Jeremiah-Historical Background Part Eleven
Recent events had demonstrated beyond question the overwhelming superiority of the Babylonian arms, and one would think that the experience would have taught Judah’s rulers the folly of rebellion and constrain them, however reluctantly and tentatively, to accept the inevitable. But clearly the lesson had not been learned.
Zedekiah’s reign saw nothing but continual agitation until the nation, as if possessed with the wish to destroy itself, finally succeeded in doing just that. Within ten years the end had come.
Wise leadership was lacking. The deportation described earlier, though not in itself large, had cost the country its ablest and most experienced leaders; the nobles who were left to guide its policies seem to have been reckless people. Zedekiah, although he appears to have been well-intentioned (Jeremiah 37:17–21; 38:7–28), was a weakling unable to control them, and fearful of popular opinion as well (Jeremiah 38:5, 19). It must be said, in fairness, that Zedekiah was very young and his position was ambiguous in that people still considered his nephew the legitimate king.