“In his days”, which are the days when Jehoiakim is king, Nebuchadnezzar – his name is mentioned here for the first time in Scripture – comes up against Jerusalem for the first time (cf. Dan 1:11In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.). On that occasion Daniel, together with other princes, is brought to Babylon. It is then the year 606 BC. A year later an important battle takes place, at Carchemish, where Nebuchadnezzar takes the world domination of Egypt (verse 77The king of Egypt did not come out of his land again, for the king of Babylon had taken all that belonged to the king of Egypt from the brook of Egypt to the river Euphrates.; Jer 46:22To Egypt, concerning the army of Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt, which was by the Euphrates River at Carchemish, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon defeated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah:
). From then on, Nebuchadnezzar is the golden head (Dan 2:37-3837You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory;38and wherever the sons of men dwell, [or] the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given [them] into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold.), the first world empire after Judah is not any longer the people of God.
When Jehoiakim has submitted to Nebuchadnezzar for three years, he “rebels” against him. Perhaps we should consider the possibility that he has taken sides with Pharaoh. As a result, Nebuchadnezzar is taking measures to subjugate the rebellious Jehoiakim.
Remarkable is that the coming of the bands is not attributed to Nebuchadnezzar, but to the LORD. The LORD acts and does so in faithfulness to His Word. He had foretold this by the service of His servants, the prophets, and so it happens (verse 22The LORD sent against him bands of Chaldeans, bands of Arameans, bands of Moabites, and bands of Ammonites. So He sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the LORD which He had spoken through His servants the prophets.). The coming up of the bands against Judah don’t even happen in the first place because of the rebellion of Jehoiakim, but “because of the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he had done” (verse 33Surely at the command of the LORD it came upon Judah, to remove [them] from His sight because of the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he had done,).
A sin of Manasseh that is particularly important in this judgment is that he has shed “innocent blood”, yes, that he has “filled Jerusalem with innocent blood” (verse 44and also for the innocent blood which he shed, for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; and the LORD would not forgive.). The LORD takes all this so seriously, that He “would not forgive”.
We certainly have to do with a forgiving God. However, that does not mean that God’s patience is infinite. When the judgment comes, the moment has come when He will no longer forgive. This is never due to God, but to man’s impenitence.
We live in a time comparable to that of these last kings. Judgment comes on Christianity. The fact that God has chosen a remnant for Himself, even now, does not change this judgment. For the mass of Christianity there is no forgiveness anymore.
This brings the historian to the end of his description of the life of Jehoiakim. He only mentions his death (verse 66So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers, and Jehoiachin his son became king in his place.). Nothing is said of a burial. He doesn’t get one either. What he gets is a donkey burial: he is thrown away as unsuitable and despicable (Jer 22:18-1918Therefore thus says the LORD in regard to Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah,
“They will not lament for him:
‘Alas, my brother!’ or, ‘Alas, sister!’
They will not lament for him:
‘Alas for the master!’ or, ‘Alas for his splendor!’
19“He will be buried with a donkey’s burial,
Dragged off and thrown out beyond the gates of Jerusalem.
The communication of verse 77The king of Egypt did not come out of his land again, for the king of Babylon had taken all that belonged to the king of Egypt from the brook of Egypt to the river Euphrates. follows directly on from the communication of Jehoiakim’s death. In this verse the writer explains that Jehoiakim did not receive help from the king of Egypt in his revolt against Babylon (verse 11In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant [for] three years; then he turned and rebelled against him.).