Melachim 2/Kings 2-Chapter 24: Nevuchadnetzar conquers Jerusalem and exiles its inhabitants

1.      The state of affairs in the times of Yehoyakim:

  • Yehoyakim becomes a servant of Nevuchadnetzar and rebels against him: In the days of Yehoyakim, Nevuchadnetzar went up against Yehoyakim and Yehoyakim became his servant for three years. At the end of the third year, Yehoyakim turned and rebelled against him.
  • The nations come to battle Yehoyakim: Hashem incited against Yehoyakim soldiers from the nations of Casdim and Aram and Moav and Ammon. They were incited against Yehuda to destroy it, as Hashem had spoken through the prophets to avenge the sins of Minasheh and the innocent blood that he had spilled in Jerusalem.

2.      The legacy of Yehoyakim:

  • His chronicles: The remaining events of Yehoyakim and all that he did are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Yehuda.
  • His death: Yehoyakim passed away [as he was being carried to Bavel by Nevuchadnetzar in imprisonment[1]] and was buried with his ancestors.
  • His successor: Yehoyachin his son reigned in his stead.
  • The king of Egypt is defeated and retreats to his land: The king of Egypt no longer went out of his land [to help Yehoyakim[2]], as the king of Babylon captured all of his land [in the 4th year of reign of Yehoyakim[3]] from the river of Egypt until the Euphrates River.

3.      The reign of Yehoyachin:

  • The age that he became king: Yehoyachin was eighteen years old when he became king.
  • The length of his reign: Yehoyachin reigned for three months in Jerusalem.
  • The name of his mother: His mother’s name was Nechushta the daughter of Elnasan from Jerusalem.
  • His deeds: Yehoyachin performed evil in the eyes of Hashem as his father had done.

4.      Nevuchadnetzar places Jerusalem under siege and captures Yehoyachin:

  • The siege: At that time, the servants of Nevuchadnetzar went up against Jerusalem and put the city under siege. Nevuchadnetzar the king of Babylon arrived to the city while his servants were besieging it.
  • Yehoyachin is captured: Yehoyachin, the king of Yehuda, came out to greet and subjugate himself before the king of Babylon, he and his mother and his servants and his officers and his mighty warriors. The king of Babylon captured him in the eighth year of his [i.e. Nevuchadnetzar’s] reign [as he feared he may rebel against him as did his father Yehoyakim, and hence he captured him and reigned his Uncle in his stead[4]].
  • Nevuchadnetzar takes all the treasures of the Temple and palace: Nevuchadnetzar removed all the treasures from the Temple and from the king’s palace. He stripped off all the golden decorations from the vessels that king Shlomo had made in the Temple.
  • Nevuchadnetzar exiles the Jewish people from Jerusalem: Nevuchadnetzar exiled all of the people of Jerusalem, including all of the officers and all the mighty warriors, ten thousand men in total [three thousand from the tribe of Yehuda and seven thousand from the tribe of Binyamon and other tribes[5]]. He exiled all of the craftsmen and the guards of the gates. No one remained except the poorest and simplest of the people of the land. He exiled Yehoyachin to Babylon, as well as the king’s mother and the king’s wives, and his officers and the Tzadikim of the land, he led in exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. All seven thousand military men, and one thousand craftsmen and guards, and all the mighty warriors were exiled. The king of Babylonia brought them into exile to Babylon.

5.      The reign of Tzidkiyahu:

  • Mattaniah-Tzidkiyahu is crowned king: The king of Babylon crowned Mataniah, who was the uncle of Yehoyachin, as king in his stead.
  • His name is changed: Nevuchadnetzar changed the name of Mataniah to Tzidkiyahu [to say that G-d will punish him if he rebels against him[6]].
  • His age when he became king: Tzidkiyahu was twenty-one years old when he became king.
  • His years of reign: Tzidkiyahu reigned for eleven years in Jerusalem.
  • His mother’s name: His mother’s name was Chmutal the daughter of Yeremiah from Livnah.
  • His deeds: Tzidkiyahu performed that which was evil in the eyes of Hashem, just as Yehoyakim had done.
  • Tzidkiyahu rebels against Nevuchadnetzar: Being that Hashem’s wrath was against Jerusalem and against Yehuda that He wanted to throw them from His presence, therefore Hashem placed into the heart of Tzidkiyahu to rebel against the king of Babylon.

[1] Rashi 24:7

[2] Rashi 24:7

[3] Rashi 24:7

[4] Radak 24:12

[5] Rashi 24:16

[6] Rashi 24:17

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