What did Nebuchadnezzar do when Zedekiah rebelled against him?
Nebuchadnezzar went to Jerusalem and besieged the city (2 Kings 25:1-2). The siege resulted in a severe famine that left the inhabitants of Jerusalem without food (2 Kings 25:3). When the Chaldeans (Babylonians) broke into the city, the king and his army fled the city but were overtaken on the plains of Jericho (2 Kings 25:4-5). Zedekiah was captured and sentenced (2 Kings 25:6). His sons were killed in his presence after which he was blinded (the last thing he saw was the death of his sons), fettered, and taken to Babylon by his captors (2 Kings 25:7).
Practical Consideration: God is faithful to warn of danger, but it is our responsibility to heed His warnings.
Zedekiah was an evil ruler. God, however, made every attempt to call Zedekiah and the nation to repentance. Zedekiah and the people responded by stiffening their necks, hardening their hearts (2 Chronicles 36:13), mocking God’s messengers, despising God’s words, and scoffing at God’s prophets (2 Chronicles 36:16). Because they did not heed God’s call to repentance, both Zedekiah and the nation suffered great loss. Zedekiah lost his sons, his sight, and his throne. The people lost their freedom and their homeland.
What did Nebuchadnezzar do to the city of Jerusalem?
Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard and a servant of Nebuchadnezzar, went to Jerusalem (2 Kings 25:8). He plundered (2 Kings 25:13-17) and burned the temple and the city (2 Kings 25:9) and broke down the walls around Jerusalem (2 Kings 25:10 and 2 Chronicles 36:18-19). He also carried many of the Jews into exile, leaving only the poorest to cultivate the land (2 Kings 25:8-12 and 2 Chronicles 36:20) and put to death various religious, civic, and military leaders (2 Kings 25:18-21). “So Judah was led away into exile from its land” (2 Kings 25:21). The Southern Kingdom fell in 586 B.C., which marked the end of any independent Jewish state until May 14, 1948.
Practical Consideration: The book of misery is written with the ink of disobedience.
Both the rulers and people of Judah experienced great personal losses and sufferings at the hands of their enemies. These things, however, could have been avoided through obedience to God. The people chose instead to continue in their sinful ways. We too, author our own misery every time we chose to disobey God’s Word and walk in a manner contrary to His will.
Who was given charge over Judah after the destruction of Jerusalem?
Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah to serve as governor over Judah who encouraged those who remained behind to “live in the land and serve the king of Babylon” and thus avoid any further trouble (2 Kings 25:22-24). Gedaliah was assassinated by a member of the royal family named Ishmael and a group of ten men who afterward fled to Egypt for refuge (2 Kings 25:25-27).