zedekiah as king. He was twenty-one and lasted eleven years. For some foolish reason, Zedekiah rebelled against his sponsor in Babylon. So Nebuchadnezzar had his army surround the city and cut off all outside supplies. After nine days and four months there was no more food left. The Babylonians broke through the wall and chased the king out of the city. When they caught him they brought him back for sentencing. They slaughtered Zedekiah’s sons in front of him and then they put his eyes out. Every building was burnt down, including the temple; and the city walls were razed. Every citizen of Jerusalem except for the poorest were taken away. The priests and an assortment of other high officials were taken; the king of Babylon killed them personally. — 24:17-25-21
Nebuchadnezzar appointed a Jewish governor, Gedaliah, for what remained of Jerusalem. Within seven months he was killed by fanatics. Out of fear, the remaining Judeans migrated to Egypt. —25:22-26
Nebuchadnezzar released King Jehoiachin from prison and treated him kindly for the rest of his life. — 25:27-30
Comment: So God, the most powerful, the creator of all things, the God who could harden Pharaoh’s heart, who could make the sun stand still, who could inflict plagues at will, could not create a world society under his command. He anointed a super-race to speak for him, yet few listened. As a result, other gods were more influential then he. His kingdom was tiny while the kingdoms of other gods were much larger and more powerful. He couldn’t even maintain the loyalty of his own people. His reign of terror chased his people into the arms of other gods. He was so full of hate that he not only turned over his people to his enemies; he even let his enemies ransack and destroy his home on earth, the temple. This was his vengeance. God the perfectionist had to have it his way or no way at all. He gave up and tried again as Jesus. And then he sicced the Christians on his people.