Background of King Zedekiah
King Zedekiah was the last king of Jerusalem. He was the son of King Josiah and the half brother of Jehoiakim. He is also known as Mattanias.
King Zedekiah was captured because he decided to rebel against King Nebuchadnezzar and stop paying tribute. Jeremiah advised King Zedekiah to surrender and submit to King Nebuchadnezzar if he want to live. However, King Zedekiah was worried that the Babylonians will hand him over to Jews who had surrendered to them.
When the Babylonians finally had broken through the walls of Jerusalem, Zedekiah and his troop managed to escape via the opening in the walls of the king’s garden.Despite that, the Babylonian army caught up with King Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. King Zedekiah was arrested and the soldiers were scattered.
Once, the officials wanted to put Jeremiah to death because he preached that the people who stay in the city will die by the sword but whoever surrender to the Babylonians will live.
The officials complained to King Zedekiah that Jeremiah is discouraging the soldiers remained in teh city and they asked for permission to capture Jeremiah. After obtaining King Zedekiah’s permission, they threw him into the cistern of Malkijah in the courtyard of the guard.
Ebed Melek, a Cushite saw this and went to report to the king. Then, the king sent 30 men with Ebed Melek to pull Jeremiah out of the cistern. He gave some old rags and worn out clothes for Jeremiah to use as padding against the rope. Then, they pulled Jeremiah up with the rope out from the cistern. Jeremiah was kept in the courtyard of the guard.
What Can We Learn from King Zedekiah?
Zedekiah was a weak king. He was so fearful of the situation of Jerusalem and its people that he did not do anything. As a result, the people did all the abominations that they want to do. Zedekiah practiced passive evil. He allowed compromises in religious matters unlike evil kings such as Manasseh who practiced idolatry, witchcraft and kill innocent people.
Probably, Zedekiah kept silent because he wanted everyone to be happy. Another probability is that Zedekiah want to be righteous but he couldn’t make the decision to take action. Another reason is that Zedekiah probably was pressed into keeping silent. Zedekiah did not stand up against the evil deeds of the people in Jerusalem yet he had courage to rebel against the great king of Babylonia and God Almighty.
He is a good example of Christians nowadays who prefer to yield to moral principles rather than following God’s commands. Although Zedekiah know Jehovah is God, he does not fully submit to him. God wants us to be strong and courageous in every situation instead of keeping quiet about it. We must never forsake God and disregard his words no matter what. We must take God’s word and his instruction seriously. We also must not associate with God’s enemies.
Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:7 KJV)
Ye shall observe to do therefore as the LORD your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. (Deuteronomy 5:32 KJV)
Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil. (Proverbs 4:27 KJV)
And the statutes, and the ordinances, and the law, and the commandment, which he wrote for you, ye shall observe to do for evermore; and ye shall not fear other gods. (2 Kings 17:37 KJV)
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (Ephesians 6:10-18 KJV)
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 KJV)
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. (Matthew 18:15-17 KJV)
Open rebuke is better than secret love. (Proverbs 27:5 KJV)
Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. (1 Timothy 5:20 KJV)
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV)
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. (2 Timothy 4:2 KJV)
These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee. (Titus 2:15 KJV)
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 KJV)
Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren (1 Timothy 5:1 KJV)
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. (Galatians 6:1 KJV)