In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years: then he turned and rebelled against him.
Verse 1. - In his days Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon came up. The Hebrew נְבֻכַדְנֶאצַר (Nebuchadnezzar) or נְבֻכַדְרֶאצַר (Nebuchadnezzar, Jeremiah, Ezekiel) represents the Babylonian Nabu-kudur-uzur ("Nebo is the protector of landmarks"), a name very common in the Babylonian and Assyrian inscriptions. It was borne by three distinct kings of Babylon, the most important of whom was Nebuchadnezzar III., the son of Nabopolassar, the monarch of the present passage. According to Berosus, he was not at the time of this expedition the actual sovereign of Babylonia, but only the crown prince, placed by the actual king, Nabopolassar, at the head of his army. It is possible that his father may have associated him in the kingdom, for association was not unknown at Babylon; or the Jews may have mistaken his position; or the historian may call him king by prolepsis, as a modern might say, "The Emperor Napoleon invaded Italy and defeated the Austrians at Marengo" (see Pusey's 'Daniel,' p. 400). His father had grown too old and infirm to conduct a military expedition, and consequently sent his son in his place, with the object of chastising Nechoh, and recovering the territory whereof Nechoh had made himself master three years before (see 2 Kings 23:29-33, and compare below, ver. 7). And Jehoiakim became his servant - i.e. submitted to him, and became a tributary king - three years (from B.C. 605 to B.C. 602): then he turned and rebelled against him. How Jehoiakim came to venture on this step we are not told, and can only conjecture. It is, perhaps, most probable that (as Josephus says, 'Ant. Jud.' 10:6, § 2) he was incited to take this course by the Egyptians, who were still under the rule of the brave and enterprising Nechoh, and who may have hoped to wipe out by fresh victories the disaster experienced at Carehemish. There is, perhaps, an allusion to Jehoiakim's expectation of Egyptian succors in the statement of ver. 7, that "the King of Egypt came not again any more out of his land."
And the LORD sent against him bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servants the prophets.
Verse 2. - And the Lord sent against him bands of the Chaldees. That Nebuchadnezzar did not promptly march against Jehoiakim to suppress his rebellion, but contented himself with sending against him a few "bands" (גְדוּדֵי) of Chaldeans, and exciting the neighboring Syrians, Ammonites, and Moabites to invade and ravage his territory, can scarcely be otherwise accounted for than by supposing that he was detained in Middle Asia by wars or rebellious nearer home. It may have been a knowledge of these embarrassments that induced Jehoiakim to lend an ear to the persuasions of Nechoh. And bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon (comp. Ezekiel 19:8, "Then the nations set against him on every side from the provinces, and spread their net over him: he was taken in their pit"), and sent them against Judah to destroy it - i.e. to begin that waste and ruin which should terminate ultimately in the complete destruction and obliteration of the Judaean kingdom - according to the word of the Lord, which he spoke by his servants the prophets. As Isaiah, Micah, Habakkuk, Jeremiah, Zephaniah, and Huldah (see 2 Kings 22:16-20).
Surely at the commandment of the LORD came this upon Judah, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did;
Verse 3. - Surely at the commandment of the Lord came this upon Judah; literally, only at the mouth of the Lord did this come upon Judah; i.e. there was no other cause for it but the simple "mouth" or "word" of the Lord. The LXX., who translate πλὴν θυμὸς Κυρίου ῆν ἐπὶ τὸν ιούδαν, seem to have had אַף instead of פִי in their copies. To remove them out of his sight (comp. 2 Kings 23:27; and see also the comment on 2 Kings 17:18) for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did. The meaning is not that the nation was punishes for the personal sins and crimes of the wicked Manseseh forty or fifty years previously, but that the class of sins introduced by Manasseh, being persisted in by the people, brought the stern judgments of God upon them. As W. G. Sumner well observes, "The sins of Manasseh had become a designation for a certain class of offences, and a particular form of public and social depravity, which was introduced by Manassseh, but of which generation after generation continued to be guilty." The special sins were
(1) idolatry, accompanied by licentious rites;
(2) child-murder, or sacrifice to Moloch;
(3) sodomy (2 Kings 23:7); and
(4) the use of enchantments and the practice of magical arts (2 Kings 21:6).
And also for the innocent blood that he shed: for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the LORD would not pardon.
Verse 4. - And also for the innocent blood that he shed (comp. 2 Kings 21:16, and the comment ad loc.). Like the other "sins of Manasseh," the shedding of innocent blood continued, both in the Moloch offerings (Jeremiah 7:31) and in the persecution of the righteous (Jeremiah 7:6, 9, etc.). Urijah was actually put to death by Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 26:23); Jeremiah narrowly escaped. For he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the Lord would not pardon. Blood "cries to God from the ground" on which it falls (Genesis 4:11), and is "required" at the hands of the bloodshedder (Genesis 9:5) unfailingly. Especially is the blood of saints slain for their religion avenged and exacted by the Most High (see Revelation 6:10; Revelation 11:18; Revelation 16:6; Revelation 19:2, etc.).
Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
Verse 5. - Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim; and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? Among the acts of Jehoiakim recorded elsewhere in the Old Testament, the most remarkable are the following:
(1) His execution of Urijah the son of Shemaiah (Jeremiah 26:23);
(2) his destruction of the first collection of the early prophecies made by Jeremiah, in a fit of anger at hearing its contents (Jeremiah 36:20-23);
(3) his order that Jeremiah and Baruch should be arrested (Jeremiah 36:26);
(4) his capture by some of the "nations" which Nebuchadnezzar had stirred up against him, and delivery into the hands of that monarch (Ezekiel 19:9), probably at Jerusalem. How Nebuchadnezzar treated him is uncertain. Josephus says ('Ant. Jud.,' 10:6. § 3) that he put him to death, and east him out unburied beyond the walls of the city. But from the biblical notices we can only gather that he died prematurely after a reign of no more than eleven years ( B.C. 608 to B.C. 597), and was u-lamented, "buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem" (Jeremiah 22:18, 19). Conjecture has filled up the blanks of this history in several ways, the most purely imaginative being, perhaps, that of Ewald, who says ('History of Israel,' vol. 4. p. 262), "When the Chaldean armies presented themselves at the gates of the capital, Jehoiakim seems to have been betrayed into the same error as his brother (Jehoahaz), eleven years before. He gave ear to a crafty invitation of the enemy to repair for negotiations to their camp, where, in sight of his own city, he was made prisoner. He offered a frantic resistance, and was dragged away in a scuffle, and miserably cut down; while even an honorable burial for his corpse, which his family certainly solicited, was refused."
So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.
Verse 6. - So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers. It is not certain that the writer means anything more by this than that "Jehoiakim died." His body may, however, possibly have been found by the Jews after the Babylonians had withdrawn from before Jerusalem, and have been entombed with those of Manasseh, Amen, and Josiah. And Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead, Josephus says (l.s.c.) that Nebuchadnezzar placed him upon the throne, which is likely enough, since he would certainly not have quitted Jerusalem without setting up some king or other. Jehoiachin has in Scripture the two other names of Jeconiah (1 Chronicles 3:16, 17; Jeremiah 27:20; Jeremiah 28:4; Jeremiah 29:2) and Coniah (Jeremiah 22:24, 28; Jeremiah 37:1). Jehoiachin and Jeconiah differ only, as Jehoahaz and Ahaziah, by a reversal of the order of the two elements. Both mean "Jehovah will establish (him)." "Conlah" cuts off from "Jeconiah" the sign of futurity, and means "Jehovah establishes." It is used only by Jeremiah, and seems used by him to signify that though "Jehovah establishes," Jeconiah he would not establish.
And the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land: for the king of Babylon had taken from the river of Egypt unto the river Euphrates all that pertained to the king of Egypt.
Verse 7. - And the King of Egypt earns not again any mere out of his land. Nechoh's two expeditions were enough for him. In the first he was completely successful, defeated Josiah (2 Kings 23:29), overran Syria as far as Carchemish, and made Phoenicia, Judaea, and probably the adjacent countries tributary to him. In the second (Jeremiah 46:2-12) he suffered a calamitous reverse, was himself defeated with great slaughter, forced to fly hastily, and to relinquish all his conquests. After this, he "came not any more out of his land." Whatever hopes he held out to Judaea or to Tyre, he was not bold enough to challenge the Babylonians to a third trial of strength, but remained - peaceably within his own borders. For the King of Babylon had taken from the river of Egypt. The נַחַל מִצְרַיִם is not the Nile, but the Wady el Arish, the generally dry watercourse, which was the ordinarily accepted boundary between Egypt and Syria (see 1 Kings 8:65; Isaiah 27:12). The Nile is the נָהַר מִצְרַיִם. Unto the river Euphrates all that pertained to the King of Egypt; i.e. all that he had conquered and made his own in his first expedition in the year B.C. 608.
Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother's name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.
Verses 8-16 - REIGN OF JEHOIACHIN. The short reign of Jehoisshin is now described. It lasted but three months. For some reason which is unrecorded, Nebuchadnezzar, who had placed him on the throne, took offence at his conduct, and sent an army against him to effect his deposition. Jehoiachin offered scarcely any resistance. He "went out" of the city (ver. 12), with the queen-mother, the officers of the court, and the princes, and submitted himself to the will of the great king. But he gained nothing by his pusillanimity. The Babylonians entered Jerusalem, plundered the temple and the royal palace, made prisoners of the king, his mother, the princes and nobles, the armed garrison, and all the more skilled artisans, to the number altogether of ten thousand souls (Josephus says 10,832, 'Ant. Jud.,' 10:7. § 1), and carried them captive to Babylon. Zedekiah, the king's uncle, was made monarch in his room. Verse 8. - Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign. In 2 Chronicles 36:9 he is said to have been only eight years old, but this is probably an accidental corruption, the yod, which is the Hebrew sign for ten, easily slipping out. As he had "wives" (ver. 15) and "seed" (Jeremiah 22:28), he could not well be less than eighteen. And he reigned in Jerusalem three months. "Three months and ten days," according to 2 Chronicles (l.s.c.) and Josephus ('Ant. Jud.,' l.s.c.). And his mother's name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem. Elnathan was one of the chief of the Jerusalem princes under Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 26:22; Jeremiah 36:12, 25). His daughter, Nehushta - the Noste of Josephus ('Ant. Jud.,' 10:6. § 3) - was probably the ruling spirit of the time during her son's short reign. We find mention of her in Jeremiah 26:26; 29:2; and in Josephus, 'Ant. Jud.,' 10:6. § 3, and Jeremiah 10:7. § 1. Ewald suggests that she "energetically supported" her son in the policy whereby he offended Nebuchadnezzar.
And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father had done.
Verse 9. - And he did that which was evil the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father had done (see 2 Kings 23:37; and comp. 2 Chronicles 36:9). Josephus says that Jehoiachin was φύσει χρηστὸς καὶ δίκαιος ('Ant. Jud.,' 10:7. § 1); but Jeremiah calls him "a despised broken idol," and "a vessel wherein is no pleasure" (Jeremiah 22:28). The present passage probably does not mean more than that he made no attempt at a religious reformation, but allowed the idolatries and superstitions which had prevailed under Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim to continue. It is in his favor that he did not actively persecute Jeremiah.
At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged.
Verse 10. - At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon came up against Jerusalem. This siege fell probably into the year B.C. 597, which was "the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar" (ver. 12). Nebuchadnezzar himself was, at the time, engaged in the siege of Tyre, which had revolted in B.C. 598 (see 'Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 3. p. 51), and therefore sent his "servants" - i.e. generals - against Jerusalem. And the city was besieged. Probably for only a short time. Jeconiah may at first have had some hope of support from Egypt, still under the rule of Nechoh; but when no movement was made in this quarter (see the comment on ver. 7), he determined not to provoke his powerful enemy by an obstinate resistance, but to propitiate him, if possible, by a prompt surrender.
And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it.
Verse 11. - And Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it; rather, his servants were besieging it. While the siege conducted by his generals was still going on, Nebuchadnezzar made his appearance in person before the walls, probably bringing with him an additional force, which made a successful resistance hopeless. A council of war was no doubt held under the new circumstances, and a surrender was decided on.
And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign.
Verse 12. - And Jehoiachin the King of Judah went out to the King of Babylon (for the use of the expression, "went out to," in this sense of making a surrender, see 1 Samuel 11:3; Jeremiah 21:9; Jeremiah 38:17, etc.), he, and his mother (see the comment on ver. 8), and his servants, and his princes, and his officers - rather, his eunuchs (see the comment on 2 Kings 20:18) and the King of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign. Nebuchadnezzar succeeded his father, Nabopelassar, in B.C. 605; but his first year was not complete till late in B.C. 604. His "eighth year" was thus B.C. 597.
And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had said.
Verse 13. - And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the Lord. "Thence" means "from Jerusalem," which he entered and plundered, notwithstanding Jehoiachin's submission, so that not much was gained by the voluntary surrender. A beginning had been made of the carrying off the sacred vessels of the temple in Jehoiakim's third (fourth?) year (Daniel 1:1), which was the first of Nebuchadnezzar. The plundering was now carried a step further; while the final complete sweep of all that remained came eleven years later, at the end of the reign of Zedekiah (see 2 Kings 25:13-17). And the treasures of the king's house (comp. 2 Kings 20:13). If the treasures which Hezekiah showed to the envoys of Merodach-Baladan were carried off by Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:15), still there had probably been fresh accumulations made during their long reigns by Manasseh and Josiah. And out in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon King of Israel had made in the temple of the Lord. (For an account of these vessels, see 1 Kings 7:45-50.) They consisted in part of articles of furniture, like the altar of incense and the table of shrewbread, which were thickly covered with plates of gold; in part of vessels, etc., made wholly of the precious metal, as candlesticks, or rather candelabra, snuffers, tongs, basins, spoons, censers, and the like. As the Lord had said (comp. 2 Kings 20:17; Isaiah 39:6; Jeremiah 15:13; Jeremiah 17:3; Jeremiah 20:5, etc.).
And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land.
Verse 14. - And he carried away all Jerusalem. The expression has to be limited by what follows. "All Jerusalem" means all that was important in the population of Jerusalem all the upper classes, the "princes" and "nobles," all the men trained to the use of arms, and all the skilled craftsmen and artisans of the city. The poor and weak and unskilled were left. The number deported, according to our author, was either ten or eleven thousand. The whole population of the ancient city has been calculated from its area at fifteen thousand. The largest estimate of the population of the modern city is seventeen thousand. And all the princes. The sarim, or "princes," are not males of the blood royal, but the nobles, or upper classes of Jerusalem (comp. Jeremiah 25:18; Jeremiah 26:10-16, etc.). And all the mighty men of valor - i.e. "all the trained troops" (Ewald); not "all the men of wealth," as Bahr renders - even ten thousand captives. As the soldiers are reckoned below (ver. 16) at seven thousand, and the craftsmen at one thousand, the upper-class captives would seem to have been two thousand; unless, indeed, the "craftsmen" are additional to the ten thousand, in which Case the upper-class captives would have numbered three thousand, and the prisoners have amounted altogether to eleven thousand. And all the craftsmen and smiths. Ewald understands "the military workmen and siege engineers" to be intended ('History of Israel,' vol. 4. p. 263, note 9); but the term חָרָשׁin Hebrew includes all workers in stone, metal, or wood (Genesis 4:22; Isaiah 44:12; 1 Kings 7:14), and there is nothing to limit it here to military craftsmen. It was an Oriental practice to weaken a state by the deportation of all the stronger elements of its population. None remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land. These words must be taken with some latitude. There are still "princes" in Jerusalem under Zedekiah (Jeremiah 38:4, 25, 27), and courtiers of rank (Jeremiah 38:7), and "captains of forces" (Jeremiah 40:7), and "men of war" (Jeremiah 52:7). But the bulk of the inhabitants now left behind in Jerusalem were poor and of small account.
And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king's mother, and the king's wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon.
Verse 15. - And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon (comp. 2 Chronicles 36:10; Jeremiah 22:26; Jeremiah 24:1; Jeremiah 52:31; Josephus, 'Ant. Jud.,' 10:7. § 1). Jehoiachin continued a captive in Babylon during the remainder of Nebuchadnezzar's reign - a space of thirty-seven years (see the comment on 2 Kings 25:27). And the king's mother (see above, ver. 12), and the king's wives - this is important, as helping to determine Jehoiachin's ago (see the comment on ver. 8) - and his officers - rather, his eunuchs (comp. Jeremiah 38:7; Jeremiah 39:16) - and the mighty of the land. Not only the "princes" and the trained soldiers and the skilled artisans (ver. 14), but all who were of much account, as the bulk of the priests and the prophets (see Jeremiah 29:1-24). Those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. "Babylon" (בָבֶל) is the city, not the country (as Thenius imagines). It was the practice for the conquering kings to carry their captives with them to their capital, for ostentation's sake, before determining on their destination. The Jewish prisoners were, no doubt, ultimately settled in various parts of Babylonia. Hence they are called (Ezra 2:1; Nehemiah 7:6) "the children of the province."
And all the men of might, even seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths a thousand, all that were strong and apt for war, even them the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon.
Verse 16. - And all the men of might - i.e. "The mighty men of valor" (or, "trained soldiers") of ver. 14 - even seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths a thousand, all that were strong and apt for war - the craftsmen and smiths would be pressed into the military service in the event of a siege - even them the Zing of Babylon brought captive to Babylon; i.e. he brought to Babylon, not only the royal personages, the officials of the court, and the captives who belonged to the upper classes (ver. 15), but also the entire military force which he had deported, and the thousand skilled artificers. All, without exception, were conducted to the capital.
And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father's brother king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah.
Verses 17-20. - EARLIER PORTION OF ZEDEKIAH'S REIGN. Nebuchadnezzar found a son of Josiah, named Mattaniah, still surviving at Jerusalem. At his father's death he must have been a boy of ten, but he was now, eleven years later, of the age of twenty-one. This youth, only three years older than his nephew Jehoiachin, he appointed king, at the same time requiring him to change his name, which he did from "Mattaniah" to "Zedekiah" (ver. 17). Zedekiah pursued nearly the same course of action as the other recent kings. He showed no religious zeal, instituted no reform, but allowed the idolatrous practices, to which the people were so addicted, to continue (ver. 19). Though less irreligious and less inclined to persecute than Jehoiakim, he could not bring himself to turn to God. He was weak and vacillating, inclined to follow the counsels of Jeremiah, but afraid of the "princes," and ultimately took their advice, which was to ally himself with Egypt, and openly rebel against Nebuchadnezzar. This course of conduct brought about the destruction of the nation (ver. 29). Verse 17. - And the King of Babylon made Mattaniah his father's brother king in his stead. Josiah had four sons (1 Chronicles 3:15) - Johanan, the eldest, who probably died before his father; Jehoiakim, or Eliakim, the second, who was twenty-five years old at his father's death (2 Kings 23:36); Jehoahaz, the third, otherwise called Shallum (1 Chronicles, l.s.c.; Jeremiah 22:11), who, when his father died, was aged twenty-three (2 Kings 32:31); and Mattaniah, the youngest, who must have been then aged ten or nine. It was this fourth son, now grown to manhood, whom Nebuchadnezzar appointed king in Jehoiachin's room. And changed his name to Zedekiah. (On the practice of changing a king's name on his accession, see the comment upon 2 Kings 23:31, 34.) Mat-lab means "Gift of Jehovah;" Zedekiah, "Righteousness of Jehovah." Josiah had called his son the first of these names in humble acknowledgment of God's mercy in granting him a fourth son. So other pious Jews called their sons "Nathaniel," and Greeks "Theodotus" or "Theodorus," and Romans "Deodatua." Mattaniah, in taking the second of the names, may have had in his mind the prophecy of Jeremiah 23:5-8, where blessings are promised to the reign of a king whose name should be "Jehovah-Tsidkenu," i.e. "The Lord our Righteousness." Or he may simply have intended to declare that "the righteousness of Jehovah" was what he aimed at establishing. In this case it can only be said that it would have been happy for his country, had his professions been corroborated by his acts.
Zedekiah was twenty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.
Verse 18. - Zedekiah was twenty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem; Probably from B.C. 597 to B.C. 586. He was thus contemporary with Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon, with Cyaxares and Astyages in Media, and with Psamatik II. and Ua-ap-ra (Pharaoh-Hophra) in Egypt. And his mother's name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. He was thus full brother of Jehoahaz (2 Kings 23:31), but only half-brother to Jehoiakim (2 Kings 23:36). His father-in-law, "Jeremiah of Libnah" is not the prophet, who was of Anathoth.
And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.
Verse 19. - And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. Keil says, "His attitude towards the Lord exactly resembled that of his brother Jehoiakim, except that Zedekiah does not appear to have possessed so much energy for that which was evil." He allowed the people to continue their "pollutions" and" abominations" (2 Chronicles 36:14). He let the "princes" have their way, and do whatever they pleased (Jeremiah 38:5), contenting himself with sometimes outwitting them, and counteracting their proceeding (Jeremiah 38:14-28). He fell into the old error of "putting trust in Egypt" (Jeremiah 37:5-7), and made an alliance with Apries (Pharaoh-Hophra), which was an act of rebellion, at once against God and against his Babylonian suzerain. He was, upon the whole, rather weak than wicked; but his weakness was as ruinous to his country as active wickedness would have been.
For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, until he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
Verse 20. - For through the anger of the Lord it came to pus in Jerusalem and Judah. It was "through the anger of the Lord" at the persistent impenitence of the people, that that came to pass which actually came to pass - the rejection of the nation by God and the casting of it out of his presence. In his anger he suffered the appointment of another perverse and faithless monarch, who made no attempt at a reformation of religion, and allowed him to run his evil course unchecked, and to embroil himself with his suzerain, and to bring destruction upon his nation. God's anger, long provoked (2 Kings 21:10-15; 2 Kings 23:26, 27; 2 Kings 24:3, 4), lay at the root of the whole series of events, not causing men's sins, but allowing them to go on until the cup of their iniquities was full, and the time had arrived for vengeance. Until he had east them out from his presence (comp. 2 Kings 17:18, 20; 2 Kings 23:27; 2 Kings 24:3). To be "cast out of God's presence" is to lose his protecting care, to be separated off from him, to be left defenseless against our enemies. When Israel was once finally cast off, its fate was sealed; there was no further hope for it; the end was come. That Zedekiah rebelled against the King of Babylon; rather, And Zedekiah rebelled, etc. The sentence is a detached one, and would, perhaps, better commence 2 Kings 25. than terminate, as it does, 2 Kings 24. Zedekiah, when he received his investiture at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar (ver. 17), took a solemn oath of allegiance and fidelity (2 Chronicles 36:13; Ezekiel 17:13) to him and to his successors; but almost immediately afterwards he began to intrigue with Egypt, sent a contingent of troops to help Psamatik II. in his wars (Wiediemann, 'Geschichte AEgyptens,' p. 159), and thus sought to pave the way for an Egyptian alliance, on the strength of which he might venture upon a revolt. It was probably owing to the suspicions which these acts aroused that, in the fourth year of his reign, B.C. 594, he had to visit Babylon (Jeremiah 51:59), where, no doubt, he renewed his engagements and assured the Babylonian monarch of his fidelity. But these proceedings were nothing but a blind. On the accession of Hophra (Apries) to the throne of Egypt in B.C. 591, Zedekiah renewed his application to the Egyptian court, openly sending ambassadors (Ezekiel 17:15), with a request for infantry and cavalry. Thus was his rebellion complete, his "oath despised," and his "covenant broken" (Ezekiel 17:15, 16). The war with Babylon, and the siege of Jerusalem, were the natural consequences.