Who’s Who with Judah’s Exile


Retha Groenewald explains the historical timeline of Israel's kings.

God’s chosen people, the Jews, lived in the land of Israel. The reason for their captivity and exile began hundreds of years before Daniel was born, when Israel was a united kingdom. During the time of the prophet Samuel, the Israelites asked for a king in the form of a person that they could see and hear, in other words they preferred a human being to God as their King. Before you judge, remind yourselves of the times you did the same thing. How many times have you said, “I am all alone, I have no-one” or “I have nobody to talk to” etc., forgetting about God and wanting a human being instead? Relationships with people are very important, but God must be first in everything in your life. The moment you replace God with something or someone, it becomes the idol that you place on the throne in your heart, instead of God. This is what Israel did when they rejected God as their King for a human king.

Prophetically this was symbolic of the King of kings, Jesus Christ, who came to earth as a human being to die for our sins, be resurrected on the third day and is sitting on the right hand of God the Father.

United Kingdom to Divided Kingdom

King Saul of the tribe of Benjamin was the first king of Israel. He rebelled against the Lord without repenting. So the Lord took the crown away from him and gave it to David, the son of Jesse. During King David’s rule, Israel conquered their enemies and 24/7 worship was established. King David’s son, Rehoboam, was the third king of Israel and was responsible for the division of the kingdom. Jeroboam, David’s commander, took hold of the opportunity and was crowned the king of the ten tribes that became known as the Northern Kingdom. The Lord had promised King David that a descendant of his will always be on the throne. The two tribes Judah and Benjamin stayed loyal to Rehoboam and became known as the Southern Kingdom or Judah.

Moving into the future with the kings of Israel, you reach the time when Daniel lived. The Northern Kingdom was no more, for they had sinned against the Lord and were captured into exile by the Assyrians, one of the cruellest nations in history. What was left of Israel was the Southern Kingdom consisting mostly of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.

Last Three Kings

Pharaoh Neco of Egypt had placed his father in bonds; changed his name from Eliakim to Jehoiakim; and placed him on the throne of Judah. He reigned for 11 years (II Chronicles 36:5-8; II Kings 23:31-36).

He was succeeded by Jehoiachin, his son, who was 18 years old when he became king and he reigned for 3 months and 10 days before he was deported by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon (II Chronicles 36:9-10).

Then King Nebuchadnezzar made Mattaniah, the uncle of Jehoiachin, king in his place and changed his name to Zedekiah. Zedekiah was 21 years old when he became king and he reigned for 11 years. He rebelled against the king of Babylon after breaking his oath to the king. Nebuchadnezzar made Zedekiah witness the killing of his sons, he then blinded him and took Zedekiah as a captive to Babylon. He was the last king of Judah.

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