On these verses Dr. Blayney has some sensible remarks; I will extract the substance. These verses are not inserted in 2 Kings 25. Are we to conclude from these verses that the whole number of the Jews which Nebuchadnezzar, in all his expeditions, carried away, was no more than four thousand six hundred? This cannot be true; for he carried away more than twice that number at one time and this is expressly said to have been in the eighth year of his reign, 2 Kings 24:12-16. Before that time he had carried off a number of captives from Jerusalem, in the first year of his reign, among whom were Daniel and his companions, Daniel 1:3-6. These are confessedly not noticed here. And as the taking and burning of Jerusalem is in this very chapter said to have been in the fourth and fifth months of the nineteenth year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, those who were carried into captivity at the date of those events cannot possibly be the same with those that are said to be carried away either in the eighteenth or twenty-third year of that prince. Nor, indeed, is it credible that the number carried away at the time that the city was taken, and the whole country reduced, could be so few as eight hundred and thirty-two, (see Jeremiah 52:29;); supposing a mistake in the date of the year, which some are willing to do without sufficient grounds.
Here then we have three deportations, and those the most considerable ones, in the first, in the eighth, and nineteenth years of Nebuchadnezzar, sufficiently distinguished from those in the seventh, eighteenth, and twenty-third years. So that it seems most reasonable to conclude with Abp. Usher, in Chronologia Sacra, that by the latter three the historian meant to point out deportations of a minor kind, not elsewhere noticed in direct terms in Scripture.
The first of these, said to have been in the seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar, was one of those that had been picked up in several parts of Judah by the band of Chaldeans, Syrians, and others, whom the king of Babylon sent against the land previously to his own coming, 2 Kings 24:2.
That in the eighteenth year corresponds with the time when the Chaldean army broke off the siege before Jerusalem, and marched to meet the Egyptian army, at which time they might think it proper to send off the prisoners that were in camp, under a guard to Babylon.
And the last, in the twenty-third year of Nebuchadnezzar, was when that monarch, being engaged in the siege of Tyre, sent off Nebuzaradan against the Moabites, Ammonites, and other neighboring nations, who at the same time carried away the gleanings of Jews that remained in their own land, amounting in all to no more than seven hundred and forty-five.
Josephus speaks of this expedition against the Moabites and Ammonites, which he places in the twenty-third year or Nebuchadnezzar; but mentions nothing done in the land of Israel at that time. Only he says that after the conquest of those nations, Nebuchadnezzar carried his victorious arms against Egypt, which he in some measure reduced, and carried the Jews whom he found there captives to Babylon. But the Egyptian expedition was not till the twenty-seventh year of Jehoiachin's captivity, i.e., the thirty-fifth of Nebuchadnezzar, as may be collected from Ezekiel 29:17; so that those who were carried away in the twenty-third year were not from Egypt, but were, as before observed, the few Jews that remained in the land of Judah.
Seventh year - The suggestion is now generally received, that the word ten has dropped out before seven, and that the deportations mentioned here are all connected with the final war against Zedekiah. The calculation of Nebuchadnezzars reign is different from that used elsewhere, showing that the writer had access to a document not known to the compiler of the Book of Kings. In each date there is a difference of one year. The Septuagint omits Jeremiah 52:28-30.
The number of the exiles carried away is small compared with the 42,360 men who returned Ezra 2:64-65, leaving a large Jewish population behind at Babylon. But a continual drain of people from Judaea was going on, and the 10,000 carried away with Jehoiachin formed the nucleus and center, and gave tone to the whole (see 2 Kings 24:14). When they began to thrive in Babylon, large numbers would emigrate there of their own accord.
A comparison of this chapter with the parallel portion of 2Kings shows that though not free from clerical errors and mistakes of copyists the body of the text is remarkably sound. Many of the differences between the two texts are abbreviations made purposely by the compiler of the Book of Kings; others are the result of negligence; and upon the whole the text of the Book of Kings is inferior to that of the Appendix to the Book of Jeremiah. Bearing in mind, however, that possibly they are not two transcripts of the same text, but the result of an independent use by two different writers of the same original authority, their complete agreement, except in trivial matters and mistakes easy of correction, is a satisfactory proof of the general trust-worthiness of the Masoretic Text in all more important particulars.
The first years of Jehoiakim's reign were filled with warnings of approaching doom. The word of the Lord spoken by the prophets was about to be fulfilled. The Assyrian power to the northward, long supreme, was no longer to rule the nations. Egypt on the south, in whose power the king of Judah was vainly placing his trust, was soon to receive a decided check. All unexpectedly a new world power, the Babylonian Empire, was rising to the eastward and swiftly overshadowing all other nations. PK 422.1
Within a few short years the king of Babylon was to be used as the instrument of God's wrath upon impenitent Judah. Again and again Jerusalem was to be invested and entered by the besieging armies of Nebuchadnezzar. Company after company—at first a few only, but later on thousands and tens of thousands—were to be taken captive to the land of Shinar, there to dwell in enforced exile. Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, Zedekiah—all these Jewish kings were in turn to become vassals of the Babylonian ruler, and all in turn were to rebel. Severer and yet more severe chastisements were to be inflicted upon the rebellious nation, until at last the entire land was to become a desolation, Jerusalem was to be laid waste and burned with fire, the temple that Solomon had built was to be destroyed, and the kingdom of Judah was to fall, never again to occupy its former position among the nations of earth. PK 422.2Read in context »