Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
4 Kings (2 Kings) 24:1
In his days - i. e., 605 B.C., which was the third completed Dan 1:1, and fourth commencing Jer 25:1, year of Jehoiakim.
Nebuchadnezzar - or Nebuchadrezzar, which is closer to the original, Nabu-kudurri-uzur. This name, like most Babylonian names, is made up of three elements, Nebo, the well-known god Isa 46:1, kudur, of doubtful signification (perhaps "crown" perhaps "landmark"), and uzur "protects." Nebuchadnezzar, the son of Nabopolassar, and second monarch of the Babylonian empire, ascended the throne, 604 B.C., and reigned 43 years, dying 561 B.C. He married Amuhia (or Amyitis), daughter of Cyaxares, king of the Medes, and was the most celebrated of all the Babylonian sovereigns. No other pagan king occupies so much space in Scripture. He was not actual king at this time, but only Crown Prince and leader of the army under his father. As he would be surrounded with all the state and magnficence of a monarch, the Jews would naturally look upon him as actual king.
Came up - Nebuchadnezzar began his campaign by attacking and defeating Neco's Egyptians at Carchemish Jer 46:2. He then pressed forward toward the south, overran Syria, Phoenicia, and Judaea, took Jerusalem, and carried off a portion of the inhabitants as prisoners Dan 1:1-4 : after which he proceeded southward, and had reached the borders of Egypt when he was suddenly recalled to Babylon by the death of his father.
Three years - Probably from 605 B.C. to 602 B.C. Jehoiakim rebelled because he knew Nebuchadnezzar to be engaged in important wars in some other part of Asia.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 24:2
See the marginal references. Instead of coming up in person Nebuchadnezzar sent against Jehoiakim his own troops and those of the neighboring nations.
The ravages of the Moabites and the Ammonites are especially alluded to in the following passages: Jer 48:26-27; Jer 49:1; Eze 25:3-6; Zep 2:8.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 24:5
Comparing Jer 22:19; Jer 36:6, Jer 36:30; and Eze 19:8-9, it would seem that Nebuchadnezzar must in the fifth or sixth year after Jehoiakim's revolt have determined to go in person to Riblah, to direct operations, first against Tyre and then against Jerusalem. Jehoiakim was taken prisoner, and brought in chains to Nebuchadnezzar, who at first designed to convey him to Babylon, but afterward had him taken to Jerusalem, where he was executed. Afterward, when the Babylonians had withdrawn, the remains were collected and interred in the burying-place of Manasseh, so that the king ultimately "slept with his fathers" Kg2 24:6.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 24:6
Jehoiachin - Also called Jeconiah and Coniah. Jehoiachin and Jeconiah both mean "Yahweh will establish," Coniah, "Yahweh establishes." Probably his original name was Jehoiachin. When he ascended the throne, and was required to take a new name, anxious not to lose the good men contained in his old one, he simply transposed the two elements. Jeremiah shortened this new name from Jeconiah to Coniah, thus cutting off from it the notion of futurity, to imply that that would not be which the name declared would be. In other words, "Yahweh establishes," but this prince he will not establish.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 24:7
Neco, from the year of the battle of Carchemish, confined himself to his own country and made no efforts to recover Syria or Judaea.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 24:8
His mother's name - On the position of the "queen mother" see Kg1 15:10 note. Nehushta's rank and dignity are strongly marked by the distinct and express mention which is made of her in almost every place where her son's history is touched (Kg2 24:12; compare Jer 22:26; Jer 29:2).
4 Kings (2 Kings) 24:10
Came up against Jerusalem - The cause and circumstances of this siege are equally obscure. Perhaps Nebuchadnezzar detected Jehoiachin in some attempt to open communications with Egypt.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 24:12
The eighth year - Jeremiah calls it the seventh year Jer 52:28, a statement which implies only a different manner of counting regnal years.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 24:13
On the first capture of the city in the fourth (third) year of Jehoiakim Dan 1:2; Ch2 36:7, the vessels carried off consisted of smaller and lighter articles; while now the heavier articles, as the table of showbread, the altar of incense, the ark of the covenant were stripped of their gold, which was carried away by the conquerors. Little remained more precious than brass at the time of the final capture in the reign of Zedekiah Kg2 25:13-17.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 24:14
The entire number of the captives was not more than 11,000. They consisted of three classes:
(1) the "princes" or "mighty of the land," i. e., courtiers, priests, elders, and all who had any position or dignity - in number 3,000 (compare Kg2 24:14, Kg2 24:16).
(2) the "mighty men of valor" or "men of might," i. e., the soldier class, who were 7,000. And
(3) craftsmen or artisans, who numbered 1,000. The word here translated "craftsmen" denotes artisans in stone, wood, or metal, and thus includes our "masons, carpenters, and smiths." The word translated "smiths" means strictly "lock-smiths."
The object of carrying off these persons was twofold:
(1) it deprived the conquered city of those artisans who were of most service in war; and
(2) it gave the conqueror a number of valuable assistants in the construction of his buildings and other great works.
The Assyrian monarchs frequently record their removal of the skilled artisans from a conquered country. The population of the ancient city has been calculated, from its area, at 15,000. The remnant left was therefore about 5000 or 6,000.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 24:15
The mighty of the land - Or "the great," "the powerful." The word used is quite distinct from that in Kg2 24:14, Kg2 24:16. It refers, not to bodily strength or fitness for war, hut to civil rank or dignity. The term would include all civil and all ecclesiastical functionaries - the nobles, courtiers, and elders of the city on the one hand, the priests, prophets (among them, Ezekiel), and Levites on the other.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 24:17
Mattaniah, son of Josiah and brother of Jehoahaz, but thirteen years his junior, adopted a name significant of the blessings promised by Jeremiah to the reign of a king whose name should be "Yahweh, our righteousness" Jer 23:5-8.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 24:19
He did that which was evil - The character of Zedekiah seems to have been weak rather than wicked. Consult Jer. 34; 37: His chief recorded sins were:
(1) his refusal to be guided in his political conduct by Jeremiah's counsels, while nevertheless he admitted him to be a true Yahweh-prophet; and
(2) his infraction of the allegiance which he had sworn to Nebuchadnezzar.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 24:20
It came to pass - Some prefer "came this to pass:" in the sense. "Through the anger of the Lord was it that another had king ruled in Jerusalem and in Judah:" concluding the chapter with the word "presence;" and beginning the next chapter with the words, "And Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon."
Rebelled - The Book of Jeremiah explains the causes of rebellion. In Zedekiah's early years there was an impression, both at Jerusalem Jer 28:1-11 and at Babylon Jer. 29:5-28, that Nebuchadnezzar was inclined to relent. By embassy to Babylon Jer 29:3, and a personal visit Jer 51:59, Zedekiah strove hard to obtain the restoration of the captives and the holy vessels. But he found Nebuchadnezzar obdurate. Zedekiah returned to his own country greatly angered against his suzerain, and immediately proceeded to plot a rebellion. He sought the alliance of the kings of Tyre, Sidon, Moab, Ammon, and Edom Jer 27:3, and made overtures to Hophra, in Egypt, which were favorable received Eze 17:15, whereupon he openly revolted, apparently in his ninth year, 588 B.C. Tyre, it must be remembered, was all this time defying the power of Nebuchadnezzar, and thus setting an example of successful revolt very encouraging to the neighboring states. Nebuchadnezzar, while constantly maintaining an army in Syria, and continuing year after year his attempts to reduce Tyre (compare Eze 29:18) was, it would seem, too much occupied with other matters, such, probably, as the reduction of Susiana Jer 49:34-38, to devote more than a small share of his attention to his extreme western frontier. In that same year, however (588 B.C.), the new attitude taken by Egypt induced him to direct to that quarter the main force of the Empire, and to take the field in person.