He set fire to the temple of the Lord, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem. Every important building he burned down. The whole Babylonian army under the commander of the imperial guard broke down the walls around Jerusalem. (2 Kings 25:9-10 NIV)
The rebellion of Zedekiah was the final act of a monarch in any part of what was the land of Israel. The response of Nebuchadnezzar was brutal. Not only was the king and the lineage crushed, the city of David was also routed.
Among the clear signs of the crushing of the city was the demolition of the walls of Jerusalem – leaving the once impregnable centre of God’s people open, vulnerable and bereft of protection. The sign of the monarchy in terms of the palace was also demolished. Of all the buildings to be demolished the most significant was the temple of the Lord. Hundreds of years earlier when the people had again been unfaithful to the Lord, He handed them over to defeat by the Philistines and the ark of the covenant was taken. At that time the people mourned at how the glory had departed Israel. Now it was not just the glory that departed. No king, no viable city, no palace and no temple – no way of recognising what was once a significant presence of God in the world.
The exile of the people was not the end of God’s story with His people, but it was a certain end to the age of the Kings.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden