0 The fall of Jerusalem (2 Kings 21-25)

Episode 155: The fall of Jerusalem

2 Kings 21-25

King Manasseh of Judah

21 1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king of Judah. 2 He did evil things in God's sight. 5 He built altars for the stars in God's house. 6 He sacrificed his son as a burnt offering, observed times, used enchantments, consulted familiar spirits and wizards. 7 And he set up a carved image in God's house. 9 Manasseh made the people do more evil things than the people whom God killed to make room for them.

10 God said to his prophets,

11-13 Because Manasseh has been so wicked, I will bring so much evil on Jerusalem and Judah that it will make people's ears tingle. I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down.

King Amon of Judah

18 Manasseh died and his son, Amon, became king of Judah.

19 King Amon did evil in God's sight, just like his dad did.

23-24 Amon's servants killed him and made Josiah, Amon's son, king of Judah.

King Josiah and the book of the law

22 1 Josiah was eight years old when he became the king of Judah. 2 He did what was right in the sight of God, just like David did.

8 One day, the high priest found the book of the law in God's house. He gave the book to the scribe, who read it. The scribe then read the book to King Josiah. 11 When Josiah heard the words of the book, he tore his clothes. 12 Then he sent the priests and scribes to ask God about the book. 14 So they went to Huldah, the prophetess, who lived at the college in Jerusalem. 15 She said to them,

This is what God says,

16 I will bring evil on this place, according to the words in this book.

19 But because your heart was tender and you tore your clothes, I have heard you.

20 So you'll die in peace before I do all the evil on this place.

Huldah prophesies the destruction of Jerusalem. Caspar Luyken, 1708.

Josiah, the intolerant king of Judah

23 3 Josiah made a covenant with God, promising that he and the people would obey all of the laws in the book. 4 Then he burned all the vessels that were made for Baal, the grove, and the stars. 5 He removed the priests who burned incense in the high places, to Baal, or to the sun, moon, planets, and stars. 6 He burned the grove, ground the ashes into powder, and threw the powder on graves. 7 He destroyed the houses of the sodomites that were by God's house. 14 He broke images and groves and filled them with human bones. 16 He took bones from graves and burned them on the altar, according to the word of God. 20 He killed all the priests of the high places and burned their bones on their altars. 24 He persecuted people with familiar spirits, wizards, and anyone with other religious beliefs 25 He was more faithful to God than any king before or after him.

26 But God was still angry against Judah, because of what Manasseh did. 27 So God said, “I will abandon Jerusalem, just like I did to Israel.”

King Jehoahaz of Judah

31 King Josiah was killed in battle at Megiddo, and his son Jehoahaz became king of Judah. 32 He did what was evil in God's sight.

33 He was imprisoned by the king of Egypt, who made Jehoiakim king. 34 Jehoahaz died in Egypt.

King Jehoiakim of Judah

35 Jehoiakim did what was evil in God's sight.

God sends enemies to attack Judah

24 1 God sent Nebuchadnezar, the king of Babylon, to destroy Judah to punish Jehoiakim for the sins of Manasseh. 6 Jehoiakim died and his son Jehoiachin became king.

8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem for three months. 9 He did evil in God's sight just like his father.

10 Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, conquered Jerusalem and took its people captive.

Zedekiah becomes king of Judah

17 Nebuchadnezzar made Jehoiachin's uncle king and changed his name to Zedekiah. 19 He did what was evil in God's sight, just like his father had done.

The fall of Jerusalem

25 1 In the ninth year of King Zedekiah's reign, the Chaldeans (Babylonians) besieged Jerusalem. 4 Zedekiah tried to get away, but the Chaldeans caught him and his soldiers. 7 They killed Zedekiah's sons in front of him, poked out his eyes, and carried him to Babylon. 9 The Babylonians burned Jerusalem, including the houses of God and the king. 10 They broke down the walls and took all the people away to Babylon. 14 They took everything of value in God's house, including the pillars of brass, brass sea, pots, shovels, snuffers, spoons, firepans, and bowls.

Jehoiachin is set free

27 When Evilmerodach became king of Babylon, he released Jehoiachin from prison. 28-30 He treated him well, even allowing him to eat at his table every day for the rest of his life.

A few more words about this episode

You [Josiah] will die in peace. (22:20)
Huldah's prophecy did not come true since Josiah died in battle in 23:31.
He [Josiah] was more faithful to God than any king before or after him. (23:25)
But I thought Hezekiah was the best king ever. (2 Kings 18:5, Episode 154)
Who was the best king?
The fall of Jerusalem (25:1-30)
The first temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 BCE.
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