2 Kings 25:21 (NIV) 21 There at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king had them executed. So Judah went into captivity, away from her land.
On 2 Kings 25:8-21: King Nebuchadnezzar has captured Judah’s capital city of Jerusalem and has deported Judah’s King Zedekiah along with approximately 10,000 Judahites to Babylon (v1-7). Now in these verses we see King Nebuchadnezzar setting fire to the temple of the Lord, the royal palace, all the houses and every important building in Jerusalem (v8-9). He destroys Jerusalem’s defensive walls (v10). He carries off almost all the remaining people back to Babylon with him, except for Jeremiah the prophet (see Jeremiah 39:11-14) and the city’s poorest of the poor who are allowed to stay to work the vineyards (v11-12). He hollows out the Lord’s temple of everything valuable (v13-17) and executes the priests and leaders in Jerusalem (v18-21). Jerusalem has fallen.
What can we learn from this? Centuries before Jerusalem fell this way, King David was the king of Judah ruling in the city of Jerusalem. At that time God promised to King David that He would raise up an offspring of King David to succeed him and establish his throne forever (2 Samuel 7:12-13). Here in these verses, however, we see that Babylon has clearly defeated the nation of Judah, destroyed the capital city of Jerusalem, and deported and imprisoned David’s descendants including the king. So what happened to God’s promise to David? Did God’s promise to David fail? No. The fall of Jerusalem here reinforces the fact that God’s promise to David was not a promise to establish an everlasting political kingdom on earth for David in the city of Jerusalem. Rather, God was promising something far greater. God was promising to establish in David’s name a spiritual kingdom that would last forever, that would include people from every nation, and over which Jesus the Son of David would rule forever. As Luke 1:32-33 says about Jesus:
Luke 1:32-33 (NIV) 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,
33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
Praise God that while earthly kingdoms like the kingdom of Judah will fall, the kingdom of Jesus the Son of David will reign forever.
2 Kings 25:25 (NIV) 25 In the seventh month, however, Ishmael son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, who was of royal blood, came with ten men and assassinated Gedaliah and also the men of Judah and the Babylonians who were with him at Mizpah.
On 2 Kings 25:22-26: Nebuchadnezzar appoints Gedaliah to be the new governor over the poorest of the poor who have been left in Judah to work the vineyards (v12). Gedaliah assures the remaining people in Judah, most of whom are extremely poor, that as long as they serve Babylon, everything will go well with them. Shortly after, Gedaliah will receive multiple warnings about how a man called Ishmael wants to kill Gedaliah and seize control of Judah (see Jeremiah 40:13-16). But Gedaliah refuses to listen to those warnings, and Ishmael indeed assassinates Gedaliah, causing the people of Judah to flee to Egypt in fear.
What can we learn from this? When qualified and experienced people try to warn you, don’t just push those warnings away like Gedaliah did. Consider those warnings carefully, bring them to prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom about what to do.
2 Kings 25:27-30 (NIV) 27 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the year Evil-Merodach became king of Babylon, he released Jehoiachin from prison on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month. 28 He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honor higher than those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon. 29 So Jehoiachin put aside his prison clothes and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the king’s table. 30 Day by day the king gave Jehoiachin a regular allowance as long as he lived.
On verses 27-30: Evil-Merodach becomes king of Babylon and releases the former king of Judah Jehoiachin from prison. He gives him a seat of honor and allows Jehoiachin to eat at his table regularly, giving him a daily allowance as long as he lived.
What can we learn from this? Just as the king of Babylon showed kindness to Jehoiachin, we have been shown even greater kindness by the King of kings, the Lord Almighty. Whereas the prison we deserved was to be separated from God’s presence, God released us from that prison and gave us a seat of honor at His table. Because of His kindness expressed through Jesus Christ, we get to set aside our prison clothes, put on Christ’s royal robes of righteousness, and eat daily with the King.
Heavenly Father, thank You for every lesson I can learn from Your Word today. May I be careful to consider the warnings and cautions that I receive from Your Word and from those who care about me. Thank You also that Your kingdom is bigger than any one nation. So even while the political kingdom of Judah fell, Your kingdom lasts forever. And thank You that just like the king of Babylon showed undeserved kindness to Jehoiachin, thank You for showing me undeserved kindness. Thank You for letting me live and be a part of Your kingdom through Your Son Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!