2 Kings 23
1 Then the king sent and gathered to himself all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 2 And the king went up to the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, the priests, the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD.
- John 15:3 Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
God's word inspires right action
3 The king stood by a pillar and made a covenant before the LORD to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments, his testimonies, and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant.
- This would be like the President gathering all of government and people living in Washington D.C. and reading them the whole Bible and getting them to agree to do what it says.
4 And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring out of the temple of the LORD all the articles that were made for Baal, for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron and carried their ashes to Bethel. 5 He removed the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah and in the places around Jerusalem; also those that burned incense to Baal, to the sun, to the moon, and to the 12 signs, and to all the host of heaven. 6 He brought the asherah pole out of the house of the LORD, outside Jerusalem, to the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, stamped it to small powder, and threw its powder on the graves of the children of the people.
- Moses did the similiar to the golden calf that the children of Israel made in Exodus 32:20.
God alone is true and enduring fulfillment
7 And he broke down the houses of the sodomites that were by the house of the LORD where the women wove hangings/houses for the asherah pole. 8 He brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beer-sheba, and broke down the high places of the gates that were in the entering in of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on a man’s left hand at the gate of the city. 9 Nevertheless the priests of the high places did not come to the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, but they ate of the unleavened bread among their brothers. 10 And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech. 11 He took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entrance of the house of the LORD, by the chamber of Nathan-melech the official, who was in the suburbs, and burned the chariots of the sun with fire. 12 And the altars that were on the top of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the LORD, the king beat down, broke them down from there, and threw their dust into the brook Kidron.
- The people had many false worship practices and many false gods.
- The king ruined their places so that people could not go there to worship.
- Only a relationship with God fulfills the emptiness in man.
- Psalm 16:11 You will show me the path of life: in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures for evermore.
13 And the king defiled the high places that were before Jerusalem that were on the right hand of the mount of corruption/Olives, which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth, the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh, the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom, the abomination of the children of Ammon. 14 And he broke in pieces the images, cut down the asherah poles, and filled their places with the bones of men.
- These idols led others to eternal death rather than life.
- It is fitting that the place was filled with the dead bones of those who led them to death.
15 Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place that Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, he broke down both that altar and the high place, burned the high place, stamped it to small powder, and burned the asherah pole. 16 And as Josiah turned himself, he saw the graves that were there in the mountain, sent and took the bones out of the graves, burned them on the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words.
- 1Kings 13:2 And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD and said, O altar, altar, the LORD says this; Behold, a child will be born to the house of David, Josiah by name; and on you he will offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon you, and men’s bones will be burned on you.
17 Then he said, What title is that that I see? And the men of the city told him, It is the grave of the man of God, who came from Judah, and proclaimed these things that you have done against the altar of Bethel. 18 And he said, Let him stay; let no man move his bones. So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet that came out of Samaria. 19 And Josiah took away all the houses of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, that the kings of Israel had made to provoke the LORD to anger, and did to them all that he had done in Bethel. 20 And he killed on the altars all the priests of the high places that were there, and burned men’s bones on them, and returned to Jerusalem.
- The people of the northern kingdom (Samaria) had already been removed captive from Samaria.
- Josiah went there and removed the idols and destroyed their places of false worship also.
- God is fair and just to destroy evil because it leads people to eternal death.
- False priests are worse than murderers. A murderer steals from 0-100 years of life from the person he kills.
- False priests steal ETERNAL LIFE from the ones they lead.
- Christ died that we might live.
- John 10:10 The thief comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
- Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
21 And the king directed all the people saying, Keep the Passover to the LORD your God as it is written in the book of this covenant. 22 Surely there was never held such a Passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah; 23 But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, when this Passover was held to the LORD in Jerusalem.
- Passover was the celebration of God’s deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.
- It is a picture of our deliverance from slavery to evil and sin by the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
- John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.
24 Moreover Josiah got rid of the mediums, the soothsayers, the images, the idols, and all the abominable things that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might do the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD. 25 There was no king like him before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his strength, according to all the law of Moses; neither arose after him any like him. 26 However the LORD did not turn from the fierceness of his great wrath, with which his anger burned against Judah, because of all the anger that Manasseh had provoked.
- God is longsuffering but there is a
point of discipline.
- Provocations’ is the Hebrew word ‘angers.’
- Much suffering had been caused in the people’s lives by the false worship.
- When the problem can be solved no other way, God must act.
- Deuteronomy 30:1 And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse that I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God has driven you, 2 and return to the LORD your God, and obey his voice according to all that I command you this day, you and your children, with all your heart, and with all your soul; 3 Then the LORD your God will turn your captivity and have compassion on you, and will return and gather you from all the nations where the LORD your God has scattered you.
- Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and correct: be zealous therefore, and repent.
27 And the LORD said, I will also remove Judah out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and cast off this city Jerusalem that I have chosen, and the house of which I said, My name will be there. 28 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? 29 In his days Pharaoh-nechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against him; and he killed him/Josiah at Megiddo, when he had seen him. 30 His servants carried him dead in a chariot from Megiddo, brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own grave. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, anointed him, and made him king in his father’s place. 31 Jehoahaz was 23 years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. 32 And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done.
- Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
- Daniel 2:21 And he changes the times and the seasons: he removes kings, and sets up kings: he gives wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:
33 And Pharaoh-nechoh imprisoned him at Riblah in the land of Hamath, so that he might not reign in Jerusalem; and put the land to a tribute of 12,000 pounds of silver, and a 120 pounds of gold. 34 And Pharaoh-nechoh made Eliakim, the son of Josiah, king in the place of Josiah his father, and changed his name to Jehoiakim, and took Jehoahaz away: he came to Egypt, and died there. 35 And Jehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Pharaoh; but he taxed the land to give the money according to the commandment of Pharaoh: he exacted the silver and the gold from the people of the land, every one according to his taxation, to give it to Pharaoh-nechoh. 36 Jehoiakim was 25 years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Zebudah, the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah. 37 And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done.
- God allows oppression to open people’s ears to His words
- Job 36:15 He delivers the poor in his affliction, and opens their ears in oppression.
- Mark 7:16 If any man has ears to hear, let him hear.
2 Kings 24
1 In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years: then he turned and rebelled against him. 2 And the LORD sent against him raiding bands of the Chaldeans, bands of the Syrians, bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, he sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the LORD, which he spoke by his servants the prophets. 3 This definitely came on Judah at the commandment of the LORD, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did;
- Just like Rome was over Israel at the time of Christ, God had placed all the world under Nebuchadnezzar at this time.
- Jehoiakim paid tribute or tax money to Nebuchadnezzar for three years and then quit paying.
- God sent enemies to destroy His idolatrous people.
- Manasseh led the people to worship false gods, devils, God’s enemies, who required that they sacrifice their sons and daughters.
- This was murder.
- Murder of innocent children is an abomination to God.
- God is life.
- He had warned the people for 861 years before He destroyed the nation for it.
- Judges 5:8 They chose new gods; then was war in the gates:
- Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
- Psalm 106:37 Yes, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters to devils.
God remembers the victims; He would not pardon
4 And also for the innocent blood that he shed: he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the LORD would not pardon.
- Psalm 9:12 When he makes inquisition for blood, he remembers them: he does not forget the cry of the humble.
5 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? 6 So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers: and his son Jehoiachin reigned in his place. 7 The king of Egypt did not come out of his land again: for the king of Babylon had taken all that belonged to the king of Egypt from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates river. 8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother’s name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem. 9 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father had done. 10 At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came up against Jerusalem, and besieged the city. 11 And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants besieged it. 12 And Jehoiachin, the king of Judah, went out to the king of Babylon, he, his mother, his servants, his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign. 13 And he carried from there all the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s house, and cut in pieces all the articles of gold that Solomon, king of Israel, had made in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had said. 14 He carried away captive all Jerusalem, all the princes, and all the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained except the poorest people of the land. 15 And he carried away to Babylon Jehoiachin, and the king’s mother, the king’s wives, his officers, and the mighty of the land, he carried them into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon.
- The city was under siege for almost the whole 8 years of Jehoiachin’s reign. Then they surrendered.
- Are we not often carried away captive in our thoughts to false and wrong things?
- The only way to know when our thinking is wrong is to know the Word of God.
- If we stack a week’s newspapers on a table beside our Bible, or compare the Bible to the amount of other information we allow into our minds in a week, we can clearly see that God is not asking too much for us to learn His Word.
- 1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
16 The king of Babylon took captive to Babylon all the men of valor, seven thousand, and a thousand craftsmen and smiths, all that were strong and fit for war. 17 And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah, his father’s brother, king in his place, and changed his name to Zedekiah. 18 Zedekiah was 21 years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. 19 He did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. 20 It came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah through the anger of the LORD, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon until he had cast them out from his presence,.
- Mattaniah was Jehoiachin’s brother, not Nebuchadnezzar’s brother.
- Jehoahaz was also the son of this Hamutal (2 Kings 23:31).
- God is the source of all life.
- His people were supposed to be giving His light of life to the world.
- Instead, they went deeper into evil than the nations around them
- False gods are powered by devils, God’s enemies (1 Corinthians 10:20).
- They lead to eternal death.
- God wants only to bless.
- The choice is ours.
- Ephesians 3:20 Now to him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us…
- Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that is what he will reap.
2 Kings 25
God blessed the poor with another chance
1 And in the ninth year of his reign, in
the tenth month in the tenth day of the month, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon came against Jerusalem, he, and all his army, and camped against it; and they built forts against it surrounding it. 2
And the city was besieged until the eleventh year of king Zedekiah. 3 On the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no food for the people of the land. 4 The
city was broken up and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which is by the king’s garden: (now the Chaldeans were against the city surrounding it:) and the king
went down the road toward the plain. 5 The army of the Chaldeans chased after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army scattered from him. 6 So they took the king, and
brought him up to Riblah to the king of Babylon; and he passed sentence on him. 7 They killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, then gouged out Zedekiah’s eyes, bound him with bronze shackles,
and carried him to Babylon.
- These people reaped what they sowed.
- They did not seek God or listen to His words.
- They caused a spiritual famine that was naturally followed by a physical famine because God blesses with rain where people worship Him.
- Judges 5:8 They chose new gods; then was war in the gates:
- Zechariah 14:17 whoever will not come up of all the families of the earth to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, on them will be no rain.
8 In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzar-adan, captain of the guard/chief executioner, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem: 9 He burned with fire the house of the LORD, the king’s house, all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man’s house he burned with fire. 10 And all the army of the Chaldeans that were with the captain of the guard, broke down the walls around Jerusalem. 11 Now Nebuzar-adan, the captain of the guard, carried away the rest of the people that were left in the city, and the fugitives that fell away to the king of Babylon, with the remnant of the multitude.
- God warned the people when He gave the law to Moses on Mt. Sinai that if they obeyed they would be blessed in the land.
- If they disobeyed they would be cast out of the land.
- God warned them through prophets for over 800 years.
- Deuteronomy 27-30 details the content of God’s warnings.
- Deuteronomy 30:1 when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse that I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God has driven you, 2 And return to the LORD your God, and obey his voice according to all that I command you this day, you and your children, with all your heart, and with all your soul; 3 then the LORD your God will turn your captivity, have compassion on you, and will return and gather you from all the nations where the LORD your God has scattered you.
12 But the captain of the guard left the poor of the land to be vinedressers and farmers.
- The poor are always oppressed and abused by bad leadership.
- That bad leadership had been taken captive and their mansions burned.
- These people left behind had another chance to live blessed and peaceful lives in their own land.
- Ezekiel 34:1 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say to them, The LORD God says this to the shepherds; Cries of grief to the shepherds of Israel that feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 You eat the fat, and you clothe yourselves with the wool, you kill those that are fed: but you do not feed the flock. 4 You have not strengthened the diseased, you have not healed the sick, you have not bound up the broken, you have not gathered those driven away, you have not sought the lost; but you have ruled them with force and cruelty.
13 The Chaldeans broke in pieces the pillars of brass that were in the house of the LORD, the bases, and the bronze sea that was in the house of the LORD, and carried the bronze to Babylon. 14 They took away the pots, shovels, snuffers, spoons, and all bronze utensils with which they ministered, 15 and the captain of the guard/chief executioner took away the fire pans, the bowls, all the things that were of gold, and all the things of silver. 16 The two pillars, the one sea, and the bases that Solomon had made for the house of the LORD; the bronze of all these vessels was without weight. 17 Each of the pillars was 27 feet tall. The bronze capital on top of each pillar was 7 1/2 feet high and was decorated with a network of bronze pomegranates all the way around. 18 And the captain of the guard took away Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the second priest, and the three doorkeepers: 19 And out of the city he took an officer that was set over the men of war, five men that were in the king’s presence that were found in the city, the main scribe of the army who mustered the people of the land, and 60 men of the people of the land that were found in the city: 20 Nebuzar-adan captain of the guard took these, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah: 21 And the king of Babylon struck them, and killed them at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was carried away out of their land.
- The men who might rebel or lead a rebellion were removed.
22 And as for the people that remained in the land of Judah whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had left, he made Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, their ruler. 23 And when all the captains of the armies, they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah governor, they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah, Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, Johanan the son of Careah, Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah the son of a Maachathite, they and their men. 24 And Gedaliah swore to them and to their men and said to them, Do not fear to be the servants of the Chaldeans: dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon; and it will be well with you.
- God wants it to be well with us.
- For many years God had been telling the nations to submit to the king of Babylon.
- If they had obeyed, none of this would have happened.
- God had made Nebuchadnezzar the king of the whole world.
- Submission to him was for their good.
- Deuteronomy 4:40 You are to keep his statutes, and his commandments, which I command you this day, that it may go well with you, and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days on the land/earth that the LORD your God gives you, forever.
25 But in the seventh month, Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the seed royal, came with ten men, and struck down Gedaliah and the Jews and Chaldeans that were with him; and he died at Mizpah. 26 And all the people, both small and great, and the captains of the armies, got up, and went to Egypt: for they were afraid of the Chaldeans.
- Jeremiah 40, 41 describe in detail what happened to the poor of the land who were allowed to remain.
27 And in the 37th year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the 27th day of the month, Evil-merodach, king of Babylon, in the year that he began to reign, lifted up the head of Jehoiachin, king of Judah, out of prison; 28 He spoke good things to him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon; 29 And changed his prison clothing: and he ate food continually before him all the days of his life. 30 His allowance was a continual allowance given him by the king, a daily rate for every day, all the days of his life.
- He ate at the king’s table.
- Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
- Romans 11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.
SUMMARY: 2 Kings 23-25
- The LORD'S word inspires right action
- God alone is true and enduring fulfillment
- He remembers the victims
- He would not pardon
- He blessed the poor with another chance to obey and be blessed in their own land