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2 Kings 23-24-25, Bible Highlights: week starting september 28

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Highlights From Bible Reading: 2 Kings 23-25. Information for personal study.

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Bible reading: 2 Kings 23-25 | week starting september 28


Read and listen to the reading of the Bible in JW.org: 2 Kings 23-25


Research for Highlights of : 2 Kings 23-25


(2 KINGS 23:4)

“The king then ordered Hil•kiʹah the high priest, the priests of the second rank, and the doorkeepers to bring out from the temple of Jehovah all the utensils made for Baʹal, for the sacred pole, and for all the army of the heavens. Then he burned them outside Jerusalem on the terraces of Kidʹron, and he took their ashes to Bethʹel.”

*** it-1 p. 229 Baal ***
There are indications that Baal and other gods and goddesses of the Canaanite pantheon were associated in the minds of their worshipers with certain heavenly bodies. For instance, one of the Ras Shamra texts mentions an offering to “Queen Shapash (the Sun) and to the stars,” and another alludes to “the army of the sun and the host of the day.”
It is, therefore, noteworthy that the Bible makes several references to the heavenly bodies in connection with Baal worship. Describing the wayward course of the kingdom of Israel, the Scriptural record states: “They kept leaving all the commandments of Jehovah . . . , and they began to bow down to all the army of the heavens and to serve Baal.” (2Ki 17:16) Concerning the kingdom of Judah, it is noted that right in the temple of Jehovah there came to be “utensils made for Baal and for the sacred pole and for all the army of the heavens.” Also, the people throughout Judah made “sacrificial smoke to Baal, to the sun and to the moon and to the constellations of the zodiac and to all the army of the heavens.”—2Ki 23:4, 5; 2Ch 33:3; see also Zep 1:4, 5.

(2 KINGS 23:5)

“So he put out of business the foreign-god priests, whom the kings of Judah had appointed to make sacrificial smoke on the high places in the cities of Judah and the surroundings of Jerusalem, as well as those making sacrificial smoke to Baʹal, to the sun, to the moon, to the constellations of the zodiac, and to all the army of the heavens.”

*** it-1 p. 229 Baal ***
There are indications that Baal and other gods and goddesses of the Canaanite pantheon were associated in the minds of their worshipers with certain heavenly bodies. For instance, one of the Ras Shamra texts mentions an offering to “Queen Shapash (the Sun) and to the stars,” and another alludes to “the army of the sun and the host of the day.”
It is, therefore, noteworthy that the Bible makes several references to the heavenly bodies in connection with Baal worship. Describing the wayward course of the kingdom of Israel, the Scriptural record states: “They kept leaving all the commandments of Jehovah . . . , and they began to bow down to all the army of the heavens and to serve Baal.” (2Ki 17:16) Concerning the kingdom of Judah, it is noted that right in the temple of Jehovah there came to be “utensils made for Baal and for the sacred pole and for all the army of the heavens.” Also, the people throughout Judah made “sacrificial smoke to Baal, to the sun and to the moon and to the constellations of the zodiac and to all the army of the heavens.”—2Ki 23:4, 5; 2Ch 33:3; see also Zep 1:4, 5.

*** it-2 p. 355 Mazzaroth Constellation ***
MAZZAROTH CONSTELLATION
(Mazʹza•roth).
The Aramaic Targum equates Mazzaroth with the maz•za•lohthʹ of 2 Kings 23:5, “constellations of the zodiac,” or “twelve signs, or, constellations.” (NW; KJ margin) Some believe that the word is derived from a root meaning “engird” and that Mazzaroth refers to the zodiacal circle. However, at Job 38:32 a singular pronoun is used in Hebrew in the expression “in its appointed time,” whereas the reference in 2 Kings 23:5 is in the plural. Hence, Mazzaroth appears to refer to a particular constellation rather than to the entire zodiacal circle, but no positive identification is possible at present.

*** it-2 p. 1240 Zodiac ***
ZODIAC
The band of stars seen from the earth as appearing within nine degrees on either side of the plane of Earth’s orbit around the sun. Concerning King Josiah of Judah, 2 Kings 23:5 says: “And he put out of business the foreign-god priests, whom the kings of Judah had put in that they might make sacrificial smoke on the high places in the cities of Judah and the surroundings of Jerusalem, and also those making sacrificial smoke to Baal, to the sun and to the moon and to the constellations of the zodiac and to all the army of the heavens.” The expression here rendered “constellations of the zodiac” comes from the Hebrew word maz•za•lohthʹ, which occurs but once in the Bible, although the word Maz•za•rohthʹ found at Job 38:32 may be related. It is the context that helps make clear its meaning.
The discovery of what may be called the zodiacal zone is generally credited to the early Babylonians. They doubtless observed the apparent yearly path of the sun among the stars, which path is now known as the ecliptic. The astronomers could note that within a zone about 18 degrees wide, extending 9 degrees on each side of the ecliptic, lie the apparent paths of the sun, moon, and major planets, as viewed from the earth. It was not until the second century B.C.E., however, that a Greek astronomer divided the zodiac into 12 equal parts of 30 degrees each; these parts came to be called the signs of the zodiac and were named after the related constellations. The word “zodiac” is from the Greek and means “circle of animals,” since most of the zodiac’s 12 constellations originally were designated by the names of animal or marine life.
These signs today no longer coincide with the constellations after which they were originally named. This is due to what is known as the precession of the equinoxes, which results in a gradual eastward shift of the constellations by about one degree every 70 years in a cycle that takes some 26,000 years to complete. Thus the sign of Aries, in the past 2,000 years, moved approximately 30 degrees, into the constellation Pisces.
Connection With Astrology. The zodiacal constellations were made objects of false worship from early Mesopotamian times onward. Certain qualities were attributed to each of the different constellations, and these were then used in astrological predictions based on the particular position or relationship of the celestial bodies to the signs of the zodiac at any given time. As shown by the text at 2 Kings 23:5, such use of astrology was introduced into Judah by foreign-god priests whom certain kings had brought into the country. Jehovah God long before had prohibited such star worship on penalty of death.—De 17:2-7.
Astrology was a predominant facet of Babylonian worship. The predictions based on the zodiac by her astrologers, however, did not save Babylon from destruction, even as the prophet Isaiah had accurately forewarned.—Isa 47:12-15; see ASTROLOGERS.
In modern times the zodiacal signs continue to play an important part in the worship of many people. Interestingly, the signs of the zodiac found their way into some of the religious cathedrals of Christendom and can today be seen in such places as the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, as well as on the cathedrals of Amiens and Chartres, France.

(2 KINGS 23:6)

“He brought the sacred pole out from the house of Jehovah to the outskirts of Jerusalem, to the Kidʹron Valley, and he burned it in the Kidʹron Valley and ground it to dust and scattered its dust on the graves of the common people.”

*** it-1 p. 378 Burial, Burial Places ***
The reference to “the graveyard of the sons of the people” (“the burial place of the common people,” RS) in the Valley of Kidron is believed to refer to a graveyard for the poorer class. (Jer 26:23; 2Ki 23:6)

*** it-2 pp. 835-836 Sacred Pole ***
The degraded worship of Asherah came to be practiced in the very temple of Jehovah. King Manasseh even placed there a carved image of the sacred pole, evidently a representation of the goddess Asherah. (2Ki 21:7) Manasseh was disciplined by being taken captive to Babylon and, upon his returning to Jerusalem, showed he had profited from that discipline and cleansed Jehovah’s house of idolatrous appendages. However, his son Amon resumed the degrading worship of Baal and Asherah, with its accompanying ceremonial prostitution. (2Ch 33:11-13, 15, 21-23) This made it necessary for righteous King Josiah, who succeeded Amon to the throne, to pull down “the houses of the male temple prostitutes that were in the house of Jehovah, where the women were weaving tent shrines for the sacred pole.”—2Ki 23:4-7.

(2 KINGS 23:7)

“He also tore down the houses of the male temple prostitutes, which were in the house of Jehovah and where the women were weaving tent shrines for the sacred pole.”

*** it-2 pp. 835-836 Sacred Pole ***
The degraded worship of Asherah came to be practiced in the very temple of Jehovah. King Manasseh even placed there a carved image of the sacred pole, evidently a representation of the goddess Asherah. (2Ki 21:7) Manasseh was disciplined by being taken captive to Babylon and, upon his returning to Jerusalem, showed he had profited from that discipline and cleansed Jehovah’s house of idolatrous appendages. However, his son Amon resumed the degrading worship of Baal and Asherah, with its accompanying ceremonial prostitution. (2Ch 33:11-13, 15, 21-23) This made it necessary for righteous King Josiah, who succeeded Amon to the throne, to pull down “the houses of the male temple prostitutes that were in the house of Jehovah, where the women were weaving tent shrines for the sacred pole.”—2Ki 23:4-7.

(2 KINGS 23:8)

“Then he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and he made unfit for worship the high places where the priests had been making sacrificial smoke, from Geʹba to Beʹer-sheʹba. He also tore down the high places of the gates that were at the entrance of the gate of Joshua the chief of the city, which were on the left as one entered the city gate.”

*** it-1 p. 277 Beer-sheba ***
Beer-sheba came to stand for the southernmost point in describing the length of the Promised Land, as expressed in the proverbial phrase “from Dan down to Beer-sheba” (Jg 20:1), or, in a converse direction, “from Beer-sheba to Dan.” (1Ch 21:2; 2Ch 30:5) After the division of the nation into two kingdoms, Beer-sheba continued to be used to indicate the southern extremity of the kingdom of Judah in the expressions “from Geba as far as Beer-sheba” (2Ki 23:8) and “from Beer-sheba to the mountainous region of Ephraim” (where the northern kingdom of Israel began). (2Ch 19:4) In postexilic times the expression was used in a yet more limited form to refer to the area occupied by the repatriated men of Judah, extending from Beer-sheba “clear to the valley of Hinnom.”—Ne 11:27, 30.
In reality, there were other towns of the Promised Land that lay to the S of Beer-sheba, even as there were Israelite towns N of Dan. However, both Dan and Beer-sheba were situated at natural frontiers of the land. In the case of Beer-sheba, its position was below the mountains of Judah on the edge of the desert. Additionally, it was one of the principal cities of Judah (along with Jerusalem and Hebron), and this was not only because it had an excellent supply of water as compared with the surrounding region, thus allowing for both farming and grazing of herds and flocks, but also because important roads converged on it from several directions. From Egypt an ancient route led up by the “Way of the Wells” through Kadesh-barnea to Beer-sheba, being joined by another road over which traveled the camel caravans from the “Spice Kingdoms” of the Arabian Peninsula, heading for Philistia or Judah. From Ezion-geber, at the head of the Gulf of ʽAqaba, another route led up through the Arabah and then turned W, climbing the Ascent of Akrabbim to Beer-sheba. At Gaza, in the Philistine Plain, a road branching from the highway led SE to Beer-sheba. And, connecting it with the rest of Judah, a road ran from Beer-sheba to the NE, climbing the plateau up into the mountains of Judah to Jerusalem and points farther N.—Ge 22:19.

*** it-1 p. 897 Gate, Gateway ***
At 2 Kings 23:8 reference is made to “the high places of the gates that were at the entrance of the gate of Joshua, the chief of the city, which was at the left as a person came into the gate of the city.” Here “gate of Joshua” is not the name of a city gate but evidently is a gate within the city walls leading to the governor’s residence, which was at the left as a person entered the city gate.

*** it-1 p. 902 Geba ***
Geba apparently was situated by the northern boundary of the kingdom of Judah, whence the expression “from Geba as far as Beer-sheba.” (2Ki 23:8)

*** it-2 p. 115 Joshua ***
3. Chief of Jerusalem in the time of King Josiah. It appears that high places used for false worship were located near Joshua’s residence, but Josiah had these pulled down.—2Ki 23:8.

(2 KINGS 23:10)

“He also made unfit for worship Toʹpheth, which is in the Valley of the Sons of Hinʹnom, so that no one could make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Moʹlech.”

*** w88 1/15 p. 31 Sacrificing of Young People—Not From God ***
OUTSIDE the walls of Jerusalem, there was in ancient times a place called Topheth. There, apostate Israelites, including Kings Ahaz and Manasseh, used to practice the terrible custom of child sacrifice. Finally, the faithful king Josiah stopped the practice by making Topheth a place unfit for religious ceremonies.—2 Kings 23:10; 2 Chronicles 28:1-4; 33:1, 6.
Why was the place called Topheth? The origin of the word is disputed, but it is interesting to note what Jewish scholar David Kimḥi (c. 1160-c. 1235) had to say about the place. Discussing 2 Kings 23:10, where Topheth is mentioned, he wrote: “The name of the place where they caused their sons to pass through [the fire] to Molech. The name of the place was Topheth, and they said it was called thus because at the time of worship they would dance and strike tambourines [Hebrew, tup•pimʹ] so that the father would not hear his son’s cries when they were causing him to pass through the fire, and that his heart might not become agitated over him and he take him from their hand. And this place was a valley that belonged to a man named Hinnom, and it was called ‘Valley of Hinnom’ and ‘Valley of the Son of Hinnom’ . . . Josiah defiled that place, reducing it to an unclean place, to cast there carcasses and all uncleanness, that it might never again come up into the heart of a man to cause his son and his daughter to pass through in the fire to Molech.”

*** it-1 p. 1119 Hinnom, Valley of ***
At the point just above Hinnom’s convergence with the Tyropoeon and Kidron valleys, it widens out. Here was probably the location of Topheth. (2Ki 23:10)

*** it-1 p. 1120 Hinnom, Valley of ***
King Josiah, Manasseh’s grandson, put an end to this detestable practice in Topheth by defiling the place, desecrating it, thereby making it unfit for worship, possibly by scattering bones or refuse therein.—2Ki 23:10.

*** it-2 p. 43 Jerusalem ***
His grandson Josiah temporarily reversed this decline, and during his rule the Valley of Hinnom, used by idolatrous persons for vile ceremonies, was “made unfit for worship,” likely desecrated by being made into a city garbage dump. (2Ki 23:10; 2Ch 33:6)

*** it-2 pp. 1114-1115 Topheth ***
TOPHETH
(Toʹpheth).
A place outside Jerusalem where, for a considerable period, apostate Israelites, including Ahaz and Manasseh, engaged in child sacrifice. Finally, King Josiah made it unfit for worship. (2Ki 23:10; 2Ch 28:3; 33:6; Jer 7:31-33; 19:3-14; 32:35) Topheth probably occupied a section of the eastern part of the Valley of Hinnom near the Gate of the Potsherds.—Jer 19:2, 6, 14; see HINNOM, VALLEY OF.
Commenting on 2 Kings 23:10, the Jewish commentator David Kimhi (1160?-1235?) offers this possible explanation concerning Topheth: “The name of the place where they caused their sons to pass through [the fire] to Molech. The name of the place was Topheth, and they said it was called thus because at the time of worship they would dance and strike tambourines [Heb., tup•pimʹ] so that the father would not hear his son’s cries when they were causing him to pass through the fire, and that his heart might not become agitated over him and he take him from their hand. And this place was a valley that belonged to a man named Hinnom, and it was called ‘Valley of Hinnom’ and ‘Valley of the Son of Hinnom’ . . . . And Josiah defiled that place, reducing it to an unclean place, to cast there carcasses and all uncleanness, that it might never again come up into the heart of a man to cause his son and his daughter to pass through in the fire to Molech.”—Biblia Rabbinica, Jerusalem, 1972.

(2 KINGS 23:11)

“And he prohibited the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun from entering the house of Jehovah by the chamber of Naʹthan-melʹech the court official, which was in the porticoes; and he burned the chariots of the sun in the fire.”

*** it-1 p. 428 Chariot ***
Sacred chariots and the horses that drew them were dedicated to sun worship by apostate Judean rulers.—2Ki 23:11.

(2 KINGS 23:13)

“And the king made unfit for worship the high places in front of Jerusalem that were to the south of the Mount of Ruination, which Solʹo•mon the king of Israel had built to Ashʹto•reth the disgusting goddess of the Si•doʹni•ans; and to Cheʹmosh the disgusting god of Moʹab; and to Milʹcom the detestable god of the Amʹmon•ites.”

*** it-2 p. 553 Olives, Mount of ***
King Solomon built high places for idolatrous worship there “to the right [south] of the Mount of Ruination,” but King Josiah later made these unfit for worship. (1Ki 11:7; 2Ki 23:13, ftn)

(2 KINGS 23:15)

“He also tore down the altar in Bethʹel, the high place that Jer•o•boʹam the son of Neʹbat had made that caused Israel to sin. After tearing down that altar and the high place, he burned the high place, ground it to dust, and burned the sacred pole.”

*** si p. 68 par. 25 Bible Book Number 11—1 Kings ***
25 Jehovah’s power of prophecy is clearly shown in the fulfillment of many prophecies given in First Kings. For example, there is the remarkable forecast, made more than 300 years in advance, that Josiah would be the one to rip apart Jeroboam’s altar at Bethel. Josiah did it! (1 Ki. 13:1-3; 2 Ki. 23:15)

*** it-1 p. 297 Bethel ***
In fulfillment of Hosea’s prophecy the golden calf of Bethel had been carried off to the king of Assyria (Ho 10:5, 6), but the original altar of Jeroboam was still there in the time of King Josiah of Judah. During or following Josiah’s 18th year of rule (642 B.C.E.), he extended his purge of false religion up into Bethel and also to the cities of Samaria. Josiah destroyed the site of idolatrous worship in Bethel, first burning the bones from nearby tombs on the altar, thereby desecrating it in fulfillment of the prophecy given by “the man of the true God” over three centuries earlier. The only grave spared was that of “the man of the true God,” in that way sparing also the bones of the old prophet occupying the same grave.—2Ki 22:3; 23:15-18; 1Ki 13:2, 29-32.

*** it-1 p. 856 Foreknowledge, Foreordination ***
Jehovah’s prophecy concerning Josiah called for some descendant of David to be so named, and it foretold his acting against false worship in the city of Bethel. (1Ki 13:1, 2) Over three centuries later a king so named fulfilled this prophecy. (2Ki 22:1; 23:15, 16) On the other hand, he failed to heed “the words of Necho from the mouth of God,” and this led to his being killed. (2Ch 35:20-24) Hence, while foreknown by God and foreordained to do a particular work, Josiah was still a free moral agent able to choose to heed or disregard advice.

*** it-1 p. 1108 High Places ***
About 100 years after this, faithful King Josiah of Judah pulled down the altar and the high place at Bethel and desecrated the altar by burning human bones upon it. He also removed all the houses of the high places in the cities of Samaria, sacrificed (killed) all the priests of the high places, and burned human bones upon the altars. (2Ki 23:15-20) This fulfilled a prophecy uttered over 300 years earlier by an unnamed “man of God.”—1Ki 13:1, 2.

(2 KINGS 23:16)

“When Jo•siʹah turned and saw the graves on the mountain, he had the bones taken from the graves and burned them on the altar, making it unfit for worship, according to Jehovah’s word that had been proclaimed by the man of the true God who foretold that these things would happen.”

*** it-1 p. 297 Bethel ***
In fulfillment of Hosea’s prophecy the golden calf of Bethel had been carried off to the king of Assyria (Ho 10:5, 6), but the original altar of Jeroboam was still there in the time of King Josiah of Judah. During or following Josiah’s 18th year of rule (642 B.C.E.), he extended his purge of false religion up into Bethel and also to the cities of Samaria. Josiah destroyed the site of idolatrous worship in Bethel, first burning the bones from nearby tombs on the altar, thereby desecrating it in fulfillment of the prophecy given by “the man of the true God” over three centuries earlier. The only grave spared was that of “the man of the true God,” in that way sparing also the bones of the old prophet occupying the same grave.—2Ki 22:3; 23:15-18; 1Ki 13:2, 29-32.

*** it-1 p. 856 Foreknowledge, Foreordination ***
Jehovah’s prophecy concerning Josiah called for some descendant of David to be so named, and it foretold his acting against false worship in the city of Bethel. (1Ki 13:1, 2) Over three centuries later a king so named fulfilled this prophecy. (2Ki 22:1; 23:15, 16) On the other hand, he failed to heed “the words of Necho from the mouth of God,” and this led to his being killed. (2Ch 35:20-24) Hence, while foreknown by God and foreordained to do a particular work, Josiah was still a free moral agent able to choose to heed or disregard advice.

*** it-1 p. 1108 High Places ***
About 100 years after this, faithful King Josiah of Judah pulled down the altar and the high place at Bethel and desecrated the altar by burning human bones upon it. He also removed all the houses of the high places in the cities of Samaria, sacrificed (killed) all the priests of the high places, and burned human bones upon the altars. (2Ki 23:15-20) This fulfilled a prophecy uttered over 300 years earlier by an unnamed “man of God.”—1Ki 13:1, 2.

(2 KINGS 23:19)

“Jo•siʹah also removed all the houses of worship on the high places that were in the cities of Sa•marʹi•a, which the kings of Israel had built to offend God, and he did the same thing to them that he had done at Bethʹel.”

*** it-2 p. 847 Samaria ***
2. The territory of the ten-tribe northern kingdom of Israel. The name of its capital city, Samaria, was sometimes applied to this entire area. For example, when Ahab was called “the king of Samaria,” it was not with the restricted meaning of being king of the city only, but in the broader sense as king of the ten tribes. (1Ki 21:1) So, too, “the cities of Samaria” referred to those scattered throughout the ten tribes, not to towns clustered around the capital. (2Ki 23:19; this same expression recorded at 1Ki 13:32 as if used before the city Samaria was built, if not prophetic, may have been introduced by the compiler of the Kings account.) The famine “in Samaria” in the days of Ahab was extensive throughout the whole kingdom of Samaria and, in fact, even took in Phoenicia, extending at least from the torrent valley of Cherith, E of the Jordan, to Zarephath on the Mediterranean. (1Ki 17:1-12; 18:2, 5, 6) Similarly, the restoration promise regarding “the mountains of Samaria” must have embraced the whole of the realm of Samaria.—Jer 31:5.

(2 KINGS 23:20)

“So he sacrificed on the altars all the priests of the high places who were there, and he burned human bones on them. After that he returned to Jerusalem.”

*** it-1 p. 1108 High Places ***
About 100 years after this, faithful King Josiah of Judah pulled down the altar and the high place at Bethel and desecrated the altar by burning human bones upon it. He also removed all the houses of the high places in the cities of Samaria, sacrificed (killed) all the priests of the high places, and burned human bones upon the altars. (2Ki 23:15-20) This fulfilled a prophecy uttered over 300 years earlier by an unnamed “man of God.”—1Ki 13:1, 2.

(2 KINGS 23:26)

“Nevertheless, Jehovah did not turn away from his burning anger that blazed against Judah because of all the offensive things that Ma•nasʹseh had done to offend Him.”

*** it-1 p. 1120 Hinnom, Valley of ***
The prophet, in another pronouncement, told the nation that they would be punished for what Manasseh had done. (Jer 15:4; compare 2Ki 23:26; Jer 32:30-35.) Also, Jeremiah’s declaration at chapter 19, verse 3, is parallel to the statement at 2 Kings 21:12. However, in Jeremiah’s day the people certainly were carrying on with idolatries, which gave evidence that they had not repented in the least for the gross sins they shared in during Manasseh’s reign.

*** w86 10/1 p. 25 Child Sacrifice—Why So Detestable? ***
IN THE days of the Judean kings Ahaz and Manasseh, the nation of Israel fell into the snare of the degraded worship of neighbor nations. This included sacrificing their children to Molech. (2 Chronicles 28:3; 33:6, 9) Even though King Josiah later abolished many of “the detestable” practices, “Jehovah did not turn back from the great burning of his anger, with which his anger burned against Judah over all the offensive things with which Manasseh had made them offend.” (2 Kings 23:10, 26) Why? What made the transgression so “offensive” that it could not be forgiven?
“Child-sacrifice was a prominent feature of the worship of the Phenician Malik-Baal-Kronos,” says the Funk and Wagnalls Jewish Encyclopedia. The Phoenicians originally occupied the northern coastal regions of Canaan. Being a seafaring people, they established colonies throughout the Mediterranean, and wherever they went they took with them their detestable ritual of child sacrifice. A recent archaeological find at the ancient Phoenician city of Carthage (now a suburb of Tunis in Tunisia, North Africa) has shed some light on the depth of depravity of this practice.
The site was first discovered in 1921. But starting in the 1970’s, intensive excavation was done because of the expansion of the modern city toward the area. The dig turned out to be a huge burial ground for the remains of sacrificed children. The journal Biblical Archaeology Review reports:
“Here, from the eighth century B.C. until the second century B.C., mothers and fathers of Carthage buried the bones of their children sacrificed to the god Ba’al Hammon and to the goddess Tanit. By the fourth century B.C. the Tophet [from Biblical Topheth] may have been as large as 64,800 square feet (6,000 square meters), with nine levels of burials.”
Similar sites have been discovered in Sicily, in Sardinia, and elsewhere in Tunisia. At one time, all had been Phoenician colonies. In the Carthaginian burial ground, the researchers found numerous stone markers inscribed with figures of the goddess Tanit, who has been identified with the Canaanite goddess Ashtoreth, or Astarte, the wife of Baal. Underneath the markers are found earthen urns, some brightly decorated, that contain the charred bones of the sacrificial victims.
As an indication of the extent of the practice, the report says: “Using the density of urns in our excavated area as a standard, we estimate that as many as 20,000 urns may have been deposited there between 400 and 200 B.C.” This enormous number is made all the more shocking when one bears in mind that in its heyday the population of Carthage, according to the article, was only about 250,000.
Inscriptions on the stone markers show that children were sacrificed to fulfill vows their parents made to Baal or Tanit in exchange for favors. Ranks and titles on the markers indicate that the practice was particularly popular with the upper class, evidently to invoke the blessing of the gods on their efforts to achieve and maintain their wealth and influence. Some of the urns were found to contain the remains of two or three children, possibly of the same family, judging from the age differences.
If the practice of the Phoenicians is shocking, then remember that “Manasseh kept seducing Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do worse than the nations that Jehovah had annihilated from before the sons of Israel.” (2 Chronicles 33:9) It was no exaggeration when Jehovah said: “They have filled this place with the blood of the innocent ones.” (Jeremiah 19:4) Appropriately, the Review article observes: “The growing body of archaeological and epigraphic evidence, provided by the Carthaginians themselves, strongly suggests that the classical and Biblical writers knew what they were talking about.”
Thus, as Jehovah “annihilated” the idolatrous Canaanite “nations,” he did not spare the unfaithful Israelites. They received their just due at the hands of the Babylonians in 607 B.C.E.

(2 KINGS 23:29)

“In his days Pharʹaoh Neʹchoh the king of Egypt came to meet the king of As•syrʹi•a by the Eu•phraʹtes River, and King Jo•siʹah went out to confront him; but when Neʹchoh saw him, he put him to death at Me•gidʹdo.”

*** w00 9/15 p. 30 Humble Josiah Had Jehovah’s Favor ***
Because of humbling himself before Jehovah God, however, Josiah will not have to look upon the calamity. He will be gathered to his forefathers and be taken to his graveyard in peace.—2 Kings 22:14-20; 2 Chronicles 34:22-28.
Was Huldah’s prophecy accurate, since Josiah died in battle? (2 Kings 23:28-30) Yes, for the “peace” in which he was gathered to his graveyard is in contrast with “the calamity” due to come upon Judah. (2 Kings 22:20; 2 Chronicles 34:28) Josiah died before the calamity of 609-607 B.C.E. when the Babylonians besieged and destroyed Jerusalem. And ‘being gathered to one’s forefathers’ does not necessarily exclude dying a violent death. A comparable expression is used with reference to both violent and nonviolent deaths.—Deuteronomy 31:16; 1 Kings 2:10; 22:34, 40.

*** it-1 p. 205 Assyria ***
According to the same chronicle, in the 14th year of Nabopolassar (632 B.C.E.), Ashur-uballit II attempted to continue Assyrian rule from Haran as his capital city. This chronicle states, under the 17th year of Nabopolassar (629 B.C.E.): “In the month Duʼuzu, Ashur-uballit, king of Assyria, (and) a large [army of] E[gy]pt [who had come to his aid] crossed the river (Euphrates) and [marched on] to conquer Harran.” (Ancient Near Eastern Texts, p. 305; brackets and parentheses theirs.) Actually, Ashur-uballit was trying to reconquer it after having been driven out. This record is in harmony with the account relative to the activity of Pharaoh Nechoh recorded at 2 Kings 23:29, which activity resulted in the death of King Josiah of Judah (c. 629 B.C.E.). This text states that “Pharaoh Nechoh the king of Egypt came up to the king of Assyria by the river Euphrates”—evidently to help him. “The king of Assyria” to whom Nechoh came may well have been Ashur-uballit II. Their campaign against Haran did not succeed. The Assyrian Empire had ended.

*** it-2 p. 483 Necho(h) ***
Toward the close of Josiah’s 31-year reign (659-629 B.C.E.), Pharaoh Necho was on his way to help the Assyrians at the river Euphrates. At that time Josiah disregarded “the words of Necho from the mouth of God” and was mortally wounded while attempting to turn the Egyptian forces back at Megiddo. About three months later, Pharaoh Necho took Jehoahaz, Josiah’s successor to the throne, captive and made 25-year-old Eliakim his vassal, changing the new ruler’s name to Jehoiakim. Necho also imposed a heavy fine on the kingdom of Judah. (2Ch 35:20–36:4; 2Ki 23:29-35) At Carchemish, between three and four years later (625 B.C.E.), Necho’s forces suffered defeat at the hands of the Babylonians under the command of Nebuchadnezzar.—Jer 46:2.

(2 KINGS 23:34)

“Furthermore, Pharʹaoh Neʹchoh made Jo•siʹah’s son E•liʹa•kim king in place of his father Jo•siʹah and changed his name to Je•hoiʹa•kim; but he took Je•hoʹa•haz and brought him to Egypt, where he eventually died.”

*** jr chap. 13 p. 158 par. 10 “Jehovah Has Done What He Had in Mind” ***
Regarding Jehoahaz, or Shallum, a son of King Josiah, God foretold that he would be exiled and would never return to Judah. (Jer. 22:11, 12) That happened. (2 Ki. 23:31-34)

(2 KINGS 24:1)

“In Je•hoiʹa•kim’s days King Neb•u•chad•nezʹzar of Babylon came against him, and Je•hoiʹa•kim became his servant for three years. However, he turned against him and rebelled.”

*** dp chap. 3 pp. 31-32 par. 3 Tested—But True to Jehovah! ***
3 The next year, Nebuchadnezzar—now enthroned as king of Babylon—once again turned his attention to his military campaigns in Syria and Palestine. It was during this period that he came to Jerusalem for the first time. The Bible reports: “In his days Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon came up, and so Jehoiakim became his servant for three years. However, he turned back and rebelled against him.”—2 Kings 24:1.

*** it-1 p. 951 Enemy Nations That Attacked Israel ***
Babylon 2Ki 24:1, 12-17; 25:1-21

*** it-1 p. 952 Enemy Nations That Attacked Israel ***
[Picture on page 952]
Babylonian record of Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion of Judah

*** it-1 p. 1267 Jehoiachin ***
At the age of 18 Jehoiachin became king and continued the bad practices of his father. (2Ki 24:8, 9; 2Ch 36:9, ftn) Jehoiachin’s father, Jehoiakim, had been under subjection to Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar but rebelled in his third year of such vassalage (618 B.C.E.). (2Ki 24:1) This resulted in a siege being laid against Jerusalem.

*** it-1 p. 1269 Jehoiakim ***
Second Kings 24:1 shows that Nebuchadnezzar brought pressure upon the Judean king “and so Jehoiakim became his servant [or vassal] for three years. However, he [Jehoiakim] turned back and rebelled against him [Nebuchadnezzar].” Evidently it is to this third year of Jehoiakim as a vassal king under Babylon that Daniel refers at Daniel 1:1. It could not be Jehoiakim’s third year of his 11-year reign over Judah, for at that time Jehoiakim was a vassal, not to Babylon, but to Egypt’s Pharaoh Necho. It was not until Jehoiakim’s fourth year of rule over Judah that Nebuchadnezzar demolished Egyptian domination over Syria-Palestine by his victory at Carchemish (625 B.C.E. [apparently after Nisan]). (Jer 46:2) Since Jehoiakim’s revolt against Babylon led to his downfall after about 11 years on the throne, the beginning of his three-year vassalage to Babylon must have begun toward the end of his eighth year of rule, or early in 620 B.C.E.

*** it-2 p. 480 Nebuchadnezzar ***
During his second, third, and fourth years as king he conducted additional campaigns in Hattu, and evidently in the fourth year he made Judean King Jehoiakim his vassal. (2Ki 24:1) Also, in the fourth year Nebuchadnezzar led his forces to Egypt, and in the ensuing conflict both sides sustained heavy losses.
Conquest of Jerusalem. Later, the rebellion of Judean King Jehoiakim against Nebuchadnezzar evidently resulted in a siege being laid against Jerusalem by the Babylonians.

(2 KINGS 24:2)

“Then Jehovah began to send against him marauder bands of Chal•deʹans, Syrians, Moʹab•ites, and Amʹmon•ites. He kept sending them against Judah to destroy it, according to Jehovah’s word that he had spoken through his servants the prophets.”

*** it-1 p. 951 Enemy Nations That Attacked Israel ***
Ammon 2Ch 20:1-3, 10, 11; 2Ki 24:2

(2 KINGS 24:8)

“Je•hoiʹa•chin was 18 years old when he became king, and he reigned for three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Ne•hushʹta the daughter of El•naʹthan of Jerusalem.”

*** it-1 p. 41 Achbor ***
Elnathan, a prince of the court of King Jehoiakim, and very likely the great-grandfather of King Jehoiachin.—Jer 26:22; 36:12; 2Ki 24:8.

(2 KINGS 24:10)

“During that time the servants of King Neb•u•chad•nezʹzar of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city came under siege.”

*** it-1 p. 1267 Jehoiachin ***
The expression “during that time” (2Ki 24:10) may refer, not to Jehoiachin’s brief reign, but to the general period in which it fits, hence allowing for the siege to have begun during his father Jehoiakim’s reign, as Daniel 1:1, 2 seems to indicate. It appears that Jehoiakim died during this siege and Jehoiachin ascended the throne of Judah. His rule ended, however, a mere three months and ten days later, when he surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar in 617 B.C.E. (in the month of Adar, according to a Babylonian chronicle). (2Ki 24:11, 12; 2Ch 36:9; Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles, by A. Grayson, 1975, p. 102)

(2 KINGS 24:11)

“King Neb•u•chad•nezʹzar of Babylon came to the city while his servants were laying siege to it.”

*** g 11/07 p. 16 Does Archaeology Support the Bible? ***
While excavating the ruins of the ancient city of Babylon, in present-day Iraq, archaeologists uncovered some 300 cuneiform tablets near the Ishtar Gate. Relating to the period of the reign of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, the inscriptions include a list of names, among which is “Yaukin, king of the land of Yahud.” This refers to King Jehoiachin of the land of Judah, who was taken captive to Babylon at the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s first conquest of Jerusalem, in 617 B.C.E. (2 Kings 24:11-15) Five of Jehoiachin’s sons are also mentioned on the tablets.—1 Chronicles 3:17, 18.

*** si p. 132 par. 1 Bible Book Number 26—Ezekiel ***
IN THE year 617 B.C.E., Jehoiachin, king of Judah, surrendered Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar, who took the foremost people of the land and the treasures of the house of Jehovah and of the king’s house to Babylon. Among the captives were the king’s family and the princes; the valiant, mighty men; the craftsmen and builders; and Ezekiel the son of Buzi the priest. (2 Ki. 24:11-17; Ezek. 1:1-3)

*** gm chap. 4 p. 48 par. 21 How Believable Is the “Old Testament”? ***
21 Later still, the Bible tells us that Jerusalem under King Jehoiachin was besieged by the Babylonians and was defeated. This event is recorded on the Babylonian Chronicle, a cuneiform tablet discovered by archaeologists. On this, we read: “The king of Akkad [Babylon] . . . laid siege to the city of Judah (iahudu) and the king took the city on the second day of the month of Addaru.”12 Jehoiachin was taken to Babylon and imprisoned. But later, according to the Bible, he was released from prison and given an allowance of food. (2 Kings 24:8-15; 25:27-30) This is supported by administrative documents found in Babylon, which list the rations given to “Yaukîn, king of Judah.”13

*** w88 3/1 p. 29 Part 3—Mighty Babylon—The Third Great World Power ***
Then, in 617 B.C.E., Babylon’s king Nebuchadnezzar captured King Jehoiachin of Jerusalem and sent him and other “foremost men of the land” as prisoners to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar made Mattaniah king in Jerusalem and “changed his name to Zedekiah.”—2 Kings 24:11-17.

*** it-2 pp. 480-481 Nebuchadnezzar ***
Later, the rebellion of Judean King Jehoiakim against Nebuchadnezzar evidently resulted in a siege being laid against Jerusalem by the Babylonians. It appears that during this siege Jehoiakim died and his son Jehoiachin ascended the throne of Judah. But a mere three months and ten days thereafter the reign of the new king ended when Jehoiachin surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar (in the month of Adar [February-March] during Nebuchadnezzar’s seventh regnal year [ending in Nisan 617 B.C.E.], according to the Babylonian Chronicles). A cuneiform inscription (British Museum 21946) states: “The seventh year: In the month Kislev the king of Akkad mustered his army and marched to Hattu. He encamped against the city of Judah and on the second day of the month Adar he captured the city (and) seized (its) king [Jehoiachin]. A king of his own choice [Zedekiah] he appointed in the city (and) taking the vast tribute he brought it into Babylon.” (Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles, by A. K. Grayson, 1975, p. 102; PICTURE, Vol. 2, p. 326) Along with Jehoiachin, Nebuchadnezzar took other members of the royal household, court officials, craftsmen, and warriors into Babylonian exile. It was Jehoiachin’s uncle Mattaniah that Nebuchadnezzar made king of Judah, and he changed Mattaniah’s name to Zedekiah.—2Ki 24:11-17; 2Ch 36:5-10; see CHRONOLOGY; JEHOIACHIN; JEHOIAKIM.

(2 KINGS 24:12)

“King Je•hoiʹa•chin of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, along with his mother, his servants, his princes, and his court officials; and the king of Babylon took him captive in the eighth year of his reign.”

*** gm chap. 4 p. 48 par. 21 How Believable Is the “Old Testament”? ***
21 Later still, the Bible tells us that Jerusalem under King Jehoiachin was besieged by the Babylonians and was defeated. This event is recorded on the Babylonian Chronicle, a cuneiform tablet discovered by archaeologists. On this, we read: “The king of Akkad [Babylon] . . . laid siege to the city of Judah (iahudu) and the king took the city on the second day of the month of Addaru.”12 Jehoiachin was taken to Babylon and imprisoned. But later, according to the Bible, he was released from prison and given an allowance of food. (2 Kings 24:8-15; 25:27-30) This is supported by administrative documents found in Babylon, which list the rations given to “Yaukîn, king of Judah.”13

*** w88 3/1 p. 29 Part 3—Mighty Babylon—The Third Great World Power ***
Then, in 617 B.C.E., Babylon’s king Nebuchadnezzar captured King Jehoiachin of Jerusalem and sent him and other “foremost men of the land” as prisoners to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar made Mattaniah king in Jerusalem and “changed his name to Zedekiah.”—2 Kings 24:11-17.
The Babylonians’ own records, found by archaeologists, also confirm this event. The Babylonian Chronicle, ancient clay tablets on which were recorded major events, says that Babylon’s king “besieged the city of Judah [Jerusalem], and . . . took the city and captured the king.

*** it-1 p. 1267 Jehoiachin ***
His rule ended, however, a mere three months and ten days later, when he surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar in 617 B.C.E. (in the month of Adar, according to a Babylonian chronicle). (2Ki 24:11, 12; 2Ch 36:9; Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles, by A. Grayson, 1975, p. 102)

*** it-2 pp. 480-481 Nebuchadnezzar ***
Later, the rebellion of Judean King Jehoiakim against Nebuchadnezzar evidently resulted in a siege being laid against Jerusalem by the Babylonians. It appears that during this siege Jehoiakim died and his son Jehoiachin ascended the throne of Judah. But a mere three months and ten days thereafter the reign of the new king ended when Jehoiachin surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar (in the month of Adar [February-March] during Nebuchadnezzar’s seventh regnal year [ending in Nisan 617 B.C.E.], according to the Babylonian Chronicles). A cuneiform inscription (British Museum 21946) states: “The seventh year: In the month Kislev the king of Akkad mustered his army and marched to Hattu. He encamped against the city of Judah and on the second day of the month Adar he captured the city (and) seized (its) king [Jehoiachin]. A king of his own choice [Zedekiah] he appointed in the city (and) taking the vast tribute he brought it into Babylon.” (Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles, by A. K. Grayson, 1975, p. 102; PICTURE, Vol. 2, p. 326) Along with Jehoiachin, Nebuchadnezzar took other members of the royal household, court officials, craftsmen, and warriors into Babylonian exile. It was Jehoiachin’s uncle Mattaniah that Nebuchadnezzar made king of Judah, and he changed Mattaniah’s name to Zedekiah.—2Ki 24:11-17; 2Ch 36:5-10; see CHRONOLOGY; JEHOIACHIN; JEHOIAKIM.

(2 KINGS 24:13)

“Then he took out from there all the treasures of the house of Jehovah and the treasures of the king’s house. He cut into pieces all the gold utensils that Solʹo•mon the king of Israel had made in the temple of Jehovah, just as Jehovah had foretold.”

*** it-1 p. 1267 Jehoiachin ***
The record at 2 Kings 24:12-16 states that Nebuchadnezzar took these captives into exile, along with “all the treasures of the house of Jehovah and the treasures of the king’s house.” The account at Daniel 1:1, 2 refers to only “a part of the utensils” as being taken to Babylon. The explanation may be that the treasures referred to at Second Kings involved particularly the gold utensils, which are emphasized in that account, and that other utensils were allowed to remain. Another possibility is that, when Jerusalem yielded to the Babylonian siege (which came as a result of Jehoiakim’s rebellion against the king of Babylon), “some of the utensils of the house of Jehovah” were taken to Babylon, and a short time later, when Jehoiachin himself was transferred to Babylon, other “desirable articles of the house of Jehovah” were taken along. This possibility is suggested by the account at 2 Chronicles 36:6-10. From the Chronicles account, it appears that Nebuchadnezzar, after successfully conquering Jerusalem, departed but then “sent and proceeded to bring [Jehoiachin] to Babylon with desirable articles of the house of Jehovah.” In a similar way, ten years later, in the final conquest and destruction of Jerusalem (607 B.C.E.), Nebuchadnezzar retired to Riblah “in the land of Hamath,” leaving the postconquest details to his chief of the bodyguard, Nebuzaradan.—2Ki 25:8-21.

(2 KINGS 24:14)

“He took into exile all Jerusalem, all the princes, all the mighty warriors, and every craftsman and metalworker—he took 10,000 into exile. No one was left behind except the poorest people of the land.”

*** it-2 p. 389 Metalworker ***
Later, when oppressed by the Philistines, the Israelites were not allowed to have their own metalworkers. This measure prevented them from making weapons. (1Sa 13:19-22) Doubtless for similar reasons Nebuchadnezzar took the metalworkers and other craftsmen captive the first time he assaulted Jerusalem.—2Ki 24:14, 16; Jer 24:1; 29:1, 2.

(2 KINGS 24:15)

“Thus he took Je•hoiʹa•chin into exile to Babylon; he also led away the king’s mother, the king’s wives, his court officials, and the foremost men of the land, taking them into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.”

*** w88 3/1 p. 29 Part 3—Mighty Babylon—The Third Great World Power ***
Then, in 617 B.C.E., Babylon’s king Nebuchadnezzar captured King Jehoiachin of Jerusalem and sent him and other “foremost men of the land” as prisoners to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar made Mattaniah king in Jerusalem and “changed his name to Zedekiah.”—2 Kings 24:11-17.
The Babylonians’ own records, found by archaeologists, also confirm this event. The Babylonian Chronicle, ancient clay tablets on which were recorded major events, says that Babylon’s king “besieged the city of Judah [Jerusalem], and . . . took the city and captured the king.

(2 KINGS 24:17)

“The king of Babylon made Mat•ta•niʹah, Je•hoiʹa•chin’s uncle, king in his place and changed his name to Zed•e•kiʹah.”

*** w88 3/1 p. 29 Part 3—Mighty Babylon—The Third Great World Power ***
Nebuchadnezzar made Mattaniah king in Jerusalem and “changed his name to Zedekiah.”—2 Kings 24:11-17.

*** it-2 pp. 480-481 Nebuchadnezzar ***
Later, the rebellion of Judean King Jehoiakim against Nebuchadnezzar evidently resulted in a siege being laid against Jerusalem by the Babylonians. It appears that during this siege Jehoiakim died and his son Jehoiachin ascended the throne of Judah. But a mere three months and ten days thereafter the reign of the new king ended when Jehoiachin surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar (in the month of Adar [February-March] during Nebuchadnezzar’s seventh regnal year [ending in Nisan 617 B.C.E.], according to the Babylonian Chronicles). A cuneiform inscription (British Museum 21946) states: “The seventh year: In the month Kislev the king of Akkad mustered his army and marched to Hattu. He encamped against the city of Judah and on the second day of the month Adar he captured the city (and) seized (its) king [Jehoiachin]. A king of his own choice [Zedekiah] he appointed in the city (and) taking the vast tribute he brought it into Babylon.” (Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles, by A. K. Grayson, 1975, p. 102; PICTURE, Vol. 2, p. 326) Along with Jehoiachin, Nebuchadnezzar took other members of the royal household, court officials, craftsmen, and warriors into Babylonian exile. It was Jehoiachin’s uncle Mattaniah that Nebuchadnezzar made king of Judah, and he changed Mattaniah’s name to Zedekiah.—2Ki 24:11-17; 2Ch 36:5-10; see CHRONOLOGY; JEHOIACHIN; JEHOIAKIM.

(2 KINGS 25:1)

“In the ninth year of Zed•e•kiʹah’s reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, King Neb•u•chad•nezʹzar of Babylon came with all his army against Jerusalem. He camped against it and built a siege wall all around it,”

*** it-1 p. 951 Enemy Nations That Attacked Israel ***
Babylon 2Ki 24:1, 12-17; 25:1-21

*** it-1 p. 952 Enemy Nations That Attacked Israel ***
[Picture on page 952]
Babylonian record of Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion of Judah

(2 KINGS 25:4)

“The city wall was broken through, and all the soldiers fled by night through the gate between the double wall near the king’s garden, while the Chal•deʹans were surrounding the city; and the king went by the way of the Arʹa•bah.”

*** it-1 p. 890 Garden ***
The King’s Garden, near the place where Zedekiah and his men tried to escape from Jerusalem during the Chaldean siege, was probably situated just outside the SE wall of that city. (2Ki 25:4; Ne 3:15)

*** it-2 p. 150 Kidron, Torrent Valley of ***
Not far from this spring the Kidron Valley widens and forms an open space. It has been suggested that this open area may correspond to the ancient “king’s garden.”—2Ki 25:4.

(2 KINGS 25:7)

“They slaughtered Zed•e•kiʹah’s sons before his eyes; then Neb•u•chad•nezʹzar blinded Zed•e•kiʹah’s eyes, bound him with copper fetters, and brought him to Babylon.”

*** it-1 p. 789 Eye ***
In order to humiliate and to shatter the power of their enemies, some ancient nations followed the cruel practice of blinding prominent men among the captured enemy.—Jg 16:21; 1Sa 11:2; 2Ki 25:7.

*** it-2 p. 1228 Zedekiah ***
Zedekiah’s sons were slaughtered before his eyes. As Zedekiah was only about 32 years of age at the time, the boys could not have been very old. After witnessing the death of his sons, Zedekiah was blinded, bound with copper fetters, and taken to Babylon, where he died in the house of custody.—2Ki 25:2-7; Jer 39:2-7; 44:30; 52:6-11; compare Jer 24:8-10; Eze 12:11-16; 21:25-27.

(2 KINGS 25:8)

“In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, that is, in the 19th year of King Neb•u•chad•nezʹzar the king of Babylon, Neb•uʹzar•adʹan the chief of the guard, the servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem.”

*** w07 3/15 p. 11 par. 10 Highlights From the Book of Jeremiah ***
On the seventh day of the fifth month of the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuzaradan, the chief of the bodyguard, ‘comes to,’ or arrives at, Jerusalem. (2 Kings 25:8) Perhaps from his camp outside the city walls, Nebuzaradan surveys the situation and plans a course of action.

*** it-1 p. 11 Ab ***
Second Kings 25:8 says that it was on the seventh day of this month that Nebuzaradan, the servant of the king of Babylon, “came to Jerusalem.” However, Jeremiah 52:12 tells us that it was on the tenth day of this month that Nebuzaradan “came into Jerusalem.” The Soncino Books of the Bible comments on this, saying: “The interval of three days may be accounted for as representing the date of Nebuzaradan’s arrival on the scene and the commencement of operations.” (Edited by A. Cohen, London, 1949) It would appear, then, that Nebuzaradan arrived at Jerusalem on the seventh day, made his survey from his camp outside the city walls, and gave directions for the demolition of the city fortifications and the plundering of its treasures; finally, on the tenth day of the month, he entered the city and its holy temple.

*** it-2 p. 482 Nebuzaradan ***
NEBUZARADAN
(Neb•uʹzar•adʹan) [from Babylonian, meaning “Nebo Has Given Offspring”].
Chief of the bodyguard and principal figure in Nebuchadnezzar’s forces at the actual destruction of Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E. It does not appear that Nebuzaradan was present during the initial siege and breakthrough of Jerusalem, for it was about a month later that he “came to Jerusalem,” after King Zedekiah had been brought to Nebuchadnezzar and blinded.—2Ki 25:2-8; Jer 39:2, 3; 52:6-11.
From outside the city, Nebuzaradan directed the Babylonian operations of destroying the city, which began “on the seventh day of the month” (the fifth month, Ab), and which included looting the temple treasures, wrecking the wall, dealing with the captives, and allowing some of the lowly ones to remain. (2Ki 25:8-20; Jer 39:8-10; 43:5, 6; 52:12-26) Three days later, on the tenth day of the month, it appears that Nebuzaradan “came into Jerusalem” (“entered Jerusalem,” RS, JB) and, after an inspection, put a torch to the house of Jehovah and reduced the city to ashes. (Jer 52:12, 13) Josephus observed that it was on the very same day, the tenth day of the fifth month, when Solomon’s temple was burned, that the temple rebuilt by Herod was also burned, in 70 C.E.—The Jewish War, VI, 250 (iv, 5); VI, 268 (iv, 8); see AB.

(2 KINGS 25:11)

“Neb•uʹzar•adʹan the chief of the guard took into exile the rest of the people who were left in the city, the deserters who had gone over to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the population.”

*** it-1 p. 415 Captivity ***
Those taken captive to Babylon included “some of the lowly ones of the people and the rest of the people that were left remaining in the city and the deserters . . . and the rest of the master workmen.” The expression “that were left remaining in the city” apparently indicates that great numbers had died from famine, disease, or fire, or else they were slaughtered in the war. (Jer 52:15; 2Ki 25:11)

(2 KINGS 25:14)

“They also took the cans, the shovels, the extinguishers, the cups, and all the copper utensils used in the temple service.”

*** nwt p. 1698 Glossary ***
Extinguishers. Tools used in the tabernacle and temple, made of gold or copper. They may have been like scissors for trimming the lampwicks.—2Ki 25:14.

*** it-1 p. 788 Extinguishers ***
EXTINGUISHERS
Mezam•meʹreth, the Hebrew word variously translated “snuffers” (AS), “knives” (JB), and “extinguishers” (NW), is derived from a root (za•marʹ) meaning “trim; prune.” Hence some believe that scissorlike utensils designed for trimming the lampwicks are meant. However, all that is definitely known about these utensils is that they were made of gold or copper and were used in connection with the services at the temple.—1Ki 7:50; 2Ki 12:13; 25:14; 2Ch 4:22; Jer 52:18.

(2 KINGS 25:17)

“Each pillar was 18 cubits high, and the capital on it was of copper; and the height of the capital was three cubits, and the network and pomegranates all around on the capital were all made of copper. The second pillar with its network was like it.”

*** it-1 p. 412 Capital ***
CAPITAL
The uppermost section and crowning decoration of a building’s column. Massive capitals topped Jachin and Boaz, the pillars that stood in front of Solomon’s temple. (2Ch 3:15-17) These capitals and the pillars upon which they rested were made under the direction of the craftsman Hiram at the time of the temple’s construction (1034-1027 B.C.E.) and survived over 400 years until Jerusalem was sacked by the Babylonians in 607 B.C.E. (2Ch 4:11-13; Jer 52:17, 22) In every reference to these capitals, except for one, the Hebrew word ko•theʹreth is used. It comes from the root ka•tharʹ (‘surround’; Jg 20:43) and is related to keʹther (“headdress”; Es 1:11). The Hebrew word for “capital” occurring in 2 Chronicles 3:15 (tseʹpheth) comes from the root verb tsa•phahʹ, meaning “overlay.”—Ex 25:11.
The pillars themselves were of cast copper, about 1.7 m (5.6 ft) in diameter and 18 cubits (8 m; 26 ft) high. In addition, the capitals were 5 cubits (2.2 m; 7.3 ft) high. (1Ki 7:15, 16) In view of the passages indicating that the capitals were five cubits high, a number of scholars have concluded that the reference to “three cubits” in 2 Kings 25:17 is a scribal error. That is why some Bible translations (for example, JB, NAB) have replaced “three cubits” with “five cubits.” Since the pillars were hollow, with walls about 7.5 cm (3 in.) thick, it is reasonable to suppose that the capitals were of similar construction and were also cast in clay molds “in the District of the Jordan.”—2Ch 4:17; Jer 52:21.

(2 KINGS 25:18)

“The chief of the guard also took Se•raiʹah the chief priest, Zeph•a•niʹah the second priest, and the three doorkeepers.”

*** it-1 p. 1112 High Priest ***
The sanctuary, its service, and treasury were under the high priest’s supervision. (2Ki 12:7-16; 22:4) In this responsibility, it appears that there was a secondary priest who was his chief assistant. (2Ki 25:18) In later times, this assistant, called the Sagan, would officiate for the high priest when for some reason the high priest was incapacitated. (The Temple, by A. Edersheim, 1874, p. 75)

(2 KINGS 25:19)

“And he took from the city one court official who was the commissioner over the soldiers, five close associates of the king who were found in the city, as well as the secretary of the chief of the army, the one mustering the people of the land, and 60 men of the common people of the land who were yet found in the city.”

*** it-2 p. 656 Potiphar ***
The “court official [sa•risʹ] that had a command over the men of war” when Jerusalem fell in 607 B.C.E. was no doubt a high government official, not a castrated person lacking masculinity. (2Ki 25:19)

(2 KINGS 25:22)

“King Neb•u•chad•nezʹzar of Babylon appointed Ged•a•liʹah the son of A•hiʹkam the son of Shaʹphan over the people whom he had left behind in the land of Judah.”

*** it-1 p. 152 Archaeology ***
Also of interest is a clay seal impression found that refers to “Gedaliah, who is over the house.” Gedaliah is the name of the governor appointed over Judah by Nebuchadnezzar after Jerusalem’s fall, and many consider it likely that the seal impression refers to him.—2Ki 25:22; compare Isa 22:15; 36:3.

(2 KINGS 25:23)

“When all the army chiefs and their men heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Ged•a•liʹah, they immediately came to Ged•a•liʹah at Mizʹpah. They were Ishʹma•el the son of Neth•a•niʹah, Jo•haʹnan the son of Ka•reʹah, Se•raiʹah the son of Tan•huʹmeth the Ne•tophʹa•thite, and Ja•az•a•niʹah the son of the Ma•acʹa•thite, together with their men.”

*** it-1 p. 486 Cock ***
An onyx seal bearing the figure of a cock was found near Mizpah and contains the inscription “belonging to Jaazaniah, servant of the king.” If, as some suggest, this Jaazaniah (Jezaniah) is the one mentioned at 2 Kings 25:23 and Jeremiah 40:8, this would indicate the keeping of cocks in Israel back in the seventh century B.C.E.

(2 KINGS 25:27)

“And in the 37th year of the exile of King Je•hoiʹa•chin of Judah, in the 12th month, on the 27th day of the month, King Eʹvil-merʹo•dach of Babylon, in the year he became king, released King Je•hoiʹa•chin of Judah from prison.”

*** w12 6/1 p. 5 History, Not Myth ***
Later, “Evil-merodach the king of Babylon, in the year of his becoming king, raised up the head of Jehoiachin the king of Judah out of the house of detention.”

*** w12 6/1 p. 5 History, Not Myth ***
What about the existence of Nebuchadnezzar’s successor, Evil-merodach? An inscription on a vase found near the city of Susa reads: “Palace of Amil-Marduk [Evil-merodach], King of Babylon, son of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon.”

*** si p. 69 par. 2 Bible Book Number 12—2 Kings ***
It was completed about 580 B.C.E. and covers the period beginning with the reign of Ahaziah of Israel in about 920 B.C.E. and ending in the 37th year of Jehoiachin’s exile, 580 B.C.E.—1:1; 25:27.

*** it-1 p. 147 Archaeology ***
Near the Ishtar Gate in Babylon some 300 cuneiform tablets were uncovered relating to the period of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. Among lists of the names of workers and captives then living in Babylon to whom provisions were given appears that of “Yaukin, king of the land of Yahud,” that is, “Jehoiachin, the king of the land of Judah,” who was taken to Babylon at the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of Jerusalem in 617 B.C.E. He was released from the house of detention by Awil-Marduk (Evil-merodach), Nebuchadnezzar’s successor, and was given a daily allowance of food. (2Ki 25:27-30)

*** it-1 p. 148 Archaeology ***
The name of his successor Awil-Marduk (called Evil-merodach at 2Ki 25:27) appears on a vase discovered at Susa (Elam).

*** it-1 p. 773 Evil-merodach ***
EVIL-MERODACH
(Eʹvil-merʹo•dach) [from Babylonian, meaning “Worshiper of Marduk”].
The Babylonian king who succeeded Nebuchadnezzar to the throne in 581 B.C.E. In the year of his becoming king, Evil-merodach extended kindness to Jehoiachin the king of Judah by releasing him from the house of detention. That was in the 37th year of Jehoiachin’s exile in Babylon. Evil-merodach granted him a position of favor above all the other kings who were in captivity in Babylon. (2Ki 25:27-30; Jer 52:31-34) Josephus claims that Evil-merodach viewed Jehoiachin as one of his most intimate friends.

(2 KINGS 25:30)

“A regular allowance of food was given him from the king, day after day, all the days of his life.”

*** gm chap. 4 p. 48 par. 21 How Believable Is the “Old Testament”? ***
But later, according to the Bible, he was released from prison and given an allowance of food. (2 Kings 24:8-15; 25:27-30) This is supported by administrative documents found in Babylon, which list the rations given to “Yaukîn, king of Judah.”13

*** w88 3/1 p. 29 Part 3—Mighty Babylon—The Third Great World Power ***
Further, the Bible refers to the food allowance that was given to Jehoiachin while he was in exile in Babylon. (2 Kings 25:27-30) Archaeologists have found administrative documents in Babylon that refer to the allowance of food given both to “Jehoiachin, king” and to the “sons of the king of Judah.”

*** it-1 p. 147 Archaeology ***
Near the Ishtar Gate in Babylon some 300 cuneiform tablets were uncovered relating to the period of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. Among lists of the names of workers and captives then living in Babylon to whom provisions were given appears that of “Yaukin, king of the land of Yahud,” that is, “Jehoiachin, the king of the land of Judah,” who was taken to Babylon at the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of Jerusalem in 617 B.C.E. He was released from the house of detention by Awil-Marduk (Evil-merodach), Nebuchadnezzar’s successor, and was given a daily allowance of food. (2Ki 25:27-30)

*** it-2 p. 174 Kings, Books of ***
Notable archaeological confirmation of the last statement in the books of Kings has been found in cuneiform tablets excavated at Babylon. These indicate that Jaʼukinu (Jehoiachin) was imprisoned in Babylon and mention that he was provided with rations from the royal treasury.—2Ki 25:30; Ancient Near Eastern Texts, p. 308.

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