The Babylonian Captivity with Map
The Destruction of Jerusalem
Overview of Nebuchadnezzar's Campaign
Revival came during
the reign of Hezekiah but it was immediately swept aside by his son Manasseh,
who was Judah's most wicked and longest ruling king. The nation never fully
recovered from the effects of this evil king. Manasseh's son Amon continued in
his father's depravity, but he soon was murdered. His successor Josiah (about
640-609 B.C.) restored traditional covenant religion, which was based on the
Book of the Law newly discovered in a Temple storeroom (2 Chr. 34:14). Many did
not follow Josiah's example, however, and the prophet Zephaniah foretold
disaster for the nation. By 610 B.C. the Assyrian Empire had collapsed under
Babylonian attacks, and Babylon prepared to march against Egypt, which had been
helping the Assyrians. Against Jeremiah's advice, Josiah intervened and was
killed at Megiddo.
After Josiah there
was no hope for Judah, the last 3 kings were all evil. The Babylonians swept
down upon Jerusalem in 597 B.C. and captured it. A second attack led to
Jerusalem's second defeat in 586 B.C. Captives from both campaigns were taken to
Babylonia to mark the captivity of the Southern Kingdom.
The Final Invasion
Around 605 B.C.
Nineveh and Assyria had fallen. It was just Egypt and Babylon who were seeking
world supremacy. The young brilliant new king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, went
out and defeated the Egyptians at Carchemish. He marched on to Judah, during
Jehoiakim's reign, and took thousands of Hebrews back to Babylon (including
Daniel, who became one of the greatest prophets). Nebuchadnezzar made two more
attacks when he heard of rebellion in Judah. Each time he took captives
(including Ezekiel the prophet). Only a remnant of the weakest, poorest, and
least threatening Jews remained. King Nebuchadnezzar set up a puppet king
(Zedekiah) of David's line to sit on the throne of Judah and made him swear an
oath of allegiance (2 Chr 36:10-12).
Zedekiah was as
faithless as the rest of the evil kings of Judah. He then rebelled and allied
with other enemies. When Nebuchadnezzar heard he came back for the last time
(586 B.C.) to reduce Jerusalem to rubble and send the Temple up in flames.
Zedekiah was forced to witness the slaughter of his sons, then his eyes were put
out, and he himself was carried off to Babylon. The Kingdom was over and the
"times of the gentiles" had begun.
2 Kin 24:13-14 "And he carried out from there all the treasures of the house of
the LORD and the treasures of the king's house, and he cut in pieces all the
articles of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the
LORD, as the LORD had said. Also he carried into captivity all Jerusalem: all
the captains 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."
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