Day 191: The Babylonian Exile
2 Kings 25:1-21 Zedekiah foolishly rebelled against Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar laid siege once again to Jerusalem, causing a severe famine in the city. The Babylonians finally entered the city as Zedekiah and his men fled in the other direction, only to be caught by the Chaldean army. The Babylonians and Chaldeans razed the entire city, including the Temple; they took away more of its valuables and left only a few families to work in the fields. The destruction of the Temple, which was symbolic of God’s presence among his people, was a powerful sign of God’s punishment because of Israel’s infidelity to the covenant.
Ch 25:22-29 Gedaliah was made Governor of Judah but was soon assassinated. In Babylon a new king, Merodach, issued a pardon to the imprisoned Jehoiachin of Judah and installed him as a member of his court. Nevertheless, he never lost sight of the fact that he was the rightful King of Judah, whose survival continued the Davidic dynasty, lending hope to the dispersed people of Israel and giving them a sign that God intended to keep his promises to David.
2 Chronicles 36:1-23 The last three kings were placed on the throne not by God but by Judah’s conquerors, first by the Egyptian Neco and the next two by the Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar. When the Babylonians exiled all but the poorest people of Judah, they pillaged the cities and razed the Temple.
Ch 36:21 In his love for us, the Lord indicates what is best for us. God established the Sabbath reset because he “rested” on the seventh day of creation. Work is an essential good as a means to earn a modest living for oneself and one’s family-and as a way of contributing to the common good-but neither work itself nor the disordered love of money should be permitted to interfere with our need for rest, the enjoyment of family life, and spiritual renewal. (CCC 2172)
Proverbs 9:1-6 These verses liken wisdom to a banquet that gives joy and happiness. Wisdom invites the reader to a metaphorical banquet in which those who receive her wisdom consume and assimilate it. The seven pillars probably refer to the seven sets of proverbs identified in this book, and at the same time the number seven symbolizes perfection. The analogy of the bread and the wine that represent the food of wisdom prefigure the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ, who is the incarnate Wisdom of God. (CCC 1391, 1402)
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
Key Event 47: Judah Falls to Babylon (2 Kings 25:1-30)
Babylon invades the Southern Kingdom of Judah and carries the people off into exile in three successive waves: some of the leading people in 605 and 597 BC and then a much larger group in 587 BC. The exile brings the Davidic monarchy to an end.
Key Event 48: First Temple Destroyed (2 Kings 25:8-17)
When the Babylonians defeat Judah once and for all, they destroy the capital city of Jerusalem and burn the Temple to the ground. In exile, the people need to persevere in fidelity to God without a Temple or a functioning priesthood.
This is the last day of 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles!
So here we have it
This is the critical moment
There have been so many critical moments that we have listened to, that we have heard of in this whole Bible in a Year for these last 191 days
The critical moments of finding themselves in Egypt and then slaves
The critical moments of being delivered from slavery by the Hand of the Lord God Himself
These miracles God had done against the Egyptians to set them free from Pharaoh and slavery
How God led them through the wilderness into the Promised Land
God let them by Moses and by Joshua
God gave them good judges and bad judges
God blessed and anointed Samuel to be able to anoint the first King Saul and then King David
We saw all of these ways that God continues to call the people to HIMSELF and to give them this BLESSED LAND
Here with the conclusion of 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles, they are LEAVING THEIR LAND and being brought to Babylon
The Kingdom of the North, the TEN TRIBES are GONE
They will be restored in the AGE OF THE CHURCH
The Southern Kingdom, Judah and Benjamin are in EXILE, they are MISPLACED
The army of the Chaldeans captured King Zedekiah and brought him up to the King of Babylon and slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes and then PUT OUT HIS EYES
The last thing that Zedekiah saw was the DEATH OF HIS CHILDREN
This is a HORRIBLE situation
But it fulfills this promise that Ezekiel (we will read this soon) had said in Ezekiel Ch 12:13, “And I will spread my net over him, and he shall be taken in my snare; and I will bring him to Babylon in the land of the Chaldeans, yet he shall not see it; and he shall die there.”
So King Nebuchadnezzar took King Zedekiah, bound him, and brought him to Babylon, just like Ezekiel says
King Zedekiah didn’t see this happen but he did die there
There are two prominent people left in Judah
Gedaliah is made the governor of Judah
Jeremiah is also there but we don’t know that yet unless we have already read Jeremiah Ch 39 where he notes that he will stay with the Chosen People in Judah, amongst the poor
2 Chronicles ends with a WORD OF HOPE
Remember, the last book written in the Old Testament was Chronicles
2 Chronicles 36:20- 21, “He took into exile in Babylon those who had escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and to his sons until the establishment of Persia, to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All the days that it lay desolate it kept sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.”
Jeremiah had noted that the land is going to recover its lost sabbaths, what are you doing by turning away from the Lord?
Remember how Joel said this?
Remember how Amos said this as well?
You cannot wait for feast days to be over
You cannot wait for sabbath days to be over so that you can go back to your work
So here is the spiritual interpretation that the Chronicler gives: The Lord is recovering the lost sabbaths of the land that you were not willing to give God that sabbath day, that rest, that worship
So God is going to EXILE you away from the land
The land will have to rest
Very few people will be living there, the EXILED people will not be living there
And therefore the land will recover its lost sabbaths
BUT NOT FOREVER
This is the INCREDIBLE GOOD NEWS
This is the INCREDIBLE PIECE OF HOPE
GOD IS GOING TO BRING YOU BACK
That is the last verses of Ch 36 in 2 Chronicles
King Cyrus of Persia makes a decree in 2 Chronicles 36:23, “The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the Lord his God be with him. Let him go up.”
This POWERFUL WORD of Cyrus, that he prophesied about by Isaiah
Before Cyrus even EXISTED, Isaiah had said that there will be a king who will send the people BACK TO JERUSALEM to build a Temple, and REBUILD THE CITY
WHOEVER IS AMONG YOU OF ALL HIS PEOPLE MAY THE LORD HIS GOD BE WITH HIM AND LET HIM GO UP
Tomorrow we begin walking with the PROPHETS
The prophets have so much to say to the People of Israel
The prophets have so much to say to the Jewish people
The prophets have so much to say TO US TODAY
For the next number of days, we will be journeying with the prophets
DOWNLOAD THE BIBLE IN A YEAR READING PLAN at www.ascensionpress.com/bibleinayear
That way, you will know what’s coming
We will also have the Book of Tobit
For those of you have never read Tobit, it is a GREAT BOOK and VERY INTERESTING
And the major prophets as well
We are starting off with Isaiah and Tobit as well as continuing with Proverbs
LET’S KEEP GOING
THE STORY IS NOT OVER
We will be doubling back to hear WHAT WAS GOD SAYING THIS WHOLE TIME?
What was God saying to get the attention of His People to win them back, to win back their hearts this whole time that they were turning their hearts from Him?
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and as we come to a conclusion of this portion of the story, we know that, gosh Lord, when all things seem dark, especially in our lives, we recognize that they are truly dark, they can be real dark, there is real death, there is real suffering, there is real destruction, and yet we keep walking. Lord God, you have given us the ability to continue to move and act in this world, to continue to move and act in this world, to continue to cry out to you, to call out to you with our broken hearts, to cry out to you with our broken lives. Even in the midst of darkness, you give us the power to walk. Help us, Lord God. Help us to walk with hope, knowing that darkness is not dark for you, the end is not the end for you. Even the grave is not the end for you, because we know that you have conquered sin. You have conquered suffering. You have conquered death, by your Death and your Resurrection. So Lord God, like you will bring resurrection to the people of Israel, although it will take so long, bring resurrection to our lives. Bring healing to our lives. Restore us. Restore us to our home. Restore us to your heart. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”