The great reformer is gone. Now it's his son Jehoahaz's turn to rule. He doesn't have much luck because he's only in power for 3 months.
The King of Egypt apparently changes his mind and does come after Judah. He takes control of the country and makes Judah pay taxes to Egypt. Then he kicks out King Jehoahaz and names his brother Jehoiakim as the new king of Judah.
King Jehoiakim rules for 11 years with the backing of Egypt. Unfortunately for Jehoiakim, his friends in Egypt are on the decline. They lose some major battles to the Babylonian Empire.
As a punishment for aligning with Egypt, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon marches into Jerusalem and deports Jehoiakim and some of his royal household.
Naturally, the Chronicler sees this as the king's own fault. If only he'd stayed faithful to God, then God would have helped him.
Next, Jehoiakim's son Jehoiachin takes over. He's only 8 years old so he's really no match for the Babylonian Empire. King Nebuchadnezzar has him deported to Babylon within a few months.
Finally, King Zedekiah ascends to the throne. Will this guy be able to put Judah back on the right and godly track? Nope.
Even though God and the prophet Jeremiah try to warn him, King Zedekiah insists on rebelling against Nebuchadnezzar, who brings down the hammer on Jerusalem big time.
This time it isn't just the king who's at fault. Everyone in Judah is equally responsible for what happens next.
But before we get into that, the Chronicler would like us to know one thing—God tried to warn these guys. He sent prophets to bring the truth.
But in the end, the people just would not listen; they pollute the Temple, worship alien gods, and taunt God's prophets.
God has pity on them and tries to help them, but he finally realizes they're beyond help.
God allows the King of Babylon to attack Jerusalem. The Babylonians kill men and women, young and old, sick and healthy.
They raid the Temple and take all that sacred gold as part of their victory. Then they burn the place to the ground until nothing's left of the Temple but a smoldering pile of rubble.
God lets King Nebuchadnezzar deport everyone who he doesn't have killed. They're forced from their homes and become servants in Babylon.
They stay in exile there for 70 years, just like the prophet Jeremiah predicted.
When the Persian Empire defeats the Babylonian Empire, God inspires King Cyrus of Persia to build a house for him in Jerusalem. Cyrus declares that the people of Judah can go back home and start rebuilding the Temple.
Will they rebuild? Will God protect these people as they build a new society? Tune in again next week, when the books of Ezra and Nehemiah explain it all.