23:31 – Jehoahaz – son of Josiah. He reigned for 3 months (609 BC) over Judah and did evil in the sight of the LORD. He surrendered to Pharaoh Neco and was taken to Egypt in chains and Neco placed another of Josiah’s sons (Eliakim/Jehoiakim) on the throne of Judah in order to collect his levies against Judah.
23:34 – Eliakim (Jehoiakim) – son of Josiah. He reigned for 11 years (609-598 BC) over Judah and did evil in the sight of the LORD. Pharaoh Neco placed him on the throne in place of his brother Jehoahaz and changed his throne name from Eliakim to Jehoiakim. Jehoiakim paid large levies to Egypt by taxing the leadership of Judah. Jeremiah tells us Jehoiakim also did many oppressive and wicked things to raise money during difficult economic times for building himself a new palace (Jer.22:13-17), threatened and killed true prophets (Jer.26:1-24), and rejected the prophetic word of the LORD best demonstrated by burning a scroll from Jeremiah (Jer.30:20-26). Jeremiah also prophesied as judgment that Jehoiakim would have “the burial of a donkey” (Jer.22:19). Jehoiakim changed allegiance in 605BC from Egypt to Babylon because of a major defeat of the Egyptians by Babylon at Carchemish and in order to placate Babylon who had already taken some exiles from Judah (including Daniel and his friends – Dan.1:1-5). Three years later he rebelled and Babylon enlisted Syria, Ammon and Moab to oppose Judah. He then died and Jehoiachin his son took the throne.
24:2, 4 – What does it mean that “the LORD sent” oppressors against Judah and “was not willing to forgive”?
24:8 – Jehoiachin – son of Jehoiakim. He reigned for 3 months (598-597BC) and 11 days (2 Chron.36:9) over Judah and did evil in the sight of the LORD. Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon threatened the destruction of Jerusalem and so Jehoiachin surrendered and was taken into exile to Babylon along with all his officials, all the treasuries and articles of the Temple of the LORD, and all the soldiers and artisans of Jerusalem (including Ezekiel – Eze.1:1-3). Nebuchadnezzar made Jehoiachin’s uncle Mattaniah king in his place and changed Mattaniah’s throne name to Zedekiah.
24:18 – Zedekiah – son of Josiah. He reigned for 11 years (597-587BC) over Judah and did evil in the sight of the LORD. Jeremiah records that Zedekiah wanted the LORD to deliver Jerusalem from the Babylonians, but was unwilling to worship the LORD (Jer.21:1-1), heard the word of the LORD through prophetic warnings, but would not obey that word (Jer.34:1-22). Zedekiah was convinced by Egypt to rebel against Babylon. This was specifically opposed to the word of the LORD (Jer.27:1-11), but he preferred to listen to the false prophets who spoke of blessing and victory (Jer.5:12; 14:13). Jeremiah was sent by the LORD to make one final plea to Zedekiah to surrender to Babylon and avoid further destruction for Jerusalem, but Zedekiah refused (Jer.38:14-38). In Zedekiah’s 9th year (589 or 588) he was besieged by Babylon and held out for over a year before the food in Jerusalem ran out. Shortly thereafter Babylon breached the walls and Zedekiah fled with his soldiers, but was captured. He was then forced to watch his sons slaughtered in front of him and then his eyes were gouged out and he was taken into exile in chains to Babylon. Afterwards Nebuchadnezzar sent his commander to Jerusalem where he burned down every building of importance including particularly the Temple of the LORD and the king’s palace. Then he carried off everything of value from the Temple and executed the remaining leading officials (religious, military and political) and tore down the walls of the city. Jeremiah was surprisingly spared the killing (Jer.40:1-6).
24:20 – Who was against Judah? Could Judah have possibly defeated the vastly superior military of Babylon? Why couldn’t Judah win?
25:21 – Was it surprising that Judah went into exile? (Dt.28:15-68; 2 Kings 21:10-15; 22:15-20; also see 2 Chron.36:14-16)
25:22 – Gedaliah (a prominent man of Judah) was made governor of Judah by Babylon. He counseled the few remaining leaders to settle down and wait. However, seven months later, Ishmael, one of the leaders, assassinated him and also killed the Babylonian representatives. Ishmael then fled to Egypt because of the influence of Ammon (Jer.40:13-14) taking Jeremiah with them against Jeremiah’s wishes (Jer.42-43).
25:27 – Thirty-seven years into Jehoiachin’s imprisonment and exile he was suddenly favored by the new king of Babylon and released from prison. From then on he was cared for by Evil-Merodach king of Babylon.
25:27-30 – Why does this book end this way? It offers Judah hope and reminds them of the Davidic covenant (Dt.30:1-10; 2 Sam.7:1-17; 1 Kings 8:46-53). Zerubbabel the grandson of Jehoiachin eventually was made governor of Judah (Haggai 1:1). Also, the promise of a king to sit on the throne of David forever is found to be fulfilled in the coming of Jesus (see the genealogy of Matt.1:1-17).