Made Zedekiah - king - His name was at first Mattaniah, but the king of Babylon changed it to Zedekiah. See 2 Kings 24:17; (note), and the notes there.
When the year was expired - literally, as in the margin, i. e. at the return of the season for military expeditions. The expedition against Jehoiakim took place probably late in the autumn of one year, that against Jehoiachin early in the spring of the next.
Strictly speaking, Zedekiah was uncle to Jehoiachin, being the youngest of the sons of Josiah (marginal note and reference). He was nearly of the same age with Jehoiachin, and is called here his “brother” (compare Genesis 14:14).
Scorning the unusual privileges granted him, Judah's king willfully followed a way of his own choosing. He violated his word of honor to the Babylonian ruler, and rebelled. This brought him and his kingdom into a very strait place. Against him were sent “bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon,” and he was powerless to prevent the land from being overrun by these marauders. 2 Kings 24:2. Within a few years he closed his disastrous reign in ignominy, rejected of Heaven, unloved by his people, and despised by the rulers of Babylon whose confidence he had betrayed—and all as the result of his fatal mistake in turning from the purpose of God as revealed through His appointed messenger. PK 438.1
Jehoiachin [also known as Jeconiah, and Coniah], the son of Jehoiakim, occupied the throne only three months and ten days, when he surrendered to the Chaldean armies which, because of the rebellion of Judah's ruler, were once more besieging the fated city. On this occasion Nebuchadnezzar “carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king's mother, and the king's wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land,” several thousand in number, together with “craftsmen and smiths a thousand.” With these the king of Babylon took “all the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king's house.” 2 Kings 24:15, 16, 13. PK 438.2
The kingdom of Judah, broken in power and robbed of its strength both in men and in treasure, was nevertheless still permitted to exist as a separate government. At its head Nebuchadnezzar placed Mattaniah, a younger son of Josiah, changing his name to Zedekiah. PK 439.1Read in context »
The unrest caused by the representations of the false prophets brought Zedekiah under suspicion of treason, and only by quick and decisive action on his part was he permitted to continue reigning as a vassal. Opportunity for such action was taken advantage of shortly after the return of the ambassadors from Jerusalem to the surrounding nations, when the king of Judah accompanied Seraiah, “a quiet prince,” on an important mission to Babylon. Jeremiah 51:59. During this visit to the Chaldean court, Zedekiah renewed his oath of allegiance to Nebuchadnezzar. PK 447.1
Through Daniel and others of the Hebrew captives, the Babylonian monarch had been made acquainted with the power and supreme authority of the true God; and when Zedekiah once more solemnly promised to remain loyal, Nebuchadnezzar required him to swear to this promise in the name of the Lord God of Israel. Had Zedekiah respected this renewal of his covenant oath, his loyalty would have had a profound influence on the minds of many who were watching the conduct of those who claimed to reverence the name and to cherish the honor of the God of the Hebrews. PK 447.2
But Judah's king lost sight of his high privilege of bringing honor to the name of the living God. Of Zedekiah it is recorded: “He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the Lord. And he also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the Lord God of Israel.” 2 Chronicles 36:12, 13. PK 447.3Read in context »