2 Chronicles 36

Jehoahaz rules Judah as king

1 The people of Judah chose Josiah's son, Jehoahaz, to become king in Jerusalem after his father. 2 Jehoahaz was 23 years old when he became king. He ruled as king in Jerusalem for three months.

3 The king of Egypt stopped Jehoahaz from ruling in Jerusalem. He made Judah pay tax to him. It was 3,400 kilograms of silver and 34 kilograms of gold. 4 The king of Egypt chose Eliakim, Jehoahaz's brother, to rule as king over Judah and Jerusalem. He changed Eliakim's name to Jehoiakim. But Necho took Jehoiakim's brother Jehoahaz away to Egypt.

5 Jehoiakim was 25 years old when he became king. He ruled for 11 years as king in Jerusalem. He did things that the Lord his God said were evil. 6 While he was king, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked Judah. He took hold of King Jehoiakim. He tied bronze chains around him and he took him away to Babylon. 7 King Nebuchadnezzar took some valuable things from the Lord's temple. He took them to Babylon and he put them in his palace there.

36:5Jehoiakim ruled from about 609 to 598 BC.

8 The other things that happened while Jehoiakim was king are written in a book. The book is called ‘The history of the kings of Israel and Judah’. It tells about the disgusting sins that he was guilty of.

Jehoiakim's son Jehoiachin became king after him.

Jehoiachin rules Judah as king

9 Jehoiachin was 18 years old when he became king. He ruled as king in Jerusalem for three months and ten days. He did things that the Lord said were evil. 10 In the spring, King Nebuchadnezzar sent his soldiers to bring Jehoiachin to Babylon. They also took to Babylon some valuable things from the Lord's temple. Nebuchadnezzar chose Jehoiachin's relative, Zedekiah, to be king of Judah and Jerusalem.

Zedekiah rules Judah as king

11 Zedekiah was 21 years old when he became king. He ruled in Jerusalem for 11 years. 12 He did things that the Lord said were evil. The prophet Jeremiah spoke the Lord's message to Zedekiah. But Zedekiah was too proud to listen to him. 13 King Nebuchadnezzar had made Zedekiah promise in God's name that he would be faithful to Nebuchadnezzar. But Zedekiah turned against Nebuchadnezzar. He was very proud and he refused to change. He refused to turn back to the Lord, Israel's God. 14 All the leaders of the priests and the people also turned away from the Lord more and more. They did the same disgusting sins that the people in other nations did. They made the Lord's temple an unclean place. That was the place that the Lord himself had chosen as his special home in Jerusalem.

36:11Zedekiah was a son of Josiah. He became king at the age of 21 in about 597 BC. He was the last of the 20 rulers of the kingdom of Judah.

Babylon's army attacks Jerusalem

15 The Lord sent his servants many times to warn his people. He wanted to be kind to them. He wanted to keep his temple safe. 16 But they laughed at the men that God sent to them. They did not think that his messages were important. They insulted his prophets. Finally, the Lord became very angry with his people. Nothing could stop him from punishing them.

17 Then the Lord sent the king of Babylon to attack them. His soldiers killed Jerusalem's young men in the temple, where they thought that they would be safe. They were not kind to anybody, the young men or women, or even the very old people. God put all the people of Jerusalem under the king of Babylon's power.

36:17Jeremiah 39:1-14 describes how Babylon's army took Jerusalem for themselves. In 587 BC, the soldiers from Babylon broke down the walls of the city.

18 The king took away to Babylon all the things that were in God's temple. He took everything, big things and small things. He took all the valuable things that were in the Lord's temple. He also took the valuable things of the king and his officers. He took them all away to Babylon. 19 Nebuchadnezzar's men destroyed the Lord's temple with fire. They knocked down the walls around Jerusalem. They burned all the important buildings. They destroyed all the valuable things in the city.

20 Nebuchadnezzar took away to Babylon all the people in Jerusalem who were still alive. They worked as slaves for him and for his sons until the kingdom of Persia became powerful. 21 In this way, the Lord's message that his prophet Jeremiah had spoken became true. The land of Judah was empty for 70 years. It was finally able to rest, like the rest on a Sabbath day.

36:21Farmers should have allowed their land to rest every seven years. See Leviticus 25:1-7. If they did not do that, God had promised to send the people away from their land. See Leviticus 26:33-35.

King Cyrus of Persia

22 In the first year that Cyrus, king of Persia, was ruling Babylon, the Lord put a thought in his mind. King Cyrus decided to send a message to everybody who lived in his kingdom. His message would cause what God had already spoken to his prophet Jeremiah to become true. The message was written down and people took it all over Cyrus's kingdom. It said:

36:22In 539 BC, the army of King Cyrus of Persia fought against Babylon's army and won. So Cyrus became king of Babylon. See Ezra 1:1-3.

23 ‘This is what Cyrus, the king of Persia, says:

The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me power over all the kingdoms of the earth. He has said that I must build a temple for him in Jerusalem, the city that is in Judah. Any of God's people who live among you may now return to Jerusalem. I pray that the Lord their God will be with them.’