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The Babylonian invasion of Judah

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CHAPTER 25 Sep. 17 
The Fall of Jerusalem
It happened in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and encamped against it; and they built forts against it around it. 2So the city was captured, by the eleventh year of king Zedekiah. 3On the ninth day of the fourth month the famine was severe in the city, so that there was no bread for the people of the land. 4Then a breach was made in the city, and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king’s garden (now the Chaldeans were against the city around it); and the king went by the way of the Arabah. 5But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho; and all his army was scattered from him. 6Then they took the king, and carried him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment on him. 7They killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him in fetters, and carried him to Babylon. 8Now in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, to Jerusalem. 9He burnt the house of Yahweh and the king’s house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, even every great house, burnt he with fire. 10All the army of the Chaldeans, who were with the captain of the guard, broke down the walls around Jerusalem. 11Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive the residue of the people who were left in the city, and those who fell away, who fell to the king of Babylon, and the remainder of the multitude of the people. 12But the captain of the guard left some of the poorest of the land to work the vineyards and fields. 13The Chaldeans broke up the pillars of brass that were in the house of Yahweh and the bases and the bronze sea that were in the house of Yahweh, and carried the brass pieces to Babylon. 14They took away the pots, the shovels, the snuffers, the spoons, and all the vessels of brass with which they ministered. 15The captain of the guard took away the fire pans, the basins, whatever was of gold, and of silver. 16The two pillars, the one sea and the bases which Solomon had made for the house of Yahweh, the brass of all these things was without weight. 17The height of the one pillar was eighteen cubits, and a capital of brass was on it; and the height of the capital was three cubits, with network and pomegranates on the capital around it, all of brass, similarly the second pillar with its network. 18The captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the threshold; 19and out of the city he took an officer who was set over the men of war; and five men of those who saw the king’s face, who were found in the city; and the scribe, the captain of the army, who mustered the people of the land; and sixty men of the people of the land, who were found in the city. 20Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took them, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah. 21The king of Babylon struck them, and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was carried away captive out of his land. 22As for the people who were left in the land of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had left, even over them he made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, governor. 
God’s Grace
23Now when all the captains of the bands of soldiers, they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah governor, they came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, even Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah the son of the Maacathite, they and their men. 24Gedaliah swore to them and to their men and said to them, Don’t be afraid because of the servants of the Chaldeans. Dwell in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you. 25But it happened in the seventh month, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the royal seed, came with ten men and struck Gedaliah so that he died, and the Jews and the Chaldeans that were with him at Mizpah. 26All the people, both small and great, and the captains of the forces, arose and came to Egypt; for they were afraid of the Chaldeans. 27It happened in the thirty-seventh year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon, in the year that he began to reign, lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison. 28He spoke kindly to him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings who were with him in Babylon, 29and changed his prison garments. Jehoiachin ate bread before him continually all the days of his life. 30For his allowance, there was a continual allowance given him of the king, every day a portion, all the days of his life.


25:2 The city was entered into- Judging Israel like this wasn’t done by God in a flash of anger but after huge internal turmoil. He had passionately declared in an outburst of love for His wayward people “I will not enter into the city” (Hos. 11:9- the same Hebrew word is used as here). His condemnation of His people is very hard for Him, and is a result of much thinking, re-thinking and struggle about it (Hos. 11:8). Those believers who fear God will condemn them should take comfort from this- that He reveals Himself as struggling within Himself about doing this, and it is not something He wishes to do.
25:5 Overtook him in the plains of Jericho- The parable of the good Samaritan speaks about a man taking this same journey, from Jerusalem to Jericho, and being attacked and overcome on the way- and yet restored by grace (Lk. 10:30). The injured man of the parable represents each of us; and yet he is based upon Zedekiah, who had been given every opportunity to heed God’s word through Jeremiah and yet through human weakness and peer pressure had not done so. Zedekiah in all his pathetic weakness represents each of us; Christ, the good Samaritan, really does save each of us by grace alone.  
25:19 Those who saw the king’s face- This is a technical term describing the king’s inner circle. Yet we are promised that we shall see God’s face at Christ’s return (Job 19:25-27; Rev. 22:4). The prospect is wonderful, almost beyond our grasp to comprehend- that we shall be as it were in God’s inner circle, at the very hub of all existence, His special friends. We who are so weak, dysfunctional, often disinterested and limited; we shall be His special people, forever and ever. See on :29.
25:25 The fact Ishmael, one of the royal family of Judah still at large, killed the Chaldean garrison would have suggested that the response of the Chaldeans would have been to destroy all the Jews who were left in the land. But strangely there’s no record of this. Coupling this with the information in :28 that the king of Babylon for no apparent reason showed great kindness to the king of Judah, we are left with the impression that despite all Judah’s sin and the inevitable punishment, God’s grace shone through and He didn’t punish them as their iniquities deserved, but in wrath remembered mercy and grace (Ezra 9:13), perhaps in specific response to Habakkuk’s prayer for this to be the case (Hab. 3:2).
25:29 To eat bread at the king’s table was a sign of special favour. And yet Jesus, King of the cosmos, invites us to do this weekly, as if we are His specially favoured inner circle of friends; to refuse the table is strange indeed, and rejecting an amazing grace. See on :19.