14: Judah's End

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Lesson 14 — December 24, 2000

JUDAH’S END

2 Kings 23-25; 2 Chronicles 36; Jeremiah 34-39; Daniel 1; Ezekiel 1,3

CHRONOLOGY

  610 BC Josiah (d. 609 in battle with Pharaoh Necho)
    Jehoahaz (609 BC; son of Josiah; 23 years old; ruled three months; deported to Egypt)
Daniel (deported to Babylon 607 BC)   Jehoiakim (609-597 BC; son of Josiah; 25 years old; deported to Babylon)
  600 BC  
Ezekiel (deported to Babylon 597 BC; prophesied beginning in 592 BC)   Jehoiachin (597 BC; son of Jehoiakim; 18 years old; ruled three months/ten days; deported to Babylon)
Jeremiah (prophesied in Jerusalem; forced to go to Egypt after Gedaliah’s death; 586 BC?)   Zedekiah (597-586 BC; son of Josiah; 21 years old; deported to Babylon)
590 BC  
  586 BC Jerusalem Destroyed/Kingdom of Judah ends!
    Gedaliah (Babylonian Governor assassinated by by Ishmael—a member of the royal family)
  538 BC Cyrus permits a remnant to return to Palestine!

Judah’s Last Kings

2 Kings 23:31-34
2 Chronicles 36:1-4
Jehoahaz
  • 23 years old—anointed by people of Judah in 609 BC;
  • a younger son of Josiah…why?
  • ruled three months; replaced by Egyptians.
2 Kings 23: 35-24:7
2 Chronicles 36:5-8
Jehoiakim
  • 25 years old—appointed by the Egyptians in 609 BC;
  • the eldest son of Josiah (of whom we are aware);
  • conquered by Babylonians;
  • ruled eleven years; rebelled against Babylonians; replaced by Baylonians.
2 Kings 24:8-16; 25:27-30
2 Chronicles 36:9-10
Jehoiachin
  • son of Jehoiakim—18 years of age;
  • appointed by Babylonians in 597 BC;
  • reigned three months and ten days;
  • deported to Babylon with many others, but later elevated to a position of counselor to the Babylonians king.
2 Kings 24:17-20
2 Chronicles 36:11-14
Zedekiah
  • the youngest son of Josiah (of whom we are aware);
  • 21 years old—appointed by Babylonians;
  • rebelled against Babylonia with promises from Egypt;
  • blinded and deported at the time of Jerusalem’s destruction.

Daniel

Read: Daniel 1:1-7 Daniel
  • deported in 607 BC as part of the first group of Jews entering the Babylonian Captivity;
  • among the "king’s descendants…some of the nobles";
  • taken with three friends—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego;
  • destined to serve many of the kings of Babylon and Persia.
  • Review in your mind quickly the history of Daniel and then discuss God’s providential care of individual believers and His people overall. What lessons can we learn from this history?

Ezekiel

Read: Ezekiel 1:1-3;
2:1-3:3; 4:1-3
Ezekiel
  • deported in 597 as part of the second group of Jews entering the Babylonian Captivity;
  • he warned the people not to put their faith in externals, for God would destroy the city of Jerusalem together with the temple.
  • Discuss why you believe the scroll given to Ezekiel to eat tasted "sweet." Discuss how this helps explain how Ezekiel could remain positive personally while presenting God’s message of judgment to His people in exile. How might this prove important to us as spokespersons for God in our day?

Jeremiah

  Jeremiah
Read: Jeremiah 34:1-3
  • warned Zedekiah of God’s pending judgment;
Read: Jeremiah 36:19-26
  • Zedekiah resisted both the LORD and His prophet;
Read: Jeremiah 38:1-13
  • Jeremiah was often imprisoned and at times his life was in danger;
  • Ebed-Melech proved himself fearless and faithful in spite of Zedekiah’s foolishness.
  • Personal piety and faith can be exercised in the midst of the most difficult of situations. Discuss how this was true both for Jeremiah and Ebed-Melech. Why is the exercise of such personal piety and faith so important?

The Destruction of Jerusalem

Read: 2 Chronicles 36:15-21 Jerusalem was destroyed
  • in 586 BC by the forces of Nebuchadnezzar;
  • as God had warned through His prophets;
  • completely and without compassion;
  • together with the temple of God.
  • Discuss the importance of not becoming too attached to the external and physical in this world. What message was God sending to His people when He allowed His temple to be destroyed? How might we take that message to heart today?
Read: Jeremiah 39:11-18 In the midst of the chaos of Jerusalem’s destruction
  • Jeremiah was spared;
  • Ebed-Melech was spared.
Read: Lamentations 1:1-3
3:22-27, 31-33
Jeremiah
  • mourned the utter devastation of Jerusalem;
  • recognized God’s just judgment in destroying Jerusalem;
  • rejoiced in God’s mercy and compassion.
  • Discuss the important role of God’s justice and His mercy. How do they find their fulfillment in Christ and His work of redemption?

Post-Destruction Politics

Read: 2 Kings 25:22-26 Gedaliah
  • a nobleman of Judah appointed as governor of Judah by the Babylonians;
  • assassinated by Ishmael, a member of the royal family.
Read: 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 Cyrus
  • a king of Persea, who defeated the Babylonians and incorporated their empire into his even larger one;
  • a Gentile king identified by Isaiah as being the LORD’s "anointed"—an individual chosen by God to do something within His kingdom (cf. Isaiah 45:1);
  • permitted a remnant to return to rebuilt Jerusalem and
  • Discuss the lessons we can learn from this entire history.

(PDN)