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2 Chronicles 36


(LXX versing)
Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, then Jehoiachin Rule The Reign and Captivity of Jehoahaz The Last Agonies of the Doomed Nation King Jehoahaz of Judah Jehoahaz
36:1-4 36:1-4 36:1-4 36:1-4 36:1-4
The Reign and Captivity of Jehoiakim King Jehoiakim of Judah Jehoiakim
36:5-8 36:5-8 36:5-8 36:5-8 36:5-8
The Reign and Captivity of Jehoiachin King Jehoiachin of Judah Jehoiachin
36:9 36:9-10 36:9-10 36:9-10 36:9-10
Captivity in Babylon Begun
Zedekiah Rules in Judah Zedekiah Reigns in Judah King Zedekiah of Judah Zedekiah
36:11-14 36:11-14 36:11-14 36:11-12 36:11-13
The Fall of Jerusalem
36:13-16 The Nation
The Fall of Jerusalem 36:14-16
36:15-21 36:15-16 36:15-16 Ruin
36:17-21 36:17-21 36:17-21 36:17-21
Cyrus Permits Return The Proclamation of Cyrus Cyrus Commands the Jews to Return A New Hope
36:22-23 36:22-23 36:22-23 36:22 36:22-23

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Bible Interpretation Seminar")


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

  1. First paragraph
  2. Second paragraph
  3. Etc.


  1. There is a series of faithless kings after Josiah.
    1. Joahaz, who reigned only three months and was replaced by Neco's surrogate (cf. 2 Kgs. 23:30-35; see Josephus, Antiq. 10.5.2.). He was exiled to Egypt (cf. Jer. 22:11-12, where he is called "Shallum").
    2. Jehoiakim, Neco's surrogate (cf. 2 Kgs. 23:36-24:7) is brought in chains to Babylon (the 2 Kings parallel does not mention this; and Jer. 22:18-19 implies he was returned quickly to Jerusalem, where he was ignobly buried; see Gleason Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, pp. 213-214).
    3. Jehoiachin also reigned only three months (cf. 2 Kgs. 24:8-17; Jer. 22:24-30) and was replaced by Nebuchadnezzar's surrogate, Zedekiah.
    4. Zedekiah (cf. 2 Kings 25) rebelled against Babylon, which resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 586 b.c.

  2. 2 Chronicles closes with a brief note about Cyrus II, King of Medo-Persia (cf. Isa. 44:28-45:1) and his allowing the Judean exiles to return home and rebuild a much smaller temple (cf. Ezra ‒ Nehemiah).

  3. There were several deportations of Judeans to Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar.
    1. 605 b.c. ‒ Jehoiakim and Daniel with his three friends
    2. 597 b.c. ‒ Jehoiachin and thousands of artisans
    3. 586 b.c. ‒ Zedekiah and the general population taken and the city of Jerusalem and the temple destroyed
    4. 582 b.c. ‒ at the assassination of the Babylonian-appointed Judean governor, Gedelilah, even more rural people were deported

  4. See Edwin R. Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, summary of these brief reigns and dates, pp. 182-191.


1Then the people of the land took Joahaz the son of Josiah, and made him king in place of his father in Jerusalem. 2Joahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. 3Then the king of Egypt deposed him at Jerusalem, and imposed on the land a fine of one hundred talents of silver and one talent of gold. 4The king of Egypt made Eliakim his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. But Neco took Joahaz his brother and brought him to Egypt.

36:1 "the people of the land" See note at 2 Chr. 33:25.

"Joahaz" In 2 Kgs. 23:31, he is called by his full name, "Jehoahaz."


36:4 "Eliakim. . .Jehoiakim" Judean kings often took a throne name.

5Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem; and he did evil in the sight of the Lord his God. 6Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against him and bound him with bronze chains to take him to Babylon. 7Nebuchadnezzar also brought some of the articles of the house of the Lord to Babylon and put them in his temple at Babylon. 8Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim and the abominations which he did, and what was found against him, behold, they are written in the Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah. And Jehoiachin his son became king in his place.

36:5 "and he did evil in the sight of the Lord his God" This is a recurrent phrase which implies disobedience to the Mosaic covenant (cf. 2 Kgs. 23:32). In Jer. 26:20-24 we see his treatment of YHWH's prophets. He imprisoned Jeremiah and Baruch (Jer. 36:26). Also notice how his actions affected the people in 2 Chr. 36:16.

36:6 In 2 Kgs. 24:2 YHWH sends several invaders into Judah because of Jehoiakim's faithlessness (and Manasseh's, 2 Chr. 36:3).

  1. bands of Chaldeans
  2. bands of Syrians
  3. bands of Moabites
  4. bands of Ammonites

"Nebuchadnezzar" The name (BDB 613) in Babylonian has several possible meanings.

  1. "Nebo, protect (the) boundary (or frontier)"
  2. "Nebo, protect (my) progeny"
  3. "Nebo, protect (my) inheritance"
  4. "Nebo, protect (the) crown"
  5. "Nebo, protect (thy) servant"

In Daniel, like Jeremiah, it is spelled two ways, Nebuchadrezzar (most accurate spelling) and Nebuchadnezzar (found in OT 27 times). The difference is due to the transliteration from Babylonian to Aramaic/Hebrew. But why both spellings are in one book is uncertain, possibly different scribes were used. The original name in Akkadian would have been Nabu-kudurri-usur.

He was not really king yet because his father Nabopolassar (626-605 b.c.) did not die until the summer of 605 b.c. He was the crown prince in charge of the military campaign. We have no other historical record of this raid. However, 2 Kgs. 24:1-7 and 2 Chr. 36:1-7 surely imply a confrontation between Nebuchadnezzar and Jehoiakim before 597 b.c. Jerusalem seems to have fallen into Babylonian hands in 605 b.c. (Daniel and his friends taken), 597 b.c. (Jehoiachim and nobles and artisans taken), 586 b.c. (general deportation) and 582 b.c. (all who could be found taken).

36:7 Nebuchadnezzar displayed his military victories by putting the idols and implements of the different gods of the conquered nations in alcoves of the temple of Marduk (cf. Ezra 1:7).

He also took young men from each nation and turned them into servants in his great hall. They were trophies (i.e., Daniel 9:1-4)!

36:8 "abominations" See SPECIAL TOPIC: ABOMINATION.

9Jehoiachin was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem, and he did evil in the sight of the Lord.

TEV, NJB, LXX, Peshitta  "eighteen"

The MT has "eight" which the UBS Text Project, p. 490, gives a "B" rating (some doubt). The older age comes from 2 Kgs. 24:8 and the ancient versions and some Hebrew MSS.

The MT has "eight," which is apparently an ancient scribal error (i.e., "ten," BDB 797 dropped out of the text).

  1. eight (BDB 1032) ‒ שׁמנה
  2. eighteen (i.e., "eight" and "ten") ‒ שׁמנה עשׂרה

See Gleason Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, pp. 214-215.

10At the turn of the year King Nebuchadnezzar sent and brought him to Babylon with the valuable articles of the house of the Lord, and he made his kinsman Zedekiah king over Judah and Jerusalem.

36:10 There were several deportations from Judah to Babylon (see Contextual Insights, C).

  1. 605 b.c.
  2. 597 b.c.
  3. 586 b.c.
  4. 582 b.c.
NASB, JPSOA  "his kinsman"
NKJV, NRSV, NJB, Peshitta  "brother"
TEV  "his uncle"
REB, LXX  "his father's brother"

The MT has "brother" (BDB 26) but 2 Kgs. 24:17 calls him "uncle." The Hebrew term "brother" can mean "relative" (cf. Gen. 13:8; 14:14,16; 29:12,15; Num. 16:10; 18:2,6; 2 Sam. 19:12-13; 2 Chr. 22:8).

11Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. 12He did evil in the sight of the Lord his God; he did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet who spoke for the Lord. 13He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar who had made him swear allegiance by God. But he stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against turning to the Lord God of Israel. 14Furthermore, all the officials of the priests and the people were very unfaithful following all the abominations of the nations; and they defiled the house of the Lord which He had sanctified in Jerusalem.

36:12 Babylon left some of the very poor farmers and herdsmen to tend the fields and herds for taxation purposes (cf. 2 Kgs. 24:14; 25:12).

"he did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet" In 2 Chronicles there are two VERBS that reveal the hearts of the kings.

  1. humble (see notes at 2 Chr. 7:14; 12:6,7)
  2. seek (see notes at 2 Chr. 7:14; 15:4,15)

This last series of kings did neither, even though YHWH addressed them through his prophet Jeremiah. They were exactly opposite to Hezekiah (cf. 2 Chr. 32:26; 33:12,23) and Josiah (cf. 2 Chr. 34:27).

36:13 Notice the evil of Zedekiah and Judah.

  1. He broke his oath in YHWH's name (i.e., vassal oath probably on the names of several gods; breaking an oath to God was a serious sin, cf. Ezek. 17:11-21).
  2. He stiffened his neck ‒ cf. Deut. 9:6,13; 10:16; 31:27; 2 Chr. 30:8; Neh. 9:16,17,29; Jer. 7:26; 17:23; 19:15.
  3. He hardened his heart (i.e., he trusted Egypt, not YHWH).
  4. All his officials of the priests were very unfaithful.
  5. All the people were very unfaithful (v. 16).

The "unfaithfulness" of the priests and people is highlighted by the PARTICIPLE and NOUN of the same root (BDB 591, KB 612).

Notice how the Chronicler does not mention the unfaithfulness of the Levites. He is supportive of them throughout the book.

36:14 "the people were very unfaithful" This is am emphatic phrase.

  1. BDB 915, KB 1176, Hiphil PERFECT ‒ "very" or "exceedingly"
  2. BDB 591, KB 612, both Qal INFINITIVE CONSTRUCT and NOUN ‒ "unfaithful"

The VERB (BDB 915, KB 1176) is used three times in 2 Chronicles to show the Judean kings' evil (which influenced the whole nation) and caused YHWH to unleash the "curses" of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28.

  1. Manasseh ‒ 2 Chr. 33:6
  2. Amon ‒ 2 Chr. 33:23
  3. Zedekiah led the priests and people to continue their idolatry ‒ 2 Chr. 36:14

Judgment was the only option of God's word and God's character is true! The powerful statement in Galatians 6:7, people and nations reap what they sow!

"all the abominations of the nations" This phrase repeatedly refers to idolatry (cf. Deut. 18:9; 1 Kgs. 1424; 2 Kgs. 16:3; 21:2; 2 Chr. 33:2; 36:14; Ezek. 8:10-16 lists the kinds of idolatry; see exegetical notes online). See the terrible list in Deut. 18:9-13,14; also Leviticus 20; see exegetical notes online.

15The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place; 16but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, until there was no remedy. 17Therefore He brought up against them the king of the Chaldeans who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion on young man or virgin, old man or infirm; He gave them all into his hand. 18All the articles of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king and of his officers, he brought them all to Babylon. 19Then they burned the house of God and broke down the wall of Jerusalem, and burned all its fortified buildings with fire and destroyed all its valuable articles. 20Those who had escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and to his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, 21to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept sabbath until seventy years were complete.

36:15 The prophets (i.e., "again and again," highlighted by the IMPERFECT VERB and INFINITIVE ABSOLUTE of the same root, BDB 1018, KB 1511) were sent in love and mercy but Judah would not listen or respond (v. 16; Jer. 5:10-13). Judgment was the only way for YHWH to purify His people and restore His plan of revelation.


36:16 "until there was no remedy" This is a sad comment. The repeated efforts of YHWH to speak to both the kings and the people had failed. There were brief periods of incomplete repentance. The only hope for His covenant people, His means of revelation to the nations, was judgment.

Notice the three PARTICIPLES that describe the people of Judah's repeated actions in response to YHWH's prophets.

  1. mocked ‒ BDB 541, KB 532, Hiphil, cf. 2 Chr. 30:10
  2. despised ‒ BDB 102, KB 117, Qal
  3. scoffed ‒ BDB 1073, KB 1770, Hithpael (rare VERB, only twice in the OT, cf. Gen. 27:12)

The reason for YHWH's judgment is both the sins of her kings, like Manasseh, but primarily their corporate failure to worship YHWH. They, as a culture, return again and again to the high places of Canaanite fertility worship.

36:17 "the Chaldeans" See SPECIAL TOPIC: CHALDEANS.

"who slew their young men. . .in the house of their sanctuary" The temple was totally defiled by the blood of the victims (cf. Lam. 2:20; Ezek. 9:6-7). Manasseh had shed innocent blood (cf. 2 Kgs. 21:16), now YHWH allows Nebuchadnezzar to do the same (cf. 2 Kgs. 24:4).

The fall of Jerusalem affected everyone from the young to the old. YHWH gave them all to the Babylonians (cf. 2 Chr. 36:17-20).

YHWH had "compassion" on His people again and again (v. 15) but they would not humble themselves and seek Him, so now He has "no compassion" (v. 17; Ezekiel 16)!


NASB  "fortified buildings"
NKJV, NRSV, TEV, NJB, Peshitta  "palaces"
JPSOA, REB  "mansions"
LXX  "bastions"

The MT has a word (BDB 74, KB 89) that is translated several ways but the basic meaning is a fortified large home. It could be of the king, royal family, or other wealthy person. This type of building would be the first attacked and plundered. It became a metaphor of conquest (cf. 1 Kgs. 16:18; 2 Kgs. 15:25; Ps. 122:7; Isa. 34:13; Amos 1:4,7,10,12,14).

26:17-21 The Chronicler's account of the fall of Jerusalem is much briefer than 2 Kgs. 25:1-21; also note Jer. 39:1-4; 52:4-17; and Lamentations. It is hard for modern, non-Jewish readers to imagine what the destruction of their beloved city and temple meant to them. They surely felt no hope (i.e., Lamentations). Had YHWH abandoned His people? Israel repeatedly forgot that the Mosaic covenant (not the Abrahamic or Davidic covenants) was conditional. The blessing flowed only through obedience. Disobedience triggered the curses of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28!

YHWH had a purpose for Israel, but it was an "if. . .then" covenant. YHWH wanted to reveal His character to the nations through Israel.



36:21 See exegetical notes on Jeremiah 29:10 online.


22Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia—in order to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah—the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, 23"Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, 'The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all His people, may the Lord his God be with him, and let him go up!'"

36:22-23 This new ANE power is revealed by name (i.e., Cyrus) in Isa. 44:28 and 45:1. See The exegetical notes online.

Cyrus was a superstitious person. He rebuilt all the temples of the gods of the nations at his expense, so that the peoples could pray to their god for him and his successors. Judah was not the only exiled people who returned home under Cyrus II's decree of 538 b.c.

Ezra starts with 2 Chr. 36:22-23, which shows they are connected. 2 Chronicles is the judgment but Ezra ‒ Nehemiah the hope, as is Zechariah.

36:23 "the God of heaven" See full note at Ezra 1:2.


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

  1. Who are "the people of the land" in 2 Chr. 36:1?
  2. What did Nebuchadnezzar do with the articles from YHWH's temple?
  3. What does the phrase "did evil in the sight of the Lord" refer to?
  4. Why is 2 Chr. 36:14-16 so devastating?
  5. Is 2 Chr. 36:17 an example of "holy war"?
  6. Where does Jeremiah predict a seventy year exile? Why 70 years?
  7. How does 2 Chr. 36:22-23 clearly show YHWH knows the future and controls it for His purposes?

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