Melachim II Twenty-Five: Nebuchadnezzar

This chapter marks the end of the two books of Kings. It’s been a long haul, and it’s the end of a stage of Tanakh. Up until now, the text has mostly been narrative. With the start of the next part of Prophets, it’s about to become much more lyrical, which will definitely be a new challenge. The books also become much longer, meaning the benchmarks of success in this study experience will be fewer and farther between. It’ll be interesting to see how my study is impacted by this change, and if it’s more enlightening now that things are getting more poetic, or if it’ll be harder to keep on track and understand what’s going on.

But before all that starts, last chapter of Kings! “And the city came under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah (Kings II 25:2).” Zedekiah is reigning in Jerusalem, and Nebuchadnezzar is attacking the city. There’s a famine at the same time, and Jerusalem is basically screwed. There’s no food, and the city is attacked. The king escapes, but he’s captured outside of Jericho, defenseless without his army. The torture that Zedekiah undergoes is horrible. His sons are killed in front of him, then he’s blinded and brought to Babylon in chains. Jerusalem is meanwhile burnt and the population decimated.

“Now the chief executioner left over some of the poorest of the land as vine-dressers and farmers (Kings II 25:12).” The Temple is destroyed, and its riches are sent to Babylon. The priests are exiled and murdered, and most of Judea is ultimately sent into exile as well. Nebuchadnezzar appoints Gedaliah son of Ahikam to rule over the people who remain in Judah. He is killed pretty quickly though, by Ishmael son of Nethaniah.

“And it was 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 Babylonia, in the year of his coronation, lifted up the head of Jehoiachin, king of Judah and released him from prison (Kings II 25:27).” It seems that he’s largely restored, and with that the chapter (and the book) end. I haven’t loved this book. It’s been very repetitive, and often hard to keep up with where we are in the chronology of the various monarchies. I’m excited for the next step, and the new challenge that it brings. 595 chapters to go! Being under 600 chapters is an exciting mark to have reached. It means I’ve read over 300, which to me is an impressive dent towards my overall goal. Excited to keep it going tomorrow!

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