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Bible Commentaries

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

2 Kings 23



Verses 28-30

3. Josiah"s death23:28-30

The king seems to have preferred Babylon to Assyria in his foreign policy. When Egyptian armies moved up the Mediterranean coast to join Assyria in resisting Babylonian advance westward, Josiah intercepted Pharaoh Neco II (609-595 B.C.) at Megiddo and tried to stop him. Unfortunately for Judah, the Egyptians killed Josiah there in609 B.C. Egypt continued north, united with Assyria, and battled Babylon at Carchemish on the upper Euphrates River. There Babylon defeated the allies and broke the domination of the Assyrian Empire over the ancient Near Eastern world. The Battle of Carchemish in605 B.C. was one of the most important in ancient Near Eastern history for this reason. [Note: See the map "The Babylonian Empire" in Merrill, Kingdom of . . ., p434.]

Josiah was a strong influence for righteousness in his day and a very capable ruler. The success of his far-reaching reforms indicates his ability to overcome much popular opinion that must have opposed his convictions. His influence for good extended even into the fallen territory of Israel. [Note: See the map of his kingdom in Wiseman, p295.] Unfortunately, he died prematurely as a result of his unwise decision to challenge Pharaoh Neco (cf. 2 Chronicles 35:20-27).

Verses 31-35

E. Jehoahaz"s Evil Reign23:31-35

Jehoahaz, whose other name was Shallum, was the middle of Josiah"s three sons, all of whom ruled Judah after Josiah. Jehoahaz was the people"s choice ( 2 Kings 23:31), but he reigned for only three months in609 B.C.

When Pharaoh Neco defeated Josiah at Megiddo ( 2 Kings 23:29), Judah fell under Egyptian control. Neco summoned Josiah"s successor Jehoahaz to meet him at Riblah. This town stood about65 miles north of Damascus in central Aramea. The meeting took place before the battle of Carchemish. Neco found Jehoahaz obstinate, as his father had been, so he imprisoned him and sent him back to Egypt ( 2 Kings 23:34) where he died later ( Jeremiah 22:10-12). Neco also imposed a heavy tax on Judah ( 2 Kings 23:33) and installed Jehoahaz"s older brother Eliakim on Judah"s throne as his puppet. The naming of a person shows superiority over that person. Neco was declaring his sovereignty over Judah"s king by renaming him Jehoiakim.

Verse 36

F. Jehoiakim"s Evil Reign23:36-24:7

Jehoiakim, formerly named Eliakim, reigned as a puppet king for11years (609-598 B.C.). He was a weak ruler who did not stand up for Judah"s interests against her hostile enemies.

In605 B.C. Prince Nebuchadnezzar led the Babylonian army of his father Nabopolassar against the allied forces of Assyria and Egypt and defeated them at Carchemish. This victory, as previously explained, gave Babylon supremacy in the ancient Near East. With Babylon"s victory Egypt"s vassals, including Judah, came under Babylon"s control. Shortly after that event, in the same year that Nabopolassar died, Nebuchadnezzar succeeded him. Nebuchadnezzar then moved south and invaded Judah (605 B.C.). He took some captives to Babylon including Daniel ( Daniel 1:1-3). This was the first of Judah"s three deportations in which the Babylonians took groups of Judahites to Babylon.

Jehoiakim submitted to Nebuchadnezzar for three years but then rebelled. He appealed to Egypt for help unsuccessfully ( 2 Kings 24:1; 2 Kings 24:7). Foreign raiders who sought to take advantage of her weakened condition besieged Judah ( 2 Kings 24:2). The Babylonians then took Jehoiakim to Babylon ( 2 Chronicles 36:6). Later they allowed him to return to Jerusalem where he died ( Jeremiah 22:19).

Jehoiakim did little to postpone God"s judgment on Judah for her previous sins. The prophet Jeremiah despised him for his wickedness ( Jeremiah 22:18-19; Jeremiah 26:20-23; Jeremiah 36).


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

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