Kinah 9: The Final Blow
“They drowned and slaughtered Cohanim and Leviim who once maintained the tiers of my Temple platform. When, in the valley of Hamath, my Cohanim were murdered…” The final phrase refers to Kings II 25:18-21: “And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door; and out of the city he took an officer that was set over the men of war; and five men of them that saw the king’s face, who were found in the city; and the scribe of the captain of the host, who mustered the people of the land; and threescore men of the people of the land, that were found in the city. And Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took them, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah. And the king of Babylon smote them, and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was carried away captive out of his land.” (The Murdered Cohanim)
“So Judah was carried away captive out of his land.” The exile was not complete until Nebuchadnezar executed Seraiah, Zephaniah, and the others. He had already murdered Zedekiah’s, the King of Judah, children before his eyes just before blinding him and sending him in chains to Babylon. Nebuzaradan had massacred the Cohanim. Why did he gather this group to bring to his king? Why did he not execute them in Jerusalem? Why was this considered the final step of the exile?
The city was conquered. The Temple was in ruins. Nebuzaradan had done his job well, but Nebuchadnezar was not an active participant. These people who represented the spiritual life of Israel – Seraiah and Zephaniah; the military – “officer that was set over the men of war;” and royalty – “five men of them that saw the king’s face;” and the citizens – “threescore men of the people of the land, that were found in the city,” were Nebuchadnezar’s opportunity to land the final blow on Israel.
The mission was not completed until the King himself could complete each stage of the destruction of the nation. At this point it was no longer a war waged between two nations, but between Nebuchadnezar and God. This was not to be only an exile from their land, but for Israel to feel exiled from their God.
All our enemies over the generations have attempted to sever the relationship between Israel and God. Nebuchadnezar was not the first. He is long gone, and our relationship with God is still strong. Ultimately, he lost and we not only survived but thrived. knowledgeable
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