2 Kings 24: The Fall of Judah and Babylon.

Brit-Am Commentary (BAC).

King Jehoiakim of Judah.
King Jehoiacin of Judah.
King Zedekiah of Judah.


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2 Kings 24

Jehoiakim of Judah.

[2-Kings 24:1] In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years. Then he turned and rebelled against him.

Babylonian Chronicles show that Nebuchadnessar conducted several campaigns against Jehoiakim.


[2-Kings 24:2] And the LORD sent against him raiding bands of Chaldeans, bands of Syrians, bands of Moabites, and bands of the people of Ammon; He sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the LORD which He had spoken by His servants the prophets.

"bands of Chaldeans". The expression "bands of" in Hebrew is "Gedudi" and it can also connote armed military units acting as part of the Babylonian forces.
"Chaldeans". This is their name in Greek. In Hebrew they are referred to as Casdim. Ur Casdim was the place that Abraham came from . In translations of the Bible it is called Ur of the Chaldeans. The people of Babylon, at least from the time of Nebuchadnessar and his immediate ancestors, are identified as Chaldeans (Casdim). The Chaldeans were to be identified with all kinds of sorcery and witchcraft both in Hebrew tradition and in the eyes of the Ancient World in general. Nevertheless they also appear to have been formidable warriors.

"bands of Syrians". The words translated as 'Syrians" in Hebrew is Aramim. The Aramaeans were to be found not only in Syria but also in west and northern Mesopotamia. The Aramaic Language was to become the spoken language of Babylon. It was also one of the official languages of both the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires. It became a "lingua franca" i.e. an international tongue. After the Jews returned from Babylon Aramaic was to became the primary tongue employed by the Jewish People though Hebrew retained great importance. The two tongues are not so different. There are indications that some of the Ten Tribes spoke an Aramaic dialect or a mixture of Aramaic and Hebrew before the Assyrian Exile.

The Babylonionans under Nebuchadnessar apparently incited semi-autonomous bands of Chaldeans, Aramaeans, Moabites, and Ammonites to attack Judah on their behalf.

[2-Kings 24:3]  Surely at the commandment of the LORD this came upon Judah, to remove them from His sight because of the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he had done,

These depredations befell Judah as punishment for the sins of King Manasseh a few generations back. The effect of these sins had not been sufficiently atoned for.
It happens that a person may experience trials and tribulations. This may be punishment for offences committed by the person concerned
or it may be for some other reason.
In principle we understand (that with exceptions) the person receiving the punishment has done something wrong but it may not be always commensurate with the infliction. It could be that this is a way to work of some debt from the past and if one holds (without breaking down) out relieve and reward will follow.

[2-Kings 24:4] and also because of the innocent blood that he had shed; for he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, which the LORD would not pardon.
Not only King Manasseh but also Jehoiakim had shed innocent blood. King Jehoiakim killed the Prophet Uriah (Jeremiah 26:20-24) and committed other crimes. He had in effect asked for what he was getting and his subject also suffered for they too shared the culpability.

[2-Kings 24:5]  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?

[2-Kings 24:6]  So
Jehoiakim rested with his fathers. Then Jehoiachin his son reigned in his place.

Jehoiakim (Yeho-yakim) connotes "God will Establish" or "God will Raise Up". The word "yakim" is from the word root "KaM" meaning rise, come. The English words "came, come" derive from this root.
Jehoiacin (Yeho-yacin) connotes "God will Prepare" or "God will Make Able".
The word "yacin" is from the word root "CaN" meaning "correct, make proper, affirm". The English word  "can" (be able to)  derives from this root.

King Jehoiacin of Judah

[2-Kings 24:7]  And the king of Egypt did not come out of his land anymore, for the king of Babylon had taken all that belonged to the king of Egypt from the Brook of Egypt to the River Euphrates.

The rulers of Egypt had been wont to interfere in matters to their north. Now after suffering several defeats Egypt stopped its expansionist policy and kept itself back seeming anxious not to antagonize Babylon. Meanwhile the area stretching from the Brook of Egypt to the River Euphrates had come under Babylonian suzerainty. Some identify the Brook of Egypt with Wadi el Arish south of Gaza but most equate it with the Nile or with one of the branches of the Nile estuary where the Nile breaks up into several offshoots as it flows into the Mediterranean. There is also the opinion that the term Wadi el Arish as found in the ancient literature regarding the borders of Israel does not mean the river know today as Wadi el Arish but rather an eastern branch of the Nile.

For a contrary (and in our eyes mistaken) opinion see:

The River of Egypt (Wadi el-Arish)
The Biblical and historic Border Between Judah and Egypt

For a brief explanation of the Brit-Am view about the borders of the Promised Land see:

The Land of Israel.
Anyway from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates was the Promised Land of Israel.

"On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates" (Genesis 15:18).
The Nile River was the southern border of Judah (Joshua 15:1-4).

If we would do the will of the Almighty this indeed (and more) would be our border-line.
When we go against the commandments of God what was promised to us is taken over by our enemies.

[2-Kings 24:8]  Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother's name was Nehushta the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.

In the Book of Chronicles it says he was 8 years old.
[2-Chronicles 36:9] Jehoiachin was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months and ten days. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD.
Me'am Loez brings an opinion that from the age of 8 he ruled cojointly with his father Jehoiakim.
The Hebrew should read:
Eighteen years Jehoiacin in his kingship..[2-Kings 24:8]. 
Eight years Jehoiacin in his kingship...[2-Chronicles 36:9].
Our Bright Sparks would probably assume that a mistake has occurred. They would say that the author of Chronicles got his facts mixed up and dropped ten years out of the eighteen Jehoiacin had managed to arrive at.
The Book of Chronicles however according to tradition was composed to provide exegetical material and hints for historians and commentators. In the future we hope to do a separate BAC (Brit-Am Commentary) on Chronicles.
The Midrash Seder Olam  says that the numbers are not referring to the age of Jehoiacin but rather in the eighteenth year of Nebuchanessar and eight years after the Decree of Exile had gone out.

[2-Kings 24:9]  And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father had done.

[2-Kings 24:10]  At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged.

[2-Kings 24:11]  And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, as his servants were besieging it.

[2-Kings 24:12]  Then
Jehoiachin king of Judah, his mother, his servants, his princes, and his officers went out to the king of Babylon; and the king of Babylon, in the eighth year of his reign, took him prisoner.
[2-Kings 24:13]  And he carried out from there all the treasures of the house of the LORD and the treasures of the king's house, and he cut in pieces all the articles of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had said.

[2-Kings 24:14]  Also he carried into captivity all Jerusalem: all the captains and all the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths. None remained except the poorest people of the land.

[2-Kings 24:15]  And he carried
Jehoiachin captive to Babylon. The king's mother, the king's wives, his officers, and the mighty of the land he carried into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon.

This events are also recalled in Jeremiah chapter 24.
The Commentary "Daat Mikra" (Menachem Bulah) on Jeremiah 24:22 points out that Jehoiacin was also known as Joiacin,  Jeconiah,  and as Coniyahu. These names all have the same meaning. One system of interpretation (e.g. Iben Ezra) allows Hebrew names to be freely swapped around as long as the basic meaning remains.

For example Zohar son of Shimeon (Genesis 46:10) was also known as Zerah (N umbers 26:13).
Zohar and Zerah both connote "Shining Light".

Quite a few of the Israelite monarchs had more than one name:
Solomon was also named Yedidyah (2-Samuel 12:24-25).
Azariyah was also known as Uziyahu (2-Kings 15:1 cf. 2-Chronicles 26:1, Isaiah 6:1).
Elyakim was Yehoyakim (2-Kings 23:34).
Matanyah became Zidkiyahu (2-Kings 24:17).
We also find in Europe that when a new monarch is coronated they may choose to be called by another name.
Albert Frederick Arthur George, for instance, of the House of Windsor who in 1936 became King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth , and Emperor of India was henceforth referred to as King George-vi.

See BAC to Jeremiah chapter 22.

Jeconiah repented of his sins while in Exile.
Consequently negative decrees that in Heaven had been made against him and his descendants were modified or as if to say re-interpreted.
The Sages (Midrash VaYikra Rabah 19:6) said:
"Great is Repentance for it annuls the Heavenly Oaths and negative Decrees".

Zerubabel the son of Shaltiel was the official  leader (Pachah cf.  Haggai 1:1) appointed by the King of Persia over the Exiles who returned with Ezra to rebuild the Temple after the Babylonian Exile. Zerubabel was a grandson of Jehoyacin [Ezra 2:2, 3:2].
The Prophet Haggai (2:21-23) indicated that the future Messiah son of David will be a descendant of Jeconiah.

[2-Kings 24:16]  All the valiant men, seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths, one thousand, all who were strong and fit for war, these the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon.
In this first exile to Babylon 7,000 of the finest citizens of Jerusalem were taken away.

King Zedekiah of Judah

[2-Kings 24:17]  Then the king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin's uncle, king in his place, and changed his name to Zedekiah.

The Sages and major Commentators are divided as to who exactly Mattaniah (i.e. King Zedekiah) was and where his place is in the family of Jehoiacin.

[2-Kings 24:18]  Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.

[2-Kings 24:19]  He also did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that
Jehoiakim had done.

[2-Kings 24:20]  For because of the anger of the LORD this happened in Jerusalem and Judah, that He finally cast them out from His presence. Then Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.

To Make an Offering to Brit-Am!

After the Death of Solomon:
The Divided Kingdom

The Divided Kingdom
Source of Map:

2-Kings ch.23
2-Kings Contents
2-Kings ch.25