Online Bible Commentary
God Corrects His People
2 Chronicles 36:15 And the Lord God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. 16 But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy. 17 Therefore He brought against them the king of the Chaldeans, who killed their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion on young man or virgin, on the aged or the weak; He gave them all into his hand. 18 And all the articles from the house of God, great and small, the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king and of his leaders, all these he took to Babylon. 19 Then they burned the house of God, broke down the wall of Jerusalem, burned all its palaces with fire, and destroyed all its precious possessions. 20 And those who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, 21 to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years. (NKJV)
God repeatedly sent his messengers to warn the people of Judah. But the people “mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy” (vv. 15-16).
So God handed over His people to the nation of Babylon. Most of the people died by the sword. Judah’s treasures were hauled off to Babylon. The temple and all of the palaces were burned and the wall protecting Jerusalem was broken down. Everything of value was destroyed. The people remaining were taken to Babylon to be servants (vv. 17-20).
The land in Judah was not worked for seventy years. Then, as the Prophet Jeremiah prophesied (Jer. 29:10) Judah was restored when King Cyrus, founder of the Persian Empire, defeated Babylon (v.21).
There were three deportations of the Israelites to Babylon. The first occurred in 605 B.C. and involved Daniel. The second occurred in 597 B.C. and involved Ezekiel. The third deportation, the one described here, occurred in 586 B.C. Cyrus freed the Israelites when he conquered Babylon in 538 B.C. Many Israelites returned to Judah but some elected to stay in what was now part of the Persian Empire. God marked the seventy years from 586 B.C., the destruction of the temple, to 516 B.C., the completion of the new temple.
Two temples have existed on Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. Solomon’s temple was completed in 1005 B.C. This second temple was completed in 516 B.C. It is sometimes called Zerubbabel’s temple because he was the governor of Judah at that time. Zerubbabel’s temple was about one-third larger than Solomon’s temple. This temple was plundered by the Romans in 54 B. C.
Herod the Great was appointed King of Judah by the Romans in 37 B.C. and restored Zerubbabel’s temple in18 B.C. Herod’s temple was destroyed by the Romans, under Titus, in 70 A.D. The Dome of the Rock, an Islamic shrine with its distinctive golden dome, which is said to be Jerusalem’s most recognizable landmark, now stands on the site.
God is patient. But there comes a time when God decides that His people have gone too far. That is what has happened to Judah in this passage. God loves His people too much to allow them to stray forever. He corrects His people, sometimes individually and sometimes collectively. That correction can be devastating.