Royalty and Ruin


Zedekiah Fails His Last Chance

In the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem.” 2 Kings 25:1. The outlook for Judah was hopeless. “Behold, I am against you,” the Lord Himself declared through Ezekiel. “I will pour out My indignation on you; I will blow against you with the fire of My wrath, and deliver you into the hands of brutal men who are skillful to destroy.” Ezekiel 21:3, 31. RR 161.1

The Egyptians attempted to come to the rescue, and the Chaldeans, in order to keep them back, abandoned their siege for a while. Hope sprang up in Zedekiah’s heart, and he sent a messenger to Jeremiah, asking him to pray to God for the Hebrew nation. RR 161.2

The prophet’s fearful answer was: “Do not deceive yourselves. ... For though you had defeated the whole army of the Chaldeans who fight against you, and there remained only wounded men among them, they would rise up, every man in his tent, and burn the city with fire.” Jeremiah 37:9, 10. The remnant of Judah were to go into captivity and learn through adversity the lessons they had refused to learn under more favorable circumstances. RR 161.3

Among the righteous still in Jerusalem were some who determined to safeguard the sacred ark containing the tablets of stone on which God had written the Ten Commandments, placing it beyond the reach of ruthless hands. With mourning they concealed the ark in a cave. It was hidden from Israel because of their sins and was never to be restored to them. That sacred ark is still hidden. RR 161.4

Now, as the doomed city was about to fall into the hands of the heathen, Jeremiah considered his work done and tried to leave. He was prevented by an officer who reported that he was about to join the Babylonians. The prophet denied the lying charge, but “the princes were angry with Jeremiah, and they struck him and put him in prison.” Verse 15. RR 161.5

The hopes that had sprung up when the armies of Nebuchadnezzar turned to meet the Egyptians were soon dashed to the ground. The military might of Egypt was no more than a broken reed. Inspiration had declared, “I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, but the arms of Pharaoh shall fall down; they shall know that I am the Lord, when I put my sword into the hand of the king of Babylon and he stretches it out against the land of Egypt.” Ezekiel 30:25. RR 161.6