Isn’t Egypt where it all started? Isn’t Egypt the land of oppression God had rescued his people from? Why are they now finding their way back there to be “safe?” Sometimes we see circular patterns like this today. It’s like the battered wife that keeps going back to her abuser thinking he’d changed. (Speaking from experience here.)
Judah’s exile story continues to morph. It wasn’t a once and done sort of take over. It seems like the desire for control has overtaken many of the people involved. Gedaliah was an interesting choice for governor, chosen by King Nebuchadnezzar to keep the land of Judah bowing to him. Gedaliah was a descendent of one of King Josiah’s right hand men, Shaphan. Other than name recognition, I’m not discerning any real strategy.
What a sad day for Judah! With the arrival of King Nebuchadnezzar’s captain of the guard, Nebuzaradan, Jerusalem would never look the same. Can you imagine the horror of the people remaining in Jerusalem as they witnessed God’s holy temple being destroyed? Then they had to watch while all the expensive trimmings were hauled away.
The Babylonians meant business and were ready to finish off the city. God had given them complete access. More people were taken away into exile. Nebuzaradan saw it prudent to leave the poorest behind to tend the fields. How would it have felt to be left behind in this shell of a city, only to be slaves to the Babylonians? Did they think that life in captivity would be better?
Jehoiakim had adversity coming to him from all directions with the Egyptians and Babylonians invaded and controlling things. Do you think Jehoiakim had a sense of dread following him around? I know how that feels to sense something bad is going to happen. Perhaps he had been stuck in a pattern of non-belief for long enough he began to lose hope. Either way, feeling that dread or fear is not a pleasant experience.
Jehoiakim had his hands full. We see God moving in an unbelievable way. “Then the Lord sent bands of Babylonian, Aramean, Moabite, and Ammonite raiders against Judah to destroy it, just as the Lord had promised through his prophets.” Unbelievable from the perspective that God would orchestrate the evil necessary to destroy his people. Certainly, it was believable because it was promised through the prophets.