Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, by John Nelson Darby, [1857-62], at sacred-texts.com
The following commentary covers Chapters 24 and 25.
The kings of Israel had been the fatal examples of a course which had led Judah and all Israel to their ruin (see Kg2 16:3). The pious Jehoshaphat's alliance with Ahab was the origin of all this, for evil bears fruit which continues long to reproduce itself. Alas! alas! what is man when he turns aside from Jehovah's ways, from the narrow and straight path of God's word and will, from the path of faith-the true path of an obedient spirit?
The history which we have been going over has given us an account of the Assyrian's connection with the people of God. He was a cedar of Lebanon; but he is cut down. Pharaoh thought, for a moment, of making the empire his own; he sought to exalt himself that he might rule over the trees of the forest. Judah, brought out in former days with a high hand by the power of God from Pharaoh's country, is subject to him. But, whatever Pharaoh's pretensions may be, this is not the purpose of God. If God writes "Lo-ammi "on His people, it is Babylon which is to begin the times of the Gentiles [See Note #1]. Pharaoh returns into his own country, and Jehoiakim, powerless and without God, comes under the dominion of Nebuchadnezzar [See Note #2]. We need not go into the details. His son, as wicked as himself, rebels against Nebuchadnezzar; for Judah, the son of the Most High, was little used to bondage; but this heifer also must bend its neck to the yoke (Hos 10:11), and Jehoiachin is carried captive to Babylon. The kingdom and the temple still exist; but Zedekiah, having broken the oath which he had made in the name of Jehovah [See Note #3], and, allowing himself to be governed by the princes, persists in his rebellion and is taken prisoner. His sons having been slain before his eyes, and himself deprived of sight, he is carried away to Babylon. The temple is burnt; the walls of Jerusalem are broken down; the seat of Jehovah's throne is trodden under foot of the Gentiles. Sorrowful result of His having entrusted His glory to men among whom He had placed His throne! Sorrowful, thrice sorrowful, conduct of man-of that generation whom God had so honoured! On the other hand, God will take occasion from it to manifest that infinite goodness, which, in sovereign grace, will re-establish the very thing that man has cast under foot to the profane.
The prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel must be read to have the complete history, and the internal history of the spirit of the people, and that of the king; the history at once of the condition which drew down the judgment, and of the patience of God, who, even until the very taking of the city, continued to. send them most affecting calls to repentance-alas! in vain; and the times of the Gentiles began. The reader who would thoroughly understand the events of all this history, the marvellous patience of God, and the way in which He raised up faithful kings, in order that He might bless, should read the prophets Hosea, Amos, Jeremiah, and certain chapters of Isaiah, which speak to the people in the name of Jehovah and tell them of their true condition.
As a figure, this is an important principle; for Egypt is the state of nature, out of which the assembly is brought; Babylon is the corruption and worldliness into which she falls.
How sorrowful is this part of the history, in which the only question is, whether Egypt or Babylon is to possess the land of God's people, the land of promise! It being no longer a doubtful point whether Israel shall continue to possess it, it must become a prey to one or the other of these hostile and unbelieving powers. Alas! Israel was unbelieving with more light than the others, who did but take advantage of the position and the strength which the unbelief of Israel gave them, and acknowledged in them.
This filled up the measure of sin. We shall draw the reader's attention to this when considering the prophecy of Ezekiel, who dwells upon it. By making use of an oath in Jehovah's name in the hope of preventing revolt, Nebuchadnezzar shewed more respect for that name than Zedekiah did, who despised such an oath. God permitted thus final evidence of iniquity. Zedekiah might have remained a spreading vine of low stature. One who was above all, alone knew how to render to Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.