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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

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Ezekiel 19 is a lament over the downfall of monarchs in Judah, and the desolation and captivity of Judah. It written in poetic form and presented in two parts.
 
The first part (vv. 1-9) speaks of the tragic end of two of Judah’s last kings.  Judah is pictured as a lioness rearing her cubs (v. 2).  The first cub- Jehoahaz took over the throne after the death of his father, Josiah.  He had reigned only for three months when Pharoah Neco II came in 609 B.C. and carried him off in chains to Egypt where he later died in captivity (2 Kings 23:31-34, Jer 22:11-12)).  The second cub was either Jehoiachin who after a brief reign of three months was taken to Babylon  in 597 (2 Kings 24:8–15), or Zedekiah, who had his eyes removed was taken to Babylon bound with bronze shackles in 586 B.C (2 Kings 24:18-25:7).
 
The second part of this chapter (vv. 10-14) mourns the fate of Judah as a nation.  It compares Judah to a luxuriant vine, and her kings as fruitful branches. The vine being “uprooted in fury and thrown to the ground” (v. 12) portrays the devastation of the land and the deportation of its inhabitants to Babylon.  Deportation took place during the reigns of Judah’s last three kings: (1) Jehoiakim rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, who came against him in 605 B.C and took captive the people of Jerusalem among whom were some of “the royal family and the nobility” (Dan. 1:3).  (2) Jehoiachin, son of Jehoiakim, was removed to Babylon in 597 B.C. along with “all the officers and fighting men, and all the craftsmen and artisans-a total of ten thousand” (2 Kings 24:14), and “all the treasures from the Temple of the Lord and from the royal palace” (2 Kings 24:13).  (3) Zedekiah, who succeeded Jehoiachin, was deported to Babylon with the remnant of the people in 586 B.C (2 Kings 24:18-25:7).  This was the final overthrow of Judah. The land became desolate- the city of Jerusalem with its Temple was burned down and the city walls destroyed.  And with the deportation of Zedekiah the Davidic line of kings came to an end.
 
At the time of the writing of Ezekiel, the complete desolation of the land of Judah and the removal of Zedekiah were yet to take place.  Had Zedekiah learned from the mistakes of his predecessors and heeded to the word of God, the city of Jerusalem and the Temple would not have suffered destruction (Jer 38:17).  But his stubborn resistance resulted in the downfall of Judah and the end of the monarchy.  It never pays to persist in sin because the end of it is always destruction.
 

Chawngdinpuii Chawngthu
Spicer Adventist University
India