2 Kings 24

Judah Plundered

Nebuchadnezzar II's Building Projects

Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years (2 Kings 24:1).

Nebuchadnezzar II was a prolific builder, and one of his best known and most recognizable monuments is the Ishtar Gate at Babylon. Several stories tall, this mudbrick gate was clad in glazed tile that included depictions of lions, bulls, and dragons. Sections of the gate decorations have found their way into many of the world’s museums, including the British Museum, the Louvre, and the Oriental Institute Museum in Chicago.

Imported Gods

Surely this came upon Judah . . . because of the sins of Manasseh (2 Kings 24:3).

The author of Kings has previously noted that Manasseh acted more sinfully than the nations that had inhabited the land earlier (2 Kgs 21:2), including the worship of false gods such as Baal (2 Kgs 21:3). The Israelites seem to have been willing to adopt religious practices from nearly any neighbor (cf. 1 Kgs 11:6-8). This unidentified Syrian goddess may have been among the deities adopted and worshipped by the Israelites. This figurine was photographed at the Louvre Museum.

Gold Scrap

He cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple (2 Kings 24:13).

Nebuchadnezzar turned many of the Solomonic golden vessels into scrap metal by cutting them apart. Although this verse might give the impression that all of the golden vessels of the temple were destroyed, there are later references to golden dishes and bowls from the temple that survived. The last Babylonian king, Belshazzar, drank from gold and silver vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem (Dan 5:2), and some golden dishes and bowls from the temple were sent back with the first wave of returnees with Sheshbazzar (Ezra 1:7-11). This display of gold objects (150–1 BC) from Mleiha was photographed at the Sharjah Museum.


He led away . . . ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and the smiths (2 Kings 24:14).

Those who had specialized skills were valued by the Babylonians, and presumably were deported because their skills could be used to enhance the capabilities of the Babylonian empire. This model from ancient Egypt shows a carpentry shop full of men working with various tools at different tasks. The tools include saws, adzes, hammer and chisel, and other bladed tools. This model was photographed at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Jehoiachin in Captivity

He led away Jehoiachin to exile in Babylon, with the king’s mother, wives, officers, and chief men (2 Kings 24:15).

This Akkadian ration tablet is direct evidence of the presence of Jehoiachin and his family in Babylonian captivity. It reads in part, “10 sila (of oil) to Jehukin (i.e., Jehoiachin/Jeconiah/Coniah), the king of Judah; 2.5 sila (of oil) for the sons of the king of Judah.” This inscription dates to 592 BC and reveals that the Judean royal family was receiving rations of barley and oil while imprisoned in Babylon. This tablet was photographed at the Berlin Museum of the Ancient Near East.

Purchase the Collection:

2 Kings (Photo Companion to the Bible)

FREE Shipping plus Immediate Download