Biblical Personalities: Tzidkiyahu: Blinded By His Sight
King Tzidkiyahu, the last king of Yehuda, died in captivity in Babylon on the 27th of Adar, 561B.C.E.
- Mattaniah thought to himself, “I will say that my name is Zedekiah from the word for righteous, so that righteous descendants will issue from me.” He did not know that actually this name augured that in his days, the Holy One, Blessed is He, would “cause the acceptance of a judgment through the burning of the Temple (Pesikta Rabbati 26:22).
- Tzidkiya, king of Yehudah performed only one good deed (that is described in the verse – Tosafot): He raised Jeremiah up out of the mire (Moed Katan 28b).
- Tzidkiya fattened Pashur son of Malciah and his colleague, whereas concerning the one true prophet, Yirmeyahu, it is written, “They gave him daily a loaf of bread from outside of the bakers’ street (Jeremiah 37:21),” that is, black bread, which was sold outside the city, for it was darker than the bran of barley flour (Song of Songs Rabbah 1:6).
- He was called Tzidkiya, because he accepted the righteousness of Divine Justice (JT Shekalim 6:1)
Who and what was this man?
I believe that the answer is in the following: Five were created with some features of unearthly excellence, and all were smitten with it: Samson in his strength, Saul in his neck, Absalom in his hair, Tzidkiya in his eyes, Asa in his feet (Sotah 10a). Tzidkiya was able to see at night but was blinded by Nebuchadnezar (Maharsha).
Tzidkiya saw differently than did others. He was able to see at night, even in the darkest times. He always saw in light, and therefore honored false prophets who promised good, and imprisoned Jeremiah who warned of devastation. He saw the good of God’s Justice, and saw hope for his descendants, despite his mistakes. He trusted the way he saw the world and refused to listen to Jeremiah’s warnings and directions.
He was the perfect King for Judah, at least in one respect, at the time of the destruction and the exile, for he always saw with hope and light. However, he was blinded by his own vision. He “saw” the name Tzidkiya as bringing merit to his descendants, and, despite his acceptance of Divine Justice, refused to see that his name could have an alternative effect. He saw as he did and was convinced that Jeremiah was dangerous.