1 This is what the Lord says: “Go down to the palace of the king of Judah and proclaim this message there:2 ‘Hear the word of the Lord, O king of Judah, you who sit on David’s throne—you, your officials and your people who come through these gates.3 This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.4 For if you are careful to carry out these commands, then kings who sit on David’s throne will come through the gates of this palace, riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by their officials and their people.
5 But if you do not obey these commands, declares the Lord, I swear by myself that this palace will become a ruin.24 “As surely as I live,” declares the Lord, “even if you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off. 25 I will hand you over to those who seek your life, those you fear—to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and to the Babylonians.
1 During Jehoiakim’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon invaded the land, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years. But then he changed his mind and rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar. 2 The Lord sent Babylonian, Aramean, Moabite and Ammonite raiders against him. He sent them to destroy Judah, in accordance with the word of the Lord proclaimed by his servants the prophets. 3 Surely these things happened to Judah according to the Lord’s command, in order to remove them from his presence because of the sins of Manasseh and all he had done, 4 including the shedding of innocent blood. For he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the Lord was not willing to forgive.
2 Kings 24
Jeremiah and 2 Kings are 2 different kinds of literature/writing. But they go together. Kings is a book of history recording the kings of Judah, the southern kingdom after Israel splits in two. Jeremiah is a book of the recorded prophecies of the prophet Jeremiah.
In these two passages, Jeremiah is prophesying that Babylon (King Nebuchadnezzar) is going to take Jehoiachin away in exile because of the sins of the people of God. The passage in 2 Kings is giving us the historical account of that prophecy happening just as God said through his prophet, Jeremiah.
But here’s the cool thing (aside from the fact that God’s prophecies come true), God sends Jeremiah to tell the king that even at this point — even when Babylon is on its way — if the king would repent and turn back to God, he would cancel this plan for destruction.
This piece of history tells me a lot about who God is. He will offer forgiveness and blessing even to the worst sinner if they will just turn back to him. The key to my life in Christ is not perfection, but being always willing to turn to Him as soon as I notice I’m off-course. And to know that I’m never too far off the path: God will always lead me back. It’s only too late when I’m dead.
LORD, keep me on your path. Keep my eyes fixed on you. And if I stray, may your grace and mercy cover me and bring me back to that right place with you. Amen.