We’ve been using the book of Kings to help us get through the history of Israel, and as it comes to a close in today’s reading, there is something we must keep in mind about that book: It was written long after the events it chronicles ended. The story of the last chapter takes us from the events in 588 BC, the siege of Jerusalem (also mentioned in Ezekiel 24), through the destruction of the temple (Ezekiel 33:21ff), to 562 BC, the death of Nebuchadnezzar and the ascension of his son to the throne.
And its point?
To show that God was taking care of His people. Though the king had been imprisoned for over twenty years, he was still alive. His release was not just a release, but an elevation to an official status, and a recognition of his status in Israel. The King of Babylon provided his food and comfort for the rest of His life – just what you would expect for one of God’s anointed.
There is something else in this chapter though, and it pertains also to God’s care of His people. Throughout the prophets, the poor have been oppressed, and God has been angered by it. Now, as the princes and wealthy, the successful people, are hauled away into captivity, the “poorest” people are left. Whereas they had formerly been deprived, now, the whole land is theirs and they are left with the permission and protection of the king of Babylon.
It’s amazing how God turns things around, and it is a tribute to His power and determination to see that “right” is done.