Tuesday, July 23, 2013


One verse succinctly wraps up the brief reign of Jehoiachin: “Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months and ten days. Jehoiachin did what was evil in the Lord’s sight” (II Chronicles 36:9, NLT).

Jehoiachin wasn’t even able to hold onto his kingship as a mere figurehead under the authority of Babylon: “King Nebuchadnezzar took all of Jerusalem captive, including all the commanders and the best of the soldiers, craftsmen, and artisans – 10,000 in all. Only the poorest people were left in the land.

Nebuchadnezzar led King Jehoiachin away as a captive to Babylon, along with the queen mother, his wives and officials, and all Jerusalem’s elite. He also exiled 7,000 of the best troops and 1,000 craftsmen and artisans, all of whom were strong and fit for war. Then the king of Babylon installed Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, as the next king, and he changed Mattaniah’s name to Zedekiah”
(II Kings 24:14-17).

So Mattaniah’s name is changed to Zedekiah and he becomes the next puppet king under Babylon’s authority. How did things work out for him?

“Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God, and he refused to humble himself when the prophet Jeremiah spoke to him directly from the Lord” (II Chronicles 36:11-12).

“He refused to humble himself when the prophet Jeremiah spoke to him directly from the Lord.”
Zedekiah may have only been a kid, but he was around during the final days of good King Josiah’s reign. He saw the evil and short-lived rules of those that followed Josiah, so why would he think that he would fare any better by ignoring Jehovah?

Zedekiah came into office knowing that the only power he had was whatever authority the Babylonians allowed him. But foolish, foolish Zedekiah even “rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, even though he had taken an oath of loyalty in God’s name” (II Chronicles 36:13a).

Just as Jeremiah’s warnings meant nothing to Zedekiah, taking an oath “in God’s name” didn’t mean a thing, either. It was simply a necessity to get himself on the throne in Judah.

“Zedekiah was a hard and stubborn man, refusing to turn to the Lord, the God of Israel” (II Chronicles 36:13b). And like so many other “hard and stubborn” men, he was in for a fall. The biggest fall yet.

And he wasn’t alone in his stupidity. “Likewise, all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful. They followed all the pagan practices of the surrounding nations, desecrating the Temple of the Lord that had been consecrated in Jerusalem.

The Lord, the God of their ancestors, repeatedly sent His prophets to warn them, for He had compassion on His people and His Temple”
(II Chronicles 36:14-15).

How is it possible for the Lord to still love these wayward people? The Lord gives us an answer in Isaiah 41:9b: “I have chosen you and will not throw you away.” He may have allowed all sorts of misery to come upon His people, but He continued to love them and call to them.

He hasn’t changed, you know. He may let you go through some very rough waters if you ignore His warnings, but He will never ever “throw you away.”

“When you look at the Cross, what do you see? You see God’s awesome faithfulness. Nothing – not even the instinct to spare His own Son – will turn Him back from keeping His Word.” (Sinclair B. Ferguson)

Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates

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