Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament2 CHRONICLES 36
GOD TERMINATES ISRAEL AS A KINGDOM
XVI. JEHOAHAZ (609 B.C.)
Then the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and made him king in his father's stead in Jerusalem. Joahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. And the king of Egypt deposed him at Jerusalem, and fined the land a hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. And the king of Egypt made Eliakim his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. And Neco took Joahaz his brother, and carried him to Egypt.
Joahaz mentioned in 2 Chr. 36:4 is only the abbreviated name of the deposed king Jehoahaz. At this point, Neco was master of Judah and Jerusalem, and God's people were merely vassals of Egypt.
XVII. JEHOIAKIM (609-598 B.C.).
THE ELEVEN YEAR REIGN OF JEHOIAKIM
Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah his God. Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar also carried of the vessels of the house of Jehovah to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon. Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and his abominations which he did, and that which was found in him, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.
(See our comments in the parallel under Second Kings 23:34-24:7.)
XVIII. JEHOIAKIN (CONIAH) (598 B.C.)
Verses 9, 10
Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah. And at the return of the year king Nebuchadnezzar sent, and brought him to Babylon, with the goodly vessels of the house of Jehovah, and made Zedekiah his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem.
XIX. ZEDEKIAH (598-587 B.C.);
ZEDEKIAH'S WICKEDNESS REACHES A POINT OF NO RETURN
Zedekiah was twenty and one years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah his God; he humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet [speaking] from the mouth of Jehovah. And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart against turning unto Jehovah, the God of Israel. Moreover all the chiefs of the priests, and the people, trespassed very greatly after all the abominations of the nations; and they polluted the house of Jehovah which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. And Jehovah, the God of their fathers, sent to them by his messengers, rising up early and sending, because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling-place: but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and scoffed at his prophets, until the wrath of Jehovah arose against his people, till there was no remedy.
This is only a tiny summary of the wickedness of Israel during the reign of Zedekiah. Jeremiah reveals much of that wickedness. (See pp. 237, 381, 414, 423, 431, 432, 449, 553-559 in our Commentary on Jeremiah. Also, Ezekiel describes the pollution of the temple, discussed in pp. 87-97 of our Commentary on Ezekiel; also see p. 123 (in that commentary) for the "Contradiction" Zedekiah thought he found in the words of God's prophets. Also, Second Kings, chapter 25, gives additional details.)
JERUSALEM DESTROYED BY NEBUCHADNEZZAR;
THE TEMPLE SACKED AND BURNED;
THE PEOPLE DEPORTED
Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldeans, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or virgin, old man or hoary-headed: he gave them all into his hand. And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of Jehovah, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes, all these he brought to Babylon. And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof. And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: to fulfil the word of Jehovah by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths: [for] as long as it lay desolate it kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.
This was the second fall of Jerusalem to Babylon. There had also been the captivity of Daniel, Ezekiel and others at the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah. This second destruction of the city would probably never have happened if Zedekiah had honored his sacred oath of loyalty to the king of Babylon.
THE DECREE OF CYRUS THE KING OF PERSIA
Verses 22, 23
Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of Jehovah by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, Jehovah stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and [put it] also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath Jehovah, the God of heaven, given me; and he hath charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whosoever there is among you of all his people, Jehovah his God be with him, and let him go up.
Through the two great prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah God had foretold and prophesied exactly what and when the captivity of the Children of Israel would be terminated. It was Jeremiah who prophesied the exact duration of the captivity in Jer. 25 of his great prophecy. (See our comments on that chapter in the commentary, beginning on page 279.)
But another great prophet, namely Isaiah, had foretold and prophesied the nature and source of the very decree of Cyrus mentioned here even naming Cyrus generations before he was born. (See our discussion of this phenomenal prophecy on pp. 8, 9, in our Commentary on Isaiah. The prophecy is recorded in Isa. 45:1f, which is also discussed on pages 467 and the following pages of that commentary.)
There is no logical doubt whatever of the validity and integrity of those prophecies. The Jewish historian Josephus verifies them; and the very fact of such a thing as a captive nation being given permission to return to their own land, and even to be encouraged to do so, and aided financially in the project, is so contrary to the inclinations of human nature, so unheard of in any other instance, that the only intelligent conclusion must allow God as the Author of the prophecies.
Footnotes for 2 Chronicles 36
(There are no notes in 2 Chr. 36.)