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Sunday, May 15 2011

Zedekiah Of Judah

Zedekiah, from the Hebrew name pronounced tsid-kee-yaw-hoo, was the last king of the southern kingdom of Judah before it fell to Babylon. Born as Mattaniah, the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar renamed him, and installed him, as a puppet king (just as the last few kings of Judah had been), in place of his nephew Jehoiachin, as the gradual exile of Judah was in progress. Although it is said that Zedekiah reigned eleven years, all that he really did was to serve the foreign king Nebuchadnezzar for that time.

"24:15 And he carried away Jehoiachin [see Jehoiachin Of Judah] to Babylon, and the king's mother, and the king's wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. 24:16 And all the men of might, even seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths a thousand, all that were strong and apt for war, even them the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon.

24:17 And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father's brother king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah.

24:18 Zedekiah was twenty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. 24:19 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. 24:20 For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, until he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon." (2 Kings 24:15-20 KJV)

"He did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the LORD"

Zedekiah wasn't merely an innocent stooge - "he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the LORD." If Zedekiah had repented, along with the nation, the LORD would not have allowed their national humiliation and defeat. Instead, Zedekiah rebelled against the LORD, Who would have defended him, while, at the end, he was also rebelling against the foreign superpower king that was threatening him ("he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar").

The Babylonian Empire

"36:11 Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. 36:12 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the LORD.

36:13 And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the LORD God of Israel. 36:14 Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem.

36:15 And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: 36:16 But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy." (2 Chronicles 36:11-16 KJV)

Much of the book of Jeremiah speaks of Zedekiah, the warnings, and offers of deliverance if he repented, that were given to Zedekiah. But Zedekiah defiantly failed to take heed.

"21:1 The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, when king Zedekiah sent unto him Pashur the son of Melchiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, saying, 21:2 Inquire, I pray thee, of the LORD for us; for Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon maketh war against us; if so be that the LORD will deal with us according to all his wondrous works, that he may go up from us.

21:3 Then said Jeremiah unto them, Thus shall ye say to Zedekiah: 21:4 Thus saith the LORD God of Israel; Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands, wherewith ye fight against the king of Babylon, and against the Chaldeans, which besiege you without the walls, and I will assemble them into the midst of this city. 21:5 And I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath. 21:6 And I will smite the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast: they shall die of a great pestilence. 21:7 And afterward, saith the LORD, I will deliver Zedekiah king of Judah, and his servants, and the people, and such as are left in this city from the pestilence, from the sword, and from the famine, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those that seek their life: and he shall smite them with the edge of the sword; he shall not spare them, neither have pity, nor have mercy." (Jeremiah 21:1-7 KJV)

Zedekiah didn't merely ignore the warnings from the LORD that were delivered by Jeremiah (see The Prophets: Jeremiah); Zedekiah threw Jeremiah in prison for delivering them.

"32:2 For then the king of Babylon's army besieged Jerusalem: and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the prison, which was in the king of Judah's house. 32:3 For Zedekiah king of Judah had shut him up, saying, Wherefore dost thou prophesy, and say, Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it; 32:4 And Zedekiah king of Judah shall not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, but shall surely be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon, and shall speak with him mouth to mouth, and his eyes shall behold his eyes; 32:5 And he shall lead Zedekiah to Babylon, and there shall he be until I visit him, saith the LORD: though ye fight with the Chaldeans, ye shall not prosper." (Jeremiah 32:2-5 KJV)

Then came the end, of the king, and of his nation. Like Israel before them, the LORD rejected Judah because they had rejected Him.

"25:1 And it came to pass 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 host, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it: and they built forts against it round about.

25:2 And the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.

25:3 And on the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land. 25:4 And the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which is by the king's garden: now the Chaldees were against the city round about: and the king went the way toward the plain.

25:5 And the army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army were scattered from him.

25:6 So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment upon him. 25:7 And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon." (2 Kings 25:1-7 KJV)

Fact Finder: This completes our series of studies for each of the kings of Israel (see Israelite Monarchy - The Northern Kingdom) and Judah (see Israelite Monarchy - The Southern Kingdom). See the study below for the entire list of links.
See Kings of Israel and Judah


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This Day In History, May 15

1004: Henry II, the last Saxon ruler of Germany, was crowned king of Lombardy after the defeat of Arduin of Ivrea.

1213: King John submitted to the Pope, offering to make England and Ireland papal fiefs. Pope Innocent III then lifted the interdict (curse upon an entire country) of 1208.

1455: A crusade against the Turks and for the capture of Constantinople was proclaimed by Pope Calixtus III.

1602: English explorer Bartholomew Gosnold discovered Cape Cod.

1702: The War of the Spanish Succession began.

1768: With the Treaty of Versailles, France purchased Corsica from Genoa.

1836: British astronomer Francis Baily detected the phenomenon called "Baily's beads" during an annular eclipse of the sun. Just before the moon's disk completely covers the sun, the narrow crescent of sunlight may be broken in several places by irregularity (mountains and valleys) on the edge of the moon's disk; the resulting appearance roughly compares to a string of beads.

1860: Giuseppe Garibaldi, with 1,000 volunteers, defeated the larger Neapolitan army at the Battle of Calatafimi.

1948: In response to Israel's proclamation of the State of Israel the day before, Arab armies of Egypt, Transjordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon invaded. The first major Israel-Arab War.

1955: The Vienna Treaty, signed by Britain, France, the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R, restored Austria's independence after the Second World War. Adolf Hitler was born in Austria; when Hitler came to power, he silenced his critics, that said he was foreign born, by making Austria part of Germany (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion; listen also to our Sermon The European World Wars).

1967: Egyptian leader Nasser remilitarized Sinai, moving in 100,000 men and armour, and ordering out the UN force which complied. The lead-up to the Six Day War.

1972: U.S. Democratic presidential candidate George Wallace was shot and left paralyzed while campaigning at a Maryland shopping center.

1988: The Soviet Union began its withdrawl from Afghanistan, eight years after their invasion. Their involvement in Afghanistan was one of the final "superpower" acts of the U.S.S.R. before it went bankrupt.

2008: California became the second U.S. State (Massachusetts was the first) to legalize (in man's eye's, not God's) "same sex marriage."





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Copyright © Wayne Blank