Introduction: We learned that Jeremiah spent forty years warning
Judah of impending destruction. During that forty years, five kings
ruled Judah. Were they all bad? Why would they ignore God’s warnings?
What lessons can we learn from them? Let’s jump into our study of the
Bible and find out!

  1. Josiah

    1. Read 2 Chronicles 34:1-2. The “David” referred to here is
      King David. Is he Josiah’s father? (Read 2 Kings 21:25-26.
      Josiah’s actual father was King Amon.)

      1. Read 2 Kings 21:19-24. How bad a king was Amon? (So
        bad that his own officials killed him.)

        1. Did Josiah have a godly grandfather? (No. These
          verses say that Manasseh, his grandfather, also
          did evil.)

      2. So why are we told that King David is Josiah’s
        father? (“Father” means ancestor. Josiah “walked in
        the ways” of his ancestor King David. It means he was
        a good guy.)

    2. Read 2 Chronicles 34:3-5. This week I read that ISIS
      destroyed the Temple Bel, which is thousands of years old.
      Is that a good thing? (Josiah is destroying idols which
      are currently worshiped. This is not the destruction of
      ancient architecture.)

      1. What could we do today that would be similar to the
        work of Josiah? (We are not kings, so destroying the
        property of others presents a moral problem. But, in
        our own family we should work to limit the influence
        of evil.)

    3. Read 2 Chronicles 34:8. What can we do that is like the
      repair work of Josiah? (We can make sure our church is in
      good repair. More importantly, we can encourage our family
      to worship God.)

    4. Read 2 Chronicles 34:14-15. While working to repair the
      temple, the High Priest Hilkiah found “the Book of the
      Law” that “had been given through Moses.” What has this
      new fact have to do with idol worship? (Not reading the
      Bible, forgetting God’s word, leads us away from
      dependence on God.)

      1. Imagine how this discovery could change the life of
        God’s people?

      2. Can you think of any parallel event in your life?
        (Reading a Bible that you cannot understand is a
        “hidden Bible” problem. Find a Bible version that you
        can easily read and understand. You will discover
        God’s word!)

    5. Read 2 Chronicles 34:29-32. What is the outcome of
      Josiah’s work? (God’s word is now known to everyone in the
      kingdom. Under his leadership, the people pledge to follow

    6. Read 2 Chronicles 35:20-21. What do you think of Pharaoh
      Neco’s claim to have God on his side?

    7. Read 2 Chronicles 35:22. What does this suggest about the
      validity of what Pharaoh Neco said?

    8. Read 2 Chronicles 35:23-24. What a tragic and untimely end
      to the reign of a great man of God. What lesson do you
      find in this? (We need to be sure that we follow God’s
      will. Some commentators think that Josiah was doing the
      right thing. I’m not sure we have enough evidence to

    9. Read 2 Chronicles 35:25-26. Whatever the merit of Josiah’s
      last deadly decision, we see that he is lamented as a man
      devoted to God. Recall that when we started looking at
      Josiah, we learned he walked in the way of King David.
      What have we learned now that helps us understand that
      truth? (David did not always make the right decisions. Yet
      God celebrated his devotion to God.)

  2. Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim.

    1. Read 2 Chronicles 36:1-3. Jehoahaz reigned as king for
      three months. How did the actions of his father, Josiah,
      who was a great man, affect his life? (Josiah’s last
      decision causes his popularly selected son to lose his

    2. Read 2 Chronicles 36:4. Why did Neco change Eliakim’s name
      to Jehoiakim? (To show his authority over this new King of

      1. Why do you think Neco put Jehoiakim on the throne?
        (He apparently thought him to be more compliant than
        Jehoahaz, the choice of the people.)

    3. Read 2 Chronicles 36:5-6. What kind of king is Jehoiakim?

      1. What happens to him? (He is captured by

      2. Who do you think Jehoiakim relied upon to save his
        kingdom? (Read 2 Kings 24:7. It appears to be Egypt!
        Relying on humans instead of God, is a foolish idea.
        See also 2 Kings 24:1.)

  3. Jehoiachin

    1. Read 2 Kings 24:6 and 2 Kings 24:8-9. How long did this
      king reign? (Three months!)

      1. What kind of king was Jehoiachin? (He was another bad
        guy – in his three months!)

      2. Is this really a fair test for an 18 year-old?

    2. Read 2 Kings 24:10-12. What ended Jehoiachin’s reign?
      (Judah was invaded by Babylon.)

    3. Read 2 Kings 24:13-17. How big a disaster is this for

      1. Recall that I asked you to consider whether three
        months was sufficient to say Jehoiachin was a bad
        guy? Who was taken to Babylon at this time? (The
        first chapter of the book of Daniel reveals that
        Daniel and his friends were taken. Daniel and his
        friends immediately took a stand for God.)

    4. Read Jeremiah 22:1-5. What is it that these evil kings
      could have done to turn things around for Judah?

      1. Let’s focus on Jeremiah 22:3. What is the general
        nature of the failure of the justice system in Judah?
        (That those who are weak, the one robbed, the alien,
        the orphan, and the widow are victims of violence and
        injustice. When the law breaks down, the most
        vulnerable suffer.)

        1. What other problem do we find in Jeremiah 22:3?
          (Innocent people are being killed.)

      2. Let’s contemplate this. How does God punish this
        kind of failure to be just? (God brings in stronger
        nations to plunder Judah. The leaders of Judah
        experience the very same kind of thing they inflicted
        on those who were weak.)

      3. One of the questions I asked in the introduction is
        why these kings did not change? What reason would the
        evil kings have to allow a corrupt judicial system?
        (No doubt they benefitted or thought they would
        benefit from it.)

    5. Read Jeremiah 22:8-9. How is this related to harming those
      who are powerless? (It is contrary to God’s covenant.
      Contrary to the Mosaic law. When you worship a god you
      have made, your sense of values gets skewed.)

  4. Zedekiah

    1. Re-read 2 Kings 24:16-17 and read 2 Chronicles 36:11-12.
      What kind of king is Zedekiah? (Again, an evil king.)

    2. Read 2 Chronicles 36:13. If you had to characterize
      Zedekiah with one word, what would it be? (Rebel. He did
      not accept God’s word through Jeremiah and he rebelled
      against Nebuchadnezzar.)

      1. Put yourself in Zedekiah’s place. Can you explain
        this? (I suspect he thought that God was not helping,
        Jeremiah was unbalanced, and Nebuchadnezzer was the
        enemy. He and the people would do what they wanted
        because things could not get much worse.)

      2. In addition to being a rebel, what else characterizes
        this kind of thinking? (He is arrogant and
        impractical. Ignoring God’s word through Jeremiah
        created all sorts of grief. Nebuchadnezzer squashed
        him like a bug.)

    3. Read 2 Chronicles 36:15-19. What is the outcome of all of
      this rebellion against God? (Utter destruction.)

    4. Read 2 Chronicles 36:21. From what was the land resting?

    5. Friend, consider your attitude. Are you a rebel or are you
      one who wants to listen to God and do His will? Why not
      decide, right now, to seek and follow God’s will?

  5. Next week: Rebuke and Retribution.