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Wednesday, September 3 2014
2 Chronicles 36: Why Did Judah Fall To Babylon?
"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"
The LORD (Who was and is Jesus Christ - see Genesis 1: In The Beginning Was The Word and The Kingdom Of The LORD God) divided the united Kingdom of Israel as a punishment for the idolatry of King Solomon (see What Caused Solomon's Idolatry?). The result was two independent kingdoms that were thereafter historically (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Israel and Judah) and prophetically (see When Will The United Kingdom Be Restored?) known as "Israel" and "Judah."
The Kingdom of Israel existed for about 212 years, from approximately 933 BC when the division occurred in the time of Solomon's son Rehoboam (see Rehoboam's Scorpions and Rehoboam's House of Judah and Benjamin). By 721 BC, the LORD had the ten tribes of Israel conquered and taken into exile by the Assyrian Empire because they had become grossly corrupt just as Solomon had done (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Lost Ten Tribes).
The Kingdom of Judah existed for about 347 years, from 933 BC - a total which included about 135 years after the Kingdom of Israel had ceased to exist. The LORD also had them conquered and taken away into exile because they became just as unfaithful as Israel and the united kingdom before them. The difference between the fate of Israel and Judah is that by the time that Judah fell in 586 BC, the Assyrian Empire that had conquered Israel had itself fallen to the Babylonian Empire - so it was Babylon, not Assyria, that destroyed Judah. The other major difference is that, for the sake of the coming Messiah, Judah's exile lasted only 70 years - long enough to wipe out the corrupt generations that caused the destruction of Judah with their liberalism.
The Kingdom of Judah did know some righteous kings, such as Hezekiah (see Why The Other Sacrifices?, When The Church Will Become The Kingdom and The Sabbaths, New Moons and Feasts Of The LORD) and Josiah (see What Did Jesus Christ Write In The Ark Of Moses? and Josiah's Great Passover Celebration), which is the reason that they lasted over a century longer than Israel. The overall "progressive" slide to national default continued however with the restorations done by righteous kings soon wasted by subsequent mis-leaders. The last kings of Judah were weak, immoral liberals who were little more than misfit figureheads of a once-great nation. Foreign nations even made them into political puppets - beginning with Egypt's installation of Jehoahaz, and then Eliakim who the Egyptians renamed as Jehoiakim.
"36:1 Then the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and made him king in his father's stead in Jerusalem.
The Babylonians then began coming from the other direction. They took "Egypt's man" Jehoiakim away to Babylon in chains and appointed his son Jehoiachin as their stooge "king" of Judah.
"36:5 Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD his God. 36:6 Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon. 36:7 Nebuchadnezzar also carried of the vessels of the house of the LORD to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon.
Jehoiachin too was soon taken away to Babylon. The Babylonians then "made Zedekiah his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem."
"36:9 Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD. 36:10 And when the year was expired, king Nebuchadnezzar sent, and brought him to Babylon, with the goodly vessels of the house of the LORD, and made Zedekiah his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem." (2 Chronicles 36:9-10 KJV)
Notice carefully that all of the kings of Judah "did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD his God." If they had repented, the LORD would have delivered them and Judah from their national destruction - which was happening because of their refusal to repent. The priesthood by then also became corrupt - thereby sealing the fate of the Temple when the final attack came because "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."
"36:11 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." (2 Chronicles 36:11-14 KJV)
The LORD, through His prophets (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Prophets and the Fact Finder question below), gave Judah every opportunity to be saved from their national tribulation. But they refused, so off to their destruction they went, until seventy years later, a Persian king (by then Babylon had fallen to Persia; see The Prophet Daniel: The Hand Writing On The Wall) had those people of Judah return home to a place that they had never been before.
"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. 36:17 Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand. 36:18 And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon. 36:19 And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof.
Fact Finder: What did the prophet Jeremiah do during the last days of the Kingdom of Judah? After Judah refused the LORD's warnings to repent, did Jeremiah know that their descendants would restore the Messianic kingdom 70 years later?
This Day In History, September 3
36 BC: The Battle of Naulochus. Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, a naval commander of Octavian (Octavian later became known as Caesar Augustus, the Roman Emperor who declared the census that caused the Messiah to be born in Bethlehem i.e. Luke 2:1 - see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars), defeated Sextus Pompeius, the son of Pompey, thereby ending Pompeian resistance to the Second Triumvirate.
301: San Marino, one of the smallest nations in the world and the world's oldest republic still in existence, was founded by Marinus.
1189: Richard I (Richard the Lion-Heart) was crowned king of England.
1260: The Battle of Ayn Jalut, a decisive victory of the Mamluks of Egypt over the invading Mongols, which saved Egypt and Islam and prevented the western expansion of the Mongol empire.
1650: The Battle of Dunbar during the Third English Civil War. English Parliamentarian forces led by Oliver Cromwell defeated the forces loyal to King Charles II.
1658: Oliver Cromwell, "lord protector" of England, died at age 59.
1752: Britain and the New England colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar (named after Roman Catholic Pope Gregory XIII - see Pope Gregory's Calendar), replacing the less accurate Julian calendar (named after Julius Caesar). To implement the new calendar, 11 days were officially omitted that year i.e. September 2 was followed by September 14. Some people rioted, accusing the government of stealing 11 days of life from them.
1783: The Treaty of Paris was signed, officially ending the revolution of the New England colonies that had been built in the wilderness nearly two centuries earlier.
1855: During the genocide of native Americans by white Europeans, 700 U.S. troops under General William S. Harney massacred 100 Sioux men, women and children in their village in Nebraska - one of many such slaughters during "the Indian wars."
1939: Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France and India declared war on Germany in response to Adolf Hitler's invasion of Poland 2 days earlier. The beginning of the Second World War in Europe.
1943: During the Second World War (1939-1945), Italy surrendered to invading Allied forces in a secret armistice, but German forces continued fighting in Italy.
1944: British troops liberated Brussels.
1969: Ho Chi Minh (real name Nguyen Tat Thanh), president of North Vietnam during most of the Vietnam War, died at age 79.
1976: Viking 2 landed on Mars.
1978: Albino Luciani was coronated as Pope John Paul I. He died only 34 days later, some say under mysterious circumstances, at age 66. He was succeeded by Polish-born Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, 58, who took the name Pope John Paul II - the first non-Italian Catholic pope in 450 years.
1987: Burundi President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza was deposed in a coup d'état led by Major Pierre Buyoya.
1994: Russia and China agreed to no longer target nuclear weapons on each other.
1999: An 87-automobile pile-up occurred on the Highway 401 freeway near Windsor, Ontario, Canada after an unusually thick fog from Lake St. Clair blanketed the area. It was one of the worst traffic accidents in Canadian history; 7 people were killed and 62 injured.