The Fall of Jerusalem (Dan 1:1-1:2)

“In the third year

Of the reign

Of King Jehoiakim

In Judah,

King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon

Came to Jerusalem.

He besieged it.

The Lord let

King Jehoiakim

Of Judah

Fall into his power,

As well as some of the vessels

Of the house of God.

Then he brought them

To the land of Shinar,

He placed

The vessels

In the treasury

Of his gods.”

This Book of Daniel starts out on a dire note, the capture of Jerusalem. However, unlike the Book of Ezekiel, there is only a vague date for the siege of Jerusalem, the 3rd year of King Jehoiakim, which would have been 606 BCE.   However, there is no other indication of a siege at that time. Perhaps, this meant 598 BCE when King Jehoiakim was deposed. It is not clear who the author of this work was. However, the Judaean king fell under the power of King Nebuchadnezzar, because the Lord let it happen. Yahweh is not the term used for God in this post-exilic work. Rather the Greek Kyrios was used. The Babylonian king took some of the Temple vessels and treasures with him to Babylon, or Shinar as it is called here. He brought them to the treasury of his gods, which would have been Marduk and Nebo.

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The second young lion (Ezek 19:5-19:6)

“When the lioness saw

That she was thwarted,

That her hope was lost,

She took another

Of her lion cubs.

She made him

A young lion.

He prowled

Among the lions.

He became a young lion.

He learned

To catch prey.

He devoured people.”

With the capture of the first young lion, this lioness tried to develop a second young lion. She had given up hope, but then she found another one of her young lion cubs. She made him into another young lion so that he prowled among the other young lions. He then learned to catch prey and devour humans. Perhaps this lioness is a reference to Hamutal, the wife of King Josiah (640-609 BCE), whose two sons became kings, King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE) and King Zedekiah (598-587 BCE).

Yahweh explains the allegory (Ezek 17:11-17:14)

“Then the word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Say now

To the rebellious house!

Do you not know

What these things mean?

Tell them!

The king of Babylon

Came to Jerusalem.

He took its king.

He took its officials.

He brought them

Back with him

To Babylon.

He took

One of the royal offspring.

He made a covenant

With him.

He put him

Under oath.

He had taken away

The chief men

Of the land.

Thus the kingdom

Might be humble.

The kingdom might not

Lift itself up.

By keeping

His covenant,

It might stand.’’’

Ezekiel had another oracle from Yahweh that explained the first eagle allegory or riddle. Obviously the rebellious house of Judah did not understand it. Thus Yahweh, via Ezekiel, was going to explain it to them. The first eagle was the king of Babylon who came to Jerusalem. He took its king and officials back with him to Babylon. Then he took one of the Judean royal offspring and made an agreement with him. This new king swore an oath of allegiance to the King of Babylon. The first king that was uprooted was King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE), while the new king was King Zedekiah (598-587). Thus the kingdom of Judah would be humbled and not be able to lift itself up. It would be allowed to exist, if it kept the agreement with the King of Babylon.

The broken twig (Ezek 17:4-17:4)

“The eagle broke off

The topmost shoot.

He carried it

To a land of trade.

He set it

In a city of merchants.”

In this riddle, Yahweh said that the eagle broke off a top shoot. He then carried it to a land of traders. He put this twig in a city of merchants. Is this an indication of King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE) being deported to Babylon?

The reading of the book (Bar 1:3-1:4)

“Baruch read

The words

Of this book

To King Jeconiah,

The son of King Jehoiakim,

King of Judah.

He read it

To all the people

Who came

To hear the book.

He read it

To the nobles,

To the princes,

To the elders,

To all the people,

Small and great,

All who lived

In Babylon

By the river Sud.”

Baruch was accustomed to reading aloud as he had done in Jeremiah, chapter 36. Here he is reading his book to King Jeconiah (598 BCE) in exile in 582 BCE, and not King Zedekiah (598-587 BCE). King Jeconiah was also known as King Coniah or King Jehoiachin, who ruled for less than a year after the death of his father King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE). As in Jeremiah, Baruch read this book publically to anyone who wanted to hear it. He also read it to all the important people in Babylon that included the nobles, the princes, and the elders, those great and small. There was no mention of the Babylonian king here. As for the Sud River, no one seems to know where that was.

The evil King Zedekiah (Jer 52:2-52:3)

“King Zedekiah

Did what was evil

In the sight of Yahweh,

Just as King Jehoiakim

Had done.

Indeed,

Jerusalem

With Judah

So angered Yahweh

That he expelled them

From his presence.

However,

King Zedekiah

Rebelled

Against the king of Babylon.”

This is word for word the same as the opening of 2 Kings, chapter 25. Yahweh was angry with King Zedekiah, since he walked in the evil ways of his brother King Jehoiakim, and not in the good ways of his father, King Josiah. However, King Zedekiah also rebelled against the king of Babylon, which was not always a good idea since the king of Babylon had put him on the throne.

King Zedekiah (Jer 52:1-52:1)

“King Zedekiah

Was twenty-one years old,

When he began to reign.

He reigned eleven years

In Jerusalem.

His mother’s name

Was Hamutal

The daughter

Of Jeremiah

Of Libnah.”

This is very similar to the ending of 2 Kings, chapter 24, almost word for word. However, there is no mention here that the king of Babylon established Mattaniah, the son of King Josiah, as the king and then gave him a new name, King Zedekiah (598-587 BCE). This 21 year old King Zedekiah was 3 years older than his nephew, the deposed King Jehoiachin (598 BCE). He had the same mother, Hamutal from Libnah, as King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE), so that they were blood brothers with the same mother and father. King Zedekiah ruled for 11 years in Jerusalem.