Ever looked back on history to see the difference between when people walked in obedience vs when they rebelled? Ever looked to see the benefits for a society when they walked in obedience and alignment to God’s will? Ever looked at the consequences for a society where the leader and the people walked away from God’s will?
Today, my reading is coming from the Old Testament as I catch up on those parts I left unread daily as I wanted to ensure I had something to read on days when the reading plan didn’t include any. Let’s check out what it has to say!
2 Kings 16
- Ahaz did not follow the good example of King David and did what was not pleasing to God
- He lives a life that imitated disgusting practices
- He turned to foreign leaders for help rather than God and offered up silver and gold from God’s temple
- He created imitation altars of other gods and people as he continued to walk away from God
- He was more interested in pleasing others than pleasing God
2 Kings 17
- Hoshea wasn’t as bad as the ones before him, but still wasn’t walking in alignment with God
- He surrendered to the attacks against him and paid annual tributes to the emperor of Assyria
- He decided to stop paying and disobeying God and the emperor of Assyria, got arrested and put in prison
- Samaria was besieged Samaria and took the Israelites as prisoners
- Samaria fell because the Israelites sinned against the LORD their God.
- They worshipped other gods and followed the customs of the people the LORD had driven out as his people advanced
- They got out of alignment as they did things that God disapproved of
- They built pagan places to worship and followed the practices that were against God’s will
- They got a messenger from God to point them back to God…but they would not listen.
- The message was: “Abandon your evil ways and obey my commands, which are contained in the Law I gave to your ancestors and which I handed on to you through my servants the prophets.”
- They made Him so upset that they all got banished leaving only the kingdom of Judah
- The people of Judah wouldn’t obey God’s will either
- The Assyrians settled in Israel but didn’t follow the rules of God and so God sent in lions which killed some of them. This got their attention and so they sent for some priests who could teach them how to live and worship the LORD (the one true God)
- They still kept making their own idols and putting them in shrines
- They worshipped the Lord too, but didn’t obey the laws and commands which he gave
2 Kings 18
- King Hezekiah of Judah followed the example of King David
- He did what was pleasing to the LORD
- He destroyed the pagan places, broke the stone pillars, cut down the images of the goddess, broke in pieces the bronze snake
- Hezekiah trust in the LORD!
- He was faithful to he LORD and never disobeyed him, but carefully kept all the commands that the LORD had given Moses
- The LORD was with him and he was successful in everything he did.
- He refused to submit to Assyria and he defeated the Philistines
- Assyria claimed Samaria of Israel because they didn’t obey the LORD
- Assyrians threatened Jerusalem (Judah), and tried to manipulate the people and threaten them
2 Kings 19
- Hezekiah turns to Isaiah and asks for God’s message and this is the message he received
- “The Lord tells you not to let the Assyrians frighten you with their claims that he cannot save you. 7The Lord will cause the emperor to hear a rumor that will make him go back to his own country, and the Lord will have him killed there.”
- The Assyrians send another threat that his god has said they would win
- Hezekiah took the letter and brought it to the temple before the LORD… “O Lord, the God of Israel, seated on your throne above the winged creatures, you alone are God, ruling all the kingdoms of the world. You created the earth and the sky. 16Now, Lord, look at what is happening to us. Listen to all the things that Sennacherib is saying to insult you, the living God. 17We all know, Lord, that the emperors of Assyria have destroyed many nations, made their lands desolate, 18and burned up their gods—which were no gods at all, only images of wood and stone made by human hands. 19Now, Lord our God, rescue us from the Assyrians, so that all the nations of the world will know that only you, O Lord, are God.”
- Isaiah sent a message to the King…“Here is a sign of what will happen. This year and next you will have only wild grain to eat, but the following year you will be able to plant your grain and harvest it, and plant vines and eat grapes. 30Those in Judah who survive will flourish like plants that send roots deep into the ground and produce fruit. 31There will be people in Jerusalem and on Mount Zion who will survive, because the Lord is determined to make this happen.
32“And this is what the Lord has said about the Assyrian emperor: ‘He will not enter this city or shoot a single arrow against it. No soldiers with shields will come near the city, and no siege mounds will be built around it. 33He will go back by the same road he came, without entering this city. I, the Lord, have spoken. 34I will defend this city and protect it, for the sake of my own honor and because of the promise I made to my servant David.’”
- The battle belongs to the Lord! The Word of the Lord never returns void!
- That night an angel of the Lord went to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 soldiers. At dawn the next day there they lay, all dead! 36Then the Assyrian emperor Sennacherib withdrew and returned to Nineveh. 37One day, when he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, two of his sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, killed him with their swords and then escaped to the land of Ararat. Another of his sons, Esarhaddon, succeeded him as emperor.
2 Kings 20
- Just because it seems to be over, will you give up? Will you try to press on even more? Let’s see what king Hezekiah did…
King Hezekiah’s Illness and Recovery
(Isaiah 38.1-8, 21, 22; 2 Chronicles 32.24-26)
1About this time King Hezekiah became sick and almost died. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to see him and said to him, “The Lord tells you that you are to put everything in order, because you will not recover. Get ready to die.” 2Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed: 3“Remember, Lord, that I have served you faithfully and loyally and that I have always tried to do what you wanted me to.” And he began to cry bitterly. 4Isaiah left the king, but before he had passed through the central courtyard of the palace the Lord told him 5to go back to Hezekiah, ruler of the Lord’s people, and say to him, “I, the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you, and in three days you will go to the Temple. 6I will let you live fifteen years longer. I will rescue you and this city Jerusalem from the emperor of Assyria. I will defend this city, for the sake of my own honor and because of the promise I made to my servant David.” 7Then Isaiah told the king’s attendants to put on his boil a paste made of figs, and he would get well. 8King Hezekiah asked, “What is the sign to prove that the Lord will heal me and that three days later I will be able to go to the Temple?” 9Isaiah replied, “The Lord will give you a sign to prove that he will keep his promise. Now, would you prefer to have the shadow on the stairway go forward ten steps or go back ten steps?” 10Hezekiah answered, “It’s easy to have the shadow go forward ten steps! Have it go back ten steps.” 11Isaiah prayed to the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back ten steps on the stairway set up by King Ahaz.
- Don’t be so over confident that you show everything
- Don’t trust everyone, because they aren’t all looking out for your best interest
- Look and see what can happen. Pride comes before the fall. (what will happen after Hezekiah dies?)
Messengers from Babylonia
12About that same time the king of Babylonia, Merodach Baladan, the son of Baladan, heard that King Hezekiah had been sick, so he sent him a letter and a present. 13Hezekiah welcomed the messengers and showed them his wealth—his silver and gold, his spices and perfumes, and all his military equipment. There was nothing in his storerooms or anywhere in his kingdom that he did not show them. 14Then the prophet Isaiah went to King Hezekiah and asked, “Where did these men come from and what did they say to you?”Hezekiah answered, “They came from a very distant country, from Babylonia.” 15“What did they see in the palace?”“They saw everything. There is nothing in the storerooms that I didn’t show them.” 16Isaiah then told the king, “The Lord Almighty says that 17a time is coming when everything in your palace, everything that your ancestors have stored up to this day, will be carried off to Babylonia. Nothing will be left. 18Some of your own direct descendants will be taken away and made eunuchs to serve in the palace of the king of Babylonia.” 19King Hezekiah understood this to mean that there would be peace and security during his lifetime, so he replied, “The message you have given me from the Lord is good.”
The End of Hezekiah’s Reign
(2 Chronicles 32.32, 33)
20Everything else that King Hezekiah did, his brave deeds, and an account of how he built a reservoir and dug a tunnel to bring water into the city, are all recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah. 21Hezekiah died, and his son Manasseh succeeded him as king.
2 Kings 21
King Manasseh of Judah
(2 Chronicles 33.1-20)
1Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for fifty-five years. His mother was Hephzibah. 2Following the disgusting practices of the nations whom the Lord had driven out of the land as his people advanced, Manasseh sinned against the Lord. 3He rebuilt the pagan places of worship that his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he built altars for the worship of Baal and made an image of the goddess Asherah, as King Ahab of Israel had done. Manasseh also worshiped the stars. 4He built pagan altars in the Temple, the place that the Lord had said was where he should be worshiped. 5In the two courtyards of the Temple he built altars for the worship of the stars. 6He sacrificed his son as a burnt offering. He practiced divination and magic and consulted fortunetellers and mediums. He sinned greatly against the Lord and stirred up his anger. 7He placed the symbol of the goddess Asherah in the Temple, the place about which the Lord had said to David and his son Solomon: “Here in Jerusalem, in this Temple, is the place that I have chosen out of all the territory of the twelve tribes of Israel as the place where I am to be worshiped. 8And if the people of Israel will obey all my commands and keep the whole Law that my servant Moses gave them, then I will not allow them to be driven out of the land that I gave to their ancestors.” 9But the people of Judah did not obey the Lord, and Manasseh led them to commit even greater sins than those committed by the nations whom the Lord had driven out of the land as his people advanced. 10Through his servants the prophets the Lord said, 11“King Manasseh has done these disgusting things, things far worse than what the Canaanites did; and with his idols he has led the people of Judah into sin. 12So I, the Lord God of Israel, will bring such a disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that everyone who hears about it will be stunned. 13I will punish Jerusalem as I did Samaria, as I did King Ahab of Israel and his descendants. I will wipe Jerusalem clean of its people, as clean as a plate that has been wiped and turned upside down. 14I will abandon the people who survive, and will hand them over to their enemies, who will conquer them and plunder their land. 15I will do this to my people because they have sinned against me and have stirred up my anger from the time their ancestors came out of Egypt to this day.” 16Manasseh killed so many innocent people that the streets of Jerusalem were flowing with blood; he did this in addition to leading the people of Judah into idolatry, causing them to sin against the Lord. 17Everything else that Manasseh did, including the sins he committed, is recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah. 18Manasseh died and was buried in the palace garden, the garden of Uzza, and his son Amon succeeded him as king.
King Amon of Judah
(2 Chronicles 33.21-25)
19Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for two years. His mother was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz from the town of Jotbah. 20Like his father Manasseh, he sinned against the Lord; 21he imitated his father’s actions, and he worshiped the idols that his father had worshiped. 22He rejected the Lord, the God of his ancestors, and disobeyed the Lord’s commands. 23Amon’s officials plotted against him and assassinated him in the palace. 24The people of Judah killed Amon’s assassins and made his son Josiah king. 25Everything else that Amon did is recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah. 26Amon was buried in the tomb in the garden of Uzza, and his son Josiah succeeded him as king.
2 Kings 22
- The rollercoaster of obedience and disobedience plays out
- The rollercoaster of alignment with God continues
King Josiah of Judah
(2 Chronicles 34.1, 2)
1Josiah was eight years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for thirty-one years. His mother was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah from the town of Bozkath. 2Josiah did what was pleasing to the Lord; he followed the example of his ancestor King David, strictly obeying all the laws of God.
The Book of the Law Is Discovered
(2 Chronicles 34.8-28)
3In the eighteenth year of his reign, King Josiah sent the court secretary Shaphan, the son of Azaliah and grandson of Meshullam, to the Temple with the order: 4“Go to the High Priest Hilkiah and get a report on the amount of money that the priests on duty at the entrance to the Temple have collected from the people. 5Tell him to give the money to the men who are in charge of the repairs in the Temple. They are to pay 6the carpenters, the builders, and the masons, and buy the timber and the stones used in the repairs. 7The men in charge of the work are thoroughly honest, so there is no need to require them to account for the funds.” 8Shaphan delivered the king’s order to Hilkiah, and Hilkiah told him that he had found the book of the Law in the Temple. Hilkiah gave him the book, and Shaphan read it. 9Then he went back to the king and reported: “Your servants have taken the money that was in the Temple and have handed it over to the men in charge of the repairs.” 10And then he said, “I have here a book that Hilkiah gave me.” And he read it aloud to the king. 11When the king heard the book being read, he tore his clothes in dismay, 12and gave the following order to Hilkiah the priest, to Ahikam son of Shaphan, to Achbor son of Micaiah, to Shaphan, the court secretary, and to Asaiah, the king’s attendant: 13“Go and consult the Lord for me and for all the people of Judah about the teachings of this book. The Lord is angry with us because our ancestors have not done what this book says must be done.” 14Hilkiah, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to consult a woman named Huldah, a prophet who lived in the newer part of Jerusalem. (Her husband Shallum, the son of Tikvah and grandson of Harhas, was in charge of the Temple robes.) They described to her what had happened, 15and she told them to go back to the king and give him 16the following message from the Lord: “I am going to punish Jerusalem and all its people, as written in the book that the king has read. 17They have rejected me and have offered sacrifices to other gods, and so have stirred up my anger by all they have done. My anger is aroused against Jerusalem, and it will not die down. 18As for the king himself, this is what I, the Lord God of Israel, say: You listened to what is written in the book, 19and you repented and humbled yourself before me, tearing your clothes and weeping, when you heard how I threatened to punish Jerusalem and its people. I will make it a terrifying sight, a place whose name people will use as a curse. But I have heard your prayer, 20and the punishment which I am going to bring on Jerusalem will not come until after your death. I will let you die in peace.” The men returned to King Josiah with this message.
- There is power in the Word of God!
2 Kings 23
- As long as we remember and stay in alignment, amazing things will happen
Josiah Does Away with Pagan Worship
(2 Chronicles 34.3-7, 29-33)
1King Josiah summoned all the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, 2and together they went to the Temple, accompanied by the priests and the prophets and all the rest of the people, rich and poor alike. Before them all the king read aloud the whole book of the covenant which had been found in the Temple. 3He stood by the royal column and made a covenant with the Lord to obey him, to keep his laws and commands with all his heart and soul, and to put into practice the demands attached to the covenant, as written in the book. And all the people promised to keep the covenant. 4Then Josiah ordered the High Priest Hilkiah, his assistant priests, and the guards on duty at the entrance to the Temple to bring out of the Temple all the objects used in the worship of Baal, of the goddess Asherah, and of the stars. The king burned all these objects outside the city near Kidron Valley and then had the ashes taken to Bethel. 5He removed from office the priests that the kings of Judah had ordained to offer sacrifices on the pagan altars in the cities of Judah and in places near Jerusalem—all the priests who offered sacrifices to Baal, to the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars. 6He removed from the Temple the symbol of the goddess Asherah, took it out of the city to Kidron Valley, burned it, pounded its ashes to dust, and scattered it over the public burying ground. 7He destroyed the living quarters in the Temple occupied by the temple prostitutes. (It was there that women wove robes used in the worship of Asherah.) 8He brought to Jerusalem the priests who were in the cities of Judah, and throughout the whole country he desecrated the altars where they had offered sacrifices. He also tore down the altars dedicated to the goat demons near the gate built by Joshua, the city governor, which was to the left of the main gate as one enters the city. 9Those priests were not allowed to serve in the Temple, but they could eat the unleavened bread provided for their fellow priests. 10King Josiah also desecrated Topheth, the pagan place of worship in Hinnom Valley, so that no one could sacrifice his son or daughter as a burnt offering to the god Molech. 11He also removed the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the worship of the sun, and he burned the chariots used in this worship. (These were kept in the temple courtyard, near the gate and not far from the living quarters of Nathan Melech, a high official.) 12The altars which the kings of Judah had built on the palace roof above King Ahaz’ quarters, King Josiah tore down, along with the altars put up by King Manasseh in the two courtyards of the Temple; he smashed the altars to bits and threw them into Kidron Valley. 13Josiah desecrated the altars that King Solomon had built east of Jerusalem, south of the Mount of Olives, for the worship of disgusting idols—Astarte the goddess of Sidon, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Molech the god of Ammon. 14King Josiah broke the stone pillars to pieces, cut down the symbols of the goddess Asherah, and the ground where they had stood he covered with human bones. 15Josiah also tore down the place of worship in Bethel, which had been built by King Jeroboam son of Nebat, who led Israel into sin. Josiah pulled down the altar, broke its stones into pieces, and pounded them to dust; he also burned the image of Asherah. 16Then Josiah looked around and saw some tombs there on the hill; he had the bones taken out of them and burned on the altar. In this way he desecrated the altar, doing what the prophet had predicted long before during the festival as King Jeroboam was standing by the altar. King Josiah looked around and saw the tomb of the prophet who had made this prediction. 17“Whose tomb is that?” he asked. The people of Bethel answered, “It is the tomb of the prophet who came from Judah and predicted these things that you have done to this altar.” 18“Leave it as it is,” Josiah ordered. “His bones are not to be moved.” So his bones were not moved, neither were those of the prophet who had come from Samaria. 19In every city of Israel King Josiah tore down all the pagan places of worship which had been built by the kings of Israel, who thereby aroused the Lord’s anger. He did to all those altars what he had done in Bethel. 20He killed all the pagan priests on the altars where they served, and he burned human bones on every altar. Then he returned to Jerusalem.
Josiah Celebrates the Passover
(2 Chronicles 35.1-19)
21King Josiah ordered the people to celebrate the Passover in honor of the Lord their God, as written in the book of the covenant. 22No Passover like this one had ever been celebrated by any of the kings of Israel or of Judah, since the time when judges ruled the nation. 23Now at last, in the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah, the Passover was celebrated in Jerusalem.
Other Changes Made by Josiah
24In order to enforce the laws written in the book that the High Priest Hilkiah had found in the Temple, King Josiah removed from Jerusalem and the rest of Judah all the mediums and fortunetellers, and all the household gods, idols, and all other pagan objects of worship. 25There had never been a king like him before, who served the Lord with all his heart, mind, and strength, obeying all the Law of Moses; nor has there been a king like him since. 26But the Lord’s fierce anger had been aroused against Judah by what King Manasseh had done, and even now it did not die down. 27The Lord said, “I will do to Judah what I have done to Israel: I will banish the people of Judah from my sight, and I will reject Jerusalem, the city I chose, and the Temple, the place I said was where I should be worshiped.”
The End of Josiah’s Reign
(2 Chronicles 35.20—36.1)
28Everything else that King Josiah did is recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah. 29While Josiah was king, King Neco of Egypt led an army to the Euphrates River to help the emperor of Assyria. King Josiah tried to stop the Egyptian army at Megiddo and was killed in battle. 30His officials placed his body in a chariot and took it back to Jerusalem, where he was buried in the royal tombs. The people of Judah chose Josiah’s son Joahaz and anointed him king.
- The rollercoaster continues…
King Joahaz of Judah
(2 Chronicles 36.2-4)
31Joahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for three months. His mother was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah from the city of Libnah. 32Following the example of his ancestors, he sinned against the Lord. 33His reign ended when King Neco of Egypt took him prisoner in Riblah, in the land of Hamath, and made Judah pay 7,500 pounds of silver and 75 pounds of gold as tribute. 34King Neco made Josiah’s son Eliakim king of Judah as successor to Josiah, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. Joahaz was taken to Egypt by King Neco, and there he died.
King Jehoiakim of Judah
(2 Chronicles 36.5-8)
35King Jehoiakim collected a tax from the people in proportion to their wealth, in order to raise the amount needed to pay the tribute demanded by the king of Egypt. 36Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for eleven years. His mother was Zebidah, the daughter of Pedaiah from the town of Rumah. 37Following the example of his ancestors, Jehoiakim sinned against the Lord.
2 Kings 24
- How far will people go before they realize they have walked away and turn back?
1While Jehoiakim was king, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia invaded Judah, and for three years Jehoiakim was forced to submit to his rule; then he rebelled. 2The Lord sent armed bands of Babylonians, Syrians, Moabites, and Ammonites against Jehoiakim to destroy Judah, as the Lord had said through his servants the prophets that he would do. 3This happened at the Lord’s command, in order to banish the people of Judah from his sight because of all the sins that King Manasseh had committed, 4and especially because of all the innocent people he had killed. The Lord could not forgive Manasseh for that. 5Everything that Jehoiakim did is recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah. 6Jehoiakim died, and his son Jehoiachin succeeded him as king. 7The king of Egypt and his army never marched out of Egypt again, because the king of Babylonia now controlled all the territory that had belonged to Egypt, from the Euphrates River to the northern border of Egypt.
King Jehoiachin of Judah
(2 Chronicles 36.9, 10)
8Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for three months. His mother was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan from Jerusalem. 9Following the example of his father, Jehoiachin sinned against the Lord. 10It was during his reign that the Babylonian army, commanded by King Nebuchadnezzar’s officers, marched against Jerusalem and besieged it. 11During the siege Nebuchadnezzar himself came to Jerusalem, 12and King Jehoiachin, along with his mother, his sons, his officers, and the palace officials, surrendered to the Babylonians. In the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign he took Jehoiachin prisoner 13and carried off to Babylon all the treasures in the Temple and the palace. As the Lord had foretold, Nebuchadnezzar broke up all the gold utensils which King Solomon had made for use in the Temple. 14Nebuchadnezzar carried away as prisoners the people of Jerusalem, all the royal princes, and all the leading men, ten thousand in all. He also deported all the skilled workers, including the blacksmiths, leaving only the poorest of the people behind in Judah. 15Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin to Babylon as a prisoner, together with Jehoiachin’s mother, his wives, his officials, and the leading men of Judah. 16Nebuchadnezzar deported all the important men to Babylonia, seven thousand in all, and one thousand skilled workers, including the blacksmiths, all of them able-bodied men fit for military duty. 17Nebuchadnezzar made Jehoiachin’s uncle Mattaniah king of Judah and changed his name to Zedekiah.
King Zedekiah of Judah
(2 Chronicles 36.11, 12; Jeremiah 52.1-3a)
18Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for eleven years. His mother was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah from the city of Libnah. 19King Zedekiah sinned against the Lord, just as King Jehoiakim had done. 20The Lord became so angry with the people of Jerusalem and Judah that he banished them from his sight.
2 Kings 25
The Fall of Jerusalem
(2 Chronicles 36.13-21; Jeremiah 52.3b-11)
1Zedekiah rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia, and so Nebuchadnezzar came with all his army and attacked Jerusalem on the tenth day of the tenth month of the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign. They set up camp outside the city, built siege walls around it, 2and kept it under siege until Zedekiah’s eleventh year. 3On the ninth day of the fourth month of that same year, when the famine was so bad that the people had nothing left to eat, 4the city walls were broken through. Although the Babylonians were surrounding the city, all the soldiers escaped during the night. They left by way of the royal garden, went through the gateway connecting the two walls, and fled in the direction of the Jordan Valley. 5But the Babylonian army pursued King Zedekiah, captured him in the plains near Jericho, and all his soldiers deserted him. 6Zedekiah was taken to King Nebuchadnezzar, who was in the city of Riblah, and there Nebuchadnezzar passed sentence on him. 7While Zedekiah was looking on, his sons were put to death; then Nebuchadnezzar had Zedekiah’s eyes put out, placed him in chains, and took him to Babylon.
The Destruction of the Temple
8On the seventh day of the fifth month of the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia, Nebuzaradan, adviser to the king and commander of his army, entered Jerusalem. 9He burned down the Temple, the palace, and the houses of all the important people in Jerusalem, 10and his soldiers tore down the city walls. 11Then Nebuzaradan took away to Babylonia the people who were left in the city, the remaining skilled workers, and those who had deserted to the Babylonians. 12But he left in Judah some of the poorest people, who owned no property, and put them to work in the vineyards and fields. 13The Babylonians broke in pieces the bronze columns and the carts that were in the Temple, together with the large bronze tank, and they took all the bronze to Babylon. 14They also took away the shovels and the ash containers used in cleaning the altar, the tools used in tending the lamps, the bowls used for catching the blood from the sacrifices, the bowls used for burning incense, and all the other bronze articles used in the Temple service. 15They took away everything that was made of gold or silver, including the small bowls and the pans used for carrying live coals. 16The bronze objects that King Solomon had made for the Temple—the two columns, the carts, and the large tank—were too heavy to weigh. 17The two columns were identical: each one was 27 feet high, with a bronze capital on top, 4½ feet high. All around each capital was a bronze grillwork decorated with pomegranates made of bronze.
The People of Judah Are Taken to Babylonia
18In addition, Nebuzaradan, the commanding officer, took away as prisoners Seraiah the High Priest, Zephaniah the priest next in rank, and the three other important Temple officials. 19From the city he took the officer who had been in command of the troops, five of the king’s personal advisers who were still in the city, the commander’s assistant, who was in charge of military records, and sixty other important men. 20Nebuzaradan took them to the king of Babylonia, who was in the city of Riblah 21in the territory of Hamath. There the king had them beaten and put to death.So the people of Judah were carried away from their land into exile.
Gedaliah, Governor of Judah
(Jeremiah 40.7-9; 41.1-3)
22King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia made Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, governor of Judah, and placed him in charge of all those who had not been taken away to Babylonia. 23When the Judean officers and soldiers who had not surrendered heard about this, they joined Gedaliah at Mizpah. These officers were Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth from the town of Netophah, and Jezaniah from Maacah. 24Gedaliah said to them, “I give you my word that there is no need for you to be afraid of the Babylonian officials. Settle in this land, serve the king of Babylonia, and all will go well with you.” 25But in the seventh month of that year, Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah and grandson of Elishama, a member of the royal family, went to Mizpah with ten men, attacked Gedaliah, and killed him. He also killed the Israelites and Babylonians who were there with him. 26Then all the Israelites, rich and poor alike, together with the army officers, left and went to Egypt, because they were afraid of the Babylonians.
Jehoiachin Is Released from Prison
27In the year that Evilmerodach became king of Babylonia, he showed kindness to King Jehoiachin of Judah by releasing him from prison. This happened on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month of the thirty-seventh year after Jehoiachin had been taken away as prisoner. 28Evilmerodach treated him kindly and gave him a position of greater honor than he gave the other kings who were exiles with him in Babylonia. 29So Jehoiachin was permitted to change from his prison clothes and to dine at the king’s table for the rest of his life. 30Each day, for as long as he lived, he was given a regular allowance for his needs.