“Now to you, O profane, wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come, whose iniquity shall end. Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Remove the turban, and take off the crown; Nothing shall remain the same. Exalt the humble, and humble the exalted. Overthrown, overthrown, I will make it overthrown! It shall be no longer, until He comes whose right it is, and I will give it to Him.'”
The wicked prince is Zedekiah, the last king of Judah. Ezekiel takes up the theme of the Lord’s words through Jeremiah, which we read in the last number. Here is the history –
“Jehoiachin [Jeconiah] was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months and ten days. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD. At the turn of the year King Nebuchadnezzar summoned him and took him to Babylon, with the costly articles from the house of the LORD, and made Zedekiah, Jehoiakim’s brother, king over Judah and Jerusalem. Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. He did evil in the sight of the LORD his God, and did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke from the mouth of the LORD.” (2 Chron.36:9-12)
Zedekiah and his family escaped from the siege of Jerusalem and travelled eastwards. But they were followed, captured near Jericho, and taken to Nebuchadnezzar, who ordered all the family to be slain, Zedekiah blinded, bound in bronze fetters, and taken to Babylon. (2 Kings 25:4-7) But Jeconiah, who was but a minor of just 8 years, was taken to Babylon and imprisoned. But 37 years later, in the reign of Ewil-Marduk, Nebuchadnezzar’s successor, he was released from prison. “The king spoke kindly to him and set his throne over the thrones of the kings who were with him in Babylon. So Jehoiachin [Jeconiah] changed his prison clothes, and he dined regularly in the presence of the king of Babylon for the rest of his life.” (2 Kings 25:28-29)
Jeconiah’s family therefore fared well in Babylon. His son Shealtiel, and his grandson Zerubbabel would have grown up knowing the history of the prophet Daniel, and when Zerubbabel was allowed to head back to Jerusalem with the remnant, he was shown to be a true godly man, as we mentioned in the last number.
So much for the sad history of those times. But the theme of these threefold messages is constant throughout. Man is being shown that God is looking for true faithfulness of character in His people, and will not tolerate defection, especially those in high office who should be giving the nation an example to follow.
Ezekiel’s prophecy, given at the termination of Zedekiah’s reign, is the final word from the Throne of God. He will overthrow, overthrow, overthrow, any attempt to re-instate the monarchy. But coupled with these words is a promise. “Until He comes whose right it is”. This is the Messiah. “And I will give it to Him.”
Jesus came to His people, as their Messiah, but they behaved no differently to the last kings of Judah. “They did evil in the sight of the Lord” and crucified Him. But the Lord’s word will not fail. These words of Isaiah have resounded through the centuries, and are still applicable. The day of His Coronation, and the setting up of His Kingdom, will come. That is certain.
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his Kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)