2 Kings 24–25: Judah Taken Captive by Babylon

Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide, (2002), 118

In the last few verses of 2 Kings 23 we read that Josiah’s son was a wicked king, leading the people back into wickedness. During that time, the Egyptians forced the kings of Judah to pay them money for protection. They had such influence that they put in a new king for Judah while the old one was still alive.By the beginning of 2 Kings 24, Egypt’s power had grown weaker than that of an emerging world power—Babylon. Led by King Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonians attacked Jerusalem and took captive many rich, educated, and powerful families in Jerusalem. Chapter 24 in 2 Kings marks the “beginning of the end” for Judah.During this time, the prophet Lehi warned the people about the total destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon. Knowing that Nebuchadnezzar had already successfully attacked Jerusalem prior to the beginning of 1 Nephi in the Book of Mormon makes the people’s rejection of Lehi’s warning seem even more amazing. The Book of Mormon begins in the “first year of the reign of Zedekiah” (1 Nephi 1:4), who is referred to in 2 Kings 24:17–20.True to the prophecies of Lehi and others, Nebuchadnezzar returned to Jerusalem and completely “broke up” the city (see 2 Kings 25). Zedekiah’s eyes were put out (blinded) after he was forced to witness the death of his sons. The Book of Mormon records that one of Zedekiah’s sons named Mulek was saved and traveled with a group to the western continent. The Nephites later discovered the descendants of these “Mulekites” and called them the people of Zarahemla.The account of the Babylonian captivity of the Lord’s chosen people by the wicked is documented in 2 Kings 25. Israel’s “golden” era began when Moses led them out of Egyptian bondage and made sacred covenants with the Lord. It concluded with the Assyrian capture and scattering of the Northern Kingdom and with the Babylonian capture of the Southern Kingdom after the Israelites had become continually wicked. Thus we see that both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of Israel and Judah were conquered as the Lord’s prophets had foretold. For approximately six hundred years Israel was essentially a free people, able to worship the God of their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But they forsook their God and were taken captive and scattered among those who did not worship the true and living God.