The ESV delineates the chapter into three sections; most appropriate, I think. 1) Judah’s decline (36:1-16). Four kings are mentioned in this longest section of the chapter; they are Jehoahaz, Eliakim (Jehoiakim), Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah. 2) Jerusalem captured and burned (36:1721). Egypt was a player of the “Middle East Stage”, but soon was supplanted by Babylon, and it was Babylon who took Jerusalem to its lowest point. 3) The proclamation of Cyrus (36:22-23). After the Lord gave the land rest for 70 years there was a new king and a new empire that encouraged all captive people to return to their homeland.
Application: The message is the same throughout Chronicles: If one does not return to the Lord, then the life of a great many people will pay a seriously physical price. If they are so fortunate to escape with their lives, then in poverty and captivity they will live. With all that destruction the Lord still gave the people hope through His prophet Jeremiah. It was a tough lesson to experience and learn from, but as a nation they learned!
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