OU TORAHDedicated by the Jacobs and Chill Families in Memory of Harold and Pearl Jacobs
Dora Bas Rivka Silver O'H
In the ninth year of Tzidkiyahu's reign, on the 10th day of the 10th month (Teves), Nebuchadnezzar started his siege against Jerusalem. In the eleventh and last year of Tzidkiyahu's reign, on the 9th day of the 4th month (Tammuz), the city wall was breached. (In the days of the second Temple, this was done on 17 Tammuz rather than 9 Tammuz; the Sages declined to make fasts on both days.) The army of Judah fled. Tzidkiyahu was captured by the army of Kasdim and brought him to Babylonia.They killed his sons in front of him, then blinded him and kept him in chains.
On the 7th day of the 5th month (Av), Nebuzaradan came and looted Jerusalem. He burned the Temple (on the 9th of Av), as well as all the synagogues and yeshivos. Nebuzaradan exiled the remainder of the people, leaving behind only enough to work the fields.
The Babylonians demolished all the copper objects in the Temple and took the metal back to Babylonia. The fine craftsmanship of the pillars, utensils and the "sea" didn't matter to them against the value of the copper itself.
Nebuzaradan took prominent Kohanim (priests) and royal advisors and had them executed, just so people would get the message. The kingdom of Judah was officially in exile.
Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah, son of Achikam, as governor over the small number of Jews remaining in the land. The soldiers who had run away returned and Gedaliah encouraged them to be faithful servants to Babylonia. In the seventh month (Tishrei), Gedaliah was assassinated by a party led by Yishmael ben Nesanya. This extinguished the last remnant of hope for the Jews in Judah, as they had to flee to Egypt to avoid repercussions for killing the king of Babylonia's appointed representative.
Remember that Tzidkiyahu's predecessor, his brother Yehoyachin, reigned three months and was captured. In the 27th year of Yehoyachin's captivity, Nebuchadnezzar's successor, Eivil Merodach, released him from prison. Eivil Merodach honored Yehoyachin over the other conquered kings. Yehoyachin changed out of his prison garb and ate at the king's table for the rest of his life.
A short Insight into II Kings, Chapter 25The book of Melachim ll ends with consolation and hope for Bnei Yisrael.
Verse twenty seven relates, “It happened in the thirty seventh year of the exile of Yehoyachin, king of Yehuda, in the twelfth month,, on the twenty-seventh of the month: Evil-merodach, the king of Babylonia, in the year of his coronation, elevated Yehoyachin, king of Yehuda, [and released him] from prison. He spoke kindly with him and set his seat above the seats of the other kings who were with him in Babylonia.”
The Be'er Moshe explains that despite the destruction of the Temple, nonetheless, the throne of the king of the Jews was raised above the thrones of the other kings in Babylonia. This fulfills the verse in the Song of Chanah (Shmuel l 2,8-10). As Chanah praised Hashem, “He raises the needy from the dirt, from the trash heaps He lifts the destitute, to seat them with the nobles and to endow them with a seat of honor – for Hashem's are the pillars of the earth and upon them He set the world … May He give power to His king and raise the pride of his anointed one.”
The Mei'am Lo'eiz urges us to listen to these concluding verses carefully. They send a message that we should not give up hope for the redemption. After all, even after sitting in prison for thirty-seven years, in the end, Hashem took Yehoyachin out of prison and restored him to some of his previous prestige as a prelude to the building of the second Beis Hamikdash.
May we all experience, speedily in our days, the building of the third Bais Hamikdash.