Today we finish the book of 2 Kings. Our reading begins today with Josiah’s son Jehoahaz on the throne of Judah (23:31). He was no Josiah (v. 32). So we read in verse 33 that Pharaoh Neco took him prisoner (v. 33), placed his brother Eliakim on the throne instead (v. 34), and plundered the people of Judah (v. 35). This is the same Pharaoh that killed Josiah (v. 29). What we see is that Pharaoh Neco is in control of Judah. More than that, we see that God is undoing what He has done for His physical people. They were warned not to forget that God saved them from Egypt (Deut 8:11-20). They have done everything they were told not to. So God has reversed Israel’s plundering of Egypt (see Ex 10:2-3, 12:35-36). He had Egypt kill the “firstborn son” in Josiah (he was Amon’s oldest son). And He put them back under the yoke of Pharaoh (see Ex 11:1). All that was left was for God to send them back into captivity…
Chapter 24 begins with Babylon as the dominate world power. Assyria was now gone. Egypt has been conquered by them (see v. 7). We see that Jehoiakim (Eliakim) immediately surrenders and becomes a vassal of Nebuchadnezzar (24:1). Judah has been so weakened that raiders from Syria, Moab, and Ammon are able to come against Jerusalem (v. 2). In verse 3, we see that this is the work of God, as prophesied (21:10-15). When Jehoiakim dies (v. 6), his son Jehoiachin reigns (v. 8). He, too, was a wicked king (v. 9).
And now the captivity has come. At the first siege of Jerusalem, Jehoiachin surrenders readily (vv. 10-12). This results in the captivity of many of the people (vv. 12-16). Nebuchadnezzar makes Zedekiah king (v. 17). And we see that because of Judah’s sin, God’s patience reached an end, and He cast them out of His presence (v. 20). God said this would happen (Deut 31:16-18). And with Zedekiah’s rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar, God completes the destruction of Judah.
In chapter 25, the siege of Jerusalem begins (vv. 10-17 – see 21:12-15, Amos 2:4-5, Hos 8:14, Deut 28:52-57). After 18 months, there is no food left in Jerusalem (v. 3). So people seek to escape (v. 4), including the king, who is captured (v. 6). And they punish him horribly (v. 7). In verse 9, we see the Temple is destroyed. The city of Jerusalem is also destroyed (v. 10). History tells us this was 30 months after the siege began. And most of the remaining people go into captivity (vv. 11-12). Babylon plunders the precious metals of the vessels of the Temple (vv. 13-17). The remaining priests and officials are killed (vv. 18-21). The captivity is complete.
As was their standard operating procedure, Babylon leaves a governor in charge of the taken land (v. 22), along with a garrison (v. 24). This governor is killed along with those who were with him, both Jews and Babylonians (v. 25)1. Then the Jews who are left flee to Egypt (v. 26). God has indeed reversed all He did for His people – they have willingly returned to Egypt. The book ends with an aged Jehoiachin released from prison and provided for by the king of Babylon (vv. 27-30). God has not completely forgotten His physical people yet. The line of David is still intact (see Matt 1:1).
1 Interestingly, this is the first use of the word “Jew” in the Bible.