After Josiah’s death the people crowned his son, Jehoahez, king. He reigned for three months and then the king of Egypt dethroned him and made his brother, Eliakim, king. Eliakim’s name was then changed to Jehoiakim and he reigned for eleven years and was a very bad king. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, attacked him and bound his wrists with bronze shackles and took him and items from the Lord’s temple back to Babylon. (This was the first of the exiles and is believed to be when Daniel was taken captive.)
Jehoiachin, also known as Jeconiah, was Jehiakim’s son and was the next crowned king. That was a lot of names to get to this king that appears in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
Sadly, Jehoiachin was a bad king just as his father had been. He didn’t care about the ways of God and did what he wanted to do.
In the spring time King Nebuchadnezzar and his army returned. They had come to capture Jerusalem, and the kingdom surrendered. Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin as his prisoner, as well as even more gold from the Lord’s temple, all of the men of age to be in the army, the officers, and the skilled workers and artisans. A total of ten thousand people were taken, leaving only the poorest behind in Jerusalem. (This is the second exile, and amongst those taken was Mordecai, the future Queen Esther’s cousin.)
Nebuchadnezzar crowned Jehoiachin’s Uncle Zedekiah (Josiah’s third born son) as the next king. Uncle Zedekiah was nothing more than a puppet king for Nebuchadnezzar – he held no power and no freedoms. But Uncle Zedekiah wasn’t cowardly; he tried to rebel from King Nebuchadnezzar.
That didn’t end well – Nebuchadnezzar marched his army right back to Jerusalem. Uncle Zedekiah’s eyes were hit until he went blind. Then his hands were shackled and he was taken to Babylon. As for the city of Jerusalem, it was destroyed. The temple of the Lord was burned, as were the homes and every other important building. Then the walls of the city were torn down. (This was the third of the Babylonian attacks.)
King Jehoiachin was eventually released from his prison cell in Babylon. When King Nebuchadnezzar died and his son took the throne the new king treat King Jehoiachin well and ate with him and gave him a daily allowance for the rest of his life.
The era of the kings of Israel had ended. Kings had failed to deliver the people of Israel from their enemies. The people failed to turn their hearts to God under the direction of the kings they had so badly wanted.
God’s chosen people, the Israelites, remained in captivity for many years – Daniel and Esther are two stories that occur during the Babylonian captivity that you might be familiar with.