The battle of Megiddo was the beginning of the end for the kingdom of Judah.
King Josiah had been defeated and killed by Pharaoh’s army.
The people in Jerusalem hastily chose Jehoahaz, one of the sons of Josiah, to succeed him.
But Pharaoh came to Jerusalem himself, and chose to demonstrate his power by deposing the new king and taking him captive.
In his place he established the slightly older brother Eliakim, changing his name to Jehoiakim at the same time.
He also imposed a tribute of a hundred talents of silver and one talent of gold; Jehoiakim paid this, and then reimbursed himself by collecting it
from the people. (2 Kings ch23 vv20-35)
I have a theory about Jehoiakim. I think he may have been captured in the battle of Megiddo, and then obliged to swear allegiance to Pharaoh.
That would explain why Pharaoh made a point of placing him on the throne, and why the people of Judah did not elect him in the first place.
It would also explain his later policy of rejecting Babylonian rule in the hope of getting help from Egypt.
Josiah had been God’s man, introducing reforms.
But Jehoiakim and his subjects proved themselves to be quite intractable.
The prophet Uriah, son of Shemaiah, prophesied in the name of the Lord, in front of the king “with all his warriors and all his princes”.
Hearing that the king wanted to put him to death, Uriah fled to Egypt.
But since this king was a client of Egypt, that country was not a safe place of refuge.
An arresting party was sent out from Judah to “extradite” him. They brought him back to Jehoiakim, who slew him with the sword- seemingly doing
the job in person. (Jeremiah ch26 vv20-23)
It was unlikely that Jeremiah would fare any better.
At the beginning of the reign, he was instructed to stand in the court of the Lord’s house and give a solemn warning to the people.
If they did not listen to the Lord’s prophets, the Temple would be destroyed as Shiloh had been destroyed, and the city itself would be left
When he did so, the priests and the [official] prophets “and all the people” seized him and demanded the death penalty.
In other words, they were treating it as a case of blasphemy (and thus implicitly equating the Temple with God himself, which is telling).
The princes of Judah were called in to act as judges, and the case was tried on the spot.
Jeremiah’s answer in defence was that he had been sent by God to say these things. Therefore they would be bringing [the guilt of shedding] innocent
blood upon themselves and upon the whole city, if they put him to death.
Crucially, the princes “and all the people” believed him.
Also “certain of the elders” reminded the court that Micah had given similar warnings in Hezekiah’s time. The Judah of those days had listened
to the prophet instead of killing him.
Thus the court chose not to allow Jeremiah to be put to death. (ch26 vv1-19).
He was forbidden to enter the house of the Lord, though. The power of the priesthood availed that much.
This was an obstacle to renewing his preaching activities.
A couple of years later, Jeremiah was instructed to get down on a scroll all the prophecies which he had received up to that point.
His friend Baruch, the son of Neriah, did the writing for him.
But how was this collection to be published?
Jeremiah left the scroll in Baruch’s keeping, and instructed him to read it out at the Lord’s house, on a fast day (when people would be
gathering in large numbers).
The priests would have regarded this as the kind of action which even ATS forbids; “posting by proxy the material of a banned member”.
But that was the only way of getting the message out, in the circumstances. (ch36)
It seems that Jeremiah had a party of supporters within the government, perhaps even within the priesthood.
When the next fast day arrived, Baruch was given the use of a chamber within the Temple, which belonged to Gemariah the secretary.
This must have been large enough to be a semi-public place, so that Baruch could read the scroll “in the hearing of all the people”, as Jeremiah
At the same time, it may have been private enough to postpone the danger of interruption.
Gemariah himself was not present during the reading, but he had a son, Micaiah, who was listening avidly.
Finally Micaiah went down to the secretary’s chamber in the king’s house, where his father and the other “princes” were sitting.
When they heard his report, they sent Jehudi son of Nethaniah to say to Baruch “Take in your hand the scroll that you read in the hearing of the
people, and come”.
This must have been a nervous moment for Baruch. For all he knew, he might have been facing arrest and interrogation or worse.
In fact these princes, who feared their God as well as their king, were not at all sure what they were going to do.
They made Baruch read the scroll again, all the way through.
Then they “turned to one another in fear”, and said to Baruch “We must report all these words to the king”.
What they feared, I believe, was the danger to the kingdom and to themselves if the warnings of the Lord were ignored.
They questioned him again about the way the scroll came to be written; a confirmation that all the words had been dictated by Jeremiah would make it
more probable that they truly came from God.
They told Baruch that he and Jeremiah should go into hiding in case the king took the report the wrong way.
After which, they went down the corridor, as it were, to the chamber in the “winter house” where the king was sitting.
They prudently left the scroll itself behind. Once the king heard their story, though, he sent Jehudi to fetch it.
It was an extraordinary scene.
The king was sitting close to the fire burning in a brazier, holding a pen-knife in his hand. All the princes were standing around him (nobody sits in
the presence of the king, except another king).
Jehudi was made to read out what was written on the scroll, unrolling it and reading three or four columns at a time.
As he read each portion, the king would take the scroll and cut out that section, throwing it onto the fire.
It would have been quicker just to burn the whole scroll forthwith, but the king evidently wanted to hear the message which he was rejecting.
Otherwise he showed no sign of interest.
He ignored the protests of the men who had brought the message to his attention.
He and his immediate servants were not moved by the Lord’s rebukes, and did not “rend their garments” as a sign of remorse.
Indeed, he sent officers to arrest both Baruch and Jeremiah, but they were already well-hidden.
The information on the scroll was not lost.
Jeremiah just dictated it all over again, with additions which the Lord gave him.
But Jehoiakim son of Josiah was certainly lost.
The later chapters and 2 Kings describe how he rebelled against Babylonian suzerainty.
Had he not died before Nebuchadnezzar arrived on the scene, he would have been killed or taken into exile, as the first stage of the destruction of
The moral is that refusing to listen to the words of the Lord does not prevent them from being fulfilled.
edit on 18-11-2016 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)