Bible Book List
Matthew Henry's Commentary – Verses 1–10
Verses 1–10

The destruction of Judah and Jerusalem is here coming on by degrees. God so ordered it to show that he has no pleasure in the ruin of sinners, but had rather they would turn and live, and therefore gives them both time and inducement to repent and waits to be gracious. The history of these reigns was more largely recorded in the last three chapters of the second of Kings. 1. Jehoahaz was set up by the people (2 Chron. 36:1), but in one quarter of a year was deposed by Pharaoh-necho, and carried a prisoner to Egypt, and the land fined for setting him up, 2 Chron. 36:2-4. Of this young prince we hear no more. Had he trodden in the steps of his father’s piety he might have reigned long and prospered; but we are told in the Kings that he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and therefore his triumphing was short and his joy but for a moment. 2. Jehoiakim was set up by the king of Egypt, an old enemy to their land, gave what king he pleased to the kingdom and what name he pleased to the king! 2 Chron. 36:4. He made Eliakim king, and called him Jehoiakim, in token of his authority over him. Jehoiakim did that which was evil (2 Chron. 36:5), nay, we read of the abominations which he did (2 Chron. 36:8); he was very wild and wicked. Idolatries generally go under the name of abominations. We hear no more of the king of Egypt, but the king of Babylon came up against him (2 Chron. 36:6), seized him, and bound him with a design to carry him to Babylon; but, it seems, he either changed his mind, and suffered him to reign as his vassal, or death released the prisoner before he was carried away. However the best and most valuable vessels of the temple were now carried away and made use of in Nebuchadnezzar’s temple in Babylon (2 Chron. 36:7); for, we may suppose, no temple in the world was so richly furnished as that of Jerusalem. The sin of Judah was that they had brought the idols of the heathen into God’s temple; and now their punishment was that the vessels of the temple were carried away to the service of the gods of the nations. If men will profane God’s institutions by their sins, it is just with God to suffer them to be profaned by their enemies. These were the vessels which the false prophets flattered the people with hopes of the return of, Jer. 27:16. But Jeremiah told them that the rest should go after them (Jer. 27:21, 22), and they did so. But, as the carrying away of these vessels to Babylon began the calamity of Jerusalem, so Belshazzar’s daring profanation of them there filled the measure of the iniquity of Babylon; for, when he drank wine in them to the honour of his gods, the handwriting on the wall presented him with his doom, Dan. 5:3-6 In the reference to the book of the Kings concerning this Jehoiakim mention is made of that which was found in him (2 Chron. 36:8), which seems to be meant of the treachery that was found in him towards the king of Babylon; but some of the Jewish writers understand it of certain private marks or signatures found in his dead body, in honour of his idol, such cuttings as God had forbidden, Lev. 19:28. 3. Jehoiachin, or Jeconiah, the son of Jehoiakim, attempted to reign in his stead, and reigned long enough to show his evil inclination; but, after three months and ten days, the king of Babylon sent and fetched him away captive, with more of the goodly vessels of the temple. He is here said to be eight years old, but in Kings he is said to be eighteen when he began to reign, so that this seems to be a mistake of the transcriber, unless we suppose that his father took him at eight years old to join with him in the government, as some think.