Thursday, February 26, 2009

Random Bible Question

I finally finished 2 Kings today, but I have a question.

In 2 Kings 24:14 we see that "King Nebuchadnezzar took ten thousand captives from Jerusalem, including all the princes and the best of the soldiers, craftsmen, and smiths. So only the poorest people were left in the land."

In that same chapter, verse 20, we see that "the Lord, in his anger, finally banished the people of Jerusalem and Judah from his presence and sent them into exile."

Then Chapter 25 opens with Jerusalem under siege and verse 21 says, in part, "So the people of Judah were sent into exile from their land."

Then, in verse 26, after the assassination of Zedekiah, "All the people of Judah, from the least to the greatest, as well as the army commanders, fled in panic to Egypt."

My question is, how can Judah be exiled so many times? I understand that not everyone left because it says the poor stuck around, but the rest doesn't make sense to me. I ask because I could see how a non-believer would read this and say, "Hey, this is inconsistent. It keeps telling us they were exiled at different times, under different kings, by different people. If God is all-knowing, and this is His Word, it has to be consistent. They were either exiled at point X or point Y, but not points X, Y, and Z because it never says that they returned between those periods."

Ok. The end. Answers welcomed!


  1. I don't know if I have the answers, but here's a "go" at it. I think it may be an issue of translation. Looking at the NIV of 2 Kings 24, specifically v18-20, Zedekiah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and (implied "it is") because of the Lord's anger that all this happened and they got benished, (implied "that's why") Zedekiah rebelled against Babylon. It's the same exile. v20 is split by the "heading" of the next theme, so in the NIV, it's harder to see.

    I flipped the version over to KJV, and NASB, and the "headings" are removed and the gramatical intent can be seen. Interestingly, enough, the same story is told by Jeremiah in chapter 52, and the NIV grammar/formatting over there is much easier to see.

    Ch25 starts 9yrs later - Zed. was promoted to king at the end of the first invasion - so it's a second seige of Jerusalem to squash Zedekiah's rebellion, which lasted about a year and a half (10th day of 10th month of 9th year - 25:1 - until the 9th day of the 4th month of the 11th year - 25:5-6). Judah had rebuilt and re-stocked it's army, so again, they took everyone except the poorest, left behind to work the fields and vineyards for Nebuchadnezzar. (v11 and 21 are the same, second exile).

    Zed. not killed, but his sons were (v7) and he was bound and hauled off to prison in Babylon, where he later died (v7, Jer 52:11).

    Neb was the Babylonian king for both times, as a result of the Lord's prophesy. He took Jehoiachin prisoner in 24:15 then put Zedekiah on the throne (24:17), then took care of Zed. after he rebelled those 9yrs later. Zed. Rebelled because of the Lord's anger against Judah, that they be carried off to Babylon.

    Verse 8 starts with another time reference, and it refers to Neb's reign, not Zed's, so it is yet another time, several years later (will get to that down below). The Babylonian commander razed the city of Jerusalem, , burning every building to the ground and looted the temple and its treasures, so they couldn't re-build (25:9). This implies that they left the surrounding fields intact, thus the poor behind to work.

    Now for the people who fled in v26. The army officers and their men came to the newly appointed overseer, Gedaliah, in v23, and settled in the land. When Ishmael assassinated Gedaliah and the other Babylonian officials a month or so later (v25), everyone fled, including those army officers, out of fear that the Babylonian army would return and kill them all.

    But check out Jeremiah 52, as verses 28-30 record when and how many folks were carried off each of the three times.

    Hope that helps.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to give me all that info!

  3. May God's peace, mercy and blessings be upon you brother Michael

    I hope you find the following useful

    The Ancient Kingdom of Israel

    Stories of the Prophets

    Prophethood in Islam