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Hatikva- Israeli national anthem
Look Back: Israel 1446 B.C. to 931 B.C.
This introduction reviews the years of Israel that go back to the year of 1446 B.C. The Israelites had been living under bondage in Egypt for more than 400 years. They were in the desert, after having fled Egypt. The Jews were being led by Moses, who is considered by Jews to be a prophet of God to Israel. The account of the exodus of Israel from Egypt is provided in the following link:
Moses died in the year of 1406 B.C. His successor was Joshua, who led the Israelites across the Jordan River into the land of Canaan in the year of 1406 B.C. The story of Joshua’s leadership of the Israelites is provided in the following link: http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/111849/jewish/Joshua.htm
The history of the Israelites, from their entry into Canaan, until their final exile in 586 B.C., is provided in the following link:
The Israelites believed that they were “God’s chosen people;” that God spoke those words to Moses; that they were written by Moses in the Jewish writings (Deuteronomy 7:6 of the Tanakh); and were spoken by Moses to the Israelites while they were in the wilderness between Egypt and Canaan. See the following link for the words of Deuteronomy 7:6 of: The Book of D’varim (Deuteronomy): Chapter 7, of the Torah – Pentateuch: of the Tanakh. The Christian Bible also contains the book of Deuteronomy.
The Jews believed, and still believe, that they were chosen by God to bring the Messiah into the world, hence, “God’s chosen people.” God’s chosen people have been known as Hebrews, Israelites and Jews, per the following link: http://www.jewfaq.org/whoisjew.htm
In the Bible, Jews were called Hebrews or Children of Israel. The terms “Jew” and “Judaism” come from the tribe or kingdom of Judah.
The Jews also believed that they were chosen by God to live in the land of Canaan, as was spoken by God to Abraham, Issac and Jacob (Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 17:22; Genesis 26:3-5, 24; Genesis 27:28-29; Genesis 28:14-15). The books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy were written by Moses in the years 1450-1410 B.C.; Jews believe that God spoke the words of those books to him. (Documented in notes by Dr. Charles C. Ryrie, Dallas Theological Seminary). The following link describes Canaan as being the land that God had promised to the Jews.
The Promised Land
The history of the Jewish people begins with Abraham, and the story of Abraham begins when G-d tells him to leave his homeland, promising Abraham and his descendants a new home in the land of Canaan. (Gen. 12). This is the land now known as Israel, named after Abraham’s grandson, whose descendants are the Jewish people. The land is often referred to as the Promised Land because of G-d’s repeated promise (Gen. 12:7, 13:15, 15:18, 17:8) to give the land to the descendants of Abraham.
It is important to know that Jews wrote and maintained the books of the Tanakh. Christians refer to those writings as being the Old Testament of the Bible. The following information provides information on the Tenakh:
Hebrew Bible: Torah, Prophets and Writings
The Bible, also known as Tanakh, is the founding document of the Jews.
The Hebrew Bible, also known as Mikra (“what is read”) or TaNaKh, an acronym referring to the traditional Jewish division of the Bible into Torah (Teaching), Nevi’im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings), is the founding document of the people of Israel, describing its origins, history and visions of a just society.
Israel: From 931 B.C. to 586 B.C.
When the first dispersal of the Jews occurred in 722 B.C., by Shalmaneser, King of Assyria, those conquered Jews were living in the northern kingdom of Israel. The record of the northern Jews being carried away into exile into Assyria can be found in 2 Kings 17:1-41. The account of the 722 B.C. diaspora was documented by Jeremiah, who was believed by the Jews to be a prophet of God to the Jews. From Assyria, the scattering of Jews continued throughout much of the middle east and Europe. The land in which those Jews had settled, and from where they were dispersed, was known as Samaria, hence, the name “Samaritans” (We’ve all heard about the story of the “good Samaritan).
It was after the death of Israel’s King Solomon, in 931 B.C. (1 Kings 11:43), that Israel became a divided kingdom. Ten of the twelve tribes of Israel followed King Jeroboam and settled north of Jerusalem, and became known as Israel. The remaining two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, stayed in Jerusalem, which became known as Judah, and were loyal to Rehoboam as their King, Just as the northern ten tribes (Israel) were taken into exile in 722 B.C., the southern tribes (Judah) would be taken in exile to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. There were three deportations of Jews from Judah, beginning in 597 BC, with the last one occurring in 586 B.C. The siege by King Nebuchadnezzar, as was stated in 2 Kings 24:10, ended with the final siege of Jerusalem that began in January, 588 B.C., and lasted for a year and a half (per Dr. Charles C. Ryrie, Dallas Theological Seminary).
Even though the Jews had been scattered throughout much of the middle east and Europe, they were told by the prophet Ezekiel that God would return them to their promised land of Israel, per Ezekiel 36:24-29. Other Jewish prophets also provided similar words of encouragement to the Jews of Judah and Israel. The accounts of the disaspora of Judah can be found recorded in 2 Kings 24:1 through 2 Kings 25:21.
Atrocities that came upon the city of Jerusalem, the Jews and the temple, at the hands of King Nebuchadnezzar and his forces, are documented by Jeremiah in 2 Kings 24 and 2 Kings 25. In order for anyone to understand the plight of the Jews, there must be understanding of the things that happened to them as they were being forced from their city of Jerusalem, and were being taken captive to Babylon, which is located in the present day nation of Iraq. It is also important to know the things that happened to the Jews while they were held captive by the Babylonians for 70 years. Babylon was located 59 miles southwest of present-day Baghdad. Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein viewed himself as being the reincarnated King Nebuchadnezzar (https://www.olivetreeviews.org/e-updates/jans-articles/item/704-saddam-hussein-and-nebuchadnezzar-a-tale-of-two-kings). More of the story of the treatment of the dispersed Jews in Babylon can be found in the book of Daniel, which was written by a Jew who was also present in dispersed Babylon, and was viewed by Jews as being a prophet of God. Dr. John MacArthur provides excellent commentary on Chapters 24 and 25 of the book of Second Kings, and will be used in this article to point out key points of those two chapters.
It is important to remember that the writings of the Jews were maintained by the Jews. The commentaries of 2 Kings Chapters 24 and 25 will follow the words of those chapters. As a human being, I am appalled at the atrocities that the Babylonians inflicted upon the Jews. I will insert the word “Atrocity,” within the verses of text whenever such an occurrence is viewed by me. The chronology of the following events is very effective in showing the mistreatment of the Jews, who were being forced from their homes, temple and city by their Babylonian captors.
Why Did Hitler Hate Jewish People?
2 Kings 24 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Babylon Controls Jehoiakim
1 In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant for three years; then he turned and rebelled against him. 2 The Lord sent against him bands of Chaldeans, bands of Arameans, bands of Moabites, and bands of Ammonites. So He sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the Lord which He had spoken through His servants the prophets. 3 Surely at the command of the Lord it came upon Judah, to remove them from His sight because of the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he had done, 4 and also for the innocent blood which he shed, for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; and the Lord would not forgive. 5 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?
6 So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers, and Jehoiachin his son became king in his place. 7 The king of Egypt did not come out of his land again, for the king of Babylon had taken all that belonged to the king of Egypt from the brook of Egypt to the river Euphrates.
8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Nehushta the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem. 9 He did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father had done.
Deportation to Babylon
10 At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon went up to Jerusalem, and the city came under siege. 11 And Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon came to the city, while his servants were besieging it. 12 Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he and his mother and his servants and his captains and his officials. So the king of Babylon took him captive in the eighth year of his reign. 13 He carried out from there all the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king’s house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the Lord, just as the Lord had said. 14 Then he led away into exile all Jerusalem and all the captains and all the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and the smiths. None remained except the poorest people of the land.
Atrocity: vs 10-14
15 So he led Jehoiachin away into exile to Babylon; also the king’s mother and the king’s wives and his officials and the leading men of the land, he led away into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 16 All the men of valor, seven thousand, and the craftsmen and the smiths, one thousand, all strong and fit for war, and these the king of Babylon brought into exile to Babylon.
Atrocity: vs 15-16
Zedekiah Made King
17 Then the king of Babylon made his uncle Mattaniah king in his place, and changed his name to Zedekiah.
18 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. 19 He did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. 20 For through the anger of the Lord this came about in Jerusalem and Judah until He cast them out from His presence. And Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
Commentary, 2 Kings 24 (Reference notes: Dr. John MacArthur)
24:1 Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar II was the son of Nabopolassar, king of Babylon from 626–605 B.C. As crown prince, Nebuchadnezzar had led his father’s army against Pharaoh Necho and the Egyptians at Carchemish on the Euphrates River in northern Syria (605 B.C.). By defeating the Egyptians, Babylon was established as the strongest nation in the ancient Near East. Egypt and its vassals, including Judah, became vassals of Babylon with this victory. Nebuchadnezzar followed up his victory at Carchemish by invading the land of Judah. Later, in 605 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar took some captives to Babylon, including Daniel and his friends (cf. Dan. 1:1–3). Toward the end of 605 B.C., Nabopolassar died and Nebuchadnezzar succeeded him as king of Babylon, 3 years after Jehoiakim had taken the throne in Judah (Jer. 25:1). Nebuchadnezzar reigned from 605–562 B.C. three years. Nebuchadnezzar returned to the W in 604 B.C. and took tribute from all of the kings of the W, including Jehoiakim of Judah. Jehoiakim submitted to Babylonian rule from 604–602 B.C. In 602 B.C., Jehoiakim rebelled against Babylon, disregarding the advice of the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 27:9–11).
24:2 the Lord sent…raiding bands. As punishment for Jehoiakim’s disobedience of the Lord’s Word through His prophet Jeremiah, the Lord sent Babylonian troops, along with the troops of other loyal nations, to inflict military defeats upon Judah.
24:7 king of Egypt. In 601 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar again marched W against Egypt and was turned back by strong Egyptian resistance. However Egypt, though able to defend its own land, was not able to be aggressive and recover its conquered lands or provide any help for its allies, including Judah.
24:8 eighteen. This reading is preferred over the “eight” of 2 Chr. 36:9 (see note). three months. Having regrouped, Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah for a second time in the spring of 597 B.C. Before he could enter Jerusalem, Jehoiakim died and was succeeded as king of Judah by his son, Jehoiachin. Jehoiachin ruled for a short time in 597 B.C. See note on 2 Chr. 36:9, 10.
24:10–12 The Babylonian siege of Jerusalem was begun by the troops of Nebuchadnezzar. Later, Nebuchadnezzar himself went to Jerusalem and it was to the king himself that Jehoiachin surrendered (v. 12).
24:12 eighth year. 597 B.C. For the first time, the books of Kings dated an event in Israelite history by a non-Israelite king. This indicated that Judah’s exile was imminent and the land would be in the hands of Gentiles.
24:13 Nebuchadnezzar plundered the treasures of the temple and king’s palace, just as the Lord had said he would (cf. 20:16–18).
24:14–16 In 597 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar took an additional 10,000 Judeans as captives to Babylon, in particular the leaders of the nation. This included the leaders of the military and those whose skills would support the military. Included in this deportation was the prophet Ezekiel (see notes on Ezek. 1:1–3). Only the lower classes remained behind in Jerusalem. The Babylonian policy of captivity was different from that of the Assyrians, who took most of the people into exile and resettled the land of Israel with foreigners (17:24). The Babylonians took only the leaders and the strong, while leaving the weak and poor, elevating those left to leadership and thereby earning their loyalty. Those taken to Babylon were allowed to work and live in the mainstream of society. This kept the captive Jews together, so it would be possible for them to return, as recorded in Ezra.
24:17 Mattaniah…Zedekiah. Mattaniah was a son of Josiah and an uncle of Jehoiachin (cf. 1 Chr. 3:15; Jer. 1:3). Mattaniah’s name, meaning “gift of the Lord,” was changed to Zedekiah, “righteousness of the Lord.” Nebuchadnezzar’s changing of Zedekiah’s name demonstrated his authority as lord over him (see note on 23:34). See notes on 2 Chr. 36:11–21.
24:18 eleven years. Zedekiah ruled in Jerusalem, under Babylonian sovereignty, from 597–586 B.C.
24:20 Zedekiah rebelled. In 588 B.C., Apries (also called Hophra), the grandson of Necho, became Pharaoh over Egypt. He appears to have influenced Zedekiah to revolt against Babylon (cf. Ezek. 17:15–18).
2 Kings 25 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Nebuchadnezzar Besieges Jerusalem
1 Now in the ninth year of his reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, camped against it and built a siege wall all around it. 2 So the city was under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. 3 On the ninth day of the fourth month the famine was so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land. 4 Then the city was broken into, and all the men of war fled by night by way of the gate between the two walls beside the king’s garden, though the Chaldeans were all around the city. And they went by way of the Arabah. 5 But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king and overtook him in the plains of Jericho and all his army was scattered from him. 6 Then they captured the king and brought him to the king of Babylon at Riblah, and he passed sentence on him. 7 They slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, then put out the eyes of Zedekiah and bound him with bronze fetters and brought him to Babylon.
Atrocity: vs 1-7
Jerusalem Burned and Plundered
8 Now on the seventh day of the fifth month, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. 9 He burned the house of the Lord, the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem; even every great house he burned with fire. 10 So all the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down the walls around Jerusalem. 11 Then the rest of the people who were left in the city and the deserters who had deserted to the king of Babylon and the rest of the people, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away into exile. 12 But the captain of the guard left some of the poorest of the land to be vinedressers and plowmen.
Atrocity: vs 8-12
13 Now the bronze pillars which were in the house of the Lord, and the stands and the bronze sea which were in the house of the Lord, the Chaldeans broke in pieces and carried the bronze to Babylon. 14 They took away the pots, the shovels, the snuffers, the spoons, and all the bronze vessels which were used in temple service. 15 The captain of the guard also took away the firepans and the basins, what was fine gold and what was fine silver. 16 The two pillars, the one sea, and the stands which Solomon had made for the house of the Lord—the bronze of all these vessels was beyond weight. 17 The height of the one pillar was eighteen cubits, and a bronze capital was on it; the height of the capital was three cubits, with a network and pomegranates on the capital all around, all of bronze. And the second pillar was like these with network.
Atrocity: vs 13-17
18 Then the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest and Zephaniah the second priest, with the three officers of the temple. 19 From the city he took one official who was overseer of the men of war, and five of the king’s advisers who were found in the city; and the scribe of 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. 20 Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took them and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 21 Then the king of Babylon struck them down and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was led away into exile from its land.
Atrocity: vs 18-21
Gedaliah Made Governor
22 Now as for the people who were left in the land of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had left, he appointed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan over them. 23 When all the captains of the forces, they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah governor, they came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, namely, 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. 24 Gedaliah swore to them and their men and said to them, “Do not be afraid of the servants of the Chaldeans; live in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will be well with you.”
25 But it came about in the seventh month, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the royal family, came with ten men and struck Gedaliah down so that he died along with the Jews and the Chaldeans who were with him at Mizpah. 26 Then all the people, both small and great, and the captains of the forces arose and went to Egypt; for they were afraid of the Chaldeans.
Atrocity: vs 25-26
27 Now it came about in the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, that Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the year that he became king, released Jehoiachin king of Judah from prison; 28 and he spoke kindly to him and set his throne above the throne of the kings who were with him in Babylon. 29 Jehoiachin changed his prison clothes and had his meals in the king’s presence regularly all the days of his life; 30 and for his allowance, a regular allowance was given him by the king, a portion for each day, all the days of his life.
Commentary, 2 Kings 25 (Reference notes: Dr. John MacArthur)
25:1 ninth year. Responding to Zedekiah’s rebellion (24:20), Nebuchadnezzar sent his whole army to lay siege against the city of Jerusalem. The siege began in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, Jan., 588 B.C. The “siege wall” was comprised of either wood towers higher than the walls of the city or a dirt rampart encircling the city
25:2 eleventh year. Jerusalem withstood the siege until the 11th year of Zedekiah, July, 586 B.C. Hezekiah’s tunnel guaranteed the city an uninterrupted supply of fresh water (20:20) and an Egyptian foray into Judah gave the city a temporary reprieve from the siege (Jer. 37:5)
25:3 famine. After a siege of 2½ years, the food supply in Jerusalem ran out (Jer. 38:2, 3).
25:4 the city wall was broken. The two walls near the king’s garden were probably located at the extreme SE corner of the city, giving direct access to the Kidron Valley. This gave Zedekiah and his soldiers an opportunity to flee for their lives to the E.
25:5 plains of Jericho. Zedekiah fled toward the Jordan Rift Valley. Babylonian pursuers caught him in the Jordan Valley S of Jericho, about 20 mi. E of Jerusalem.
25:6 Riblah. Located on the Orontes River about 180 mi. N of Jerusalem, Riblah was Nebuchadnezzar’s military headquarters for his invasion of Judah. This location was ideally situated as a field headquarters for military forces because ample provisions could be found nearby (cf. 23:33). The captured traitor Zedekiah was brought to Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah, where he was blinded after witnessing the death of his sons. The execution of the royal heirs ensured the impossibility of a future claim to the throne or rebellion from his descendants. The blinding made his own future rebellion or retaliation impossible. Jeremiah had warned Zedekiah that he would see Nebuchadnezzar (see notes on Jer. 32:2–5; 34:3), while Ezekiel had said he would not see Babylon (see note on Ezek. 12:10–13). Both prophecies were accurately fulfilled.
25:8 seventh day. See note on Jer. 52:12. This was Aug., 586 B.C., one month after the Babylonian breakthrough of Jerusalem’s walls (vv. 2–4). Nebuzaradan. He was the commander of Nebuchadnezzar’s own imperial guard, sent by the king to oversee the destruction of Jerusalem. The dismantling and destruction of Jerusalem was accomplished by the Babylonians in an orderly progression.
25:9 First, Jerusalem’s most important buildings were burned.
25:10 Second, the Babylonian army tore down Jerusalem’s outer walls, the city’s main defense.
25:11, 12 Third, Nebuzaradan organized and led a forced march of remaining Judeans into exile in Babylon. The exiles included survivors from Jerusalem and those who had surrendered to the Babylonians before the capture of the city. Only poor, unskilled laborers were left behind to tend the vineyards and farm the fields.
25:13–17 Fourth, the items made with precious metals in the temple were carried away to Babylon. See notes on 1 Kin. 7:15–49.
25:18–21 Fifth, Nebuzaradan took Jerusalem’s remaining leaders to Riblah, where Nebuchadnezzar had them executed. This insured that they would never lead another rebellion against Babylon.
25:18 Seraiah. Seraiah was the grandson of Hilkiah (22:4, 8; 1 Chr. 6:13, 14) and an ancestor of Ezra (Ezra 7:1). Even though Seraiah was executed, his sons were deported (1 Chr. 6:15).
25:21 Judah…carried away captive. Exile was the ultimate curse brought upon Judah because of her disobedience to the Mosaic Covenant (cf. Lev. 26:33; Deut. 28:36, 64). The book of Lamentations records the sorrow of Jeremiah over this destruction of Jerusalem.
25:22–30 The books of Kings conclude with this brief epilogue. Despite the punishment of the Lord experienced by Israel and Judah, the people were still rebellious (vv. 22–26). However, due to the Lord’s mercy, the house of David endured (vv. 27–30). The books of Kings end with a note of hope.
25:22 Gedaliah. In an attempt to maintain political stability, Nebuchadnezzar appointed a governor from an important Judean family. A more detailed account of Gedaliah’s activities is found in Jer. 40:7—41:18. Gedaliah’s grandfather, Shaphan, was Josiah’s secretary, who had implemented that king’s reforms (22:3). His father, Ahikam, was part of Josiah’s delegation sent to Huldah (22:14) and a supporter of the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 26:24).
25:23 Mizpah. Located about 8 mi. N of Jerusalem, Mizpah became the new center of Judah. Mizpah might have been one of the few towns left standing after the Babylonian invasion.
25:24 oath. As governor, Gedaliah pledged to the remaining people that loyalty to the Babylonians would ensure their safety.
25:25 seventh month. October, 586 B.C., two months after the destruction of Jerusalem (cf. v. 8). Ishmael. Elishama, Ishmael’s grandfather, was a secretary under Jehoiakim (Jer. 36:12; 41:1). Ishmael probably assassinated Gedaliah because he wished to reestablish the kingship in Judah with himself as king, since he was of royal blood (cf. Jer. 41:1).
25:26 went to Egypt. Fearing reprisals from the Babylonians, the people fled to Egypt.
25:27 thirty-seventh year. March, 561 B.C. Jehoiachin was about 55 years old (cf. 24:8). Evil-Merodach. The son and successor of Nebuchadnezzar, he ruled as king of Babylon from 562–560 B.C. To gain favor with the Jews, the king released Jehoiachin from his imprisonment and gave him special privileges.
25:28–30 spoke kindly to him. This good word from the king of Babylon to the surviving representative of the house of David served as a concluding reminder of God’s good Word to David. Through the curse of exile, the dynasty of David had survived. There was still hope that God’s good Word to David concerning the seed who will build God’s temple and establish God’s eternal kingdom would be fulfilled (cf. 2 Sam. 7:12–16). The book of 2 Kings opened with Elijah being carried away to heaven, the destination of all those faithful to God. The book ends with Israel, and then Judah, being carried away to pagan lands as a result of failing to be faithful to God.
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