What is described here is foretold by the prophet Isaiah: “‘Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house and all that your fathers have laid up in store to this day will be carried to Babylon; nothing will be left,’ says the LORD” (Isa 39:66‘Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house and all that your fathers have laid up in store to this day will be carried to Babylon; nothing will be left,’ says the LORD.). This prophecy is the judgment of what Hezekiah has done with the treasures of the LORD’s house. He showed them all to the delegation from Babylon: “There was nothing in his house nor in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them” (Isa 39:22Hezekiah was pleased, and showed them [all] his treasure house, the silver and the gold and the spices and the precious oil and his whole armory and all that was found in his treasuries. There was nothing in his house nor in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them.). That delegation visited him because of his illness and miraculous healing and also because of the miracle of the going back of the sun’s shadow (Isa 38:88Behold, I will cause the shadow on the stairway, which has gone down with the sun on the stairway of Ahaz, to go back ten steps.” So the sun’s [shadow] went back ten steps on the stairway on which it had gone down.; 39:11At that time Merodach-baladan son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that he had been sick and had recovered.; 2Chr 32:31a31Even [in the matter of] the envoys of the rulers of Babylon, who sent to him to inquire of the wonder that had happened in the land, God left him [alone only] to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart.).
Jehoiakim is a son of king Josiah. Josiah gave him the name Eliakim, but Pharaoh Neco “changed his name to Jehoiakim” (2Kgs 23:3434Pharaoh Neco made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in the place of Josiah his father, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. But he took Jehoahaz away and brought [him] to Egypt, and he died there.). Pharaoh has the power to do so because Israel has been conquered by him. He makes Jehoiakim king. Jehoiakim is twenty-five years old then “and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem” (2Kgs 23:3636Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name [was] Zebidah the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah.).
During his reign, in its third year, Nebuchadnezzar besieges Jerusalem. There is no way to escape from his grip, because the LORD is behind this siege. This is not because Nebuchadnezzar is so strong, but because “the Lord”, Adonai, the souverain Ruler over all things, stands behind this siege. He must give His people into the hand of the enemy, because all the previous means to make His people repent didn’t have any effect.
The third year of reign of Jehoiakim is the year 606 BC. In that year the transport of a number of nobles, including Daniel and his friends, takes place (verses 3-4,63Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including some of the royal family and of the nobles,4youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every [branch of] wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the king’s court; and [he ordered him] to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans.6Now among them from the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.).
After this there are three more deportations of the population. The first of these takes place in the days of Jehoiachin, a grandson of Josiah, who came to the throne after Jehoiakim’s death (2Kgs 24:6-176So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers, and Jehoiachin his son became king in his place.7The 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.8Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name [was] Nehushta the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.9He did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father had done.10At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon went up to Jerusalem, and the city came under siege.11And Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon came to the city, while his servants were besieging it.12Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he and his mother and his servants and his captains and his officials. So the king of Babylon took him captive in the eighth year of his reign.13He carried out from there all the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the LORD, just as the LORD had said.14Then he led away into exile all Jerusalem and all the captains and all the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and the smiths. None remained except the poorest people of the land.15So he led Jehoiachin away into exile to Babylon; also the king’s mother and the king’s wives and his officials and the leading men of the land, he led away into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.16All the men of valor, seven thousand, and the craftsmen and the smiths, one thousand, all strong and fit for war, and these the king of Babylon brought into exile to Babylon.17Then the king of Babylon made his uncle Mattaniah king in his place, and changed his name to Zedekiah.; 2Chr 36:9-109Jehoiachin was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem, and he did evil in the sight of the LORD.10At the turn of the year King Nebuchadnezzar sent and brought him to Babylon with the valuable articles of the house of the LORD, and he made his kinsman Zedekiah king over Judah and Jerusalem.). When Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem in 597 BC, Jehoiachin and a number of others went out of the city to the king of Babylon, who took them prisoner (2Kgs 24:1212Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he and his mother and his servants and his captains and his officials. So the king of Babylon took him captive in the eighth year of his reign.). Ezekiel is part of this deportation (2Kgs 24:14-1614Then he led away into exile all Jerusalem and all the captains and all the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and the smiths. None remained except the poorest people of the land.15So he led Jehoiachin away into exile to Babylon; also the king’s mother and the king’s wives and his officials and the leading men of the land, he led away into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.16All the men of valor, seven thousand, and the craftsmen and the smiths, one thousand, all strong and fit for war, and these the king of Babylon brought into exile to Babylon.; Eze 1:1-21Now it came about in the thirtieth year, on the fifth [day] of the fourth month, while I was by the river Chebar among the exiles, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.2(On the fifth of the month in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s exile,), who is then twenty-five years old.
Nebuchadnezzar makes Zedekiah, a third son of Josiah, king in place of Jehoiachin. Zedekiah is the last king of Judah (2Kgs 24:17-2017Then the king of Babylon made his uncle Mattaniah king in his place, and changed his name to Zedekiah.18Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.19He did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.20For through the anger of the LORD [this] came about in Jerusalem and Judah until He cast them out from His presence. And Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.; 25:1-71Now in the ninth year of his reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, camped against it and built a siege wall all around it.2So the city was under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.3On the ninth day of the [fourth] month the famine was so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land.4Then the city was broken into, and all the men of war [fled] by night by way of the gate between the two walls beside the king’s garden, though the Chaldeans were all around the city. And they went by way of the Arabah.5But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king and overtook him in the plains of Jericho and all his army was scattered from him.6Then they captured the king and brought him to the king of Babylon at Riblah, and he passed sentence on him.7They slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, then put out the eyes of Zedekiah and bound him with bronze fetters and brought him to Babylon.; 2Chr 36:10-1410At the turn of the year King Nebuchadnezzar sent and brought him to Babylon with the valuable articles of the house of the LORD, and he made his kinsman Zedekiah king over Judah and Jerusalem.11Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem.12He did evil in the sight of the LORD his God; he did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet who spoke for the LORD.13He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar who had made him swear [allegiance] by God. But he stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against turning to the LORD God of Israel.14Furthermore, all the officials of the priests and the people were very unfaithful [following] all the abominations of the nations; and they defiled the house of the LORD which He had sanctified in Jerusalem.), he reigns from 597-587 BC. He comes to his end because he rebels against Nebuchadnezzar, who goes up against Jerusalem and destroys the city in 586 BC. Nebuchadnezzar then again leads some of the population into exile (2Kgs 25:1111Then the rest of the people who were left in the city and the deserters who had deserted to the king of Babylon and the rest of the people, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away into exile.).
Finally, around 582 BC, the last deportation takes place (Jer 52:3030in the twenty-third year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried into exile 745 Jewish people; there were 4,600 persons in all.).
Nebuchadnezzar brings the captured temple vessels “to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god”. Shinar is the area where the cities of the Babylonian empire are located, with Babel as the capital. Nimrod is the founder of that empire (Gen 10:8-108Now Cush became the father of Nimrod; he became a mighty one on the earth.9He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD.”10The beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.). The name of the city and its origin can be found in the confusion of speech (Gen 11:1-91Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words.2It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.3They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn [them] thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar.4They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top [will reach] into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”5The LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.6The LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them.7Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.”8So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city.9Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.). Babel means ‘confusion’ or ‘scattering’.
Twice it is said that Nebuchadnezzar brings the objects of the house of God into the house “of his god”. This shows how great the unfaithfulness and apostasy of the people of God are towards the LORD. They never thought this would happen. They thought they could count on the eternal presence of the LORD in their midst in the temple. The temple is their national pride. They have boast in it (Jer 7:44Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, ‘This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.’). But such pride must be punished by the LORD with humiliation. He leaves His people and surrenders His temple to the nations.