Read II Chronicles 34 -- 36
One of the highest honors ever attributed to a king was given to Josiah, who 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, the groves (of Ashtaroth), and the carved images, and the molten images. They broke down the altars of Baalim . . . and he cleansed Judah and Jerusalem . . . to repair the House (Temple) of the Lord . . . . Then 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 (II Chronicles 34:2-5,8,29-30; 35:1,18).
But the last four kings of Judah -- Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah -- were all evil, and led the nation to its disastrous end. They 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 (II Kings 25:3). The horrors of the starving defenders of Jerusalem are recorded in Lamentations 2:19; 4:3-10 and Ezekiel 5:10.
Nebuchadnezzar's soldiers eventually broke through the north wall and mercilessly butchered both young and old (II Chronicles 36:17-18; II 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 (II Chronicles 36:19).
Those who had escaped the massacre were driven off as slaves to become exiles in a foreign land (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 love for, and His covenants with, His people, the Lord made a precious promise to the Jewish people that is fast approaching fulfillment. They will soon 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 Sion 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).
Christ Revealed: Through the messengers of God who were rejected by the people (II Chronicles 36:15-16; compare Isaiah 53:3; Mark 9:12).
Word Studies: 35:8 small cattle means sheep; 35:13 sod means boiled; 36:3 put him down means deposed him; condemned means taxed; fined; 36:10 brother means uncle; 36:15 rising up betimes means never ceased.
Government Officials: Rep. Steve Horn (CA) and Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA) · Pray for Dr. M.A. Thomas, President of Hopegivers International -- Ministries of Emmanuel, Kota, North India; Hindi and Malayalam Coordinator for Bible Pathway · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. John A. Hash · Country: Kirabati (86,000) 3 islands in southwestern Pacific · Major languages: English and Gilbutese · Religious freedom · 52% Roman Catholic; 44% Protestant; 2% Baha'i · Prayer Suggestion: Pray persistently (Isaiah 62:6).
Optional Reading: II Corinthians 2
Memory Verse for the Week: II Corinthians 6:17