The following commentary covers Chapters 24 and 25.
kings of Israel had been the fatal examples of a course
which had led Judah and all Israel to their ruin (see
chap. 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 faiththe true path of an obedient spirit?
pretensions and God's purposes: Jerusalem trodden
underfoot of the Gentiles
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 . Pharaoh returns into his own country, and Jehoiakim,
powerless and without God, comes under the dominion of
Nebuchadnezzar . 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 (Hosea 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 , 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 manof 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.
reveal the condition drawing down judgment and the
patience of God
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 repentancealas!
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.