A second son of Josiah takes the throne. He is just as wicked in the Lord’s sight as his brother. He ends up serving Egypt and Babylon.
Jehoiakim came into power because Pharaoh Neco put him there. Pharaoh also levied a heavy tax upon the people. I don’t know the frequency of the tax but it was passed onto the people to satisfy it. One hundred talents of silver and one talent of gold was delivered, at LEAST once, by the hands of the people.
During this time Egypt and Assyria had some sort of treaty. Pharaoh was certainly running things by remote in Judah. Apparently that got old though and Jehoiakim went looking for a different ally. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Jehoiakim turned to Egypt’s enemy, Babylon.
For at least three of the eleven years Jehoiakim was king of Judah he was the vassal of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar removed Pharaoh’s foot from Israel’s neck but he stuck his own in its place. We aren’t told that Israel had to pay a tribute to Babylon but that isn’t out of the realm of possibilities.
Jehoiakim got it into his head that he wanted Israel to be free of all those who would rule her but he forgot about the One True Ruler; God. Israel had been free. God had blessed her. He even continued to watch over His people after they divided into two kingdoms. HE directed the paths of both kingdoms. He watched over their behavior. He showed them mercy, even though they neither earned it nor appreciated it. And now He is judging them.
God would not grant them the freedom Jehoiakim sought. God threw one nation after another at them as the beginning of their judgment. God stood by and allowed Babylon to take all the nations around them, including Egypt. He holds off just a little longer on letting them conquer Judah but IT IS coming.
I wonder if God let Egypt fall to Nebuchadnezzar before Jehoiakim became his vassal or if Jehoiakim actually rebelled against Pharaoh Neco. Did Egypt have a change in Pharaoh’s during this time? Did they still have an alliance with Assyria? It didn’t help if they did. Just some questions to ponder.
There would be no more godly kings for Judah. No more delay in enacting punishment for the sins they had engaged in. No pardon for all the innocent blood Manasseh shed. Mind you that blood was not strictly shed by Manasseh but he is liable for it because it was done ‘on his watch’ and following his example.
Something that just cropped up in my spirit is that we too are going to face God’s judgment. As His creation, as a nation, as a people and as individuals. Our time has shed more innocent blood than Manasseh ever thought about. Abortion, experimentation, abuse & neglect, genocide, wars, and even ignoring our fellow man in times of distress. “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me” (Matthew 24:40). We have a LOT to atone for.
This doesn’t even take into account our idolatry. THAT sin is going to separate the ‘goats from the sheep’. The ‘goat pasture’ is NOT going to be pleasant.
Father God, help me remember to ‘do it unto the least of these’ in my daily life. I want to show Your love wherever I go. Wash me and make me clean of any of the ‘innocent blood’ I have shed, even if it is by idly standing by. Show me what You would have me do to demonstrate Your love. Make me and instrument of Your peace and a reflection of Your love.