2 Kings

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2 Kings 25 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on 2 Kings 25 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he, and all his host, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it; and they built forts against it round about.

2 And the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.

3 And on the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land.

4 And the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which is by the king’s garden: (now the Chaldees were against the city round about:) and the king went the way toward the plain.

5 And the army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army were scattered from him.

6 So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment upon him.

7 And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon.

In Jeremiah (34:4) God tells Zedekiah that he will die in peace and be buried with his fathers. But this verse and Jer.52:10-11 say that he died a violent death in a foreign land.
Did Zedekiah's eyes see the king of Babylon?
On the violent death of Zedekiah, see Jer. 34:5.
As verse 6 (verse 6) indicates, they brought Zedekiah to the king of Babel. So he saw him with his own eyes. They put out his eyes afterward, not before that.

8 And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzar-adan, captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem:

According to the reading of the author of the SAB, Nebuzaradan was one miracle working guy. In a single day, the 7th of the 5th month (Wednesday, August 24, 4216 JP; or 588 BC), he:
  1. He came unto Jerusalem from Riblah.
  2. He burnt the house of the LORD.
  3. He burnt the king’s house.
  4. He burnt every great man’s house.
  5. He burnt every other house in Jerusalem as well.
  6. He let his army brake down the walls of Jerusalem.
  7. And he carried all the brass to Babylon.
  8. And he took some prisoners as well.
Because that is what the author of the SAB asserts: we find a single date here, so everything that is described in these verses has happened on that single date.
But a more likely reading is that the destruction of Jerusalem took a while. The next verse gives the most important detail of what he did, namely burning the temple. The other verses give more detail on the destruction Nebuzaradan wrought.
The order in which Nebuzaradan did these things is probably not listed here, as the order seems wrong. For example he would have taken out the brass, verse 13, before burning the temple.
We then come the question how the date mentioned in this verse compares to the date mentioned in Jer. 52:12. Some suggest that Nebuzaradan departed Riblah on the 7th, arriving in Jerusalem on the 10th. To me the distance seems too much to travel in three days.
The simplest reading is that Nebuzaradan arrived in Jerusalem on the 7th. He emptied the temple during the next two days. And set fire to the temple on the 10th. So to answer the question of the author of the SAB: the temple burned on the 10th of the 5th month (Saturday, August 27).

9 And he burnt the house of the LORD, and the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man’s house burnt he with fire.

10 And all the army of the Chaldees, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down the walls of Jerusalem round about.

11 Now the rest of the people that were left in the city, and the fugitives that fell away to the king of Babylon, with the remnant of the multitude, did Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard carry away.

12 But the captain of the guard left of the poor of the land to be vinedressers and husbandmen.

13 And the pillars of brass that were in the house of the LORD, and the bases, and the brasen sea that was in the house of the LORD, did the Chaldees break in pieces, and carried the brass of them to Babylon.

14 And the pots, and the shovels, and the snuffers, and the spoons, and all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered, took they away.

15 And the firepans, and the bowls, and such things as were of gold, in gold, and of silver, in silver, the captain of the guard took away.

16 The two pillars, one sea, and the bases which Solomon had made for the house of the LORD; the brass of all these vessels was without weight.

17 The height of the one pillar was eighteen cubits, and the chapiter upon it was brass: and the height of the chapiter three cubits; and the wreathen work, and pomegranates upon the chapiter round about, all of brass: and like unto these had the second pillar with wreathen work.

The wreathen work and pomegranates are not included here with the length of the chapiter. See 1 Kg. 7:16.

18 And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door:

19 And out of the city he took an officer that was set over the men of war, and five men of them that were in the king’s presence, which were found in the city, and the principal scribe of the host, which mustered the people of the land, and threescore men of the people of the land that were found in the city:

This verse says there were five men in the king's presence, but Jer.52:31 says there were seven.
How many men were with the king?
Sound the alarm, the author of SAB has the verse wrong. Clearly this is not an inspired work... See Jer. 52:25 for who the two missing men were.

20 And Nebuzar-adan captain of the guard took these, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah:

21 And the king of Babylon smote them, and slew them at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was carried away out of their land.

22 And as for the people that remained in the land of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had left, even over them he made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, ruler.

23 And when all the captains of the armies, they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah governor, there came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, even Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Johanan the son of Careah, and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah the son of a Maachathite, they and their men.

24 And Gedaliah sware to them, and to their men, and said unto them, Fear not to be the servants of the Chaldees: dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon; and it shall be well with you.

25 But it came to pass in the seventh month, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the seed royal, came, and ten men with him, and smote Gedaliah, that he died, and the Jews and the Chaldees that were with him at Mizpah.

26 And all the people, both small and great, and the captains of the armies, arose, and came to Egypt: for they were afraid of the Chaldees.

27 And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, that Evil-merodach king of Babylon in the year that he began to reign did lift up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison;

These two dates can be easily reconciled if we assume the command was given on the 25th, but Jehoiachin was released on the 27th. Or that he was released on the 25th, but appeared before the king on the 27th, after he was cleansed and had been given proper clothes.

28 And he spake kindly to him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon;

29 And changed his prison garments: and he did eat bread continually before him all the days of his life.

30 And his allowance was a continual allowance given him of the king, a daily rate for every day, all the days of his life.