Babylon has now become the most powerful political entity in the region. In stark contrast to the prophet Jeremiah’s advice, Jehoiakim decides to stop paying tribute-effectivelydeclaring war on the new empire. The Babylonians send their allies to punish Judah. Jehoiakim dies and his son, Jehoiachin, rises to the throne. Nebuchadnezzar arrives in the land and lays siege to Jerusalem. In a desperate attempt to save the city from complete destruction, Jehoiachin surrenders. Nebuchadnezzar replaces the entire leadership of Jerusalem and drives into exile the aristocracy, artisans, and priests-among them, the prophet Ezequiel. The rulers of Judah disrupt the peace, time after time, and the consequences of their actions are fatal–terrible tragedies will soon befall Jerusalem. Rather than focusing on moderation and finding the right balance, the latter kings of Judah consistently destabilize the political situation-until they reach the point of no return.
“In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babyloncame up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years” (2 Kings 24:1)
“And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers” (2 Kings 24:12)
“And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land” (2 Kings 24:14)
Caution is “pausing” between our natural reactivity and chosen positive action.