Zedekiah

Zedekiah

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Zedekiah or Tzidkiyahu ' onMouseout='HidePop("56832")' href="http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Koine_Greek">Greek
Koine Greek
Koine Greek is the universal dialect of the Greek language spoken throughout post-Classical antiquity , developing from the Attic dialect, with admixture of elements especially from Ionic....

: Ζεδεκίας, Zedekías; ) was the last king of Judah before the destruction of the kingdom by Babylon. He was installed as king of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar II
Nebuchadrezzar II
Nebuchadnezzar II was king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, who reigned c. 605 BC – 562 BC. According to the Bible, he conquered Judah and Jerusalem, and sent the Jews into exile. He is credited with the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and also known for the destruction...

, king of Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

, after a siege of Jerusalem
Siege of Jerusalem (597 BC)
In 601 BC, in the fourth year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon, unsuccessfully attempted to invade Egypt and was repulsed with heavy losses...

 to succeed his nephew, Jeconiah
Jeconiah
Jeconiah "; ; ), also known as Coniah and as Jehoiachin , was a king of Judah who was dethroned by the King of Babylon in the 6th Century BCE and was taken into captivity. Most of what is known about Jeconiah is found in the Hebrew Bible. After many excavations in Iraq, records of Jeconiah's...

, who was overthrown as king after a reign of only three months and ten days.

William F. Albright
William F. Albright
William Foxwell Albright was an American archaeologist, biblical scholar, philologist and expert on ceramics. From the early twentieth century until his death, he was the dean of biblical archaeologists and the universally acknowledged founder of the Biblical archaeology movement...

 dates the reign of Zedekiah to 597 – 587 BC, while E. R. Thiele to 597 – 586 BC. On that reckoning, he was born c. 618 BC, being twenty-one on becoming king.

The prophet Jeremiah
Jeremiah
Jeremiah Hebrew:יִרְמְיָה , Modern Hebrew:Yirməyāhū, IPA: jirməˈjaːhu, Tiberian:Yirmĭyahu, Greek:Ἰερεμίας), meaning "Yahweh exalts", or called the "Weeping prophet" was one of the main prophets of the Hebrew Bible...

 was his counselor, yet "he did evil in the sight of the Lord" .

Life and Reign


Zedekiah was made king of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar II in 597 BC at the age of eighteen. The kingdom was at that time tributary to Nebuchadnezzar II. Despite the strong remonstrances of Jeremiah, Baruch ben Neriah and his other family and advisors, as well as the example of Jehoiakim
Jehoiakim
Jehoiakim .On Josiah's death, Jehoiakim's younger brother Jehoahaz was proclaimed king, but after three months pharaoh Necho II deposed him and replaced him with the eldest son, Eliakim, who adopted the name Jehoiakim and became king at the age of twenty-five...

, he revolted against Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

, and entered into an alliance with Pharaoh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

 Hophra
Apries
Apries is the name by which Herodotus and Diodorus designate Wahibre Haaibre, Ουαφρης , a pharaoh of Egypt , the fourth king of the Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt. He was equated with the Waphres of Manetho, who correctly records that he reigned for 19 years...

 of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

. Nebuchadnezzar responded by invading Judah. . Nebuchadnezzar began a siege of Jerusalem in January 589 BC. During this siege, which lasted about thirty months, "every worst woe befell the city, which drank the cup of God's fury to the dregs".

In the eleventh year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar succeeded in capturing Jerusalem. Zedekiah and his followers attempted to escape, making their way out of the city, but were captured on the plains of Jericho
Jericho
Jericho ; is a city located near the Jordan River in the West Bank of the Palestinian territories. It is the capital of the Jericho Governorate and has a population of more than 20,000. Situated well below sea level on an east-west route north of the Dead Sea, Jericho is the lowest permanently...

, and were taken to Riblah
Riblah
Riblah , was an ancient town on the northern frontier of Israel, 35 miles north-east of Baalbec, and 10 or 12 south of Lake Homs, on the eastern bank of the Orontes, in a wide and fertile plain....

.

There, after seeing his sons put to death, his own eyes were put out
Eye-gouging
Eye-gouging is the act of pressing or tearing the eye using the fingers, other bodyparts, or instruments. Eye-gouging involves a very high risk of eye injury, such as permanent eye loss. It is disallowed in combat sports, but some self-defense systems teach it...

, and, being loaded with chains, he was carried captive to Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 , where he remained a prisoner until he died.

After the fall of Jerusalem, Nebuzaradan was sent to destroy it. The city was plundered and razed to the ground. Solomon's Temple
Solomon's Temple
Solomon's Temple, also known as the First Temple, was the main temple in ancient Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount , before its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BCE....

 was destroyed. Only a small number of vinedressers and husbandmen were permitted to remain in the land.

Epilogue


Gedaliah
Gedaliah
According to the Hebrew Bible, Gedaliah was appointed by Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon as governor of Yehud province, which was formed after the defeat of the Kingdom of Judah and the destruction of Jerusalem, in a part of the territory that previously formed the kingdom. He was supported by a...

, with a Chaldean
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

 guard stationed at Mizpah
Mizpah in Benjamin
Mizpah was a city of Benjamin.Tell en-Nasbeh is one of two sites often identified with Biblical Mizpah of Benjamin, and is located about 8 miles north of Jerusalem. The other suggested location is Neby Samwil, which is some 4 miles north-west of Jerusalem, and situated on the loftiest hill in the...

, was made governor to rule over the remnant of Judah, the Yehud Province. On hearing this news, all the Jews that were in Moab
Moab
Moab is the historical name for a mountainous strip of land in Jordan. The land lies alongside much of the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. The existence of the Kingdom of Moab is attested to by numerous archeological findings, most notably the Mesha Stele, which describes the Moabite victory over...

, Ammon
Ammon
Ammon , also referred to as the Ammonites and children of Ammon, was an ancient nation located east of the Jordan River, Gilead, and the Dead Sea, in present-day Jordan. The chief city of the country was Rabbah or Rabbath Ammon, site of the modern city of Amman, Jordan's capital...

, Edom
Edom
Edom or Idumea was a historical region of the Southern Levant located south of Judea and the Dead Sea. It is mentioned in biblical records as a 1st millennium BC Iron Age kingdom of Edom, and in classical antiquity the cognate name Idumea was used to refer to a smaller area in the same region...

, and in other countries returned to Judah. However, before long Gedaliah was assassinated, and the population that was left in the land and those that had returned fled to Egypt for safety. In Egypt, they settled in Migdol
Migdol
Migdol, or migdal, is a Hebrew word which means either a tower , an elevated stage , or a raised bed . Physically, it can mean fortified land, i.e. a walled city or castle; or elevated land, as in a raised bed, like a platform, possibly a lookout...

, Tahpanhes
Tahpanhes
Tahpanhes was a city in Ancient Egypt. It was located on Lake Manzala on the Tanitic branch of the Nile, about 16 miles from Pelusium...

, Noph
Noph
Noph or Moph was the Hebrew name for the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis, which stood on the Nile near the site of modern-day Cairo. It is mentioned several times in the Hebrew Bible ....

, and Pathros
Pathros
Pathros was a place located in Ancient Egypt. It is mentioned in the Bible, in the Book of Jeremiah, chapter 44:1 and 15, Book of Isaiah 11: 11; Book of Ezekiel 29: 14; 30: 14. It is associated with Upper Egypt....

.

Chronological notes



The Babylonian Chronicles
Babylonian Chronicles
The Babylonian Chronicles are many series of tablets recording major events in Babylonian history. They are thus one of the first steps in the development of ancient historiography...

 give 2 Adar (16 March), 597 BC, as the date that Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem, thus putting an end to the reign of Jehoaichin
Jeconiah
Jeconiah "; ; ), also known as Coniah and as Jehoiachin , was a king of Judah who was dethroned by the King of Babylon in the 6th Century BCE and was taken into captivity. Most of what is known about Jeconiah is found in the Hebrew Bible. After many excavations in Iraq, records of Jeconiah's...

. Zedekiah's installation as king by Nebuchadnezzar can therefore be firmly dated to the early spring of 597 BC. Historically there has been considerable controversy over the date when Jerusalem was captured the second time and Zedekiah's reign came to an end. There is no dispute about the month: it was the summer month of Tammuz (Jeremiah 52:6). The problem has been to determine the year. It was noted above that Albright preferred 587 BC and Thiele advocated 586 BC, and this division among scholars has persisted until the present time. If Zedekiah's years are by accession counting, whereby the year he came to the throne was considered his "zero" year and his first full year in office, 597/596, was counted as year one, Zedekiah's eleventh year, the year the city fell, would be 587/586. Since Judean regnal years were measured from Tishri in the fall, this would place the end of his reign and the capture of the city in the summer of 586 BC. Accession counting was the rule for most, but not all, of the kings of Judah, whereas "non-accession" counting was the rule for most, but not all, of the kings of Israel.

The publication of the Babylonian Chronicles
Babylonian Chronicles
The Babylonian Chronicles are many series of tablets recording major events in Babylonian history. They are thus one of the first steps in the development of ancient historiography...

 in 1956, however, gave evidence that the years of Zedekiah were measured in a non-accession sense. This reckoning makes year 598/597 BC, the year Zedekiah was installed by Nebuchadnezzar according to Judah's Tishri-based calendar, to be year "one," so that the fall of Jerusalem in his eleventh year would have been in year 588/587 BC, i.e. in the summer of 587 BC. The Bablyonian Chronicles allow the fairly precise dating of the capture of Jehoiachin
Jeconiah
Jeconiah "; ; ), also known as Coniah and as Jehoiachin , was a king of Judah who was dethroned by the King of Babylon in the 6th Century BCE and was taken into captivity. Most of what is known about Jeconiah is found in the Hebrew Bible. After many excavations in Iraq, records of Jeconiah's...

 and the start of Zedekiah's reign, and they also give the accession year of Nebuchadnezzar's successor Amel-Marduk
Amel-Marduk
Amel-Marduk Amel-Marduk Amel-Marduk (Akk.: Amēl-Marduk, 'man of Marduk' (died 560 BC) was the son and successor of Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon. He reigned only two years, 562 - 560 BC.- Biography :...

 (Evil Merodach) as 562/561 BC, which was the 37th year of Jehoiachin's captivity according to 2 Kings 25:27. These Babylonian records related to Jehoiachin's reign are consistent with the fall of the city in 587 but not in 586, as explained in the Jehoiachin/Jeconiah
Jeconiah
Jeconiah "; ; ), also known as Coniah and as Jehoiachin , was a king of Judah who was dethroned by the King of Babylon in the 6th Century BCE and was taken into captivity. Most of what is known about Jeconiah is found in the Hebrew Bible. After many excavations in Iraq, records of Jeconiah's...

 article, thus vindicating Albright's date. Nevertheless, scholars who assume that Zedekiah's reign should be calculated by accession reckoning will continue to adhere to the 586 date, and so the infobox contains this as an alternative.

Genealogical note


Zedekiah was the third son of Josiah
Josiah
Josiah or Yoshiyahu or Joshua was a king of Judah who instituted major reforms. Josiah is credited by most historians with having established or compiled important Jewish scriptures during the Deuteronomic reform that occurred during his rule.Josiah became king of Judah at the age of eight, after...

, and his mother was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah
Libnah
Libnah or Lobna was a town in the Kingdom of Judah. The town of Libnah revolted during the reign of King Jehoram of Judah, according to II Chronicles , because he "had abandoned [the] God of his fathers."...

, thus he was the brother of Jehoahaz
Jehoahaz of Judah
Jehoahaz or Joachaz in the Douay-Rheims and some other English translations was king of Judah and son of king Josiah whom he succeeded and Hamautal, daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. He was born in 633/632 BC and his birth name was Shallum...

 .

His original name was Mattanyahu ' onMouseout='HidePop("19129")' href="http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Tetragrammaton">God
Tetragrammaton
The term Tetragrammaton refers to the name of the God of Israel YHWH used in the Hebrew Bible.-Hebrew Bible:...

"; ; ; traditional English: Mattaniah), but when Nebuchadnezzar II placed him on the throne as the successor to Jehoiachin, he changed his name to Zedekiah.

Zedekiah in the Book of Mormon


According to the Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon is a sacred text of the Latter Day Saint movement that adherents believe contains writings of ancient prophets who lived on the American continent from approximately 2600 BC to AD 421. It was first published in March 1830 by Joseph Smith, Jr...

, Zedekiah's son Mulek
Mulek
According to the Book of Mormon, Mulek was the only surviving son of Zedekiah, the last King of Judah, after the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem...

 escaped death and travelled across one of the oceans (Atlantic or Pacific) to the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

, where he founded a nation that later merged with another Israelite splinter group, the Nephite
Nephite
According to the Book of Mormon, a Nephite is a member of one of the four main groups of settlers of the ancient Americas. The other three groups are the Lamanites, Jaredites and Mulekites. In the Book of Mormon, the Nephites were a group of people descended from or associated with Nephi, the...

s.
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See also


  • Jeconiah/Jehoiachin
    Jeconiah
    Jeconiah "; ; ), also known as Coniah and as Jehoiachin , was a king of Judah who was dethroned by the King of Babylon in the 6th Century BCE and was taken into captivity. Most of what is known about Jeconiah is found in the Hebrew Bible. After many excavations in Iraq, records of Jeconiah's...

     for more complete discussion of 587 vs. 586
  • List of minor Biblical figures: Zidkijah