2 Kings 25
Ever since David's time Jerusalem had been a celebrated place,
beautiful for situation and the joy of the whole earth: while the book
of psalms lasts that name will sound great. In the New Testament we
read much of it, when it was, as here, ripening again for its ruin. In
the close of the Bible we read of a new Jerusalem. Every thing
therefore that concerns Jerusalem is worthy our regard. In this chapter
I. The utter destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, the city
besieged and taken
(2 Kings 25:1-4),
the houses burnt
(2 Kings 25:8,9),
and wall broken down
(2 Kings 25:10),
and the inhabitants carried away into captivity,
2 Kings 25:11,12.
The glory of Jerusalem was,
1. That it was the royal city, where were set "the thrones of the house
of David;" but that glory has now departed, for the prince is made a
most miserable prisoner, the seed royal is destroyed
(2 Kings 25:5-7),
and the principal officers are put to death,
2 Kings 25:18-21.
2. That it was the holy city, where was the testimony of Israel; but
that glory has departed, for Solomon's temple is burnt to the ground
(2 Kings 25:9)
and the sacred vessels that remained are carried away to Babylon,
2 Kings 25:13-17.
Thus has Jerusalem become as a widow,
Ichabod--Where is the glory?
II. The distraction and dispersion of the remnant that was left in
Judah under Gedaliah,
2 Kings 25:22-26.
III. The countenance which, after thirty-seven years' imprisonment, was
given to Jehoiachin the captive king of Judah,
2 Kings 25:27-30.
||B. C. 590.|
1 And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the
tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that
Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he, and all his host,
against Jerusalem, and pitched against it; and they built forts
against it round about.
2 And the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king
3 And on the ninth day of the fourth month the famine
prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of
4 And the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled by
night by the way of the gate between two walls, which is by the
king's garden: (now the Chaldees were against the city round
about:) and the king went the way toward the plain.
5 And the army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and
overtook him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army were
scattered from him.
6 So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of
Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment upon him.
7 And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put
out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass,
and carried him to Babylon.
We left king Zedekiah in rebellion against the king of Babylon
(2 Kings 24:20),
contriving and endeavouring to shake off his yoke, when he was no way
able to do it, nor took the right method by making God his friend
first. Now here we have an account of the fatal consequences of that
I. The king of Babylon's army laid siege to Jerusalem,
2 Kings 25:1.
What should hinder them when the country was already in their
2 Kings 24:2.
They built forts against the city round about, whence, by such
arts of war as they then had, they battered it, sent into it
instruments of death, and kept out of it the necessary supports of
life. Formerly Jerusalem had been compassed with the favour of God as
with a shield, but now their defence had departed from them and their
enemies surrounded them on every side. Those that by sin have provoked
God to leave them will find that innumerable evils will compass them
about. Two years this siege lasted; at first the army retired, for
fear of the king of Egypt
but, finding him not so powerful as they thought, they soon returned,
with a resolution not to quit the city till they had made themselves
masters of it.
II. During this siege the famine prevailed
(2 Kings 25:3),
so that for a long time they ate their bread by weight and with
Thus they were punished for their gluttony and excess, their fulness
of bread and feeding themselves without fear. At length
there was no bread for the people of the land, that is, the
common people, the soldiers, whereby they were weakened and rendered
unfit for service. Now they ate their own children for want of food.
See this foretold by one prophet
and bewailed by another,
&c. Jeremiah earnestly persuaded the king to surrender
but his heart was hardened to his destruction.
III. At length the city was taken by storm: it was broken up,
2 Kings 25:4.
The besiegers made a breach in the wall, at which they forced their way
into it. The besieged, unable any longer to defend it, endeavoured to
quit it, and make the best of their way; and many, no doubt, were put
to the sword, the victorious army being much exasperated by their
IV. The king, his family, and all his great men, made their escape in
the night, by some secret passages which the besiegers either had not
discovered or did not keep their eye upon,
2 Kings 25:4.
But those as much deceive themselves who think to escape God's
judgments as those who think to brave them; the feet of him that flees
from them will as surely fail as the hands of him that fights against
them. When God judges he will overcome. Intelligence was given to the
Chaldeans of the king's flight, and which way he had gone, so that they
soon overtook him,
2 Kings 25:5.
His guards were scattered from him, every man shifting for his own
safety. Had he put himself under God's protection, that would not have
failed him now. He presently fell into the enemies' hands, and here we
are told what they did with him.
1. He was brought to the king of Babylon, and tried by a council of war
for rebelling against him who set him up, and to whom he had sworn
fidelity. God and man had a quarrel with him for this; see
&c. The king of Babylon now
lay at Riblah (which lay between Judea and Babylon), that he might be
ready to give orders both to his court at home and his army abroad.
2. His sons were slain before his eyes, though children, that
this doleful spectacle, the last his eyes were to behold, might leave
an impression of grief and horror upon his spirit as long as he lived.
In slaying his sons, they showed their indignation at his falsehood,
and in effect declared that neither he nor any of his were fit to be
trusted, and therefore that they were not fit to live.
3. His eyes were put out, by which he was deprived of that common
comfort of human life which is given even to those that are in
misery, and to the bitter in soul, the light of the sun, by which
he was also disabled for any service. He dreaded being mocked, and
therefore would not be persuaded to yield
but that which he feared came upon him with a witness, and no doubt
added much to his misery; for, as those that are deaf suspect that
every body talks of them, so those that are blind suspect that every
body laughs at them. By this two prophecies that seemed to contradict
one another were both fulfilled. Jeremiah prophesied that Zedekiah
should be brought to Babylon,
Ezekiel prophesied that he should not see Babylon,
He was brought thither, but, his eyes being put out, he did not see it.
Thus he ended his days, before he ended his life.
4. He was bound in fetters of brass and so carried to
Babylon. He that was blind needed not be bound (his blindness
fettered him), but, for his greater disgrace, they led him bound; only,
whereas common malefactors are laid in irons
he, being a prince, was bound with fetters of brass; but that the metal
was somewhat nobler and lighter was little comfort, while still he was
in fetters. Let it not seem strange if those that have been held in the
cords of iniquity come to be thus held in the cords of
|The Temple Destroyed.
||B. C. 588.|
8 And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month,
which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of
Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, a servant of the
king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem:
9 And he burnt the house of the LORD, and the king's house, and
all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man's house burnt
he with fire.
10 And all the army of the Chaldees, that were with the
captain of the guard, brake down the walls of Jerusalem round
11 Now the rest of the people that were left in the city, and
the fugitives that fell away to the king of Babylon, with the
remnant of the multitude, did Nebuzaradan the captain of the
guard carry away.
12 But the captain of the guard left of the poor of the land
to be vinedressers and husbandmen.
13 And the pillars of brass that were in the house of the
LORD, and the bases, and the brasen sea that was in the house
of the LORD, did the Chaldees break in pieces, and carried the
brass of them to Babylon.
14 And the pots, and the shovels, and the snuffers, and the
spoons, and all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered,
took they away.
15 And the firepans, and the bowls, and such things as were
of gold, in gold, and of silver, in silver, the captain of
the guard took away.
16 The two pillars, one sea, and the bases which Solomon had
made for the house of the LORD; the brass of all these vessels
was without weight.
17 The height of the one pillar was eighteen cubits, and the
chapiter upon it was brass: and the height of the chapiter
three cubits; and the wreathen work, and pomegranates upon the
chapiter round about, all of brass: and like unto these had the
second pillar with wreathen work.
18 And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest,
and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the
19 And out of the city he took an officer that was set over the
men of war, and five men of them that were in the king's
presence, which were found in the city, and the principal scribe
of the host, which mustered the people of the land, and
threescore men of the people of the land that were found in the
20 And Nebuzar-adan captain of the guard took these, and brought
them to the king of Babylon to Riblah:
21 And the king of Babylon smote them, and slew them at Riblah
in the land of Hamath. So Judah was carried away out of their
Though we have reason to think that the army of the Chaldeans were much
enraged against the city for holding out with so much stubbornness, yet
they did not therefore put all to fire and sword as soon as they had
taken the city (which is too commonly done in such cases), but about a
month after (compare
2 Kings 25:8,2Ki+25:3)
Nebuzar-adan was sent with orders to complete the destruction of
Jerusalem. This space God gave them to repent, after all the foregoing
days of his patience, but in vain; their hearts (for aught that
appears) were still hardened, and therefore execution is awarded to the
1. The city and temple are burnt,
2 Kings 25:9.
It does not appear that the king of Babylon designed to send any
colonies to people Jerusalem and therefore he ordered it to be laid in
ashes, as a nest of rebels. At the burning of the king's house and
the houses of the great men one cannot so much wonder (the
inhabitants had, by their sins, made them combustible), but that the
house of the Lord should perish in these flames, that that holy
and beautiful house should be burnt with fire
is very strange. That house which David prepared for, and which Solomon
built at such a vast expense--that house which had the eye and heart of
God perpetually upon it
(1 Kings 9:3)--
might not that have been snatched as a brand out of this burning? No,
it must not be fire-proof against God's judgments. This stately
structure must be turned into ashes, and it is probable the ark in it,
for the enemies, having heard how dearly the Philistines paid for the
abusing of it, durst not seize that, nor did any of its friends take
care to preserve it, for then we should have heard of it again in the
second temple. One of the apocryphal writers does indeed tell us that
the prophet Jeremiah got it out of the temple, and conveyed it to a
cave in Mount Nebo on the other side Jordan, and hid it there
(2 Macc. ii. 4, 5),
but that could not be, for Jeremiah was a close prisoner at that time.
By the burning of the temple God would show how little cares for the
external pomp of his worship when the life and power of religion are
neglected. The people trusted to the temple, as if that would protect
them in their sins
but God, by this, let them know that when they had profaned it they
would find it but a refuge of lies. This temple had stood about 420,
some say 430 years. The people having forfeited the promises made
concerning it, those promises must be understood of the gospel-temple,
which is God's rest for ever. It is observable that the second temple
was burnt by the Romans the same month, and the same day of the month,
that the first temple was burnt by the Chaldeans, which, Josephus says,
was the tenth of August.
2. The walls of Jerusalem are demolished
(2 Kings 25:10),
as if the victorious army would be revenged on them for having kept
them out so long, or at least prevent the like opposition another time.
Sin unwalls a people and takes away their defence. These walls were
never repaired till Nehemiah's time.
3. The residue of the people are carried away captive to Babylon,
2 Kings 25:11.
Most of the inhabitants had perished by sword or famine, or had made
their escape when the king did (for it is said,
2 Kings 25:5,
His army was scattered from him), so that there were very few
left, who with the deserters, making in all but 832 persons (as
were carried away into captivity; only the poor of the land were
(2 Kings 25:12),
to till the ground and dress the vineyards for the Chaldeans. Sometimes
poverty is a protection; for those that have nothing have nothing to
lose. When the rich Jews, who had been oppressive to the poor, were
made strangers, nay, prisoners, in an enemy's country, the poor whom
they had despised and oppressed had liberty and peace in their own
country. Thus Providence sometimes remarkably humbles the proud and
favours those of low degree.
4. The brazen vessels, and other appurtenances of the temple, are
carried away, those of silver and gold being most of them gone before.
Those two famous columns of brass, Jachin and Boaz, which
signified the strength and stability of the house of God, were broken
to pieces and the brass of them was carried to Babylon,
2 Kings 25:13.
When the things signified were sinned away what should the signs stand
there for? Ahaz had profanely cut off the borders of the bases,
and put the brazen sea upon a pavement of stones
(2 Kings 16:17);
justly therefore are the brass themselves, and the brazen sea,
delivered into the enemy's hand. It is just with God to take away his
ordinances from those that profane and abuse them, that curtail and
depress them. Some things remained of gold and silver
(2 Kings 25:15)
which were now carried off; but most of this plunder was brass, such a
vast quantity of it that it is said to be without weight,
2 Kings 25:16.
The carrying away of the vessels wherewith they ministered
(2 Kings 25:14)
put an end to the ministration. It was a righteous thing with God to
deprive those of the benefit of his worship who had slighted it so long
and preferred false worships before it. Those that would have many
altars shall now have none.
5. Several of the great men are slain in cold blood--Seraiah the chief
priest (who was the father of Ezra as appears,
the second priest (who, when there was occasion, officiated for him),
and three door-keepers of the temple
(2 Kings 25:18),
the general of the army, five privy-counsellors (afterwards they made
them up seven,
the secretary of war, or pay-master of the army, and sixty country
gentlemen who had concealed themselves in the city. These, being
persons of some rank, were brought to the king of Babylon
(2 Kings 25:19,20),
who ordered them to be all put to death
(2 Kings 25:21),
when, in reason, they might have hoped that surely the bitterness of
death was past. These the king of Babylon's revenge looked upon as most
active in opposing him; but divine justice, we may suppose, looked upon
them as ringleaders in that idolatry and impiety which were punished by
these desolations. This completed the calamity: So Judah was carried
away out of their land, about 860 years after they were put in
possession of it by Joshua. Now the scripture was fulfilled, The
Lord shall bring thee, and the king which thou shalt set over thee,
into a nation which thou hast not known,
Sin kept their fathers forty years out of Canaan, and now turned
them out. The Lord is known by those judgments which he
executes, and makes good that word which he has spoken,
You only have I known of all the families of the earth, therefore I
will punish you for all your iniquities.
|Dispersion of the Remnant of Judah.
||B. C. 552.|
22 And as for the people that remained in the land of Judah,
whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had left, even over them he
made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, ruler.
23 And when all the captains of the armies, they and their men,
heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah governor, there
came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, even Ishmael the son of Nethaniah,
and Johanan the son of Careah, and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth
the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah the son of a Maachathite, they
and their men.
24 And Gedaliah sware to them, and to their men, and said unto
them, Fear not to be the servants of the Chaldees: dwell in the
land, and serve the king of Babylon; and it shall be well with
25 But it came to pass in the seventh month, that Ishmael the
son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the seed royal, came,
and ten men with him, and smote Gedaliah, that he died, and the
Jews and the Chaldees that were with him at Mizpah.
26 And all the people, both small and great, and the captains
of the armies, arose, and came to Egypt: for they were afraid of
27 And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the
captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on
the seven and twentieth day of the month, that Evil-merodach
king of Babylon in the year that he began to reign did lift up
the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison;
28 And he spake kindly to him, and set his throne above the
throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon;
29 And changed his prison garments: and he did eat bread
continually before him all the days of his life.
30 And his allowance was a continual allowance given him of
the king, a daily rate for every day, all the days of his life.
In these verses we have,
I. The dispersion of the remaining people. The city of Jerusalem was
quite laid waste. Some people there were in the land of Judah
(2 Kings 25:22)
that had weathered the storm, and (which was no small favour at this
had their lives given them for a prey. Now see,
1. What a good posture they were put into. The king of Babylon
appointed Gedaliah, one of themselves, to be their governor and
protector under him, a very good man, and one that would make the best
of the bad,
2 Kings 25:22.
His father Ahikam was one that countenanced and protected Jeremiah when
the princes had vowed his death,
It is probable that this Gedaliah, by the advice of Jeremiah, had gone
over the Chaldeans, and had conducted himself so well that the king of
Babylon entrusted him with the government. He resided not at Jerusalem,
but at Mizpah, in the land of Benjamin, a place famous in Samuel's
time. Thither those came who had fled from Zedekiah
(2 Kings 25:4)
and put themselves under his protection
(2 Kings 25:23),
which he assured them of if they would be patient and peaceable under
the government of the king of Babylon,
2 Kings 25:24.
Gedaliah, though he had not the pomp and power of a sovereign prince,
yet might have been a greater blessing to them than many of their kings
had been, especially having such a privy-council as Jeremiah, who was
now with them, and interested himself in their affairs,
2. What a fatal breach was made upon them, soon afterwards, by the
death of Gedaliah, within two months after he entered upon his
government. The utter extirpation of the Jews, for the present, was
determined, and therefore it was in vain for them to think of taking
root again: the whole land must be plucked up,
Yet this hopeful settlement is dashed to pieces, not by the Chaldeans,
but by some of themselves. The things of their peace were so hidden
from their eyes that they knew not when they were well off, nor would
believe when they were told.
(1.) They had a good governor of their own, and him they slew, out of
spite to the Chaldeans, because he was appointed by Nebuchadnezzar,
2 Kings 25:25.
Ishmael, who was of the royal family, envying Gedaliah's advancement
and the happy settlement of the people under him, though he could not
propose to set up himself, resolved to ruin him, and basely slew him
and all his friends, both Jews and Chaldeans. Nebuchadnezzar would not,
could not, have been a more mischievous enemy to their peace than this
degenerate branch of the house of David was.
(2.) They were as yet in their own good land, but they forsook it, and
went to Egypt, for fear of the Chaldeans,
2 Kings 25:26.
The Chaldeans had reason enough to be offended at the murder of
Gedaliah; but if those that remained had humbly remonstrated, alleging
that it was only the act of Ishmael and his party, we may suppose that
those who were innocent of it, nay, who suffered greatly by it, would
not have been punished for it: but, under pretence of this
apprehension, contrary to the counsel of Jeremiah, they all went to
Egypt, where, it is probable, they mixed with the Egyptians by degrees,
and were never heard of more as Israelites. Thus was there a full end
made of them by their own folly and disobedience, and Egypt had the
last of them, that the last verse of that chapter of threatenings might
be fulfilled, after all the rest,
The Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again. These events are
more largely related by the prophet Jeremiah,
Quaeque ipse miserrima vidit, et quorum pars magna fuit--Which scenes
he was doomed to behold, and in which he bore a melancholy
II. The reviving of the captive prince. Of Zedekiah we hear no more
after he was carried blind to Babylon; it is probable that he did not
live long, but that when he died he was buried with some marks of
Of Jehoiachin, or Jeconiah, who surrendered himself
(2 Kings 24:12),
we are here told that as soon as Evil-merodach came to the crown, upon
the death of his father Nebuchadnezzar, he released him out of prison
(where he had lain thirty-seven years, and was now fifty-five years
old), spoke kindly to him, paid more respect to him than to any
other of the kings his father had left in captivity
(2 Kings 25:28),
gave him princely clothing instead of his prison-garments, maintained
him in his own palace
(2 Kings 25:29),
and allowed him a pension for himself and his family in some measure
corresponding to his rank, a daily rate for every day as long as he
lived. Consider this,
1. As a very happy change of Jehoiachin's condition. To have honour and
liberty after he had been so long in confinement and disgrace, the
plenty and pleasure of a court after he had been so long accustomed to
the straits and miseries of a prison, was like the return of the
morning after a very dark and tedious night. Let none say that they
shall never see good again because they have long seen little but evil;
the most miserable know not what blessed turn Providence may yet give
to their affairs, nor what comforts they are reserved for, according
to the days wherein they have been afflicted,
However the death of afflicted saints is to them such a change as this
was to Jehoiachin: it will release them out of their prison, shake off
the body, that prison-garment, and open the way to their advancement;
it will send them to the throne, to the table, of the King of kings,
the glorious liberty of God's children.
2. As a very generous act of Evil-merodach's. He thought his father
made the yoke of his captives too heavy, and therefore, with the
tenderness of a man and the honour of a prince, made it lighter. It
should seem all the kings he had in his power were favoured, but
Jehoiachin above them all, some think for the sake of the antiquity of
his family and the honour of his renowned ancestors, David and Solomon.
None of the kings of the nations, it is likely, had descended from so
long a race of kings in a direct lineal succession, and by a male line,
as the king of Judah. The Jews say that this Evil-merodach had been
himself imprisoned by his own father, when he returned from his
madness, for some mismanagement at that time, and that in prison he
contracted a friendship with Jehoiachin, in consequence of which, as
soon as he had it in his power, he showed him this kindness as a
sufferer, as a fellow-sufferer. Some suggest that Evil-merodach had
learned from Daniel and his fellows the principles of the true
religion, and was well affected to them, and upon that account favoured
3. As a kind dispensation of Providence, for the encouragement of the
Jews in captivity, and the support of their faith and hope concerning
their enlargement in due time. This happened just about the midnight of
their captivity. Thirty-six of the seventy years were now past, and
almost as many were yet behind, and now to see their king thus advanced
would be a comfortable earnest to them of their own release in due
time, in the set time. Unto the upright there thus ariseth
light in the darkness, to encourage them to hope, even in the
cloudy and dark day, that at evening time it shall be
light; when therefore we are perplexed, let us not be in