August 2, 2021
"On the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month of the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Judah’s King Jehoiachin, Evil-Merodach king of Babylon in the first year of his reign..."
“On the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month of the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Judah’s King Jehoiachin, Evil-Merodach king of Babylon in the first year of his reign, pardoned King Jehoiachin of Judah and released him from the prison. He spoke kindly to him and set his throne above the thrones of the kings who were with him in Babylon. So Jehoiachin changed his prison clothes, and he dined regularly in the presence of the king of Babylon for the rest of his life. As for his allowance, a regular allowance was given to him by the king of Babylon, a portion for each day until the day of his death, for the rest of his life.” Jeremiah 52:31-34
They say a story’s not a legend ‘till it ends. The last chapter of Jeremiah’s prophecy is in the form of a historical re-telling. It is a short story because its substance has already been relayed. (Jeremiah 39, 2 Kings 24:18 – 25:30) It is a sad story because it concerns the fall of Jerusalem and the tragic suffering of its rulers and people. It is an important story, as it is used here (to close the prophecies), for the very center of the predictions has been the destruction of the sacred city. Now the fulfillment of prophecy justifies and vindicates the prophet whose stern words have been spoken. It is also significant that it ends with a gleam of comfort and hope.
In recording the capture of the city, special mention is made of the savage treatment given to the king. It’s true that Zedekiah was wicked and proved a treacherous servant of Nebuchadnezzar. However, it is difficult not to feel sorry for his suffering soul as he watches his sons slaughtered and then is blinded & carried in chains to Babylon to spend the rest of his years in torture and darkness. The destruction of the city, the burning of its famous Temple, and the ruin of its palaces and dismantling of its wall form a sense of horror, while the deportation of the people leaves the impression of a desolated and ravished land.
The spoils carried away by the Chaldean commander included as its chief feature the precious furnishings of brass and gold and silver, which had been the very glory of the Temple. The final notes of cruelty depict the merciless execution by Nebuchadnezzar of the priests, nobles, and surviving defenders of the fallen city. Such atrocities were well within the characters of the Assyrian and Chaldean rulers. The small number of remaining captives carried away to Babylon indicates what havoc must have been wrought among the Jews by slaughter, famine, and pestilence during the long hopeless months of the Babylonian siege. As Jeremiah predicted, only a “remnant” of the nation remained.
Yet through the remnant, the nation was to be preserved, renewed, and restored. Of this restoration, at least a dim hope can be found in the fate of Israel’s King, Jehoiachin.
After 37 years of captivity, he was brought forth out of prison, given royal honors, and seated at the table with the ruler of Babylon. Likewise, after years of discipline and suffering, the people of God were to be delivered, restored, and given the high privilege of becoming the nation in which the Savior of the World, Jesus, was to appear.