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The Fall of Judah and Jerusalem

Updated: Feb 3

Many things in the Holy Bible are a warning to us about the things that we should not do when you are a child of God. God loves us, and just like a parent, He corrects us when we are in the wrong. One example is the Babylonian capture of Judah and Jerusalem. This was a long time coming, and you can find information about their capture, and their return in the following sections of the Holy Bible:

  • 2 Kings 21-25

  • 2 Chronicles 33-36

  • Ezra

  • Jeremiah

  • Esther

  • Nehemiah

  • Ezekiel

  • Daniel

Over the next few weeks, I will be reviewing the Babylonian capture of Jerusalem and Judah, the return to their land, and the rebuilding of the temple. This is a critical time in the Holy Bible, if it were not, it would not be recorded in all the books that I mentioned above.

The Evil Ways of Manasseh and Amon

Manasseh was the king in Jerusalem, and he became king when he was twelve years old and reigned for fifty-five years. According to 2 Kings 21, Manasseh did evil things in the sight of the Lord including the following:

  1. Rebuilt the high places that his father, Hezekiah, had destroyed

  2. Built altars for Baal

  3. Made a wooden image of Canaanite goddess

  4. Worshipped and served the Assyrian gods

  5. Built altars of the Assyrian gods in the courts of the house of the Lord

  6. Passed his son through fire (alive)

  7. Practiced soothsaying (fortune telling) and witchcraft

  8. Consulted spirits and mediums

  9. Set a carved image that he made of Asherah (Canaanite goddess) in the house of the Lord

  10. Shed the blood of innocent people

  11. Seduced Judah to do the same evil things he practiced

This completely went against the laws of Moses, and it provoked the fierce anger of the Lord. Through His prophets God warned Manasseh:

Behold, I am bringing such calamity upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whoever hears of it, both his ears will tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line of Samaria and the plummet of the house of Ahab; I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. So, I will forsake the remnant of My inheritance and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become victims of plunder to all their enemies, because they have done evil in My sight, and have provoked Me to anger since the day their fathers came out of Egypt, even to this day. (2 Kings 21: 12-15)

In the book of Jeremiah, he warned the people of Judah and Jerusalem of the prophecies that God gave him, and that the king of Babylon Nebuchadnezzar was going to seize Judah and Jerusalem. In Chapter 16, God tells Jeremiah that when the people ask him about what is their sin that stirred God’s anger, Jeremiah is to tell them, “Because your fathers have forsaken Me,” and “they have walked after other gods and have served them and worshipped them and have forsaken Me and not kept My law.” God also tells Jeremiah to say that “you have done worse than your fathers, for behold, each one follows the dictates of his own evil heart, so that no one listens to Me.” Sadly, when Manasseh dies, and his son Amon takes over, he also performs evil things during his reign.

In Chapter 24 of the book of Jeremiah, we are told of an image that Jeremiah was given of two baskets full of figs set before the Lord’s temple. One of the baskets was filled with good figs, and the second was filled with rotten figs. God said that “Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge those who are carried away captive from Judah, whom I have sent out of this place for their own good, in the land of the Chaldeans.” (Jeremiah 24:6). God also told Jeremiah that He will let them return to Judah and will give them a heart to know God.

Figs grow in southeast asia and the Mediterranian regions. Cultivated for its fruit, it is well known that figs have bee enjoyed since ancient times. Photo by Tijan Drndarski on unsplash.

The Capture of Jerusalem and Judah

In the ninth year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, the king and his army encamped around Jerusalem and built a seize wall around it. The famine in Jerusalem became so severe during this time that in its fourth month the people within the city’s walls had nothing to eat. The Chaldeans broke through the city’s wall and the king of Judah, Zedekiah and his men fled to the plains of Jericho, but the Chaldeans pursued them. They killed Zedekiah’s sons before him and bound him and brought him to Babylon. The Chaldeans took other people with them and left the poor to be vinedressers. Over the course of sixteen years, Nebuchadnezzar took 4,600 captives from Jerusalem and Judah to Babylon. They also took bronze and other valuables out of the temple of the Lord.

But the Chaldeans gloated over their victory, and God was angered by this. Through the prophet Jeremiah, the Chaldeans are warned of His pending wrath:

I have laid a snare for you; You have indeed been trapped, O Babylon, And you were not aware; You have been found and also caught, Because you have contended against the Lord. The Lord has opened His armory, And has brought out the weapons of His indignation; For this is the work of the Lord God of hosts In the land of the Chaldeans. Jeremiah 50:24-25

Lessons Learned

Prophets warned the kingdom of Judah of the pending captivity by Babylon. Yet, they did not listen and did not turn from their ways. In addition, because the Chaldeans did not humble themselves, God’s hand would come against the very people used to discipline His people, and we will explore this in next week’s article.

For now, I would like you to take a moment and reflect on the things I mentioned here. Why? Because the Holy Bible is filled with things not to do, and it is time to check in yourself to God. I can tell you that I am not perfect, and I get things wrong too. It is also time for me to check in with God.

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