610 BC to 590 BC, Psalm 17: End of the Divine Presence.

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    Summary

This generation is from the years 610 BC to 590 BC

According to our count, this generation is the 17th generation associated with Psalm 17. It is in this Psalm 17 that we therefore find an illustration of the facts of this generation.

To this generation succeed the last kings of the kingdom of Judah. The generation begins with the end of the reign of King Josiah followed by the short reigns of Kings Joachaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin. The generation ends on the beginning of reign of King Zedekiah, last king of Judah before the destruction of the first Temple and exile to Babylon.

The hope aroused by the reign of King Josiah has been short-lived. The kings who succeed one another in this generation, instead of following the example of the latter, repeat the errors of King Manasseh, condemning thus without appeal the kingdom of Judah. The fall of the kingdom of Judah is initiated at this seventeenth generation. It ends with the next generation, the eighteenth, by the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.

It was to this generation that Nebuchadnezzar appeared. He will bring desolation to the kingdom of Judah. He exiles King Jehoiachin to Babylon and replaces him on the throne of Jerusalem by Zedekiah.

Just as the fall of the kingdom of Israel had been preceded by the appearance of many prophets, this generation the last before the destruction is accompanied again by many prophecies. First of all, that of Jeremiah which started during the previous generation but which takes its fullness during this generation and its turbulence. These will be supported by the prophecies of Nahum and Habakkuk without forgetting the emergence of Ezekiel at the end of this generation.

This intense activity of the prophets is not intended to avoid the sentence but rather to have it understood by the people of Israel. This is so that, unlike that of the ten tribes exiled from the kingdom of Israel, the exile from the kingdom of Judah is not an end.

Talk

The last kings of the kingdom of Judah

To this generation succeed the last kings of the kingdom of Judah.

The generation begins with the end of the reign of King Josiah followed by the short reigns of Kings Joachaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin. The generation ends on the beginning of reign of King Zedekiah, last king of Judah before the destruction of the first Temple and exile to Babylon.

The hope aroused by the reign of King Josiah has been short-lived. The kings who succeed one another in this generation, instead of following the example of the latter, repeat the errors of King Manasseh, condemning thus without appeal the kingdom of Judah. The fall of the kingdom of Judah is initiated at this seventeenth generation. It ends with the next generation, the eighteenth, by the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.

The first king Joachaz had a short reign since it lasted only three months. Sufficient time, however, for Joachaz to be noticed by his misconduct:

  • And [1] he did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord, like all that his forefathers had done.

Nebuchadnezzar

The disaster of the next generation is brewing. Foreign powers are becoming major players in the fate of the kingdom of Judah.

So Pharaoh Nekho:

  • In[13] his days (of king Josiah), Pharaoh-Neco went up against the king of Assyria by the Euphrates River, and King Josiah went toward him, and he killed him in Megiddo when he saw him.
  • And his servants transported him dead from Megiddo, and they brought him to Jerusalem and buried him in his grave. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah and anointed him and made him king instead of his father. (…)
  • And Pharaoh-Neco imprisoned him in Riblah in the land of Hamath, to prevent him from reigning in Jerusalem, (…)
  • And Pharaoh-Neco crowned Eliakim the son of Josiah instead of his father Josiah, and he changed his name to Jehoiakim, and he took Jehoahaz, and he came to Egypt and died there.
  • (soon invaded by Nebuchadnezzar, Egypt will no longer be a threat to the kingdom of Judah)

Also Nebuchadnezzar, which obviously will have a much more painful impact on the future of the kingdom of Judah:

  • In his days[14] (from King Jehoiakim), Nebuchadnezzar went up, and Jehoiakim was his vassal for three years, then he turned and rebelled against him.
  • And the Lord incited against him bands of Chaldeans and bands of Arameans and bands of Moabites and bands of the children of Ammon, and he incited them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the Lord which He had spoken through His servants, the prophets.
  • (King Jehoiakim dies -naturally- and his son Jehoiachin succeeds him, reigning three months)
  • At that time (du roi Jehoiachin), the servants of Nebuchadnezzar went up against Jerusalem and the city was brought under siege.
  • (Nebuchadnezzar plundered the Temple and deported Jehoiachin to Babylon with his entourage, leaving only the “lower class” in the country)
  • And the king of Babylonia crowned Mattaniah his uncle in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah.

The reign of Zedekiah is straddling the seventeenth and eighteenth generation. However his reign interests us more by the destruction of the first Temple which is on the eighteenth generation.

The prophets

Just as the fall of the kingdom of Israel had been preceded by the appearance of many prophets, this generation the last before the destruction is accompanied again by many prophecies.

First of all, that of Jeremiah which started during the previous generation but which takes its fullness during this generation and its turbulence. These will be supported by the prophecies of Nahum and Habakkuk without forgetting the emergence of Ezekiel at the end of this generation.

The seventeenth generation is the last during which the Jewish people can coexist with the Temple of Solomon and especially with his host, the Lord.

The eighteenth generation will see the destruction of the Temple of Solomon and especially the distance that will then take the Lord with his people who has never since returned to live in the holy mountain of Jerusalem.

The people of Israel, if they have been able to profit from the light of the Lord during these first seventeen generations, will return to the darkness of the eighteenth generation. And this for a hundred and thirty generations in the image of the first thirty-two years of Jacob’s life.

As Jeremiah confirms:

  • Hearken  [8] and give ear, do not be proud, for the Lord has spoken.
  • Give the Lord your God honor before it becomes dark, and before your feet stumble on the dark mountains, and you shall hope for light, but He will make it into darkness, and making it into a thick cloud.
  • And if you do not hearken to it ( – if you do not enjoy these trials to return to the Lord – ), in secret my soul will weep because of your pride and my eye shall weep sore and run down with tears, for the Lord’s flock has been captured.

It is before this dark future that David writes his psalm in preparation for the pangs of the night that await him. The psalm of this generation is, moreover, as its title indicates, “a prayer of David“:

(extract of the psalm 17 associated to this generation, verses 1  to  3 )

  • A prayer of David; Hearken, O Lord, to righteousness, listen to my cry, lend an ear to my prayer, [which is] without deceitful lips.
  • May my judgment come forth from before You; may Your eyes see [my] upright acts.
  • You have tried my heart; You have visited [upon me] at night. You have refined me and not found; If I think, let it not pass my mouth.

Sentence

What Jeremiah responds to:

  • And [9] you ( this injunction seems well suited to respond to David’s supplication – ), pray not on behalf of this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer, and entreat Me ( – Jeremiah expresses himself by speaking in the name of the Lord -) not for I will not hear you.
  • Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?
  • The sons are gathering wood, the fathers are kindling fire, and the women are kneading dough to make starshaped cakes for the queen of the heaven and to pour libations to other gods, in order to provoke Me.
  • Are they provoking Me? says the Lord. Are [they] not [provoking] themselves for the shame of their faces?
  • Therefore, so says the Lord God: Behold, My wrath and My fury reaches this place, upon man and upon beast, upon the trees of the field and upon the produce of the soil, and it shall burn and not be quenched.

And also :

  • And you [10], do not pray for this people, neither shall you lift up cry nor prayer, for I do not hearken at the time they call out to Me because of their misfortune.

Punishment but not breaking up

In the face of divine determination, David resigns himself and at least asks that his people do not disappear completely as indicated in the following psalm (– prayer –) of this generation:

(extract of the psalm 17 associated to this generation, verses 4  to  14 )

  • As for man’s deeds, because of the word of Your lips, I kept [myself] from the ways of the profligate.
  • To support my feet in Your paths, lest my feet falter.
  • I called to You because You shall answer me, O God. Bend Your ear to me; hearken to my saying.
  • Distinguish Your kind acts to save, with Your right hand, those who take refuge [in You] from those who rise up [against them].
  • Guard me as the apple of the eye; in the shadow of Your wings You shall hide me.
  • Because of the wicked who have robbed me; my mortal enemies who encompass me.
  • [With] their fat, they closed themselves up; their mouths spoke with haughtiness.
  • [By] our footsteps they surround us now, they set their eyes roaming over the land.
  • His likeness is like a lion, which yearns for prey, and as a young lion, which lurks in hidden places.
  • Arise, O Lord, confront him; bring him down to his knees; rescue my soul from the wicked, Your sword.
  • Of those who die by Your hand, O Lord, of those who die of old age, whose share is in life, and whose belly You will fill with Your hidden treasure, who have children in plenty and leave their abundance to their babes.

Request that Jeremiah echoes again:

  • You [11] know, O Lord, remember me and think of me, and avenge me of my pursuers. Take me not to Your long suffering, know, I bore disgrace for Your sake.
  • Your words were found and I ate them, and Your word was to me a joy and a rejoicing of my heart, for Your name was called upon me, O Lord God of Hosts.
  • I did not sit in the council of merrymakers, nor did I rejoice; because of Your hand I sat in seclusion, for You filled me with fury.
  • Why was my pain perpetual, and my wound grievous? It has refused to heal; you are to me as a failing spring, water that is not faithful.
  • Therefore, so said the Lord: If you return, I will return you, you will stand before Me, and if you take the precious out of the vile, you shall be as My mouth. Let them return to you, but you shall not return to them.
  • And I will make you for this nation into a fortified copper wall, and they shall fight against you but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you to redeem you and to save you, says the Lord.
  • And I will save you from the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you from the hand of the terrible.

On this, David takes note and hopes that the people of Israel will rise to the challenge to resist all night and survive until dawn. Image of the redemption of the people of Israel as indicated by the conclusion of the psalm:

(extract of the psalm 17 associated to this generation, verse  15 )

  • I will see Your face with righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your image upon the awakening.

Hope shared by Jeremiah:

  • Behold [12], days are coming, says the Lord, when I will set up of David ( – the author of the psalms – ) a righteous shoot, and he shall reign a king and prosper, and he shall perform judgment and righteousness in the land.
  • In his days, Judah shall be saved and Israel shall dwell safely, and this is his name that he shall be called, The Lord is our righteousness.

[1] Melachim II – II Kings – Chapter 23, verses 32 and 33

[2] See:  Melachim II – II Kings – Chapter 23, verses 34 and following.

[3] Melachim II – II Kings – Chapter 24, verses 3 and 4

[4] Melachim II – II Kings – Chapter 24, verse 9

[5] See:  Melachim II – II Kings – Chapter 24, verses 8 and following.

[6] See: Divrei Hayamim II – II Chronicles – Chapter 36, verse 10. (Zedekiah is Jehoiachin‘s brother).

[7] Bereishit – Genesis – Chapter 47, verses 7 to 9

[8] Yirmiyahu – Jeremiah – Chapter 13, verses 15 to 17

[9] Yirmiyahu – Jeremiah – Chapter 7, verses 16 to 20

[10] Yirmiyahu – Jeremiah – Chapter 11, verse 14

[11] Yirmiyahu – Jeremiah – Chapter 15, verses 15 to 21

[12] Yirmiyahu – Jeremiah – Chapter 23, verses 5 and 6

[13] Melachim II – II Kings – Chapter 23, verses 29 to 34 (extracts)

[14] Melachim II – II Kings – Chapter 24, verses 1 to 17 (extracts)