Read 2 Chronicles 34 -- 36
In Today's Reading:
Josiah's reign; Book of the Law found; Josiah celebrates the Passover; Josiah killed in battle; reign and dethronement of Jehoahaz; reigns of Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah; fall of Jerusalem; captivity of Judah; decree of Cyrus to rebuild the Temple.
Verses for Today:
The King sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. . . . and all the people . . . and he read in their ears all the words of the Book of the Covenant that was found in the House of the Lord. . . . Moreover Josiah kept a Passover unto the Lord in Jerusalem. . . . And there was no Passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet (2 Chronicles 34:29-30; 35:1,18).
One of the highest honors ever attributed to a king was given to Josiah that he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father, and [turned aside] neither to the right hand, nor to the left. . . . he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves (of Ashtaroth), and the carved images, and the molten images. And they [broke] down the altars of Baalim. . . . and [he] cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. . . . to repair the House (Temple) of the Lord (2 Chronicles 34:2-5).
No other king is said to have been so whole heartedly devoted to doing the will of God.
Unlike Josiah, the last four kings of Judah -- Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah -- were all evil, and led the nation into the 70-year Babylonian captivity. These kings and all Judah mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words, and misused His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy (36:16). During his reign of 11 years (36:11), Zedekiah (Mattaniah), the youngest son of Josiah, did . . . evil in the sight of the Lord (36:12), and rebelled against Babylon's domination because he thought he had the support of Egypt. This time, the Lord left the Israelites to their ruin. Nebuchadnezzar showed no mercy and surrounded Jerusalem until there was no bread for the people (2 Kings 25:3). The horrors of the starving defenders of Jerusalem are recorded in Lamentations 2:19; 4:3-10 and in Ezekiel 5:10.
Nebuchadnezzar's soldiers eventually broke through the north wall and mercilessly butchered both young and old (2 Chronicles 36:17-18; 2 Kings 25:4-11; Jeremiah 52:5-11). Wholesale destruction followed: They [burned] the House of God, and [broke] down the wall of Jerusalem, and [burned] all the palaces . . . with fire (2 Chronicles 36:19).
Those who had escaped the massacre were driven off as slaves to become exiles in a foreign land according to the Word of the Lord (36:20-21). Zedekiah was forced to watch the execution of all his loved ones, and then his own eyes were gouged out. Once in Babylon, he was cast into a dungeon where he was imprisoned until the day of his death (Jeremiah 52:11).
Because of His great mercy, love for, and covenants with His people, the Lord foretold that they will one day recognize Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah. Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved (when they repent of their sins and recognize that Jesus Christ was crucified and died for their sins): as it is written, There shall come out of (Zion) the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins (Romans 11:25-27; see also Isaiah 59:20).
Through the messengers of God who were rejected by His people (2 Chronicles 36:15-16; compare Isaiah 53:3; Mark 9:12). Jesus came unto His own, and His own received Him not (John 1:11; see also Matthew 21:42; Mark 8:31:10; Luke 9:22:25,20:17).
35:8 small cattle = sheep; 35:13 sod = boiled; 36:3 put him down = deposed him; condemned = taxed; fined; 36:10 brother = uncle; 36:15 rising up betimes = never ceased.
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Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 2
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 119:9